April 30, 2005

Swwweet Squirrels

Just a little something I couldn't help posting. Scroll over the pic...

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April 29, 2005

A Hesitant Statement

I just wrote a rant and then deleted it. Karissa really has the right idea.

My eyes keep closing and twitching involuntarily. I probably won't be blogging any fun stuff for the next two weeks. Feel free to stop by, but know that, though I love you all, I can't cater to any audience except the grading prof kind for awhile.

When summer comes, I'll have pics, rants, reflections, and most likely a commentary of my experiences at the Trib. So, if that's your reading material style, I'll have hoards of it then.

Until another -brighter- day,
Girl Meets Projects, Presentations, and Papers

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April 26, 2005

Natural aesthetic appreciation

Are natural aesthetics both objective and intrinsic? According to "Aesthetic Judgements of the Natural Environment," the affirmative is the argued position.

In studying western cultures, I am learning that some of the "intrinsic" credited characteristics of human beings are really just proliferations of past experience or generational influence. We are, as Eliot implies, the product of past generations: "No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists" (From "Tradition and the Individual Talent").

However, I do see his point that intrinsic is present. Just as Hume assigns the "ideal critic" status to literary and art critics, the author recognizes that this selection should not be exclusive, extending the status to "include other appreciators with relevant sensibility and experience" (193). However, it is the qualifications of that experience and relevant sensibility that may exclude that trounces upon the author's own point that the intrinsic is present. At one point, the author mentions that if "the appreciator, or critic, if sensitive enough, is able to point out where aesthetic and non-aesthetic qualities lie and why the object has the aesthetic character that it does" (203). But who is to be the judge? A majority? What is aesthetically-pleasing is again "in the eye of the beholder". It seems to always turn around to that same point--the judges of those judging are the only factor changing. A displacement of the power.

I am sliding from one side of the issue to the other, but I can see how aesthetic value should not be assessed by an unpracticed mind, unknowledgeable of the rules that are followed or are broken by artists or writers.

Throughout the article, a differentiation is made between the various types of aesthetic appreciation, and I value these divisions (even though some divisions have an overlap, which may confuse). I can begin to assess in certain terms, the work I am doing on Titanic with some guideline to this appreciation. Although I am not a literary or art critic, I am practicing the basics, with both ideas--the practiced and amateur-wannabe--in mind.

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April 25, 2005

Taking a scholarly spin:
student-assigned reading material

For my Media Aesthetics course, Dr. Jerz assigned the task of assigning texts to our peers. This is difficult for two reasons: a) you want to assign something that is worthwhile to your overall cause a.k.a. your term project and b) you don't want to get the class annoyed with you by the length of your article(s) you assign.

With all of that in mind, we generally did assign lengthy articles--mine was 20 pages alone. Needless to say, I am probably one of the more hated in the group. hehe.

Dr. Jerz gets off the hook, though. We can't blame him for lengthy scholarly readings anymore; we are the culprits now. Smooth professorial move. :-)

I can honestly say, though, that I have enjoyed this assignment--especially reading things that my peers deem credible and interesting information for the class.

The first of Johanna's articles, "Staking Her Claim: Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Transgressive Woman Warrior," for example, is a great big bag of feminist Twizzlers.

I was, and still am, a fan of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. It was my Tuesday night treat in high school. I remember many-a-night, when I would re-enact Buffy's fight scenes, doing high kicks in my living room. I think what drew me to Buffy is that she is the approachable, witty, smart blond, that can also seriously kick some arse.

According to Whedon, creator of the show, quoted in Early's article, "he has 'always found strong women interesting because they are not overly represented in the cinema'" (12). That is the case on television, as well--at least when I watched. I watched two shows in high school unfailingly: Buffy and Dawson's Creek, primarily for their strong female characters, specifically Willow and Buffy and Joey on the Creek.

