Tuesday, April 17, 2018

bots the matter with you?

breaking! this past week, it has been reported that yes, bots were on the rise again on twitter... except they weren't russian bots - this was the work of kean students!


and i'll be the first to admit that i think everyone did a great job with living double lives in their own twitter as both a tired, politically distraught student and a persistent, politically distraught bot! the purpose of the bots were to create conversation, but to ask the questions in a believably human-sounding way. the class did a great job of framing their questions and getting a few outsiders to comment! before we set the bots up, though, we did a test on Botometer to see if our twitter accounts were perceived to be people or bots... i wonder if our scores went up?



also, can you believe that he's not a bot? it's weird.

we also played the bot or not game on www.botpoet.com to get a feel for the potential for generative language for bots and how certain "real life" poetry can come across as robotic, repetitive, or seemingly randomly generated. i also wanted to point out that the bot poetry was a lot more poetic than some of the poems by real poets. in particular, the one bot poem "some men" was the best poem i saw come up by far:

"some men just want to watch the world burn
some men just want to watch the world learn
some men just want breakfast"

- generated by Every Google User using Google Predictive Search 

speaking of generative language & poetry, that leads us to our next and final adventure in #netnarr - electronic literature. i love e-lit, as its very engaging and new way for storytelling to come to life and to evoke new relationships between reader and text. the multimodality of electronic literature creates a new dynamic, and adds depth and color to stories by including audio, visual, video, navigational, interactive, and animated elements to the story that would otherwise be lost in traditional textual stories. additionally, e-lit is not just one thing - it can be many. for example, there's hypertext fiction, generative poetry, interactive fiction, netprovs, fanfiction, online roleplaying, ect. e-lit is only limited by the creator's imagination.

one of my favorites examples of e-lit (specifically generative poetry) is poem.exe, which creates haikues / short poems through randomized images, lines, and juxtapositions that are often beautiful and thought-provoking. the generated juxtaposition especially works with haikus because of the suddenness of subject change, which is important in creating a complex message and image that often stays with the reader long after they have read the poem.






can't wait to see what else is in store for us and teaching more people about the wonders of e-lit! super excited.

Monday, April 9, 2018

redlining & remixing

this past week, during our exploration of games, we've focused a lot on the concept of remixing, which is an important element to recognize in such a unique class as this. a few weeks ago, we put questions into the padlet we shared with Maha's students in Egypt; unfortunately, we didn't receive responses, but that didn't stop us! instead, we created the supposed answers to those questions, and put them together to form a mock / imaginary interview, speculating on how the game creators might have answered them. we used audacity while doing so, which involved a lot of recording, splicing, and editing, in order to make it coherent and consequential.

background ambiance courtesy of freesound

i guess for me, it was hard to be 100% direct in answering these questions, namely because they're not mine to answer. i feel like this game prototype specifically was meant for the story to be told by someone from Egypt who experiences gender stereotypes in that culture. while there are similarities between how female and male individuals are expected to behave and perform their gender identity throughout both cultures, it is not even close to being the same story, and that story is not mine to tell or fictionally tell. instead, i tried to speculate as what and how they would answer, but i think i just ended up with more questions! haha.

still, i had fun with it, and i wish we could have heard from Maha's students. until then, i hope they continue with their prototypes - each one has a great story to tell and lesson to teach and would make for great developed empathy games.

our other project we completed last week was also a remix of sorts - we discussed the concept of redlining, and what that means in a geographical space, and how that can translate into a digital space and create analytical, qualitative questions. we took two different images, played with layering, cropping, and finally juxtaposed them together. first, we were told to pick another map of Newark to explore against the redlining zone, and i chose to try and find one of the McDonald's location to take a screenshot of. i couldn't get it to just be all fast food places - google maps was not a fan. however, i feel like the McDonald's locations did raise an interesting speculation and analysis.

in the heart of newark, there are considerably a lot of McDonald's next to each other - reminder, just McDonald's, excluding all the possibilities of fast food locations probably also in close proximity. the heart of newark is not especially rich, and McDonald's provides a cheaper option for people who do not have the income, time, and convenience to spend on healthier choices. it's a quick, inexpensive warm meal, which creates a correlation between poor individuals and poor dietary habits. additionally, it can lead to health complications, which is another problem and financial strain if the person has already found themselves in not the best monetary situation.

again, it's only a speculation, but it's not an uncommon hypothesis we've heard before. below is the map i've created through the image juxtaposition tool in H5P:

with that being said, i'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of remixing in the world of electronic literature in the coming week! i'm exciting to explore different types of e-lit, as well as different pieces, and create/remix some of our own.

