A Fond Farewell: Looking Back At It All

Dear The One Above All,

It’s been quite some time since I’ve heard from you last. It was an uplifting change of pace to hear from since I wrote to you when you set out to rectify the decline magical statue of the world of Arganee, and I’m glad to hear that it was a success. I’m sorry to hear that you did not live up to the expectations that you set for yourself during all this time, though, unfortunately, I can relate in that area. I had expected to show my skills in a particular class that I am in the process of completing but time just got the better of me. As the saying goes, “expect the unexpected”, and there certainly was a lot of expected and unexpected dealt my way in this short amount of time. There were a lot of twists and turns during that made me uncertain as to what I was doing for said class ad if I was doing it right, and I still have doubts as to whether or not I was performing at the set standard. I’m glad that you were able to achieve your end goal of restoring Arganee, though I cannot say for certain I was able achieve mine. Let me tell you about my adventure up to this point.

What I could gather from this class was that we were expected to implement our variety of writing and technological skills to the best of our ability in digital in a digital setting to craft compelling and eye-opening forms of media. In addition to that, through our own creations we were to attempt to attract attention and connect with those that were interested with our work and  Unfortunately for me, in addition to me lacking in skills in the technological department dividing time between taking care of an uncle, being a fulltime student and working can be quite taxing. Being divided in such manner took away from my devoting myself to my classes, and thus, for this class, improvement in areas that might have propelled me in my attempts at more creative and diversified digital alchemy. If only there were more time in the day, in the week is more like it, I feel so much more could be accomplished. I feel that you can sympathize with me in that area. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t find any excitement/pleasure during my time in this class, as I did have enjoyable moments during a number assignment when anxiety wasn’t looming over me.

Given the number of assignments we were given, both in and out of class, there were a number of which that felt like less of an obligation to complete and partake in versus others that came across as someone difficult given my initial knowledge. For example, the studio visit that I took part in that highlighted on civil discourse within our society was something I particularly enjoyed. Being a part of a sort of round table discussion that invites the input of a number of unique minds regarding a unique topic is an activity that I loved being of because, while I love to talk and give my side of the story, you’re also potentially learning from others in how they see things. I also enjoyed one of the earlier DDAs that we had the choice of completing. The one that I am referring to was DDA#36 where I was given a random prompt to do a short story on, and though I do not remember the exact prompt, I do enjoy writing a unique and original story. Many of the other DDAs that we had the option of choosing from were also enticing, but for some reason they just didn’t stand out as much as this one. Perhaps it was the challenge of a random theme that grabbed me.

What most surprised me about his class was how the input from the both the teachers, outside acquaintances, and the students is what served as the teaching for the the curriculum of this class. The open and free exchange of ideas on the topics we discussed made it so there was no singular source of info, thereby giving variety to the info provided. Honestly, going into this class I  would have liked a concrete mission statement to tell me what I would I would come out of this class with as I still don’t feel like i’m walking away with with much new information that’s relevant to my future. What was most difficult for me was making time to craft audio-based digital alchemy, as working with audio is not one of my strengths. I tried to deal with this by reaching out to Alan both in and out of class, but failed to implement what he advised me on into my work given a number of other obligations that served to deter me. What I learned from this experience is that I need to better sort out my priorities and, as mentioned earlier, expect the unexpected in terms of assigned work. So try and make extra time for assignments that might involve your learning new skills to complete.For future alchemists that aim to take this class, my advice for them would be to learn a variety of ways (more so electronically) in which to incorporate your writing/thoughts into.

I can’t say that I learned much from our interaction with outside sources for class. Aside from taking away from  the occasional studio visits that I mentioned earlier, much of the information that was conveyed during the bus tours and other video chats during class was somewhat general knowledge given the topics that we discussed. I would say the the studio visits that I took part in, including the video records of them, were insightful given their topics. Honestly, no one person really stood out to me as being an overwhelming influence,so that leads me to believe that they were equally influential. I can’t honestly say that I will come back to the community of netnarr or argaanee in the future, as depending on the line of work that I become of a part of, as well as the hours and amount of work that will be assigned to me. Responsibilities are only going to increase as time goes on, so I am not going to make any promises. In addition, aside from possibly creating, dedicating, and publicizing blogs in the future I don’t see myself implementing much else that I’ve used in m assignments in y future, though certain future expectations might change that.