That is not the only reason, of course. I continued to watch Buffy long after Dawson's Creek turned into college mush. Why? Because she still was strong; she still worked cooperatively with her pals, and the show kept its "witty, wildly dark camp action and adventure" with Buffy, the "improbable hero in a a program that underneath the fantasy, horror, and humor offers a fresh version of the classic quest myth in Western culture" (13). Okay, so maybe I tuned in to see David Boreanaz, too.

Overall, I look at this article and I do see the empowering girls issue, but I also mark that this wasn't the only thing drawing me to the show. As Early notes, "Viewers revel in the unfolding quest narrative that atypically finds a personable and responsible young woman cast as hero"(16-17). Throughout the show, however, Buffy isn't comfortable as the hero, never wearing the cape--well, except when she dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood in that Halloween episode. She wears her title lightly, as Early states, "maintain[ing] an ironic distance from her warrior role even as she embraces it" (19). It seems as if she wants to be just one of the gang--a part of something in her high school hell, rather than the "Chosen One," which she is labeled.

Buffy, even with her faults, is a role model for girls; she was a role model for me--I watched her make decisions, and regardless of her decision, I knew if it was wrong or right by the musical accompaniment and by the amount of people or demons that died in that episode. All very simple... Buffy is transgressive; she set the standard for "modern" females on television, such as Sydney Bristow on Alias. For those gals that are longing for a hero after the series finale of Buffy, Sydney's your new arse-kicking sister, minus her co-workers' fangs and occasional prosthetic ears.

Johanna's second article, "Complexity of Desire: Janeway/Chakotay Fan Fiction" by Victoria Somogyi brought me out of fan euphoria, and into a more scholarly approach, since I do not know these characters.

One interesting concept is that "fans are attracted only to the male/female pairings in which the woman is of greater or arguably greater power...Janeway is powerful, and she outranks Chakotay, a fact which fanfic writers, and their characters, rarely forget" (Somogyi 400).

As an occasional reader of romance and friend of a romance author, I know what women want (or what the publishers think women want) in a female character. A strong woman who may be subdued by a stronger, male, and in effect of this male-female relationship or "taming" as many novels call it, eventually submit to love. Female fanfic writers are probably writing what they like to read, and so, this should not be surprising.

A woman is placed in a position of importance and she must chose, if the episode or story calls for it, a choice between her personal relationship and her job, and the effects of such a choice on either world.

Moving on to Denishia's article, "Body Image and Advertising" is full of polls, which I question. The associations within the Mediascope article--all of them--contribute to the opinion of the article and the ".org" company that transmits the information, probably with their own agenda.

Some statistics demonstrated in the article are really questionable to me, such as "Boys ages 9 to 14 who thought they were overweight were65% more likely to think about or try smoking than their peers, and boys who worked out every day in order to lose weight were twice as likely to experiment with tobacco." I know that the sources are all cited, but many of the citations refer to newspapers and magazines--sources which have already been filtered once, or even twice from the original statistical information.

The statistics throughout the article are so drastic in support of "the cause" against the media's interference in a viewer's perception of self, that I hesitate to trust it. No contradictory opinions are demonstrated here.

Another issue is that the sources indicated by name, such as Dr. Harrison Pope is mentioned as a "researcher". A researcher of what? Denishia, I really would not go with this source. It is an option to go with some of the sources listed on the works cited list, though.

Anne's article in Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition, "Architectures of the the Senses: Neo-Baroque Entertainment Spectacles" near the conclusion focuses around a ride I did get to go on at Orlando's Islands of Adventure theme park: The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman. Throughout the entire article, I weaved in and out of consciousness, but when this ride is mentioned, I perked up.

The ride consists of a multi-media experience. Akin to many rides at theme parks, particularly at Disney World, such as the Aerosmith rollercoaster at Disney's MGM and the Terminator, as well as my favorite: E.T., the experience of a ride intermingles many media: film, ride, film about film, extending the story and the experience beyond the initial experience in whatever original medium the characters and setting were initially expressed.

