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Weekly Roundup: Volume 2, Issue 5

February 5, 2012

Don’t worry, I’m not complaining this time! I’m feeling a little better about this weekly assignment, and last week’s was finally posted (it was late due to technological issues, which I completely understand). This week’s question was, “Did you vote in Florida’s GOP primary? Why or why not?” I was worried that I wouldn’t find anyone who had voted (college campuses tend to be liberal and full of lazy people who don’t care about America), and after getting six interviews with people who hadn’t voted and walking up to a few big groups of students to find that none had voted, I finally got four interviews with people who had, and were excited about it. That was encouraging to see. This stuff is important! College kids, if you care about your Bright Futures, Pell Grants, Work-Study, research funding, etc., politics is something you should pay attention to. Get off your twenty-something butts, take a break from Facebook, and do a little research into the candidates. I want to see scores of “I Voted” stickers around UCF come November!

Here’s the video. Ignore my lame intro!

I’m applying to them. Of course, I won’t be able to start anything until May, but I have control issues, so…I’m getting a head start. So far, I’ve applied for like seven different positions. We’ll see what happens. I still don’t really know what exactly I want to do, so that’s probably why I’m freaking out a little bit! Oh, college. Why can’t you be the real world?

This week’s assignments:
GOP primaries. I didn’t do such a great job getting photos, but this is pretty cute.

The Wellness Center is working to improve UCF’s sexual health. My editor asked me to “Get some shots of their facilities, usually they might have free condoms, get some artsy shots of those.” So there you go.

And lastly, the funnest assignment I’ve had in a while, a presentation called “Aphrodisiacs: Myth or Reality,” given by Francine Segan at the Orange County Regional History Center. Segan is a food historian and writer who’s published several books and appeared on Food Network multiple times, so the whole thing was really interesting, and the subject had an inherent awkwardness, which she turned into humor. I found the night very enjoyable. Plus, there was lots of food! The best part of journalism! And most of the foods were, of course, aphrodisiacs, but I was hungry, so I gobbled away anyhow.

I'm getting sexified just looking at it!

Weekly Roundup: Volume 2, Issue 4

January 29, 2012

1.Man on the Street
It may seem like a harmless feature in the variety section of local newspapers, but for a painfully introverted budding journalist, MOTS is the bane of her very existence. That journalist is me. That probably sounded too dramatic, but I really do dislike it greatly! As the Senior Staff Photog for the CFF, it’s my job to do MOTS every week (because editors can never convince anyone else to do it). In case you don’t care for newspapers, MOTS is the feature where a handful of people around town (or in my case, UCF) are asked a question and their answers are published. Just a simple opinion collector. Unless you’re uncomfortable walking up to random people and asking if you can get their opinion and take a picture of their face. The latter is the part that said random people are usually most reluctant about. Someone they don’t know somewhere might see a black and white 1-inch picture of their face…and they’re having a bad hair day! To be honest, it has gotten much easier for me. I have to get over myself a little bit, get out of the comfort zone. Though it’s still probably one of my least favorite things about journalism!

But then this week, someone decided it would be a good idea to record MOTS on video, and told me to come get the video camera I’ve never used the day before MOTS is due. Woohoo! The camera was way cool (I didn’t want to return it!) but I found people even more reluctant to answer. On top of that, this week’s question was fairly difficult (I don’t make them up myself): Is adding fluoride to tap water good for public health? The majority of people I approached didn’t have an answer for me. This was one that requires a little bit of knowledge, unlike questions I’ve asked in the past, such as opinions about UCF’s chewing gum policy (it’s not allowed?!) and whether or not guns should be allowed on college campuses. Those are more close-to-home, and easier for the average student to form an opinion about. Also, I had to record myself giving an intro for the video…so embarrassing! I looked like such a dork.

On top of all this, after I turned in the video on Tuesday, I got a call on Wednesday asking me to come back to the office and pick up the camera again, because I needed to redo most of the interviews. Apparently I should have asked people to remove their sunglasses before recording them, and some of the answers weren’t very clear. So I went back to campus and found new victims, and ended up being almost 10 minutes late to my night class because of it. Thankfully, Abel brought me dinner, or I would have been a very unhappy camper!

And on top of all that, MOTS is usually published on Thursdays, and I have yet to see any trace of the video on the CFF website or Facebook. All that headache. If I’m asked to do it again this week, I’ll express my hesitancy.

