~About The Crew~

We are a group of diligent couch potatoes, who are deeply devoted to hardwork in the commonroom.
The couch is our vice and is the place where we sit and
-chill
-study
-daydream
-doze off
-attempt to find solutions to the endless list of toils that university life brings.

Its all about balance and so are we. On top of all that, we are just too cool. We put the french in the fry, the ato in potato, the ash in mash and the cool in school.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Bloggin' Good Time!


“My name is Ithu and I’m a closet couch potato”. That’s my confession, and in my closet it should remain. For the duration of your time at this post, you will get a sneak peak into this closet… if you dare. To be completely fair to myself, I must mention that I am not the conventional couch potato. The couch is my bed, the television is my laptop and the bag of popcorn is usually Kellogg’s Coco Pops. Nonetheless, I do believe that I display the typically lazy tendencies of a couch potato. You can therefore imagine how pleased I was to learn that the subject matter of our JMS1 fourth term coursework was blogging. Elation! Good times ahead! How demanding could a course on blogging possibly be? … I was soon to find out.


A weblog, the internet told me, is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Having had several journals in my life, I was confident that this would be enjoyable, and be more like play than it would be like work. Apparently I underestimated one part of the blog definition – “frequently updated” – and found that it takes more than posting necessary assignments once a week to produce a gobsmackingly amazing blog. And so the rollercoaster ride began.

Team work works! I realised this under-estimated universal truth within the first two weeks of my term as a frequent blogger. I suppose that this is my opinion because I was working with an awesome group of young journalists. Being all females, we were simply destined to succeed. Although we had all grown somewhat accustomed to working individually, our attitudes towards the subject matter helped us help each other to enjoy the work. This attitude was one of overwhelming excitement. There is something about new media that sets young minds alight with the fiery idea of limitless possibilities, which is exactly what the internet offers.

The lounging ladies that made up “Confessions of a Couch Potato” were Raisa, Karabo, Farren and me. Our ability to evenly delegate tasks and reach consensus on important debates contributed positively to the group morale and improved the ultimate product of our blog. Our story ideas were obviously all based on the guidelines given to us in our assignment instructions. We were still able to be creative in sprucing and spicing up our blog. The concept of couch potatoes sprouted from our mandate to produce a friendly, approachable blog that first years would find easy to relate to. And we all know that it doesn’t get much lazier than a first year!

Blogging falls in right there with citizen journalism. It is highly criticised and has gained much criticism from media actors who don’t consider it worthy of being labelled as a branch of journalism. I nevertheless believe that it is a wonderful form of liberalistic journalism. Blogging definitely awards the author more freedom than writing in a printed publication would. I don’t think that blogs should be placed in similar sub-categories as newspapers and magazines, simply because blogging is about the personal opinions of an author, whether biased or not, and not about hard news and factual reporting. As a result, we were given the freedom and flexibility to experiment with a relaxed form of writing that isn’t confined to the rigid structures of the JMS Style Guide. In addition to this, the topic given to us (Surviving First Year) could be handled in so many ways and addressed from so many different angles that compiling assignments was not impossibly challenging.

My favourite assignment was the profile article. For reasons unknown to earthly creatures, I enjoy interviewing people and retelling their stories through my eyes. The sources I encountered through these interviews were generally approachable and co-operative. I believe that I have developed a certain level of journalistic ability during this course that has enabled me to find tremendous ease in conducting various forms of research. It is in this manner that I feel I have most grown as a producer of media.

The nature of technology and the internet is such that there are seldom boundaries, and restrictions are minimal. For this reason, the group members may have often felt that there was something more that could be done. More done to make the blog look attractive, more widgets added, more pictures and videos incorporated with the stories, more posts written! Alas, we could not achieve it all, but we certainly put in our best efforts.

All in all, my experiences as a young blogging journalist have been without a moment of boredom. There was indeed a lot of work to be done, especially for a self-confessed couch potato such as myself, but it was eventually all worth it. I would rate my personal growth on a scale of one to ten as a seven. Now that that’s all over with, where’s the remote again?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Techno cripple, not me!


“Techno cripple” has been used to describe my inability to successfully engage technology. I grew up in a household where we were equipped with the basics to function but not at the level of the techno boffins who have wed the web. I was born in the information age but have a strong feeling that I was drastically misplaced. The point of all this is that when the amusing duo i.e. our lecturers said that the entire term would be dedicated to blogging, the walls began to close in around me and cold sweat dripped from my forehead. I immediately slipped into the fear of the unknown and could not see a way out. Then the dreaded words, “team work” and “surviving first year” skipped from the lecturer’s smiles and the walls collapsed and I was trapped under a pile of blogging rubble. It has been six weeks since I was pulled from the debris by the capable hands of my team members and now I am proud to say that “techno cripple” is no longer applicable because my group and I managed to create, “Confessions of a Crazy Couch Potato” our very own, very successful blog.