The creators of these rides have a lot on their shoulders--they must create an experience that goes beyond the original medium, but still remains true to the original with an "improved" and "advanced" awareness of the "older media experiences" (Ndalianis 368). While some rides at theme parks are not as advanced as others, such as E.T. I will admit, they do become part of the spectacle nevertheless, "one space extend[ing] into another, one medium into the next, the spectator into the spectacle, and the spectacle into the spectator" (367), in, for instance, a brochure or television advertisement for the theme park, showing the people have a good time on their multi-media ride. As Ndalianis states, the "motion of the fold" becomes a "fluid media" (367), extending one media into another without skipping a beat, now moving into architectural designs.

As for my own reading, Peter Middleton and Tim Woods' article, "Textual Memory: the Making of the Titanic's Literary Archive," I chose this article to give a basic idea of the mediums I will be presenting in class.

I have read excerpts from the novel A Night to Remember by Walter Lord and have watched the film A Night to Remember. I am focusing on the 1997 Titanic by James Cameron, however. There is just so much about Titanic that I cannot encapsulate into this paper and presentation. I will mention them, of course, but I cannot directly associate it all and assess every aspect in this paper. Instead, in the fashion of Middleton and Woods, I will mention them briefly.

This article gives an excellent example of how I will begin to assess the pieces I have selected. From this article and another, I have reached a starting point in the storytelling aesthetic (particularly in a masculine and feminine context) of the Titanic film and literary worlds.

As Middleton and Woods express, Titanic is comprised of memories, reminiscent of other "feminine" films, such as Fried Green Tomatoes. Is memory a storytelling method that is most associated with films that target female audiences? What characterizes Titanic as a feminine film or a masculine film or both? What aesthetic qualities are associated with each gender?

In short...what makes a "chick flick" a chick-ish? or is that a label that is stereotypically slapped onto a film when someone doesn't like to delve beneath the surface or is surface something that is characteristic of a male-oriented film?

Or am I going to get myself in trouble with all of this gender aesthetic language... :-) I'm loving this project!

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April 24, 2005

Completion

It's strange when you really sit down to do work how little actually gets done, but when you just relax and let things go, how quickly things fall into place.

FAFSA is blessedly done.
SHU Institutional Information form is complete.
White board isn't so scary.
Setonian column is finished.

Theses are forming, valid quotes are jumping out from the masses of scholarly texts, and somehow I gained a week in my planner. Don't ask, I'm too embarrassed to say how I did that. :-D

I have also decided to take the internship credits for this summer, regardless of the fees attached. I just finished filling in the objectives for my summer study. It's a trip to the Financial Aid Office tomorrow.

Every now and then (well, every spare moment) I float off to Summerland, where trees are full, the water is cool, the sun is hot, and the only thing on the agenda is swimming and sipping lemonade on the porch swing. When I get glassy-eyed this week, my dear pals, that is what I am thinking about, that is what I am longing for.

Going through this last year, I know I will miss the craziness that is the present, but the Trib has promised madness, also. At least I get to go professional clothes shopping before I start. That one will be a pleasure to add to my list. I'm such a girl.

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April 22, 2005

That's right: Squirrel sighting on Google!

earthday05.gif Google.com

Go Earth Day! (But really Go SQUIRREL!)

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April 18, 2005

Shipping out: Titanic w/ Leo and Kate

Titanic just didn't do it for me this time around. I usually skip the second installment of my VHS version because I don't like to think of the ship and all of those people dying (I used to cry), but somehow I was desensitized to the entire experience, probably because I was taking mental notes of elements addressed in this specific film, which may not have been portrayed in other works.

Analyzing can really sap the life out of a work, but it helped point out some potentially important remediation elements consistent with current (well, 1997) culture:

--The feminist character of Rose. She mentions Freud, smokes, drinks, and talks back to her fiance. She saves Jack by chopping off his handcuffs.
--The ship's sinking motion. Breaking apart and detaching. New knowledge acquired by virtual reality and technological advancement.
--Portrayal of various notable characters: Ismay as heartless, Captain Smith as the proud, yet heartened tragic character, and Andrews as the benevolent friend of Rose and pawn of Ismay
--Facts vs. Historical Fiction: How well does the story match the facts, and what is given up by the romantic drive of the film?