2.Film classes
So far, in Art of Cinema, we’ve watched Goodfellas and Hitchcock’s Notorious. I’m a big Hitchcock fan, and I enjoyed both films very much, and the class discussion afterward made me appreciate the directing and camera work even more. Both my film classes this semester have been helping me develop my artistic eye. Even while watching Breaking Bad with Abel, I was noticing things like Rule of Thirds more than usual (and BB is pretty much a study on the use of RoT). Next week, my partner in Cinematic Expression and I will be making our first project: a 20 second film inspired by one theme from a list our prof gave us. The film must be made up of (at most) 10 black and white still images, with non-musical sound effects that don’t directly relate to what’s on screen. The theme must be clear, and the film must employ Line and Rule of Thirds. Yep. This should be interesting.

For inspiration, we were shown “What I’m Looking For,” an awesome 15 minute montage by a photographer that explores why she is addicted to taking photos. I wish I could share it, but it doesn’t appear to be on YouTube, or at least it’s buried by all the songs with similar titles (I’m looking at you, U2). We also saw some clips from the film Run Lola Run, which I haven’t seen, but it’s apparently film-y and uses some montage. Here’s one…

See how it’s a mini-story? You might have to watch it more than once, but that’s kind of what we have to do. We can make ours a little longer, but like I said, it has to be b&w and employ one of the given themes. My partner and I are thinking “claustrophobia” or “isolation.” The list also included more general things like happiness, sadness, love, death, fear, etc, but these two caught our eyes more. I’ll definitely share what we come up with!

3.Downton Abbey
I watched the first episode of this highly acclaimed series (it’s won six Emmys and a Golden Globe since it began in late 2010), and about 10 minutes of the second episode. I have to say, I’m very impressed. One of its Emmys is for cinematography, and I can’t agree more with this honor. It’s shot beautifully. The many characters and plot lines drew me in from the very beginning, and it’s set in an era I’m attracted to, so that certainly helps, too. I’m definitely going to keep watching.

Photo from

Maggie Smith FTW! Photo from The Guardian.

Behind-the-scenes photo from

4.Great debates
I watched the final GOP debate, since it was in my beautiful state of Florida. Full disclosure: I’m not affiliated with either of the parties. Or any party. But overall, I didn’t vehemently disagree with what any of the potential candidates were saying, which isn’t to say that I fully agreed with anyone either. But at least it made me feel slightly better about the future. I mean, I’m still turned off my the personal lives of some of the candidates (or one of the candidates), and I wouldn’t be 100% pleased with any of their presidencies, but then again, I’m certainly not 100% pleased with the current one. So…I’m trying to sound so moderate right now, I feel like I haven’t said anything of substance at all! But really, politics isn’t what this blog is all about, though I do like some good political drama. I could talk about it, and it would probably get me a heck of a lot more readers, but I don’t like fighting, and that’s what tends to happen during political discourse. Maybe when we’re closer to November, I’ll state my perspectives on all this a little clearer. Until then…be excellent to each other, whether donkeys, elephants, or some creature in between!

Here are some of my favorites from this week’s shoots. Speaking of politics, I’ll be covering the Big Tuesday primaries around the UCF area next week. Should be pretty interesting!

This is the Rec & Wellness Center’s Biggest Loser program. I was covering a couple days of the tryout week, and the program director didn’t want me to get shots of the contestants, so I had to skip the faces. I’m hoping the paper will want to do an update about the program after the actual teams are formed and such. Here’s the article.

These are portraits of an alumnus, Chris Carullo, whose experimental indie film is being produced and stuff. The article will be published on Monday.

Finally, I shot the HAPPY Hour Student Showcase, which was a conference for education students, with student-led sessions. It was pretty cool. The first photo features Cheryl Conley, Florida’s Teacher of the Year, being “knighted” with a UCF hat. She seems like an awesome teacher, and I found her speech inspiring. It definitely made me want to be a teacher! The article will be published on Monday.

Teacher supplies...made me want to go back to elementary school! Or just buy them and put them on my wall :P

A session on workplace attire/fashion led by Nicole Yello and Jacqueline Michaels

Weekly Roundup: Volume 2, Issue 3

January 24, 2012

Life has called me away from my blog for the past few days, and I apologize for my tardiness! I’ve been doing lots of shooting, lots of homework, and lots of trying to keep above water. So, here’s a quick little post for last week:

I had my first meeting for post-production of last semester’s documentary. now titled “The Committee”. Only a handful of us students are continuing with the project, and this week we talked about starting another Kickstarter campaign to cover the cost of submitting the film to festivals, which we’re in the process of doing. It’s already been submitted for the College Television Awards and another whose name I can’t recall. We’re also working on getting screenings, so I’ll keep you up to date!