(and yes, i heard that bots were coming back... this should be fun!!!)

Monday, April 2, 2018

to quote a wise man: "@!#?@!"

Last week, we all went way back and explored some pretty ~retro~ games, ranging from the Oregon Trail to Sim City. Among these games, I chose to explore two of them - my first encounter was with Charlie the Duck, which I quickly learned was just a complete rip off of Mario. Not even just the concept - the whole level's layout was ripped from level 1 of the classic Mario game, but just replaced with different images & themes. Instead of tunnels, plumbers, and shells, think ponds, frogs, and giant wasps! Of course, and a duck.



Next, I chose to look at the beloved game Qbert. I've heard of the game, but I've never played it - heck, I don't think I've ever seen it in an arcade before, either, which I find surprising. When I started playing, I'll admit, it was a bit frustrating - nothing was really explained, so it took me a second to figure out the controls and what the heck I was even supposed to be doing. But, as it turned out, the goal was extremely simple - jump on all of the squares so they match the target square, and avoid any snakes or other whimsical shapes trying to kill our poor Qbert.



Using the terminology we learned last week, the best way to describe both games is labeling them as Practice games. The levels don't change, and you have extra lives to try to beat them until you master the elements and challenges presented to you over and over again. The Plan, Practice, and Improvise video by Extra Credits even says that playing Practice games typically breed frustration, as sometimes you'll get stuck on a level and it'll take forever to get past it - I definitely felt like that's what was happening to me after a certain point in Qbert. My highest score was ~3,500! I was happy that I got that far, as it took me what felt like twenty times to even just get past the first level. Similarly, Charlie the Duck seemed easier because I've played the classic Mario games before - you generally know what each element does, and the first level is pretty standard. There was Practice from a different game that was transferred to that one, which is actually kind of cool.



Short story time? Short story time.

Qbert was only sure of two things. One, that he loved his work - jumping on stairs for a living may seem like a chore to some, but it was a passion for him. And two, that he did not. Like. Snakes.

When he first started his job, it seemed pretty easy. Only one side of the stairs needed to be changed, no problem. He'd hop a little here, hop a little there, and bam. Fixed. Good as how the boss wanted it to be. But no one told him about the other... difficulties.

At first it started as small bouncing circles that would follow him. It was annoying, but he worked through it, always keeping a watchful eye over his shoulder. Sometimes it would just be on circle, or two, or three... but, no matter how many, he kept at it.

Then, the job got a bit more difficult. Suddenly, two sides of the stairs needed to be fixed - then three, back to one, and so on and so forth. But, then the real game changer came - him.

It was just a normal day for Qbert. Avoiding a circle here or there, hopping along his merry way, thinking of what would be next. But then, as he was on the very last square of the day, a shadow came from behind and menacingly loomed over him.

Qbert stopped, and looked over his shoulder. "...!@?#@?"

He was face to face with none other than, you guessed it, the Snake. He was about twice Qbert's size, and could jump five times as high, too, it seemed. Qbert took a deep breath, and was going to introduce himself. After all, the Snake didn't look too intimidating - he was just huge, that's all, and had pointed teeth, and... Anyways, he wasn't going to assume anything.

Before Qbert could say anything, the Snake, who had been slightly coiled over, extended his whole body upwards. He was stretched out about his whole length, with his neck craned slightly so that he was looking down at Qbert. Uh oh. Now he looked intimidating.

And, just like that. the Snake jumped up in the air and came crashing down toward Qbert with immense power. Quickly, Qbert bounced out of the way, but the Snake kept following him. Panicked, Qbert looked around at the easiest escape - but there was none. The Snake had him cornered! The Snake prepared himself for another jump, but Qbert, terrified, decided to jump off the stairs completely.

