Herkimer Graduate

Well, folks. After a little over a year of waiting and a little over a year after I officially finished classes, the wait is finally over. I am happy to report that I finally got my Associates Degree in Communication Arts New Media from Herkimer College in the mail this morning. So I am now officially an alumni from Herkimer College and finally starting to move up in the world.

Twenty years ago, I never would have thought that this day would happen. I was pretty much convinced that I didn’t need college but rather rely on real world education. However, after years of working in retail and especially after getting started on the Internet, I realized that my earlier attitude toward college was actually just me overreacting.

By the time I actually decided to go back to college around 2010-2011, I had the benefit of online financial aid which did not exist when I graduated from high school in 1997 because the Internet was still in its infancy back then. And in fact, I actually did better in college than I did in high school. Sure it took me four and a half years (partly because I changed my major from Radio/TV Broadcasting to New Media and the fact that I was a part-time student because I was still on overnights at the time) and I was probably older than a majority of my peers, but I stuck to it and I probably also had the advantage of being an established Internet personality. So in short, I have my life as Blackcatloner to thank for this.

And college in turn really helped me out with my Internet career, especially with YouTube. In the two years I spent in Radio/TV Broadcasting, I learned how to edit which was something I never actually paid attention to in my first few years on YouTube. My writing was not really a problem but even that got better. In fact, that’s what sort of led me to create the Tales of the Blackcat site. But my college career was still not without its challenges, especially towards the end of my college adventure. But in the end, I graduated with a GPA of over 3.2, which again was way better than I ever did in high school because in high school, we did not have the advantage of the Internet.

Now that I finally have my degree, I can only hope that this is a start of better things for me. I guess you can say that I’m living proof that good things can happen later in life. Like I said, I never thought that I would be at this point when I was in high school where I pretty much dismissed college as a waste of time. But now, I realize that I made the right decision.

And there’s a good chance that I will be posting a new video sometime next week.

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Did Not Get Engaged


Best meme ever!

 

One of the big holiday traditions that has emerged in recent years has been the fact that people announce their engagements usually on Christmas by way of Facebook. In fact, nowadays you can carry out whole relationships via Facebook or any other social media platforms to the point where it has become commonplace.
This year, I might have had at least three online friends (and quite possibly more) announce their engagements online over the holidays. However, I am happy to report that I was not one of them. In fact, I stumbled across a meme that became popular and had been widely distributed and it was a text image designed to look like a Facebook status that says “Did not get engaged.” And of course, the date underneath was December 25 and below that, there is a little caption that says “See nonexistent relationship here.” I thought it was a good meme that I decided to not only share it online but also download it and use it for the purpose of this post. And there’s a good bet that I will be posting it again next Christmas.
Prior to becoming part of the Internet, I had not had any luck with women and it carried on even after I joined the online community. I have met quite a bit of people online in the ten years I have been on the Internet. Out of the numerous people I met online, I only met a handful of people offline. A couple of them even sent me Christmas cards. However, nothing really happened as far as anything long-term goes. The last time I was actually interested in a woman was back in 2011 and as you can guess, that didn’t go anywhere.
And now that I’m inching closer to 40, I am starting to think back on how I was back in high school and my twenties and that while high school and 20-something me would not be thrilled with the prospect of not getting married and having a family, soon-to-be 39-year-old me says that it’s for the best. After all, things have gotten bad in the dating scene with people relying on Tinder and it’s quite obvious that they’re not looking for long-term relationships not to mention that the pickin’s are very slim and a very high divorce rate. It’s all a game where the only way to win is not to play. For the most part, I’ve opted out. And trust me, I’m not really losing sleep over it anymore.
So in short, all I gotta say as far as whether or not you’ll see my Facebook status say “Got engaged” next Christmas is “Don’t hold your breath.”