My life has been a quite a journey up to this point, but it has basically been mapped out up to this point, with a minimal amounts of high expectations and repercussions tethered to them, though that will surely change soon, so best get to work on improving on my flaws and building up my skills. Perhaps the field of work I get involved in will bring me back to form of networking, but there’s no way of knowing for sure as there are no guarantees in life. You are not alone The One Above All, we all have our own ruts we have to work our way through and I’m sure you and I will do just that. Until our paths cross again, best of luck to you.

Your fellow alchemist,

Alex  Grimes

Week 10: Change and the Future

I was sad to hear that we could not as a class this past week. I really look forward to meeting with everyone and opening my mind to the numerous potential methods by which to connect and expand both my mind and the minds of others through writing on the web.

In our most recent and last bus trip video chat the discussion nice to hearing how and what people had planned for their lives in the upcoming future career-wise. Ironically enough I was a liberal arts major at UCC before I transferred to Kean. It was surprising to hear how many people were invested in getting a career in the world of business, a field where many people I personally know have abandoned for a number of reasons.  I sure hope that they know what they are getting themselves involved in. It also made me think about where I would be when I graduate, as I have been quite uncertain up to know as to what I want to do. It just feels like a grim reminder of our current  society’s expectations for us all. Sometimes I wish when I was born that I was given a set goal to work and strive and that would be what I do in the future.

In the article that we read, “Deeply Aggrieved”, I really liked the theme of the article which seemed to be how certain standards, may they be academic or otherwise, affect how people’s progress and in turn their progress in life. These lines of text, “Institutions that refuse to move—not into the future, but into the present—are enacting a masochistic nostalgia. Things are not the way they were, and to isolate our philosophies in an historic moment is to condemn their practicality. Just as perilous is to assume the academy exists in a safe vacuum, where political tensions that light the nation on fire will not penetrate the halls of ivy-grown intellectualism and rationality”, really spoke to me. It says a lot and I booth agree and disagree with what it conveys. Change is a constant thing, nothing stays the same forever, especially within the realm of advancing societies, and to deprive individuals of inventions that help us progress in our own way, in a potentially universal way, is just unjust.

I’ll be the first to support the idea that we stand still in terms of progress, because change is scary, especially when said change eventually incorporates itself into standards that spill out into society and the workplace. That change sometimes feels like an obligation as opposed to a choice. Regarding the article/post I could not agree more that it is a school’s obligation to integrate a degree of change into it’s framework regarding how things are run or how they allow their students to undertake assigned goals. I have suffered due to some of my professors refusing to accept certain present means of doing things. To be more specific I don’t particularly like every aspect of change, but when someone refuses to keep up with the more basic and widely accepted standards it infuriates me. I can understand that there are certain reservations when it comes to accepting numerous forms of technology into a classroom setting, as technology can sometimes serve as a distraction depending on how one uses it. Though when such a tool has been proven to improve upon the progress that an individual makes in an academic setting, especially when applied to an individual with a cognitive disorder, a teacher should be willing to alter upon their set standards. As much as we would like to think, we are not all born equal, and knowing this we owe it to ourselves to try and make for more equal settings in multiple sectors of society, academic especially. This teacher mentioned in the article was was preventing the child with dyslexia from making progress in their class just because they refused to change themselves by accepting the change that has been occurring within the society they are immersed in.

After watching the bus trip video and reading this blog I have been prompted to think more about what he future holds. What will become of my life? Am I operating in my best interests? How will impending change affect how we operate and see things in the days to come? So much to think about. The same applies to the upcoming days of class that we will have. What will change now that we are done with our bus trips? Hopefully I can get behind it.

Week 9: Writers and Their Tales

Personally, I did not contribute any of my own unique work this week for one reason: Most of the stories I write are long in length and I am too tasked as it is with school and work to come up with something that wouldn’t be too long-winded for you to read. I like to be detail oriented in all of my work if I am able to, so I’ll be thankful I wasn’t forced to contribute.