He waited in the darkness until for awhile. When he felt like he wasn't in danger anymore, Qbert hesitantly jumped his way to the top of the stairs again - only to find that all of his hard work had been undone!!!

With a quick glance over his shoulder to check for distractions, Qbert began his work again. He shook his head. Why did the Snake want to do this?

When he was on his last tile, again, the same, coiled shadow loomed over him.

Qbert turned around. "!@#?##" He sighed.

It was going to be a long workday.

Monday, March 26, 2018

yo tony, where'd u get that fresh pepperoni

phew! it's been a long week! and a pretty long checklist, too :P i kid, i kid!

last tuesday was a bit of a technical mess, with our projector dying for good. but, the twitterchat still persisted, and i think we had a great conversation about empathy games - particularly SPENT, Bad News, and Syrian Journey. Our group played SPENT, which I also encountered last year in Networked Narratives. I remember doing infinitely better than I did this time around - I ended up with $23 at the end of the month, no more plasma to donate, and rent was due.


SPENT really puts you in the shoes of someone else. i think we can all relate to financial struggles and tough choices, but the curves that SPENT throws at you are pretty hard and fast - but hey, sometimes that is someone's life.  empathy games are wonderful means of teaching others, if they have the mindset of wanting to learn - especially when they have correct facts & stats to back up the realistic nature of the game. i mentioned that the ideal formula for an EG is when the game can create a perfect balance of emotional storytelling and objective facts - if the game is solely based on emotion, it might be impossible to suspend our disbelief and immerse ourselves in the story. or, if a game is purely facts and numbers, it can glaze right over people. having a character you can empathize with and go through their story together really drives home the point.


I agree with Stephanie here strongly - it's a wonderful point. A lot of what we consider games are ones that really "don't have a higher meaning" to them. Sure, games can be great because they have strategy, wonderful art, or moral lessons - but EG teach real global/nationa/societal issues, and is an outlet to have an experience you might never have in your own lifetime. introducing EG that are both enjoyable to play to the gamer with an emotional reward to children at young ages could do wonderful things for the personal growth of humanity.

speaking of more empathy games! i checked out Marwan and Hoda from Cairo's Survival Game, which focuses on the daily routine and gender expectations & stereotypes shoved onto Egyptian men and women. i thought they did a great job in telling the experience of gender inequality in both the routine for what is expected of men and of women. however, i felt like there was a lot of depth and storytelling for the woman's path - she felt like a fleshed out character that you could empathize with. for the man, while the stereotypes and inequality was technically there, it was not as masterfully woven into the storytelling like the woman. instead, his choices were abrupt, and consequently either got fired from his job or literally died for defying stereotypes. the woman, however, seemed more realistic - i suggested they try to create that same depth and chance for empathy for the man. then again, i have neither experience that they have, as I am a privileged white woman from America - i find it hard to offer more valid critique about any experience, because it is not mine to tell.

moving on! after our twitterchat, we moved on to a lesson in audacity, which i've worked with before. however, when i did do some audio editing a long time ago, i would use Sony Vegas - the same program I would also edit videos with. i thought this was going to be somewhat painless - i was wrong! it took me at least an hour to figure out why i couldn't move my darned audio bites over... even though the sound was paused/stopped, i had to make sure none of the buttons were clicked. i really couldn't believe it took me that long. oops.

but, i eventually got through it! i want to say that, yes, i might have been hungry when i was looking for inspiration. and no, i never did end up ordering pizza. a tragic day for everyone, if i'm being honest (someone create an empathy game out of that, why don't ya?)


if you couldn't tell, i was a little hungry when i was thinking of a concept...
nothing feels better when your project is rendering! takes me back to my video editing days

warning: you may want to order food after listening to this. you have been warned.




it's the only story i know how to tell... audio credits!

also, if you want to hear a real great song about pizza (and pizza parties), i suggest this.

lastly, as a parting gift, i want to share one of my finest photo manipulation achievements and a culminating statement about games to end the blog. that is all. and i am sorry.


Monday, March 19, 2018

MAY THE BEST ALCHEMIST... WIN!

THREE... TWO... ONE... BEGIN!

