Monday, February 12, 2018

who needs JOBS when u have SELFIES and MEMES, said every millennial ever

i'd be lying if i said i wasn't excited for this week's class. last class proved to be engaging, both in conversation and creation, as we explored memes. tomorrow, we get to take on the selfie culture. the real reason i'm looking forward to the discussion is because this is the culture my peers have created with the technology we've been given - i want to hear what people have to say about these forms of expression in a more academic sense. in the meantime, i'll give you my take on it -

memes. truly, they're works of art - and, at times, i'd argue they are some of the most pure forms of human connection we have today. maybe you think i'm over-exaggerating, but what's a better way to try and connect with someone than having a funny picture with an overly relatable  caption on it? especially if said picture features, say, an adorable kitten. needless to say, memes are something are typically accessible (if one has internet / smartphone), and something that everyone can make and contribute to the world. however, like we said before, you do need to understand context when meme-making. that is, you need context of human self-awareness, the world around you, and context of the meme itself.

with that being said, i'm gonna dump some memes i made for our wonderful class (including the above image). all were for the self-aware memes for the Makes we did.

i can't say i have a personal favorite meme, but i'll use some drag race ones to get some more #NetNarr memes out there (you're welcome.)

(just some light shade :P i'm only jokin')

anyways, i'll stop with the memes (for now). moving on to the next hot topic - selfies.

i'll keep my piece on selfies short, because that conversation can be a bottomless barrel. what i didn't like was that none of the articles addressed how selfie culture is affecting everyone, including guys. somehow, all the journalists i guess forgot that men like to take pictures of themselves and are just as "vain" that they think teenager girls all.

can selfies be empowering? of course they can be, but it shouldn't be judged on the fact if you're a Marine or a 13-year-old girl. if it's empowering to the individual (subjectively), then let them take the pictures and post them online. you don't know if the 13 year old is posting it because she feels nice in a picture and wants to share it (not for validation, but for her own personal terms) - hell, maybe the Marine is the one posting the picture for validation of  "doing something great" above others. the basic gist of this is we don't know why people are posting. sure, of course, people post because they're dependent on getting likes and hearts and all that from their peers in an effort to perform their most perfect life on social media. that, for sure, is a big problem - but only the individual can come to terms with that. only they can reach a level of self-awareness where they can realize what is dictating them to share so much of themselves online. but hey, it's not your life, so stop commenting on it. also, be fair - don't just blame selfie culture on young girls. move the conversation to how it also affects young boys, too, if you're so keen on talking about it.

some people like taking selfies because it's an expression of art - and why not? people from 15th century europe had grand paintings of themselves created, and we look back and consider it "art." so why not a picture? again, art itself is a broad and subjective concept - people will like & dislike it, you can't please everyone, but screw `em. in the spirit of this week's class, i took some selfies as well. i don't enjoy taking pictures of just myself (i like it when other people in my pictures! but hey, that's my own personal and mental struggle of sorts). if i do share pictures of just myself, it's because i feel very good about myself, & that there's an aesthetic to the picture. i either like my makeup, the lighting, or a combination of other artistic elements that seem to present themselves in the pictures. for example, theses selfies i took for this particular blog post are an expression of experimenting with this fake nose ring and darker, grungier makeup. i enjoyed taking them, but it took quite a lot of shots! i hate smiling for pictures, but i love looking like a moody bitch. i had two i really liked, so i put them together in GIMP, flipped one of them, and created "art." enjoy, yall.

final words: let people be people!!! life is short, make some memes, take some pictures, and just try to be nice to others.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

*insert cake emoji here*

after watching a few episodes of Brett Gaylor's documentary, Do Not Track, it's only human to feel completely paranoid about your online footprint. knowing that there's technology WITHIN your technology creating a digital profile of you and your interests is unsettling, to say the least, especially if you consider yourself a private person. additionally, it's also a bit skeevy for said technology to sell your information in order for you to use it "freely" - all this time, while we've been watching "Black Mirror" and other shows about technological, dystopic futures, a lot of us haven't realized that we're balls deep in one too.

however, maybe i'm being naive when i say this, but i hate when the paranoia runs deep and makes us so distrusting of every technological advance. we can't forget how amazing the Internet really is, and what it allows some people to accomplish, create, & connect. yet, when it comes to people warning us about how "smartphones are killing us," i can't help but feel some of these arguments to be preachy, if anything - mostly, preachy in the sense that "look at these millennials! they don't know how to talk to each other!!! lol!!! the internet is harmful but here we are posting on it anyways!!" (okay, that's kind of a dodgy / exaggerated sentiment, but you get it). it's interesting to note how one of the articles we read for class said that smartphones are making us addicts, similar to how alcohol and gambling ruins peoples' lives. i can completely understand that - with tech, it's easy to get sucked into an infinite space that has infinite entertainment possibilities (catered for your tastes, too). i will say that we can't blame it all on smartphones and tools - a lot of it is related to who the individual is as a person. we can't forget that addictive personalities' exist - and given such an easy, seemingly "harmless" outlet, someone can waste their life away by not truly living at all.