To begin, I liked how the focus of this week was actually writing. How we contributed through small posts, listening to the immense level of talent that a number of individuals in or class possess and analyzed the writing of our more recent generation of writers. In all honesty, listening to the people that spoke during our last class, I felt as though I was put to shame. Most of the readings were poems, that is an area that I never excelled in and school has never had a problem telling me. I excel more in writing lengthily and descriptively, may that apply to articles, research papers, or short-/long-stories. I always like to think that I never assume about someone that I don’t know to a degree, but I feel like I underestimated the potential of a good amount of people in our class after hearing the stories/poems that they shared. Had time not been a factor I would have like to share one of my works.

Regarding this week’s video meet so much was said, and of course I would have liked to have heard more but the time constraint, again, always seems to put an end to things when we’ve all gotten comfortable enough to speak amongst each other without holding back. I was surprised to hear that the Young Writers Project site has amassed 400,000 posts and comments since 2006, it says something about one’s courage and determination to have their voice and talent heard. It was fascinating to hear that among all the people who were a part of the video, Adelle, someone who is home-schooled just came upon it by chance versus all the students in the video who were obviously given a formal introduction by their teachers. I found it funny how some of the sixth grade children in the video were more willing to share their work on Young Writers Project than share their work openly among others. Perhaps that lack of physical presence and ignorance of immediate judgement is what draws the line for them. I can’t know that for sure, but that is often the case for many individuals who are self-conscious about their work. With what Alan asked regarding how people create a story and/or how it affect one’s process with writing, I would say it all really depends on how confident and head strong an individual is when it comes to writing about something specifically. With what Geoffrey had to say about one’s creative voice, I agree with what he said in how school somewhat stifles people from conveying themselves in their own creative way. That earlier along the line in school your teachers make you believe that the formal framework they are told to teach is the only way in which things should be done, or written in this case, and over time it’s just something that stay with some people.

Overall, this week gave me a lesson as to the many different ways in which people think and write and it was all quite influential. It was nice to hear such compelling passages straight from the respective sources’ mouths rather than just reading it for a change and it has motivated me to expand upon how I write. I hope in the classes that we have left together I will discover more about my peers as well as other sources of untapped potential for my viewing pleasure.

Week 6: A Never-Ceasing Fog of Chaos

This week of content and activities has given a much more positive outlook on what is to come in upcoming classes. This week was the first time that I had taken part in a studio visit and the first time during the semester time that we contributed to the netnarr community through the use of memes and GIFs. This week I felt a little more comfortable than I usually do with undertaking some of these computer-based assignments, because, as you might have seen in the human graph picture provide in this week’s post, I leaned more so toward the utter chaos side of the chart.

I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the studio visit this week which focused on civil order and discourse discourse for the most part. I always enjoy being a part of a conversation and hearing other people’s opinions regarding a topic that I am interested in and have much input on. It was interesting to hear what everyone had to say, especially Howard, in how he established that he initially challenged/resisted authority during his middle and high school years. He didn’t like “being put into a category” or being a part of a plain collective, and I can respect that. When it came time to discuss the degree to which authority should be implemented in the a classroom setting I was an advocate of a strong degree of an authoritative framework. I made my point that authority in a classroom declines as we get older, and that is how it should be in the sense that schools should be making the attempt to instill a sense of morality and proper code of conduct when we are among others and have that build over time.  I made a point that in the framework of college classrooms there is some uncertainty and ambiguity when it comes to certain assignments and deadlines and in such a setting I feel that the teacher should enforce a more stringent form of absolute certainty when it comes to one’s students who aim to succeed in their class, not leaving too many gaps for them to fall through. I appreciated Howard’s response, his saying that there should be some uncertainty in the framework of college as it makes individuals work harder to find the answers and thus strengthens them, as when you leave college the real world is quite unpredictable. On the topic of order and chaos within the framework of general society, the group, Howard especially, stated that democracy is the bedrock of our civil society, how it has contributed to the progress that we have made and, also, led us to unfortunate outcomes. I elaborated on this topic saying that democracy is a double-edged sword. If the message relayed is impure or a pack of lies and received by ignorant masses or people just desperate to follow someone, democracy can lead a people to ruin. I can honestly say that aside from the joy of hearing myself talk  (lol) that it was nice to hear other people’s opinion.