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what do we want? GAMES. when do we want them? NOW!

that's right! we've moved on from digital art to none other than gaming! while i enjoy games, i never think of myself as a gamer. a lot of the games i play are what i consider "lowkey" - games like Animal Crossing, Civilization, Sims, Pokemon, and so on. they're all games i can play on my own time, and games that usually are less violent and help cultivate more in-game "personal" growth. maybe that sounds pretentious, i'm not too sure - i guess i can't explain my preference in gaming. i don't like battling bosses because it stresses me out (i know, i know - i love Pokemon, but i don't feel like that makes me a hypocrite. something about beating the bosses is way less stressful than, say, Zelda.) Animal Crossing is the exact opposite of all that - there's honestly nothing more therapeutic than standing by the beach in animal crossing at 2 a.m. with the sound on.

with that being said, i do love a lot of card & board games as well. i was introduced to cards at a pretty young age because my grandma loves playing cards, specifically Crazy 8s. to this day, we still play (last week i beat her 20-0 and she threw her cards down and called me a b*tch. it was awesome.) she also taught me Canasta, Hearts, and a bit of Bridge. i also love playing Euchre, and i recently relearned how to play Poker. cards are awesome, 'nuff said, but sometimes you can only do so much with them.

board games, on the other hand, sometimes are more involved. my favorites are Catan, Flux, Parcheesi, Sorry, Scrabble, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, and of course Cards Against Humanity (however, recently i was given What Do You Meme?, which is 100x better, believe it or not). i'm always open to learning new games - i love strategy and games that make me think. i'm excited to be introduced to even more games over the course of this month!

so, what does that make me? i honestly thought i would be a "casual gamer," but i got active gamer instead! but i guess that makes sense. i like playing games when nothing else is happening, or if my friends want to sit down and play a few rounds of something. but if something else is going on, i'm ready to do whatever! i like playing games with friends a lot, but sometimes it's nice to cancel plans with everyone and sit in bed all night playing Pokemon.


also, i like sports too. but not really watching them (except figure skating) - sports are fun when i'm actually doing them, specifically tennis and figure skating. i love the strategy and mind games of tennis, and i love the artistry and athleticism of skating, but i digress.

but, speaking of sports, i found Radiolab's Games podcast a topic of interesting discussion, particularly when they were talking about "play." we also touched on it in our studio visit today with Remi and Keegan, with the conflation and misinterpretation of games and playfulness going hand-in-hand. when we're younger, there's definitely that part of us that is free to be creative and "open-ended" in our play, where there's the liberty of interpretation. however, as we get older, rules start coming into "play," and ideas of right & wrong start curbing some imagination when it comes to the games kids play. there's rules to play freeze tag, as there's rules to many aspects of grown-up life. i guess it's just kids starting to slowly piece together concepts of growing up, or it's just the natural order of civilization. needless to say, incorporating both playfulness & gamification can be beneficial in different settings, like classrooms. it opens itself up to new ways of seeing & exploring the material, and is more encouraging to get students to interact and engage with the subject - the ability to "have fun" with learning, which sometimes get lost, especially as our age goes up. playfulness, as well as games, can lead to a whole new experience and more solid understanding of the material being learned.

also, i wanted to touch on Radiolab's conversation about the underdog v. the expert, and who we like to win. i agree with them when they say we always want the underdog to win - the team, person, even shape, that seems to have the disadvantage, is who we back up and cheer for. however, i also agree with the one person who said he felt the exact opposite - that it's criminal for the expert to not win, and for the underdog to take that title. however, i think it boils down to however deeply we are immersed in the culture of whatever game we are playing. if we know nothing about the game, we want the underdog storyline to happen; but, if you're a big fan of the game, it would be ghastly for some no-name to take a title that you know rightfully should go to the big name.

let me give a great drag race example.

recently, All Stars 3 finished filming, and the winner was crowned. a lot of the fanbase backed Trixie Mattel, a huge fan favorite and, for lack of better words, the underdog. let me add that a lot of the fanbase who supported Trixie winning were people who were new fans to drag & drag race, and like her because she has a funny youtube show - also, a lot of the fans are the people who go around twitter & facebook and post a lot of derogatory & ugly things to POC queens. but, that's another story!

the other queen who was in the running for the title was Shangela, a queen who appeared on season 2 and 3. she was the first one eliminated season 2, but RuPaul believed in her potential so much, she invited her back the next season. she made it pretty far season 3, but did not get top four. so, when she was invited back to All Stars 3, a lot of the dedicated fanbase who had been around since Shangela's debut were rooting for her and fully expected her to take the crown.

in a nutshell, shangela had the best track record and should have won this All Stars season. Trixie, at best, was mediocre, and i don't know how she cruised by.

but guess who won???