anyways, i think the important thing is that all of these studies and great research done by specialists in the field will hopefully lead to "preventing" people from letting technology take control of their life. well, at least it'll be able to inform people who want to get informed, and then they will have the power to spread that information to their family & friends, and so on. we can learn to be mindful of our digital footprint & what steps we can take to leave a cleaner & safer track, as well as to relearn the importance of moderation (of time spent, of information given, of just living our virtual lives). people can choose how they want to live their truths as humans, but it's also important to give them that choice first, instead of handing them technology at first and not being able to ween them off it later in life.

Monday, January 22, 2018


here we go again!

Image result for digital footprint

i'm a little sad we're straying away from the "alchemy" theme - i might have to rethink my blog, but i'll keep the title. it's going to be interesting to see where this new perspective on netnarr is heading - we're still dealing with digital identity, but in a different sense. i think it's definitely both an engaging and smart idea that we're watching our own digital footprints, and seeing what tracks we're making. we need to be mindful of how we present ourselves online, as well as who (and what) else is watching (and tracking) us.

yesterday i learned that my uncle in california apparently follows my sister and i very closely on social media, which i would not have thought. of course, i added him innocently because he is family - but i learned that he has nothing but malicious things to think and say about us behind our backs. it made me reevaluate who i'm letting into my virtual space - maybe i'm naive, but i would never have thought that adding my uncle would be an invasive thing, but i guess you learn, no matter how long you've lived your life on the internet.

also, i'm interested to see the class dynamic and energy with all this new blood mixing with the old! i think some great conversations will emerge about digital culture - already, we've had promising perspectives last tuesday, and i think everyone will do a great job in engaging Brett Gaylor tomorrow. after all, i think his document is extremely relevant to everyone in the room, since no one these days is really exempt from the consequences of having a digital presence.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


alchemy is in the air, friends!

in the distance

a cat with three eyes stirs

vibrations in the mirror world

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

a reflection & a thank you

I’ll be honest— when the class started and we learned that we were going to be “alchemists” learning “alchemy,” I think I was thrown for a loop. I’m all about creativity in the classroom, but I think the scientific nature of the theme scared and confused me— after all, the heck do I know about alchemy? Asides from Full Metal Alchemists (which, by the way, is full of incorrect alchemical concepts), I really did not know anything. How was I supposed to do well in incorporating alchemy into my blog posts and discussion? It reminded me of our encounter in Mark Marino’s world of Thermophiles in Love… I was afraid I was not going to be able to feel truly involved with what Networked Narratives was trying to build.

After a while, I think all of us started to get used to the language of the classroom. Additionally, once we started doing these studio visits and bus tours, I think we started to see the magic of the course—at least I know I did, anyway. I was enjoying the connections we were making with people from all over and from all aspects of the networked community. Personally, I loved being in the webinars— it was a lot more interesting than “just watching.” I loved being a part of the conversation as much as I could, especially the discussions we had whenever we were “offline” during the webinars. In particular, as you know, I especially enjoyed the “Fanfiction” and “YWP” visits. I felt like I saw a lot of me in both of those areas, so to talk about it from an analytical and more professional viewpoint was equally engaging as it was reflective. I’m also grateful for the connections I made, or at least am trying to making (haha), with the founder for Young Writer’s Project. For the summer, I want to get involved with the website and become a Mentor for them! It would mean a great deal for me if I could.

On a more “academic” note, I am very happy that we had the opportunity to learn about and make twitterbots. I was really captivated with the generative nature of the bots, and I loved that you could use them in a variety of ways. Since I’m a huge Drag Race fan (if you couldn’t tell), I got to channel my passion for the show and queens by creating a bot that generated fake drag names and was a tribute to the memes of both the show and the fandom. Creating the bot felt the same as creating any other work of art— I felt like I had the same process and pride for it as I would have any of my poetry or drawings. To add, I also liked the bot because even though I made it, it constantly surprised me. Even today, when it pops up on my Twitter feed, it’ll come up with an extremely amusing name that I can’t help but smile at and think, “Wow! I made that?!” So thank you, NetNarr! I think in the future I’ll create another one, but maybe one actually on the poetic side, like the poem.exe twitterbot.