2.The world
What’s happening? Seriously. Website blackouts, protests, the circus that is the Presidential primary. I feel so distanced from these things, but they’re actually all quite close to home. Surrounded by opinions, I feel like I don’t have a good grasp of my own feelings about these things. I’ll figure it out with time. Sometimes I miss the days when I never paid attention to the news!

Here are some photos from this week…

Improv UKnighted performing at Natura. Here’s the article.

Improv UKnighted at Natura

Improv UKnighted at Natura

This guy is a professor at UCF and co-founder of Men’s Health Initiative. Here’s the article.

Michael Rovito

This article didn’t end up getting published for some reason, but this girl is a women’s studies minor who will be presenting her research about the importance of heritage in the world of Harry Potter, particularly how the magical genes tend to come from the women in Ms. Rowling’s work. Cool, right?

Rebecca Miles

4.Some beautiful music
It’s Tuesday! Keep on truckin!

Weekly Roundup: Volume 2, Issue 2

January 15, 2012

1.Spring semester breakdown
I can’t yet judge how difficult, easy, fun, or challenging this semester will be. One week isn’t quite enough time for me to tell. But it’s the last one, so I need to make it count! Here are my first impressions of all my classes:

Desktop/Internet Publishing: I’m not going to lie, my very first class of the semester was a disappointment. I was looking forward to this, since it is my final journalism class, but I found out that it contains students from a wide variety of majors and specialties, so what we are learning won’t always apply to me or be beneficial to my future career. I’ll learn how to use Microsoft Publisher, but it looks so similar to all the other Office software. Our professor has had a lot of jobs, but none of them have been desktop/Internet publishing. On Wednesday, we learned how to open a new document. And then we learn that text goes in text boxes. I feel this might be an infuriating class!

Cinematic Expression: Apparently, there was a sort of intro to cinematic expression that everyone in my class has taken…except me. This made me a little nervous, but I’m sure I’ll be able to handle it. The professor posted some notes from that class online for us, so I’ll be able to catch up and learn the vocabulary I’ll need. The part that makes me even more nervous is that we’ll all be put in groups, and throughout the semester, each group has to make three films: a 20 second film, a 30 second film, and a minute-long film. Those time constraints should make things interesting. I’ve been trying to come up with ways to tell a story in such a small amount of time. Luckily, I’ll be working with a friend from last semester’s Documentary class, and I know he’s awesome at shooting and not a lazy pants! Group projects are always better when you know you’ve got a good team.

Advanced Poetry Workshop: I considered taking Advanced Fiction instead of Poetry as my final creative writing workshop, but I’m glad I picked this. Poetry isn’t my greatest skill, but it is something that I would like to get better at, and it’s a great outlet for stories and ideas. It offers a different kind of freedom than fiction and nonfiction. The class is very small, and I like the professor, who taught my first poetry class. He’s a nice old man. My first poem is due on Tuesday, so I might share it if I like it enough!

Art of the Cinema: What I enjoy most about studying film is that it teaches me to use my brain while watching movies. That’s what this class is all about. On the first day, we watched a scene from Juno (great movie), and then went frame by frame through it, talking about the techniques used to create tension and reveal emotion. I noticed things in the scene that I hadn’t noticed before, and it made me appreciate the film and its creators all the more. Our professor said he would have us watch movies we aren’t likely to have seen in other film classes. Unfortunately, he didn’t give us a list of all the movies we’ll be watching (I want to know right now!), but I’m definitely looking forward to breaking down some cool films.

2.Losing Teeth
Abel drove me down to West Palm on Thursday night and I got my wisdom teeth ripped out of my face the next morning! It’s so strange to simply not remember any of it. The last thing I know, I was watching the Today Show’s 60 year anniversary and the surgeon was poking a needle into me. Then I don’t remember anything until I got home, and even that is groggy. Apparently, I was pretty loopy and Mom and Abel made fun of me! All in all, it hasn’t been a terrible experience. The anticipation was worse than the actual event. I got a little swollen and sore, but nothing I can’t live through. Abel was helpful to me — I felt very doted upon! I will admit that these days made me realize how much I like food that crunches!

Pudding and a smashed banana for lunch...mmm...

This week, I shot for two articles. One was at an alumnus’ business, where he and his crew fix broken smartphones and such. The other was with a theater student who has been nominated for awards through the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. It was a fun portrait session, and I have to say that theater students are much easier to shoot than non-theatrical students! Here’s the article. We had a good time, but unfortunately, none of the portraits made it to print. I’m bummed about it, but I’ll post them here so at least someone will be able to enjoy them.

