Raining on My Parade

Writers hardly suffer the consequences of weather.

If it’s snowing, we bundle up with a blanket and hot chocolate. If it’s sunny we can bask in the window pane of light cast on our coach or venture out into the grass. If it’s windy, we watch and write behind closed doors and sound walls. If it’s rainy, we sit it out.

If writers become multimodal, we hardly have the same luxuries.

For our remediation, our intention was to enjoy the crisp cool air of an October Thursday, to solicit the wise sayings of those who may be wandering Main Street. Instead, we were greeted with the sheets of rain, cloudy skies, and red rain boots that aren’t uncommon to Michigan Fall. Needless to say, we beat a hasty retreat and penned in a rescheduled date.

As we use more of our environment, actively engaging it in our pursuits, we are, at the same time, constrained by that which we want to interact with. How do you define a writer? What if you write by putting together a collage of pictures, by capturing the world around you? How much do we integrate before we cease to be independent writers and just an observer of the world? Is there a boundary, a line? Or are we really just the same thing?

Digital Rhetoric

Digital rhetoric, as Eyman remarks, is something that we’ve all been doing without really stopping to identify what it means. It’s interesting to see how he attempts to build a definition after the fact, and how the more he tries to define it, the more he realizes it is actually a compilation of multimodal works that is constantly shifting and that can apply to an immense variety of works. He has still, nonetheless, been successful at creating a foundation for the structure of digital rhetoric, and has caused me to think a little more on what digital rhetoric actually applies to. Is it any medium other than writing that tries to do the same thing as writing? Would you classify web-based advertisements under this banner of digital rhetoric?

Hicks’ interview with his daughters follows this idea, and illustrates it in a much more real life application. When asking the generation that has grown up with digital technology, effectively engaging in digital rhetoric everyday, they have a very fuzzy, broad, vague idea of what it means. Is digital rhetoric too academic? Will this term eventually shift into some type of layman’s term, popularized on the street? When his daughters are probed further and asked to expand, they are actually quite detailed in how digital rhetoric applies to their everyday lives, so the concept exists, but maybe not the terminology.

Jonathan Alexander’s blog is a further exploration into the norms and boundaries of this new mode of publishing. He uses the example of a teen who committed suicide after his sexual relationship with another male was published online by his roommate. In words and paper, we hardly slander people in the ways that this video did. It seems we have come to unspoken rules in literature that are being bent and broken by those using the digital world as a medium, to the fatal effects of certain victims involved. So how do we balance the act of free expression and protection? Anything is fair game now, news is 24/7 and definitely not local, we are privy to information, but is there such a thing as too much information?

Liz Losh’s piece has me wondering an interesting question. If we can only define things after having experienced it, how do we know that the definition is correct? Or even that it’s still relevant? What if by the time we define something, the experience has already shifted and our definition is obsolete? Especially with something such as the digital interface, that changes with the click of a button or the uploading of a picture, the same landscape is hardly the same after a few hours. As I’m going through these blogs, they are all providing frameworks to somehow understand this new term, some structure to confine it. But what if we built into its definition, the very change and flexibility that it stands for?

 

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

I’m not sure how many people are familiar with the Australian event FODI but it seems absolutely incredible! I sort of stumbled upon it because I was reading this article: How economic growth has become anti-life (which is not exactly related to this class…or the rest of this post…but it’s a great article that everyone should check out!!). Anyways, the article ended with, “Vandana Shiva is a guest of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney Opera House, this weekend”. The name of the festival was enough to spark my interest, so I clicked the link and now I’d do just about anything to be in Sydney this weekend.

As I was browsing through different topics and speakers I clicked on, “Stories Matter More Than Facts” a panel led by Kirby Ferguson, Evgeny Morozov, and Simran Sethi. The line in the description that really caught my attention was, “New digital tools are enabling a new breed of storytellers to breathe life into science and politics”. It seemed really applicable to our discussion of digital rhetoric, and to some of the remediating projects — especially the people who are turning more academic papers into videos or print advertisements. Now if only we could attend the panel to find out more..