Resolutions


Well, here it is, everyone. By the time you read this, we will officially be in 2017. Happy new year, everyone.
2016 was definitely a roller coaster ride, wasn’t it? Whether it was all the celebrity deaths or the fact that Donald Trump has now been elected President of the United States, it was a roller coaster ride in every sense of the word. As for me, I made it through the year perfectly fine. This year marked the first year that I didn’t have to go to classes up at the college even though there was still some drama involving me getting my degree as in why I haven’t gotten it yet even though I was supposed to be done in December 2015. It turned out that there was an error on the part of the college where I was supposed to take a class that was no longer offered at the college as part of my requirements for my degree so I took another class as a substitute course. Thing was that the paperwork was never filed with the registrar’s office so I had to straighten that out. And now that I got it straightened out, I am now set to finally get my Associates Degree from Herkimer College in February. Not in time for Christmas, but in time for my birthday.
I also managed to get out to the movies more in 2016 as opposed to last year where I only saw The Force Awakens. I saw almost every major event movie with the exception of Suicide Squad. As far as the best movie of the year goes, I would have to say that Deadpool was the best movie I saw all year and the Ghostbusters reboot was the worst. The worst movie was actually a tougher call for me because it was either that or Batman vs. Superman which was another movie I was disappointed in. But as opposed to Ghostbusters, Batman vs. Superman had some redeemable qualities. And Ghostbusters I saw for free at Herkimer College so you can’t accuse me of being paid off by Sony.
2016 was a milestone for me as far as my Internet life goes. This year marked ten years since I officially started my journey into the world of social media with my first blog site on Yahoo 360. Also that year, I started my blog site on the Chester Gillette murder case to tie in with the centennial commemoration that year and I also signed up for YouTube that year even though I wouldn’t start making videos until 2008.
On the YouTube front, I was able to do more videos this year. I started out by resurrecting my hour-long format show where I talk about several things at once but I had the same problems as the last time I tried it as far as time goes and also finding stuff to talk about.  Then I tried cutting it back to half an hour and then finally going back to the weekly vlog format I did from 2010-2012. I eventually decided to start up Blackcatloner Reviews as a separate series again and I also decided to review religious movies like God’s Not Dead 2 and Old Fashioned. And I ended the year by replacing the vlog series with a podcast show that is available for free download on iTunes.
In the midst of that, I also discovered a new video sharing site called Vidme which I signed up for in October (ironically around the same time that I signed up for YouTube ten years ago.) As it turns out, my videos got more views on Vidme with each upload there than my more recent uploads on YouTube. That in addition to the crap I had to deal with, especially with the riffs on the Public Domain educational movies and I decided it was time to move on. As of a couple weeks ago, my channel has officially become verified which is pretty much the equivalent of being a YouTube partner.
So why have I decided to go back to writing? Well, I guess it has to do with the fact that I am getting older. Believe it or not, I am inching closer to 40 and I am not getting any younger. In fact, age is part of the reason why I decided to switch to podcasting. Plus, I think that writing again might be better for me because there are some things that are better told either through written word or podcast rather than video. But don’t worry, I haven’t fully abandoned video making entirely. I’m still doing the reviews show as videos plus some other things as well.
This year, I will also be hitting some milestones. In addition to me finally graduating from Herkimer College, this year marks ten years since I launched my official website which is on WordPress even though I started it on Blogger first. This year also marks twenty years since I graduated from Red Hook High School. So who knows what else will happen this year? I guess that’s part of the reason why I decided to start this new blog. So, we’ll see how this goes.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “How do you find time for all this stuff?” If it’s something you enjoy doing, you make the time.
And for the record, I didn’t see the ball drop this year so I ended up watching Taxi Driver instead. I’m normally not one for making resolutions but I probably should consider eating better. I eat out frequently but eating at McDonald’s and Burger King is kind of a necessary evil because they have free Wi-Fi. I should probably give up on online dating as well. But as far as online dating goes for me, I have had no success and no matter how much I try to quit it, it’s like an itch you can’t help but scratch. Not to mention that at my age it’s not getting any easier. Again, we’ll just see what happens.
So here’s to what I’m hoping will be another good year. And I hope to keep up this blog for as long as I can.