Okay, that's a start. I've ordered A Night to Remember, a multi-media CD, and the made-for-television flick from other libraries, so I should have something to compare all this to soon.

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Cheap [Expensive] Shot

If I decide to take a three-credit course (the internship at the Trib), I would have to dish out over $500 a credit, in addition to a part-time student fee.

I knew Seton Hill was an expensive school, but this is absurd. The only involvement I would be having is with my professor weekly over e-mail and in one, final paper. That's right, folks, $1500+ for a three-credit course for which I will not even have to enter Seton Hill's doors. Also, I have to register now; it is performed during the summer so the internship credits must be applied during the internship period.

Dr. Jerz is looking into making it a one-credit deal where I would be substituting the other two credits for something else, so maybe there is hope.

Sometimes, especially when I enter the little offices on the first floor of the Administration Building (i.e. Student Accounts, Financial Aid and now the Registrar's), I get the overwhelming urge to scream anything--everything that I feel. But I didn't today. I got on the elevator before I exploded and talked with SHU's archivist, Mr. Black.

He has a way to make even the stressful situation okay. By the time I got to the Publications Office, I was smiling again. This isn't the first time, though. He is always putting out Amanda-Bonfires in the office when things are going roughly during production. Werther's and Godiva chocolates are his extinguishers, and they do the trick.

Anyway, whatever happens with the internship, I realize that I am going to be incredibly poor after college. But that doesn't mean that I need more tacked onto that loan bill; I am NOT giving this up without a fight.

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April 17, 2005

The notables

5. Continued happiness over said internship. I told my Grandma about it today (the one that doesn't blog). It was awful; I was like "I'm sorry, I blogged about it, and I thought you would know..." Whoops, sometimes I forget that blogging doesn't extend beyond the screen. My cousins usually pass on my blog news to her if I forget, especially the really private stuff that I shouldn't put up on my blog in the first place.

4. When you get a life, it is hard to blog anymore about personal stuff. I am turning into a reclusive blogger, the anti-blogger, if you will. Turning feelings to print is like displaying butterflies.

3. Titanic is the flick of the hour. My paper and presentation for Media Aesthetics is on this subject. The four-hour DeCaprio/Winslet version, in addition to A Night to Remember and the made-for television flick are my "watching material" for the next couple of weeks. I love this project! Let's hope ILL will speed up.

2. Mission: get the ice king to endure the summer queen's kingdom. Will he melt? Or learn to adapt and enjoy? Find out in the next blog on Girl Meets Boy...I mean World.

1. So much has happened in the past few months. I do not make any predictions. Surprises seem to be what God keeps giving. Special thanks...they are all love-ly. Gosh, I am getting so cheesy... I'll never be a serious writer if I keep this up. :-D

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April 13, 2005

Scrapbooking Spring: 2005 Aesthetics

  • When considering ideas for my paper on A Picture of Dorian Gray, I outlined my paper ideas in this entry, specifically relating that the old and new should coalesce into an abounding knowledge of the ideals in attaining an ideal aesthetic.

  • In this entry, I highlight the impact of Metropolis, RUR, Eugene O'Neill's 'Dynamo' and the Federal Theatre Project's 'Altars of steel', Antheil's Ballet Mechanique, and a Wikipedia article on Dr. Caligari. Perhaps the longest and most media-diverse of my blog entries, I hesitate to try to bring it all together with one phrase, but I come close with this statement: "I have a new appreciation for the expressions of actors and actresses, sound, and finally the portrayal of technology in film, whether real or imagined."

  • Thoreau's chapters from Walden "Sound" and "Solitude", the poem, "The Great Figure" and the painting The Figure 5 in Gold, the journal article: "Skyscraper Geography", the poem "To Brooklyn Bridge", and finally, Dr. Jerz's WTC page, make me realize that we read a lot for this section, but I am happy that we did. My trip to NYC was filled with a new appreciation for the aesthetics of skyscraper and urban architecture, and in the case of some absent buildings, the lack there of.