With regard to my viewing the Network Effect, I can say that it certainly does reflect my sometimes frequent siftings through the internet. The experience was me viewing a barrage of random clips from online videos (some of which I’ve seen) fitting into a number of categories that you had the option to click on. When viewing these videos there would be a random narrative playing that would say random things that held the pertained to the category of videos that you were viewing. I found myself confused viewing the site wondering what purpose it served to the point that I did not view it for the full 7 minutes that was offered to me each day. I feel that this site does somewhat relate to my experience when exploring the web, in that sometimes it serves no purpose and I just do so to pass the time. The site doesn’t serve as productive much like how the miscellaneous and tired act of searching the internet for no reason doesn’t as well.

Creating GIFs and memes was fun, even if it was at Howard’s expense. There’s just so many memes and GIFs that I made so I figured I’d just post on this one. I am the tiny creature inside the flask, afflicted by the man on the outside gassing me symbolizes  the strain and chaos of the barrage of certain parts of the assignment that I don’t understand and the man on the outside. He is gradually eating away at me spirit and will to endeavor in this class, when I think that I am doing everything right and have it all rectified and in order another wave of trouble comes my way and I’m back in the same unfortunate situation I was previously in. It just seems like a force that I’m a little uncertain about if I can overcome it or not.

Overall, things are shaping from my initial expectations regarding my class. I’ve realized that I’m not alone in this uncertainty with regard to digital assignments an maneuvering through it all. We get a better feel of the upcoming weekly assignments by easing into parts of them in class so as to make things a little easier for us all. Looking forward to what is to come in March and I would love to another studio visit.

Week 5: Concluding on Sound Alone

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I can honestly say that this class is gradually becoming more interesting each time we get together. The topics of discussion seem to be slightly more grounded in rationality and less abstract and that is a quality of work that I can appreciate. I like it when our lessons and discussions are straight to the point, not so ambiguous.

Admittedly, this is not the first time I have been given an assignment where I was asked to craft images an my mind on sound alone. It’s something I’m accustomed to doing. For the task of attempting to ascertain what kind of environment a certain scene from one of my favorite movies, which jokingly enough is Good Will Hunting (as it was referred to near the beginning of this assignment post that correlates to this) it was easy to tell that the scene in question took place in a bar. Aside from the fact that one of the characters said that they were in one, I listened and I could hear music, basketball shots being made, there was also the aspect of open discussion amongst a number of people, which made me listen even harder to to which I could distinguish the uncertain sound I was hearing in the background was more chatter. I thought to myself, “Where do people gather and have open discussion and possess the other aspects mentioned earlier. Only thing that could come to mind was a cafeteria, but bar sounded more accurate, as people usually walk up to people in a cafeteria for discussion.

When it came to time listen to a Truth podcast, I chose Drop in the Ocean and I was an enjoyable read. Although, again, it was made apparent by one of the characters in the story story that they were in fact in a submarine, it could have just as easily been ascertained by the mention with the repeated mention of the word “sonar”, “ping” and “hull.” All things that are commonly associated with a submarine. You could easily visualize that the atmosphere was intense with constant tone of the people being anxious about being discovered by the Russian submarine, being afflicted by the contagion/infection that was going around that was making most of the people eager to leave the sub, someone believed one of their comrades with a russian spy that wanted them to stay in the sub so that all would be infected even though they were prioritizing the mission they were given. I felt that the story might have been taking time during WWII with all the references that were aimed at the Russians that came with the times. Overall, it was a very mature and fear-driven story.

I felt somewhat limited in what I could present regarding the blackout poetry session, though I suppose that was the purpose of it. Something meant to spark and forge some creative thinking from all our unique mind sets. I do feel like a somewhat lengthy story could be put together combining a number of the completed black out poetry pieces, though they might come across as conflicting and uncertain in what it’s intended message is meant to convey. depending on the poetry that each individual worked with there might be conflicting genres that make for an unusual compilation of sentences with words that don’t seem like they belong in the same story. Whether or not we mix works from the one poem that we did in class or our own selections I would actually have to compare them side by side to give you an absolute answer about their potential cohesiveness.