 

Prezi is a beautiful thing

HA! And I thought I was experienced with Prezi. I have already done two projects with this program, but after checking out Lynda.com, wow, just wow. There are litterally 50 different presentations describing different things you can do with it. I had no idea that you could do so much! This project could be a lot cooler than what I thought it could be and I am getting excited. So I wanted to try my hand at a video (hey Katie, I am stealing your idea on embedding videos). I started on google.com to see how to do this, but then landed on lynda.com and just typed in prezi and everything popped up for me. OH WOW, this is so easy!

You literally just type in the url for the youtube video on prezi. Click anywhere on your presentation (which is a really cool idea just having a big blank template, and then almost like drawing your ideas. And then you just  focus specifically on your creation what you want o be viewed at a time. I really suggest using this and will never use powerpoint again!)

I tried inserting this interview with Audrey below into mine and whats cool about prezi too is that you can make the video super small in the grand picture so people can’t see it unless you zoom in. My presentation ends with zooming out completely and you see that you’ve been spanning around the different sections of a magazine cover. And you can rotate it and even during your presentation can like pause and stop it. VERY easy.

Audrey Hepburn interview. Looking at the classic women

So, in response to Katie… can you tag people on this… embedding videos isn’t scary!

 

Re- mediating project

So this project for some reason is a little rockier of a start than the re-purposing. I knew what I liked and was immediately struck by what I wanted to do. Then once all that started happening I got very into it. I found a cool website that I could publish my magazine online, and using their template I could upload pictures and texts. It was actually a great program because I could see how a magazine would leave certain space for text. I felt like a real magazine editor and like I had a real deadline! (Hey, and it wasn’t too bad pretending I worked for Cosmopolitan either. God, how cool would that be…)

cosmopolitan-logo

 

Moving onto my re-mediating was a little harder. I had just made an entire magazine article, so what else could I do with this topic? Movie… no I don’t even know what I could do. That seems easy to me, but I couldn’t think of anything worth while. And so, I started thinking about the purpose of my article. I wanted to give cosmopolitan more than just the frilly girly stuff. Things that could teach girls things: a manual for girls my age on things that they want to know. Not a book, but a constantly changing and magazine that is REAL.

Why not try to convince Cosmopolitan to makeover? Well, not so much makeover, but just refine some of the sections, and convince them that my article is something that people would want to read and should be a part of the magazine. As I am working, I am using some of my professional writing skills (yes, that class is helpful, but surprisingly hard and sometimes sooooo pointless) to propose this new idea to the editors of Cosmo in a way that I would be successful. I am working on a Prezi, but as a perfectionist, its coming along quite slowly. I’m sure, like my magazine I will lock myself away for two days and obsess over it. Just have to get into the grove!bc2c2aecb7bffafba346a237b4a721ae

Just trying to make Cosmo a little more classic  like it used to be!

#techchallenge Embedding a Video

You know when you make things harder than they really are? Like making a mountain out of a molehill?

Yeah… just did that.

I wanted to learn how to embed a video for my #techchallenge. So of course I google it. I come across this video:

“Great!” I think. I find the embed button on youtube, copy the link, click onto the “Text” button, paste the embedded link, save the draft, and hit preview. Annnnnnd… nothing. Hmm…

So of course it’s back to Youtube. Because Youtube doesn’t fail. And I’m a visual learner. So, yeah. I come across another video that alerted me to the fact that I needed to put the code into the HTML portion of the site.

Oh, duh! I was hitting the “Text” button instead of the “HTML” button! Silly Katie. All I have to do is… oh, wait, there isn’t an HTML button here. Where is the HTML button? There is every other button but HTML. COME ON.

So what do I do? Of course, I google it. But not googling the real problem. No, googling how to find the HTML button. Because that’s obviously more useful to me, considering I code (note sarcasm).

So after rounds and rounds of searching WordPress with the great advice of great minds such as “planetthoughtful” and “drdel” on random coding website threads, I finally come to terms with the fact that maybe I’m not meant to embed videos. Maybe I’m only meant to use pen and paper, and that I should just turn off my laptop and bury it in the backyard because technology is no friend of mine.