  • IF games and ELIZA are the main focus of this blog. While I had some contact with these mediums in Writing for the Internet, learning about them in a different capacity (of studying their attractiveness on various levels), helped me look beyond the what and how they function to the why people like them and to whom do they appeal.

  • While reading part I of Galatea 2.2 and Dr. Jerz's article on Will Crowther's "Adventure" I mentioned several things.
    No. 1: "Wumpus" is a word, a rather humorous one, but nevertheless, a word that can, and will be, used in a scholarly article.
    No. 2: A draft of a scholarly article may look like something from The Onion.
    No. 3: A good piece of cover art can create some great connections to the literary work (hmmm. Maybe something to research. Perhaps the origins of how Power (the author) received that cover... Did he pick it? The book editors?).

    I also address the character of Richard Powers, specifically relating that his attempt to "make his robot function as closely to human English analytical processes as possible makes his real life existence all the more sympathetic in his need to capture real human feeling." This, the reader discovers, is the key to unlocking Powers' character and the dealings behind who and what the contest is truly about.

  • During the second leg of the Galatea 2.2 relay, I focus on the main characters, Lentz and Powers, assessing their shifting characteristics from unfeeling to emotional and vice-versa as the novel progresses.

  • After finishing Galatea 2.2, I took a ste back and made some connections to other works we have read, and some I have on my own, such as Aristotelian works and The Secret Life of Bees.

  • We move onto Pick Up Ax, where I compare and contrast the work as a piece of writing and as a play (which I have not seen performed). Though I did get some slack for my views, I stand behind them still, now knowledgeable of my audience-driven view of aesthetics; I am not an "art for art's sake" type, which is not necessarily a bad thing for a journalism major.

  • When blogging about Utopian Entrepreneur, I intimated my response to the work, the relationship of a transmedia culture to my upcoming project, and where the feminist question is glossed over in her analysis of her company, Purple Moon, in the book.

  • Concerning Star Wars, this blog is a mock-up for an in-class presentation. Giving notes, guidlelines, and a few tips on Star Wars for non-enthusiasts, I assess through this blog, and in my presentation, the "transmedia culture" (Laurel), which is mainstream today.

There they are--my lovelies of aesthetic academic endeavor.

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April 12, 2005

Media tour de FORCE: Star Wars

Not everyone is a fan, but the Star Wars conglomerate of George Lucas does exemplify the transmedia culture which is consistently marking the new media market. From comics, movies, books, film, action figures, interactive fiction, etc. the creative teams for Lucasfilm, Ltd. have gone far beyond the limitations of a Hollywood galaxy. Excuse the cheesiness.

While similarities still exist in the packaging of the product: fonts, characters, settings, and overall culture of the Force-driven worlds of Lucas, the contrasts in new media lie in the varying complexity of visual effects, the authors, and, of course, the various mediums which distribute the information.

Okay, a few Star Wars basics:

Episode I--new movie Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor
Episode II--new movie Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman
Episode III--to be released soon

Episode IV a.k.a. Star Wars:older flick Harrison Ford
Episode V a.k.a. The Empire Strikes back:older same cast YODA!!
Episode VI a.k.a. Return of the Jedi: last movie

Independent fan films:

Revelations

Annual fan film awards 2005 finalists.

When cinema is not enough, Star Wars enthusiasts continue the story after and before George Lucas's cinematic timeline. Books and interactive fiction.

Interactive Fiction:

Star Wars IF gaming

Star Wars Chicks IF for gals

Download a fan fiction zip file

Example of transmedia culture (Laurel).

From Remediation: Understanding New Media

Star Wars, which was ahead of its time, still employed puppetry (Yoda and Jabba's animals) and models to create scenery. Later, in the new episodes I and II, however, computer graphics took precedence, creating a photorealistic world that the audience may begin to believe (Bolter and Grusin 153-154). The Episodes I and II, however, are arguably more realistic with visual effects. They "create a sense of presence...com[ing] as close as possible to our daily visual experience" (Bolter and Grusin 22).