Bryant Hernandez

Bryant Hernandez

Bryant Hernandez

4.Listening is an Act of Love
Finished it this week. The stories were great reads, and I felt an array of emotions while reading each one. I think the StoryCorps project is simply wonderful. Enough said. My next book is David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, which is a collection of his essays. I haven’t gotten into it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. His only work that I’ve read is the essay “Consider the Lobster,” so I don’t quite know what to expect, but he’s a big enough name in nonfiction to pique my curiosity.

Until next week!

Weekly Roundup: Volume 2, Issue 1

January 9, 2012

1.Breaking Bad
After finishing The Sopranos the week before Christmas, Abel and I began watching Breaking Bad together. First of all, The Sopranos is amazing. Second, Breaking Bad is amazing. I’m almost done with season 2, and it’s driving me pretty crazy. All I’ve heard is that it only gets better and better each season, so I’m excited for what’s in store. I’m also scared. I’m bad at handling drama!

By Amy Nucera

By Amy Nucera

2.Reading Lolita in Tehran
Finished the book this week. It was pretty enjoyable, and I’ve always found it good to read first-hand accounts from people who are native to cultures I hear a lot about. Iran is a bit of a hot topic these days, although I’d say that most of us know little of the country’s history. The book was a mixture of memoir and literary criticism, relating the real world of Iran’s political unrest and the characters’ personal struggles to the fictional worlds and characters in Lolita, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, etc. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the book is how the narrator’s literature classes showed the foolishness of political extremism. A lot of her students were against the books she taught because they were “Western” and “decadent,” and they promoted a lack of morality that the Islamic Revolution in Iran denounced. But when you really read these books, you can see that just because the protagonist acts in a certain way doesn’t mean the author is promoting it. In fact, in many stories, the hero’s flaws cause his/her downfall, unless he/she overcomes them.

Basically, the book stressed the importance of fiction in our nonfictional world. Nafisi reflected that sometimes these fictional worlds seemed more real than her own. As I was reading this book back home in West Palm, I overheard someone say that they didn’t like to read fiction, because “you aren’t learning anything” when doing so. They said that in order to read fiction, they had to learn to be OK with not learning. Of course, I wanted to throw my book at them, but I’m not all that aggressive! Certainly, many frivolous books exist, and there is nothing to be learned from them. But I can’t imagine someone reading classic literature and NOT learning. I understand that everyone has different taste and such, but if you’re not learning from fiction, you’re not reading it right. /rant

Now I’m reading Listening is an Act of Love, which is a compilation of interviews done by the StoryCorps project. This project began in 2003, and it provides people with a place to talk to or interview people they love (or people they find interesting), records the conversation and gives one copy to the participants and one to the Library of Congress. The purpose is to get the stories of everyday Americans from the 20th and 21st centuries. It’s a neat project, and a neat book, but I’m going through it very quickly! Definitely check out the StoryCorps website, or listen to some of the stories on NPR’s Morning Edition.

3.Central Florida Future
This week I started as the CFF’s senior staff photographer, so I got to go to new places and see interesting things. Here are some of my first photos of the semester. This is what I get paid the big bucks for!

Chewy Boba Company (boba still makes me want to vomit).

Toubab Krewe at Plaza Live.

Galactic Funk at Plaza Live.

SkyWatch at Orlando Science Center. I saw the moon, Orion nebula, AND Jupiter!

The OSC Observatory.


Ready or not, my final semester is here! It’s true what they say: these things fly by too quickly. I’m hoping to make the most of my last little bit of time here at UCF, and of course my dear readers will get to hear all about it!

Yearly Roundup: My 2011 in Photos

January 2, 2012

Here’s a look back on some of my favorite memories from 2011, as captured by my camera. I’m hoping 2012 will by as photogenic. What about you? What are some of your fondest images from this year?


Miss UCF 2011, one of my shining moments as a Central Florida Future photographer, if I may say so myself! It was an interesting and scary experience in itself.


Visiting my Big Sister in the Big Apple

Doing a fashion shoot on the roof of the Math and Physics Building...and getting called into the Office of Student Conduct for it


Beautiful room mates!

My first photo published in the Observer. It helped me pass portfolio review!


One year with Abel!!

World Ballet Competition, one of my favorite Observer assignments


New glasses, new hairstyle, and feathers with Em and Kels


Elias and Bethany's wedding


Capoeira, and all my lovely and stressful Converged projects

Abel's birthday with Kirby

Making a documentary


Orlando Calling


A year and a half with Abel

Christmas in St. Augustine

Salt dough crafts with Uncle Joe (Em made all the tantalizing but fake desserts)

Uncle Joe

May you always face worthy challenges. Happy New Year!

2011 in review, provided by Wordpress

January 1, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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