It was not all fun and games because the assignment initially seemed restricting and group work is an ominous word that seems to cut eagerness in half at its very mention. I had heard about blogging but it was part of a world that I wished to understand but could not access. In the beginning blog babble swirled around me and prevented me from attaining my usual pushy position in any group because I lacked the knowledge and expertise. So I took a humble step back and relied on my team to pull us through. Our group had conflicting interests but each brief allowed us to use the differences to our advantage because each first year experience is unique. So instead of having to push and pull until we had one solid idea all we had to do was allow our experiences to flow and the goal was achieved with smiles on our faces. Lack of creativity was only as large as the laziest member in our group but even that did not play a huge part because after the initial assignment of creating the blog, everything else was a one man show.


Every assignment presented the similar problem of keeping in tune with the character of the blog, which is funny but critical and the task of pleasing our audience. The latter was at first an issue but as I began to understand the genre of blogging and all it entails I realised that although you may be writing to a particular audience, you cannot restrict who will read your blog. The prospect of the entire world being able to read my blog did not seem daunting at all but exciting, which is how I began to view blogging as the term continued. It was no longer a room collapsing but growing and I could not believe the enjoyment I derived from it. A major influence that allowed for this new found freedom was that our blog was the personal type and to be able to write in a personal style, within confines that are only limiting if you decide that they are, allows for a flow of creativity. Genres were one viewed as constricting but in fact some of the best work is produced within confined spaces. Added to this is that whatever could not be expressed in words could be made up in a picture and because we had been given photography tips, taking decent photographs was no longer daunting either.


At almost every lecture or tutorial I heard students moan and groan about this course because they could not find a strong enough link between journalism and blogging to get excited about the assignment. At times like these I was so happy that I had not let my fear of the unknown or technical incapacities stunt my growth because blogging has everything to do with journalism. Blogging has become competition to everyday news reporting and a powerful competition at that because it lacks the restrictions that are found in media organisations. Added to this is that businesses snatch up journalists who have a multiplicity of skills and as journalists any extra skill should be grabbed with both hands and feet because it is a difficult industry in which to survive sufficiently.


Like most people I love living life through laughter but when it comes to work, off comes the clown outfit and out comes the serious suite. This was not allowed when dealing with our blog because we were all about the funny. This presented a problem because all the assignments required us to dig into the lives of first years and bring out their issues. The concerns that face students are far from laughable so it was a challenge to deal with them without detracting from the seriousness but I had learnt in another course that humour is an effective way to bring even closer attention to pertinent issues and so I put this piece of information to good use that pleased my sources and people who read our blog.


To conclude we were given the chance to get extra credit by writing posts which we could put on the group blog or we could create our own blog, which linked to the team blog. The topic was again to write about first year and the response to this was again an audible moan from the students. I was groaning along with them but now bite my tongue because it forced me to take a greater interest in my life at university. I disliked Rhodes when I arrived and have struggled to survive first year but this assignment taught me to experiment with my surroundings and with the little bit of happiness or the lot of sadness that I have and turn it into something that has the potential to become something that can be taken seriously.


Market blog

Hay Anique

Homesickness was something that almost brought my university experience to a grinding halt. I wasted each week because my eyes were permanently focused on the weekend where I could rush into the comforting arms of my family and friends. I never talked about my issues to fellow students and because of this I struggled to make close connections, which further stunted my growth. Before I knew it, my last term had started and I was still wallowing in self pity, having accomplished nothing and feeling like I had wasted my precious time. We had just started a course in blogging in Journalism and Media Studies, which is the course that I am taking at Rhodes University in South Africa and our assignment was to create a blog with other journalism students and talk about how to survive first year. Finally I was able to express my feelings in a constructive way and after creating our blog, which is called “Confessions of a Crazy Couch Potato” I poured my feelings onto virtual paper, explaining about my homesickness ordeal and how to overcome the dreaded monster. My main comfort was that as soon as I started to talk about it so many students expressed similar concerns and the more empathetic advice that flowed in the less isolated I felt. So you can imagine how excited I was to find that you had the same problem and had bravely overcome it.