Other mediums: books. If I could, I would show you them, but I don't have my digital camera; I have new and old versions of Star Wars books. I plan on assessing their book covers with a focus in the enhanced graphic design as the series develops.

This is a stepping stone presentation for my final, which will be on Titanic--all forms.


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Over the moon

About a chapter into Utopian Entrepreneur by Brenda Laurel, I was struck by a terrible, shortsighted, yet ironic, thought: How could someone who had failed in her own entrepreneurial pursuits (Purple Moon gaming industry) give any valid interpretations on how to conduct business in the emerging media culture?

I quickly dismissed this thought after reading her work. She learned from her entrepreneurial mistakes, and imparts this wisdom to us as readers, unabashedly citing her flaws:
"Later in the game, my sense of inferiority in business led me to ignore precious insights and to accede to bad business decisions."

One section on a transmedia culture is of particular interest to me right now. In class today, I will be discussing remediation, or what Laurel relates to current society as "transmedia" (84).

She cites the fact that "people have an enduring interest in content and a continuing propensity to be fans of content properties. But they will access the content they want witht the device that is appropriate for them at the moment" (84).

I plan on associating this principle to the Star Wars conglomerate. I have books, movies, and a CD-ROM (both old and new) that demonstrate the media that befits a certain generation in the most expedient form.

In any case, back to Laurel. This is my favorite book I have read in Media Aesthetics. Everything about it screams, READ ME; for example, the small size, the page development with computerized text and varying fonts, even the smooth pages (which are all assessed in the final pages of the book), contribute to this slick design concept. The company, Mediawork, sell me on this book and on their knowledge of what an audience wants by their medium. In fact, they address this very idea in that they want their book (they call it a pamphlet--sneaky way to make it seem even smaller) to go in "sling packs, messenger bags, and attaches that both men and women now shoulder to hold thier pens, pads, pagers, phones, PDAs, and, of course, laptop computers" (112). They know their audience. Smooth.

While reading, I could not shake the depression associated with Purple Moon falling apart. While she doesn't dwell on the failure for very long throughout the chapters, when it is mentioned her upbeat attitude make the reader even more sympathetic to her successful, went caput, supposedly anti-feminism company. In addition to citing good business practices for an entrepreneur, Laurel also argues that her games were not anti-feminism, but rather what little girls want based on how they play. She also mentions that she did this with tons of research on her side.

After looking at this Stanford site, however, I am not sure how I feel about Purple Moon. I mean, there is definitive racial stereotyping demonstrated here. Not seeing the Purple Moon software or the original website, however (because it has been shut down), I cannot make an accurate judgment. Instead, Mattel's Barbie site loads first in association with Purple Moon on Google. Ironic again, when Laurel considers Barbie her nemesis, "[attempting to lower] her bust line by holding a match under the indicated area...produc[ing] only melting, not sagging." I mean, "i hate barbie" is the title of one of her chapters. We definitely have something in common. :-) I find it is easier to believe her, speaking as an entrepreneurial businesswoman (who is out of business) than some panties-in-a-twist Stanford feminist--even worse than I. :-D

The most powerful chapter was the last one. She got a computer while being an ear of corn. It is so human a narrative in contrast to the primitive computer in the Ace Hardware store with cards. Her writing skills come through soon after when she states, "Although it [a computer] can speak with a human voice or display a human face, we know it is not human. it is a brain in a box, without body, a soul, intuition, passion, or morality."

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April 9, 2005

Double Scoop!

That's right. We got it to you first. Wireless and increased bandwidth. Take a look.

I'd like to thank the SHU CIT Department for the opportunity to speak with them and Hobnob, Inc.'s CEO and founder, Aron Hall (yes, he spells his name with only one "A") for the interview.

How sweet it is.

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April 7, 2005

Axed and Taxed

Throughout Pick Up Ax by Anthony Clarvoe, I got the sensation I was leading a team of huskies...whoops--I was just thinking about a peppermint patty.

Back to Ax, back to Ax. Anyway, I got the sensation throughout the play that all of the characters had contention between one another. The ending, the ruthlessness of it, does not surprise. Cain and Abel-like.