Not Shangela!
ok, well, that's enough of my AS3 rant. if i sounded bitter, well, i'll admit it - i am!

but at the end of the day, guess what? it's just a game. and games are supposed to be fun!

unless you're like me, and super competitive, and then things can get a bit... messy. especially if i'm not winning. but! i hope that doesn't deter us from maybe playing some Board Game Online. i think i can control my competitiveness for one evening... hopefully.


Monday, March 5, 2018

housekeeping

as we say goodbye to our digital art segment, i think our last Make - the GIF It All Together one - is definitely a great way to end. additionally, i'd like to say i'm pretty proud at how my GIF turned out. but first, we have to go back to the beginning! we started out with the GIFing a Process Make, which i created based off of my poetry process photoset. i used a filter on Giphy to make sure all of the photos had the same basic color aesthetic, and kept the pictures moving at a good pace - not too fast, not too slow.



 then when that was done, i started on the second make. i wanted to think of what concept really resonated with me the most so far when thinking about Digital Life & Art, and i knew it could only be one thing - the importance of creation, of doing. i think maybe it ties in with my relationship with my thesis, too, which makes sense. i wanted to think about all of the different ways digital art can be created, and how inspiration can show itself literally and metaphorically in a variety of forms. the only way for something to happen is to just do it - so why not? putting your creative self forward is a big step and a bit intimidating at times, but you don't know anything until you hit that send button & lay it out for the virtual world to experience.


when making the GIF, i found a few of them through the Giphy search engine. i also googled some examples of digital art as well. i wanted a mixture of GIFs & images that showed the spectrum of what art can be, as well as making sure they were also visually inspiring & engaging. images that would make me want to draw, write poetry, sculpt, paint, ect. something that gets those creative muscles in gear! but, as i said, i was pretty proud of it. and even though all of the images combined were subtle enough to say "hey!! inspiring art!!" i wanted to make sure everyone heard it loud & clear, so i wrote a big CREATE across the screen to add to the trippy GIF.

list of my MAKEs so far

speaking of creating, time to turn toward the DDAs for the week!


ok, ok, maybe this one is less creating, but i still wanted to share! i keep rewatching this GIF and falling more and more in love with this dog each second. i think Felix might have some competition for the cutest dog award now!
this DDA was a bit sillier, but i loved the concept. i never really think of playing cards as prompts for stories, but i think it's gonna be hard to get out of my head now before i go play a round of cards downstairs later!

list of my DDAs so far

as we move along our #netnarr journey, it's interesting to see where i am in the twitterverse via the TAGSexplorer. i didn't know if i could zoom in or move it around, because my computer wouldn't let me. i don't have a mouse with me, so maybe that would've helped, so sorry about the bad screenshot.


i am but a small red dot, and @dogtrax is looming over us all.

and, last but not least:

links to all my blog posts so far

 i think the whirlwind of #netnarr, it's good to have some housekeeping going on, especially as we move on to the next segment. as we move into gaming, i'm excited to share some of my favorite games. in the real world, i love cards (as said above), especially Euchre, Crazy Eights, and Hearts. in terms of board games, i'm a big fan of Catan and Parcheesi, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf (which is not really a board or card game, but resembles Mafia). online, Board Game Online is a great experience maybe we can play in class, as it's free, fast, and fun. other online games i love to play are Sims and Civilization, but those are harder to include in our class.