Such truth was spoken when you stated that there is “no single experience of college”. I felt that because I was not experiencing university life like other students that I was doing something wrong but in fact nobody knows how to deal with the way university tips your world upside down. University is whatever you make of it but you have to try to make something out of the sadness and the smiles otherwise we might as well go back to turkey dinners at home or in my case, roast chicken.

I have really enjoyed reading your blog and the advice that you and the other authors have so eagerly handed out. It is comforting to know that our fears and successes are shared the world over and I can see that your enthusiasm is going to dazzle your side of the world away, which has given me the inspiration to do so on my side!

Yours in balance, smiles and success!
Raisa

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bungee My Life: First year relationships: are they mutual or sexual?


Choosing Cynicism over Naivety?

I’m a budding young feminist. Believe me when I say I know how easy it is to let past experiences turn you into a man-bashing relationship cynic. You may not be that far-gone yet, but you seem well on your way. Even though I hardly know you, we have a lot more than I can say in common and I’d hate to see you become what I just escaped.

Sex - indubitably a common element of gender relations on Rhodes Campus. I think we would be na├»ve to deny that. You can’t assume, however, that that is the case in every relationship. A lot of guys who I encounter on a daily basis, much like the one you had the displeasure of crossing paths with, talk big about sex when they know they aren’t really getting any. What can we say – little boys must talk big to make up for smaller things. ;) That’s a story for another day though.

Here is the point I’d really like to make. My biggest issue while reading your blogpost wasn’t that you had made broad and sweeping generalisations or that you may have stereotyped men and made sexist comments (as others who have commented on this post have alleged) but rather that you have allowed this single personal experience to determine your entire outlook on relationships and sex. Varsity kids do act like dogs on heat sometimes, and men and women often disrespect each other in their relationships. Such is life, but in order to make informed and personally fulfilling decisions about your opinions on certain matters, you’re going to have to look at the bigger picture. Open up your eyes to the good things happening in your everyday life – you’ll find yourself a far happier person :)

Reply to: "The Keffiyeh: Modern Symbol of Hipster Ignorance"


It was such a relief to find this blog and to see that I am not the only one shaking my head in despair at the ignorant fashion of youth. On many occasions I have resisted the urge to intervene when overhearing a group of students expressing their disgust at the conflict in the Middle East, saying, “Its like sssooo sad, I would like never support something like that” while ignorantly twirling the knots of their keffiyeh’s in their fake fingers.

Another icon that we proudly paste all over our bodies is that of Che Guevara. Many who blindly follow him do not know that he, in fear of his communist position being compromised, became a mass murderer, killing thousands of men, women and children. We might as well put Hitler on a badge and pin it to our chests, which we puff out in consumer inflated pride.

To be fair though we cannot assume that everyone who wears such things is ignorant of the issues that surround it and will probably say that these issues are bigger than a badge on a bag or a keffiyeh swirled around the neck. They are perhaps wearing it to bring attention to the issues. But unfortunately the rest, despite the powerful and well informed argument, will never allow political awareness to trump their attempts to be hip and happening.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Comment on Keffiyehs

Nich

It is a relief to know that I am not the only one shaking my head in despair at the ignorant fashion of youth. On many occasions I have resisted the urge to intervene when overhearing a group of students expressing their disgust at the conflict in the Middle East, saying, “Its like sssooo sad, I would like never support something like that” while ignorantly twirling the knots of their keffiyeh’s in their fake fingers.

Another fake icon that we proudly paste all over our bodies is that of Che Guevara. Many who blindly follow him do not know that he, in fear of his communist position being compromised, became a mass murderer, killing thousands of men, women and children. We might as well put Hitler on a badge and pin it to our chests, which we puff out in consumer inflated pride.

To be fair though we cannot assume that everyone who wears such things is ignorant of the issues that surround it and will probably say that these issues are bigger than a badge on a bag or a keffiyeh swirled around the neck. But unfortunately the rest, despite your powerful and well informed argument, will never allow political awareness to trump their attempts to be hip and happening.

Thank you for voicing an opinion that I myself was too ignorant to talk about.

Yours in ripping off keffiyehs!
Raisa

Living Oprah: True confessions?#links#links#links

Living Oprah: True confessions?#links#links#links Oprah has had her show going for ages and has her fare share on anti-oprah fans. The part about her not being judgemental is suspect at times since she, on many of her episodes,leads her view to be on her side. Any way your blog highlight one of the biggest highlights of being a couch potato so you should check us out on ours.