In Literary Studies last year, Dr. Jerz instructed us to look beyond the lines and see the scene before us as depicted in the stage directions. In Pick up Ax, the mood room, is of great value to the reader/audience's perception of the events taking place. It is just as alive as the characters in it, the audience discovers. If you don't read the directions, you miss an entire element of the plot. At the conclusion, for example, a powerful image surfaces:

(KEITH slams his fist onto his desk. Rolling Stones's "Jumping Jack Flash" starts up. The walls go blood red. Through the window streams a sunset like fire. KEITH considers what his room is telling him. He punches numbers.)

This isn't limited to this section, however; it is just the most powerful. I don't know a lot of the songs included in the stage directions--I am a young'n, but it really makes me want to listen to get a better physical association with the play.

I think that is one of the most noticeable lacking elements of this play in written form. There are thousands of songs and pinpointing one, while great with the 80s theme, is problematic for the reader. It is also an easy mood-setter for Clarvoe; rather than letting other elements of the set speak, he instead inserts a song to speak for his scene. He permits another writer to take advantage of his creation. This is a bad move. The audience members may have their own interpretations of the songs (lost loves, bad days, deaths, etc.) which each person may associate with the song. He loses creative control in this medium inclusion.

However, this section also makes me think that Clarvoe wrote this for readers in mind, rather than audiences, but I may be limiting Clarvoe in saying that he can only write dialogue well. That is not my intention at all. Just surprised that similies can come as easily as a phrase turn. Great versatility on his part.