However, after the studio visits and bus tours, once we started to loop back to the alchemist “core” of the course, I think that’s when things got really interesting. I loved the idea of creating a character and having them exist as an alternate persona— I wish we honestly could have done a whole class revolving around Arganee and our alchemists. Being in character and networking is definitely an interesting and wonderful experience for everyone— after all, that’s where we are at our most authentic selves. Even though we can hide behind characters, I feel that most of the time, what we say is how we truly feel. We’re free to truly express our thoughts in a way that necessarily isn’t attributed to our “real” selves. Or, if someone feels like they can’t express sincere thoughts, having this character’s unattached relationships and unbiased existence in the world is a great outlet to let your feelings out in a digital space. Making Ketsunya was fun— I got to create fanart and flesh out a character, and I enjoyed seeing my classmates do the same. I hope next spring, when the class runs, we can bring them back in some way!

I think the class was great. I looked forward to being there every Wednesday, and having both of you as professors were a rewarding and wonderful experience in itself. I’m very glad that we get to stay in contact with Alan more over the next year as we work toward our thesis, because it just wouldn’t feel right if he suddenly wasn’t a part of our time at Kean anymore! Both of you guys really made the class dynamic, interesting, and a pleasure— I believe everyone had a great time, from the twitterchats to the meme-making, and everything in between. The only thing I wish I had done differently (although I hate to say I regret anything) is being on top of the DDAs more— for some reason, especially the last few weeks, I struggled with remembering their existence! I don’t know why. I feel really bad about it, because I liked the concepts. Even though the class is ending, and if I happen to be on Twitter, I would definitely still respond to a DDA that I liked. I guess I wish there was a way to be notified every day in the morning, haha— but alas!

In the end, I’m glad you guys chose to go with the theme of alchemy. Not to sound cliché, but that class was truly a magical experience— even  though a few of us were hesitant at first, it did not take us long to realize the importance of the relationships we were making with each other or the realm we had constructed in the classroom and online around us. The real magic was the power of a networked community, and learning the stories of people we would not normally connect with— with that knowledge, we are able to see ourselves reflected in other people, empathize, and use it to rebuild and revitalize the world around us.

Thank you,


this is not the end, comrade

Dear Ketsunya,

Privyet! Thank you for coming into a life of your own these past few months. Even though I may have started constructing the idea of who you are, you really become a whole new movement on your own. I chose your name because it meant “kitten” in Russian (maybe that makes me a bit basic because of my love for cats, but I guess that’s another story)— and let’s not forget, you had your cat, Kat, by your side, and the pair of you truly embodied the feline spirit of aloofness, yet watchfulness, as well as lurking around the digital corners of Arganee and rubbing up against the tweets of your fellow alchemists’. I know you have a problem socializing, and not just because of the language barrier— you find it difficult to connect with people, and I can relate to that. While we both love passing conversations, making real bonds and initiating relationships is hard for us. I think by having Kat, a.k.a your third eye, look out for your peers and Arganee, brought you closer to the world in a way you would not have expected. While you didn’t go out of your way to confront a lot of other alchemists, you were still there, silent support and a vested interest in the health of your world. You also tried to keep your friends in the loop with your reports of the changing Arganee weather, which might’ve saved a few people from walking into the occasional fire lightning in the late afternoon.

Also, thank you for serving as such an artistic inspiration for me. Without even seeing you, I could tell that you were a muse in the making. After constructing a physical idea for you when we were building our alchemists, I immediately took to my notebook and started sketching you out even more. That night, I drew several doodles of you, and one of them eventually made it to my tablet. I outlined and painted you in GIMP, and that portrait now serves as your Twitter icon— very cute, if I do say so myself! Kat also found her way in a few of my sketches; after all, you’re one package, so to not include her in a few doodles of you would be criminal. I appreciate that you brought that artistic side out in me— besides poetry, it’s been awhile since I actually had the inspiration to draw and flesh out a character and their backstory. It was really, really enjoyable.

However, I know this isn’t the end. Even though you’ve said you slipped away back to Arganee, I still have an eye on that mirror world— after all, the weather of your world interests me greatly, and I hope you’ll be keeping us updated (who knows, maybe you might even go on to do news reports? Haha!). Also, I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you again soon… maybe not in the coming months, but at the start of next year. I hear there will be another class, and who knows? Maybe you’ll take on a different form. If not an alchemist, maybe a musician, or maybe even a cook (you did great work in Cooking with Anger, you know!). There’s so much magic in your world, I can easily seeing your spirit being brought back to our world in some form.