Monday, February 26, 2018

the GIFt that keeps on GIFing

i'll be honest - i thought GIFs merely existed to serve as reactions and responses on social media (in particular, more than just cats making funny faces). i never really thought about them outside of their purpose for humor, nor did i think of them as anything merely than just a loop of a person/animal/object doing something. i would've never put the words "art" and "GIF" in the same sentence, or realize that even a loading bar is technically a GIF. that being said, i've enjoyed looking at GIFs from a more objective standpoint - looking at what they are and can do, besides just making us smirk on the internet.

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Exhibit A of what we all really thought a GIF was meant for.
additionally, i think my favorite part is how GIFs can transform into little pieces of digital art by layering them with artistic touches. when we looked at Giphy for the short time we were in class last week, i think a lot of us were delighted to find out that the site had added stickers, filters, and text effects. you can even draw on them! i think that takes GIFs to a whole new level. for example, while browsing the tumblr of Museum GIFs, i found one that utilizes both filters & animated drawing to create a new piece of art from, well, art.

I wish they could project those lines onto the real thing! Imagine how that would look!
while that is a lovely GIF, i was inspired to make my own mini work of digital art through the power of Giphy for this week's Make...i maaaay have gotten a little carried away with the filters and range of stickers. with that being said, it's a good thing art is subjective.

Gee, I wonder what this GIF is trying to say to the world... I guess we'll never know.
i also made another GIF to express the one universal flaw in what would otherwise be a perfect concept:

The struggle is real.
no matter what GIFs are used for, they sure are fun! whether you use them for memes, art, to tell a story, capture a looping moment of beauty, or what have you, they're an easy and great mode of expression! to add, there are a plethora of sites that help you create your perfect GIF and share it with the virtual world. GIF us more, please~!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

did somebody mention ART

 at times like these, i can only be reminded of Kelli's love for that picture from the Iron Giant of Dean going "ART." I mean, what is ART, anyways? even worse, what's digital art??? who even knows!

unrelated, my second thought is this video:


anyways, back to ART! art has always been subjective and i think to answer the question "what is art" will take literally a lifetime (and then some). however, i think we can define what makes something digital art. traditionally, i think we all think of digital art are things that are created using digital tools & programs, like WACOM tablets and PhotoShop. while that is definitely digital art, other examples expand outside of our "typical" view as well.

Bob the Drag Queen teaching the children about what REALLY matters.
photo manipulation is a big contender a lot of people forget about. there's a lot that goes into cutting and pasting certain selections, layering, juxtaposing images, and messing with hues, lighting, and other artistic elements to create harmony in a piece. there's also flash animation, where people take their digital drawings and add frames of movement to create a moment of animation (much like a GIF, which are also arguably digital art!) along with animation, video editing to can be a form of digital art. on YouTube, people like to take clips or fanart of shows and masterfully put them to music (AMVs / MMVs), and often use the same tools as photo manipulation. there's a lot of layering and filters going on, as well as the artistic challenge of musicality to create a few minutes of digital art.

also don't forget about memes and, as i said, GIFS! also very valid in terms of art, because why not? it is subjective, after all :P for example, here's some art i made this week:



alright, maybe it's not as good as some art, but hey, it is art. and just because i'm in a "giving" mood, i'll share with you some digital art i've created myself. they're of an old character of mine from a game I used to play all the way from 2004. i got back into the game again last year, and that's when i created these. i'll share some older art, too!

Made in GIMP with a WACOM drawing tablet.

Created using Furcadia's FOX pixel editor.
And now for your entertainment, really old art I'm going to pull from a deviantART account from five+ years ago (i'm cringing RIP me).



but, the whole point: as you can see, digital art can look very different, like traditional art! there are different mediums of artistic expression, both online and in physical form, but it's up to the artist on how they want to express themselves. i also want to note the accessibility of digital art: it does offer, usually, a more affordable way of creating art, instead of constantly buying paints & fancy copic markers. however, tablets and software (if you want to actually buy PhotoShop and not use its free sister programs) can get a bit pricey, but they're usually a one-time buy. also, not everyone has a computer to use to create it, so there's that. just a little food for thought.

unrelated, but i'll also share it here, is my SelfieUnselfie! i don't know how to artistically weave this into my blog post, so i'm just gonna go ahead and show ya:

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

alive

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

beginning!

alchemy is in the air, friends!

in the distance

a cat with three eyes stirs

vibrations in the mirror world