With all of the images and allusions to IF gaming (i.e. Adventure), I can see where we are going with this now.

~~~

As for the article "Adventure" by Martin Heller, it was, as Jerz said, "jumbled." At the beginning of the article, I got the hang of the switching from the IF game "Adventure" to the narrator's life, and then back again. However, when another plot line entered, I did not know what was going on, but I did know that it had a purpose.

The story portrays what we go through in our lives. It is an adventure. Sometimes we don't know if we are coming and going, which path to take, but we eventually find our way--make connections. Things are a jumbled mess, and only by stepping back from this article and life, and viewing the overall theme, can we understand the adventure as an entity quite apart from our own limited view.

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April 6, 2005

The GOOD news

Yesterday, around 11:00 p.m., lo and behold, I had four missed calls on my phone. Did someone die?

Two from home. One from a cousin. One from an unrecognizable number.

Hm. Greensburg number.

Dialing...."Hello, this is Robin Acton of the Tribune-Review." Holy crap. Internship opportunity. This could be the call from the newspaper gods.

Luckily, it was a voicemail. I hurriedly hung up.

After a night of tossing and turning, I called this morning and met Miss Voicmail once more.

The next time, on two rings, I met Miss Acton herself. I wasn't expecting this. The voice wasn't digitized. After speaking briefly with her, I felt the urgent need to jump and scream, but I was in Lynch Hall...I did it anyway. :-D

Yes, I have an internship with the Tribune-Review for this summer for 13 weeks. And I get paid. woohoo!

I did not want to post about my interview because I did not want to have bloggers asking me if I got it yet, and I would have to reply in the negative.

Oh yeah, the extra calls were from my sister. She wanted to tell me the "lady from the Trib called" and my cousin...well, I haven't followed up on that one yet. Let's hope someone didn't die. I don't know if I could smear this smile off of my face for a funeral.

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April 5, 2005

Final pages: Galatea 2.2

Though Galatea 2.2 does not live up to this description:

"Dazzling...A cerebral thriller that's both intellectually engagin and emotionally compelling, a lively tour de force."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

it does have some redeeming qualities. However, I am not judging the "goodness" of the novel here. I am supposed to get something out of it aesthetically-speaking, right?

So--

Everything in this course was put together in this novel. From Engine No. 9 to Eliza (274) to various philosophies of imitation vs. reality, they are all represented in this novel. If anything, it is a media tour de force.

One ideology that I would like to focus on is the imitationvs. reality concept throughout the novel. Lentz is the empiricist (inductive thinker), an Aristotle of the day. He is, at times, "fail[ing] to get away cleanly [from his belief that Helen is just a machine]" (260), but he invariably returns to statements, such as, "That's not consciousness. Trust me. I built her" (274).

Powers, on the other hand, begins to believe that Helen is conscious of her surroundings, of him... Lentz compares him to the student who thinks he is talking to a human, but instead reaches ELIZA. Nice comparison, although Powers disagrees with the apt assumption.

I really do not know. Helen is a bit of a whiz. I think I may be fooled by her synapses on anything BUT English composition.

Really, I couldn't help it. I thought, for the first 250 pages or so that this was a wonderful sleeping aid. However, when you hit the next remaining 130 pages+ the reader is brought more characters--more life--than Lentz and Richard Powers, and all of their overwrought banter.

As for the conclusion (there is a spoiler here), I think Powers champions humanity, stating that there is something in a human being, which cannot be attributed to a machine. Still, after Powers gives her the newspaper clippings and such--the real life; she is debilitated by this knowledge. People can cope with this, we are seasoned to grow numb to our world and accept, to a certain degree, the negative things.

I am reminded of May from The Secret Life of Bees. She, like Helen, cannot let the weight slide off of her. Instead, the dire state of humanity hits her and she cannot function under the weight of the world's pain.

The news clippings are my medium, and I think that it reinforces the idea that some mediums are more difficult to function in than others. Photography, journalism, film: they can all convey messages, which are not so pleasing to the eye, but some, such as the news in written and visual formatting can be lacking in optimism. A truism, I know.

Stepping away from Galatea 2.2, I see valid connections surfacing, but I think I need a little more time to wrestle with these ideas.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 4, 2005

Some Banner Attempts

I tried to implement this little thing in my blog today (I worked on it in Digital Imaging), but after viewing it with Firefox, I hesitate to post it again. Nice, but oh so, non-universal in Webbrowserland.

webbanner.jpg

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 2, 2005

Stopped clock: Schiavo

It is very difficult to be unbiased when you read lines like this (ABC News):

"The court has already determined that (Michael Schiavo) will control the burial decisions," Gibbs said.

Outside the Pinellas Park hospice where Terri Schiavo lived for five years, just a few protesters returned Friday for a brief mass as city workers took down barricades used to control the crowd. Media crews from around the country packed up their gear.

These last lines are really depressing, and sort of show the humanity behind all of this, with both sides consequently failing. It is ending and there is nothing that anyone can do now, except wait for another death. It's all very morbid, isn't it?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 1, 2005

Turning test

A premature heat
Runs through my limbs,
Urging me to bend.

The tickling of your
Green fingers
Inches over my hardened skin--
Through the layers.

We're turning,
together.
Cold and heated.
Independent and inseparable
Parts.

I wear you like a scarf on this last frosty evening.
Never fear the season;
I'll wear you still--
Through spring.

*Ivy hugs a tree.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

G-Mail, a praise rises from the choir

No one needs to worry about filling an e-mail account with G-Mail. Big attachments of photos, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, whatever, need not worry your pretty little head.

So far, I am enchanted by G-Mail. When I was invited to G-Mail by Julie Young, I began with 1000 MB of space for files, and they have, just today, increased my account size to 1326 MB.

While I have heard various negative feedback concerning the privacy issues of G-Mail, I haven't had any problems with it so far, and I don't usually say things over e-mail that I would have problems with people reading anyway. But people aren't reading G-Mail. Computer scripts are. The advertising on the righthand side, for example, changes according to your message's content, indicating a computer script, rather than a real person looking at your message.

It is a lopsided tradeoff, as far as I'm concerned: absolute privacy (yeah right--like you get that anywhere on the internet) for a huge account, friendly interface, lossless compression of messages, easy categorization, and conversation storage. For me, the answer is easy, and the rest is disillusioned privacy hype.

By the way, if you want G-Mail, leave a comment with your e-mail listed in the body of the e-mail; I have invitations to spare. It's too good not to share.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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