A Thing About Introverts

And here is where I make a little bit of a departure from my usual types of vlogs and I am going to talk about an issue that is prevalent in today’s society and it is something that matters to me because I fall into this category and yes it is based on a project I did for school. What I am going to talk about now is the concepts of introverts and how they can survive in a world that is predominately extroverted. Everyone ready? Here we go.

Picture this for a moment. You are at a party surrounded by hundreds of people looking as though they are having a good time. For every one of those partygoers, there will always be that one person who feels out of place. This is a person that feels as though he or she does not belong there and would rather be at home than out in public surrounded by happy people. If you see such a person, chances are that person may be an introvert.

Introverts are people who normally keep to themselves and who usually direct their social energy inwards as opposed to their counterpart, the extrovert who usually direct their social energy outwards. The extrovert enjoys being around people and thrives off of being around them while the introvert on the other hand feels more comfortable not being in social situations too long. According to the book Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D., the introvert makes up more than half of the population and yet we assume that introverts are an occasional deviation—the geeks in the shadows.

In short, America has become a land of extroverts.

In order to compare how introverts and extroverts fare in today’s world, we would have to take a look inside the minds of both parties. According to an article on livescience.com, scientific research has led to the conclusion that certain neural differences in people’s brains can determine a person’s characteristics. Study researcher Inna Fishman of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, California observed that the study was just another piece of evidence to support the theory that personality is more than just a psychological concept.

To support their theory, Fishman and her colleagues recruited twenty-eight participants between the ages of eighteen to forty years old who varied from introverted to somewhat extroverted to very extroverted.  Using electroencephalography, or EEG as it is more commonly known, the researchers studied a change in the brain’s electrical activity known as P300. P300 refers to the amount of time in which a person reacts to a change in their environment. In this case, the reaction occurred within 300 milliseconds.

In the experiment, the subjects saw a series of photographs featuring human faces and were also shown pictures of purple flowers interspersed with pictures of yellow ones. As a result, the higher the subjects scored on a test for extroversion, the greater their P300 response was to human faces. In other words, extroverts pay more attention to human faces than the introverts did.

When they were tested, the introverted subjects were revealed to have very similar responses to the images that the extroverts had. However as Fishman observed, the introverts regarded the human faces with indifference. In the end, Fishman concluded that extroverts held more importance with social interactions than introverted people did.

According to the article “The Science of What Makes an Introvert and an Extrovert,” personality is part of what makes us who we are, so it’s not surprising that introversion and extroversion have wide-ranging effects on our lives which also includes engaging in risky behavior. Extroverts are more prone to engage in risky behavior as opposed to their introverted counterparts, most notably in drinking, unprotected sex, and high-risk sports to name a few.

The article also goes on to say that extroverted traits are more highly valued in today’s society, and this can make introverts feel like something is wrong with them. However, author Susan Cain noted that schools and workplaces are designed to work in favor of extroverts, explaining that collaboration is key to creativity and productivity, which is the opposite of the introvert’s need for solitude. The article ended with the statement that Cain was calling for a new educational and workplace system that allows introverts the freedom and solitude they need to thrive and be successful.

For many, the real test over how introverts and extroverts interact with the world around them is in the workplace. A place of employment many times require people to interact with people more often than not. The workplace is where extroverts really tend to shine and depending on the job, this is where the introvert tends to feel out of place. When it comes to work, introverts prefer to concentrate on one task at a time, and observe a situation before deciding to get involved.

Careers that promote the strengths of introverts include scientists, writers, and artists while extroverts tend to be politicians, teachers, and salespeople where quick-thinking, problem-solving and the ability to multitask brings out the extrovert’s abilities really well as opposed to the fact that the introvert tends to desire the need to complete the task on their own.

However as it is on the streets, extroverts still try to force the introverts to “come out of their shells” and try to be more socially interactive. Hence the misconceptions that both parties face on a regular basis come out. For example the introvert is seen as shy or withdrawn while the introvert could see the extrovert as too bossy and too loud. The article goes even further to point out that in order to be a successful employee, it is crucial to understand not only yourself, but also the personalities of those around you in the workplace.