So don’t stay away too long! Maybe I’ll send you a portrait of yourself here or there. There’s still a part of you that is very alive, so long as you keep telling me about the status of the midmorning cosmic thunderstorms rolling into your world.


your comrade


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

april showers bring netnarr personas

Hi all! I think like a lot of my fellow alchemists, I'm feeling the struggle in the lull that was last week. I did, however, want to mention my excitement for the upcoming month, and I'm really interested in where our journey will go as we create our alchemical identities and enter the "mirror world"...

I wanted to put some thought into the online alter ego that we are building. I tried the Alchemy Name Generator, and even the Rot-ify program; however, none of the names seemed all that appealing to me. I didn't find myself connecting with any of variations of them, so I started to look elsewhere. My next idea was to try finding my alchemical name through an anagram generator of my actual name - while I liked some of the versions of my scrambled name better, I still wasn't able to envision a character in any of them. I hate to be cliche, but I think it's important to remember Shakespeare during this creation process, and to really consider what is in a name, because it really does give shape to the character.

I thought back to other characters I have created over the years. I used to play an MMORPG called Furcadia, where I had a few original characters. I loved to explore these characters by drawing them and writing small stories to flesh out their existence; even though I don't know how "in-depth" this next month will be, I still wanted to imagine an alternate identity that had the potential for me to envision different dimensions of their character, as well as to be able to have a creative drive when thinking about them.

I went thinking about what was meaningful for me in this character. I wanted to add a "foreign" spin, namely a Ukrainian one, to my persona. Thus, I chose the name "Ketsunya," a cute nickname for something can pretty much be translated as "kitten." As I'm thinking about alchemy and who I want this online part of me to be, I always find myself relating to cats, as unoriginal as that sounds - I wanted Ketsunya to have that witchy side, maybe have a cat familiar or some similar relationship to the species, but that's something for me to think about more as we are introduced more to the game we're playing in this next month.

And speaking of mirror worlds...

Ocz "vmbvizz" xjyz cvn wzzi ymdqdib hz xmvut ajm v azr rzzfn ijr. D omdzy xmvxfdib do, wpo ajpiy htnzga ampnomvozy. D fizr ocvo "izoivmm" viy "vmbvizz" rzmz ocz nvhz rjmy, viy D ocjpbco ocz fzt ajm ocvo rvn i = v / v = i, m = z / z = m, viy o = b. Cjrzqzm, do ydyi'o rjmf rczi D omdzy oj vkkgt do oj v orzzo ocvo @yjbomvs cvy rmdoozi di mznkjinz oj njhzocdib @MzwzbHvznomj cvy nvdy. D bjo ampnomvozy, wvnczy ht czvy vbvdino ocz fztwjvmy v azr odhzn, viy pgodhvozgt bvqz pk... WPO! Oczmz cvqz wzzi mzxzio yzqzgjkhzion!

Vn rz rzmz diomjypxzy oj Mjo13 ocdn rzzf, Hvmdnnv hvyz vi diozmznodib xjiizxodji ocmjpbc ocz xjydadzm. Mjo# omvingvozn rcvozqzm rjmy tjp otkz di oj mzkgvxdib do rdoc gzoozmn ocvo vmz kmjbmvhhzy oj wz # vhjpio ocvo tjp rvio. Ocpn, Mjo13 mzkgvxzn oczh rdoc rcvozqzm xjhzn 13 kgvxzn vaozm ocz gzoozm. Cjrzqzm, ocvo nodgg ydyi'o hvfz yjbomvs'n orzzo hvfz vit hjmz nzinz. Rczi rz mvi do ocmjpbc Mjo13, do nodgg rvn bdwwzmdnc - wpo rczi rz hznnzy vmjpiy rdoc do viy kpo do ocmjpbc (D ocdif) Mjo6, do hvyz nzinz! Vgnj, jiz ja ocz qdyzj diozmxzkon amjh ocz rzzf gdozmvggt cvy v yznxmdkodji rdoc ocz rjmy "mjo" mzkzvozy di do, nj do vghjno rzio jqzm jpm czvyn.

Zdoczm rvt, do nodgg yjzni'o zskgvdi njhz ja ocz kjnon ji ocz Vmbvizz Rjmgy ocvo vmz epno ziodmzgt iphwzmn. D ocdif ocvo'n rczmz ht vgxczhdxvg ajjo ymvrn ocz gdiz, da D'h wzdib cjizno! D rjiyzm da do'n vijoczm Mjo kmjbmvh, jm njhzocdib ziodmzgt ydaazmzio? D gjqz xjyzn, wpo iphwzmn epno hvfz ht wmvdi ncpo jaa! Cjkzapggt rz'gg gzvqz gjon ja iphwzmn wzcdiy vn rz novmo oj ziozm jpm hdmmjm rjmgy... zqzi "Fzonpitv" vbmzzn rdoc hz! (;