But then, a silver lining. I accidentally click on a link that takes me to the “help” site of none other than the creators of WordPress (who I really should have consulted initially, but hey, I’m stubborn). And guess what guys? You just copy and paste the link! Not the embedded link, not some fancy HTML coding place where you have to insert it, nope, just right onto the post.

The Answer to My Question

Well there ya go. Who woulda thunk?

So, my fellow Minor in Writing friends, if WordPress is difficult or confusing or challenging for you like it is for me, check out the help section. It might just save you a solid half hour of annoyance and frustration.

Blog on!

 

 

#techchallenge

Photoshop is a place where brain cells go to die.

meltdown

My #techchallenge experience with photoshop was initially terrifying. The only kind of layers I like are in cake form. The only channels I enjoy are E! and TLC. And the only paths I appreciate are the hypotenuses in the Diag.

After the most strenuous thirty minutes of my entire life, my understanding of the software grew enough to where I was able to upload a photo and crop and combine to my somewhat liking.

(The entire time this was happening I was reminiscing on my elementary days of easy and fun MS Paint creations).

modernart

I also now realize that this portion of the gamefied points system is called tech challenge for a reason, because it is challenging. I’m not sure if photoshop is the platform I will use for editing the photos required for my remediation project, but I am happy that I got a glance into the world of the technologically savvy and hope to one day be able to make new creations as beautiful as my MS Paint masterpieces.

Is Halloween a Trick or Treat?

 

Spooky….bats, pumpkins, haunted houses. Always associated with this eerie holiday.

Halloween is a notoriously controversial holiday. You’ve got the girls who wear as little clothes as possible, the people who stay in to watch scary movies, the religious fanatics who look down on the holiday for its “pagan” qualities, and many other viewpoints and reactions to Halloween. Some people are offended by the scant costumes, others by the recognition of the possibility of a spirit world. It seems that no matter who you talk to, someone has a bone to pick about Halloween.

Now, I’ve always celebrated Halloween and I’d never really thought about the religious aspect of it until high school. Sure, I knew that I had to go to church the next day because it was a holy day of obligation, but I was much more excited about dressing up and getting free candy that would last me for at least a month, sometimes more. I didn’t think about what I felt about the deceased or where I thought they went after death.

However, this year I have a roommate who is very Christian and does not celebrate Halloween, has never celebrated it. I didn’t have a problem with this at all (what does it matter to me if she doesn’t want to dress up or watch scary movies?), but it did make me think more about the implications our modern version of Halloween has on the religious beliefs of some people, particularly Christians.

According to a website completely dedicated to Halloween history, Halloween’s origins date back to an ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain. The Gaels thought that on October 31st, the end of their harvest season, the boundaries between the worlds of living and dead would overlap, allowing the deceased to come back and wreak havoc on the living and their crops and livelihood.

Christians, however, are not supposed to believe in the ability of the dead to enter the world of the living. Yes, we believe that sometimes our deceased loved ones communicate with us through symbols (my best friend, for example, thinks his grandmother is looking out for him whenever he sees a cardinal bird). However, according to Christian theology, souls can only inhabit two places: heaven or hell. They do not reenter the world of the living after they have passed on. This, I believe, is at the heart of why many Christians denounce and even fear Halloween.

This seems to address a bigger theme of separating religion from cultural “norms.” Is it even possible to separate yourself from your religion to enjoy a holiday like Halloween, one that goes against what you were always taught about your religion ? Does it make me less of a Christian to believe in ghosts and celebrate Halloween, because I am acknowledging that maybe souls can exist elsewhere besides heaven and hell?

All I wanted to do was trick or treat or find a costume party to go to last night, but after thinking about all of this, I was exhausted and chose instead to stay home and watch “Halloweentown” and “Practical Magic” with my other two roommates. My third roommate, though, went to bed early, not wishing any of us a “Happy Halloween.” This seemed to be one of those situations where I wanted to have my cake and eat it, too, but somewhere inside me, I was still unsure that was possible.