Regarding this week’s tuesday session, which focused on the topic of fanfiction, I found it bit insightful listening to what everyone had to say. My initial preconceptions about fanfiction were were shattered after listening to this conversation…in a good way. I found it enlightening to hear that fanfiction need not simply revolve around a book, series (novel or television), or movie, but that there is fanfiction that is based off celebrities. Aside from that everything that I heard on the topic on fanfiction was info that I was already aware of.

 

Weekly Reflection: Stories Giving Shape and What I’ve Learned

journey_into_the_unknownWhat do I think when I when I hear about stories having shape? I think that such a concept means that each story paints a unique picture to the one that reads or experiences it. When I hear the word “shape” associated with a story I link that with the quality of depth associated with a story and how that unique depth, or detail of a given story, influences a given individual. I can only assume that some people choose to take away different messages or morals from a story/film that they’ve read/seen, as we are all unique individuals, non of us are the same in appearance or in mental ability and preferences. That’s been my experience up to this point. A story has a particular shape to everyone because it’s contents are perhaps unique to everyone? It influences and shapes everyone’s mind a different way. In my opinion, nothing is perceived exactly identical by anyone. A story has shape just as an abstract piece of art has deeper meaning. Its message, its contents are subjective to interpretation, just as subjective and unique how it influences people.

Now, onto the topic of of what we’ve done up until now in class, I can honestly say that I am a bit stumped. Perhaps it is because I am not the biggest technological buff or perhaps I do not keep up with the ever changing and ever increasing forms of technology, but these twitter bots have me a bit stumped. Perhaps I misread how to use or get a hold of prompts by the source (might have made no sense there), but I inquired about getting a prompt from the source and have yet to get a reply. Maybe a complication on my part, but I have yet to make any progress in that area. Hopefully I can remedy this situation so I don’t fall to far behind my fellow peers.

I have enjoyed the simple tasks of our daily digital alchemy assignments and blog posts up this point, as when I read them they offer me a little bit of insight as to who I am surrounded by during my weekly class. I like what i’ve read up to this point and although I haven’t written that many responses yet, I can say with absolute certainty that  that will change. I look forward to reading more about what you have to say about this class and the prompts that we are given in the future. Some of you have influenced me to see things in a different light, and that is saying something.

I look forward to what awaits us in our upcoming classes, though I think I may need to someone to elaborate on the inner workings of certain assignments that require as to have some working knowledge of certain technological systems, as I seem to be quite the novice when it comes to using some of the sites that we’ve used thus far. Last week’s improve activity was fun, though I didn’t expect to be caught so off guard by some of the more simpler or complex pieces. Guess I can no longer cling to being an expert in that area after my performance. Anyway, until our later sessions.

Thoughts on Digital Alchemy

The traditional concept of alchemy is the process transmuting/altering upon the properties of something so as to bring out that something’s greatest potential. Make it shine in a sense of the word. My thoughts on what digital alchemy is, is that, depending on what is the topic of discussion, it is one’s ability make their product of hard work as captivating, interesting and convincing as possible through the use of skills ranging from creating language and proofreading to decoration through use of things such as pictures or videos in a digital setting. Now in my case I really wouldn’t go the extra mile to decorate the facts of a case I’m making or a story that I’m trying to tell because I’m simple person and I believe that my words speak for themselves. They are unpolished rocks/gems at first read/glance, but after they have been proofed, polished, that’s when their true potential comes to the surface. They reveal themselves to be the gems I always knew they could be. Now, with regard to adding the digital factor to the act of alchemy through the implementation of electronic tools such as videos, pictures, other electronic tools that serve to support or add some flare to your work, I can honestly say that I’m quite average if not below the bar of average when it comes to implementing such tools. I mean, it took me longer than I would like to admit to actually just create this blog in the state that it is now that you’re reading this on. Anyway, in summation, I believe that digital alchemy is the act of making use of all the electronic/digital resources that our modern day can provide us to make to bring out the best in a person and their work.