Even to this day, introverts are misunderstood by their extroverted counterparts as far as their quiet demeanor goes. The only way for the misconceptions to end is for the extroverts to give the introverts the space they need to thrive. In return the introverts also need to learn that the extroverts mean well when they say that they are trying to bring them out of their shells and that they are not trying to offend them.

While extroverts have the advantage when it comes to traditional social interactions, introverts have found a place where they can socially interact on their terms: The Internet. It was found that introverted and neurotic people were able to locate their “real me” on the Internet, most notably in today’s social media-dominated world.  Thanks to sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even dating sites, introverts have the ability to interact without fear of becoming too overwhelmed which tends to take place whenever they go out in public. Therefore, they have the right to remain anonymous until they feel comfortable enough to meet a person in public. They also have the right to rewrite what they say online whereas in the real world, if an introvert says the wrong thing then they run the risk of being rejected by the person or people that they are trying to connect to.

However the introvert’s concept of living in a virtual world can be a dangerous one primarily because of the fact that they tend to view the Internet as a replacement for real-life interactions. It has also been said that people who cannot express themselves are prone to suffer from serious psychological disorders. And that thought in itself is as good a reason as any to continue looking into this phenomenon about the social interaction between the user and the Internet and its impact on said person’s well-being.

It has been proven that extroverts hold more importance on the world of social interactions than the introverts do. After all as was mentioned before at the beginning of this report, America is the land of extroverts and they have more advantages as far as traditional social interactions go as opposed to the introverts. Extroverts also take the most risks while the introverts are more quiet, thoughtful and more likely to go it alone on various tasks. Of course in recent years, introverts have discovered the newest phase of social interaction offered by the Internet. On the Internet, those who cannot interact socially in the real world routinely run the risk of having the world offered by the use of social media and the Internet replace the real world.

In the article How to Thrive in an Extroverted/Introverted Workplace, a list of three simple rules that extroverts need to know about their introverted colleagues. For example , if an introvert needs alone time, the extrovert should respect it and not take it personally; that they should wait patiently for an introvert’s opinion because they are not in a rush to speak up; and that extroverts should not try to turn an introvert into an extrovert.

The article also explains in turn of what introverts should know about their extroverted colleagues: That the extroverts actually mean well and are not trying to be annoying; that they can help with small talk; and that there are extroverts who also have a quiet side to them as well.

In the end it is little things like this that can help bridge the long-term gap between the introverts and the extroverts to a state where both can find harmony.

Now I have pretty much always been an introvert so you can tell that this segment as well as its original incarnation as a project for school is very important to me because I truly found out I was an introvert when I took a Sales and Promo course during my last semester as a Radio/TV major at Herkimer College and we had to take a simple psychology test to determine whether you are an introvert or an extrovert and my results revealed that I was an ISTP which stands for Introvert Sensing Thinking Perception. And as a result that was kind of unnerving to me because the Radio/TV industry is predominately extrovert. That was probably why I wasn’t really doing well in that class and as a result that’s what actually led me to drop the course and change my major to Communication Arts New Media where I probably should have been since my work has been mainly on the Internet.

In the end, I should really be thankful for that test because I’m in a place where I truly belong and I have the option to thrive in a medium where I can act on my own terms and practically be myself. Besides being an introvert is not that bad. There are a lot of cool people who are introverts. In fact, my top 2 favorite superheroes Spider-Man and Batman are introverts as well. So yeah. I’m in good company.

Welcome to 2015

My debut hour-long episode of vlogs that I have been meaning to get to but haven’t gotten around to. First up, how 2014 went for me, a new segment where I talk about the Stephen King novel Revival, my thoughts on the Star Wars: Episode 7 teaser trailer, what Back to the Future Part 2 got right and wrong about 2015, an anti-smoking rant, and a couple of reshot videos including a video on how to survive on YouTube, the return of Mr. Hater and more.