Project Introduction



Thank you for viewing my website and looking through my capstone project.  This project is the exploration of  queer identity formation.  How do people do this? This serves to provide some intellectual clarity, and supplement this with artistic matter (video and performance) to make the subject more digestible/give it a voice.

What I would like to know is if the website operates in a cohesive and user friendly way?  Is the format of the site inviting? Does it direct you through the project in a way that flows nicely?

Are there any parts of the website that can be improved to elevate the production value of the project? Do you think there should be more media on the home page? or is it okay that it is separated in four different sections?

Thank you,


My meeting with the VP

n response to an open letter I wrote last semester, read here, considering the systematic discrimination of the school blood drives, I met with UM’s Vice President Royster Harper. While we did not reach the outcome that I’d hoped for, I was advocating for the University to shift its position on the issue and to acknowledge the marginalization of a minority of the student body, I gained insight into how the politics of a University operate. Officially, the University of Michigan maintains its support for the discriminatory FDA regulations on blood donation since the medical consultation of the board believes that the discrimination is “appropriate”. While I cannot say enough that I disagree, I understand that, right now, there is nothing the VP can do. She did offer her departments financial support of any educational event, lecture, or talk considering the issue–which is in the direction of progress. Hopefully, I can find some other students on campus who feel strongly about this issue to work with to curate such an event. Stay tuned for more on this…

Symposium: MLK Spirit

On MLK Day I went to a symposium event where a good friend was receiving a Spirit Award for her achievements and leadership on campus.  While there was the usual amount of award banter, there was a principle speaker who gave a compelling outlook on the role urban planning has on the lives of black minorities.

June Manning Thomas spoke about her life as it related to civil rights and how it inspired her to get into urban planning.  In the audience to cheer on a friend from the School of Music, learning about urban planing was not something my ear grabbed on to.  However, I was surprised how relevant and important it is in the development of our country and how we treat minorities.  She discussed how through equitable planning minorities can be a fairer chance at a higher quality of life.  The zoning laws can be inherently unfair and or a great deal of time racist (still racist in some areas of the country).

Thus diversity becomes a central level of importance when talking about where people live.  When we think of gentrification, or the rough parts of town, there is a lot that goes into it.  There is a great deal of clean up that also requires a sense of working with the people who live there so that no one gets left behind or kicked out.  Therefore diversity needs to be considered in every part of the process.  It was pointed out to me that we so often take things like this for granted, but if we are put into the other persons shoes we can reconsider our thinking on key issues.

I think this is where MLK Day can have lasting impact.  It is about putting yourself in the shoes of those less fortunate, or different or even less capable, and becoming sensitive to their way through life and informing yours to include them.  Since my capstone project will talk about the minorities of dating, I can use this in my gathering of information.  It isn’t about judgment, it is about understanding and compassion and informed decision making for a better outcome.

Mini Assignment 1

Hello, Capstone Folk!

My name is Dan and as introduction I would like to share an embarrassing anecdote that kind of captures my disposition and attitude going through life.  One day last semester, whilst biking home from class, I was riding while listening to some music and singing along.  When the song “My neck, my back” by Khia came on my playlist I didn’t think anything of it.  I started grooving and listening along to the music. There weren’t many people on the streets or sidewalk to I started singing along with a little more ambition.  Finally, when the chorus came around I was singing at full volume: “My neck, my back…like my pu**y aaaaaand my crack!”  To my horror I looked to my left and saw that in the cemetery next to me was a family burying there dead…and they had been interrupted by my foul song.  I responded baby biking ten-speed until I got home.  I took the song off of my playlist.

Two different writing communities that I have participated in are the journalistic and the personal writing communities.  The main difference between the two being that the journalistic requires that the “I” be taken out of the writing and the personal demands the complete opposite.  I feel more comfortable in the personal sphere since I am a more creative thinker and the Journalistic sector takes a bit of the freedom out of the writing.  However, that isn’t to say that these two styles do not inform each other.  The personal requires a structure and driving question in order for the narrative to have purpose, and the journalistic needs to have a similar interest to the reader in order for it not sound too dry.

This also manifests in the writing style itself.  The Journalistic style can still use scenic writing, in fact scenic writing in the third person can be what paces the style.  The personal can use a more passive and removed style for a desired affect in the writing.  When used effectively, both prove to be quite nuanced and effective.

Journalism and the Personal strive for the same thing, honest writing that provides a unique analysis and insight into a subject the reader might not have known previously about.  While I feel competent at Journalism, it is not a style that I find to be necessarily driven to.  That being said, when in the profession sphere I believe this education will be important to me since it means I can remove myself from the writing I do and the subjects I discuss.

HELP: Calling all Com and Psych Majors!!

Hello, Writing Community,

I am posting in an effort to ask any Communications or Psychology majors out there for your help.

For my remediation, I am exploring the idea of vanity, and self-image, as it relates to human beings in terms of development (Psychology) and how this intersects with our relationship with vanity in our social world (Communications).

So…do any of you know of any professors, previous not necessary, who have an interest in this topic, or teach courses about this, who I might want to speak with?

If so, please let me know! My email is


Boiler Plate and Cliché

Boiler Plate

“The key to understanding why reputable studies are so starkly divided on the question of what Facebook does to our emotional state may be in simply looking at what people actually do when they’re on Facebook. ”

What I think is Boiler Plate about this sentence are the first words, “The key to understanding…”, specifically the use of the word “key”.  Check out the rest of the article here (it’s actually quite good!).


“Gwen Stefani, one of today’s most recognized and successful pop stars,”  I find the use of “today” to be the cliché aspect of this phrase…it’s redundnat but frequently used becasue of it’s cliché status…or does that make it boiler plate?

“After ending her 13-year marriage with Bush member Gavin Rossdale, Stefani hit a few bumps on the road to her comeback record,”  Ok. this is definitely a cliché “a few bumbs on the road”….plus the use of “comeback”….oooh. That’s just the type of language that works but is kind of annoying. Yet, because it works we are okay with reading that sort of thing.

Here is a link to the rest of the article:https.

Remediation Idea Bounce

Possible ways I could remediate my essay:

  1. Create an online quiz that targets and assesses the participant’s vanity.  This would be very much like the Buzzfeed-style clickbait quizzes one sees on facebook.  This would have a focus based on what participant finds most desirable and attractive.
  2. Create an online picture slideshow that would go through the key elements of vanity and how they encompass daily life.
  3. Create an online playlist comprised of songs that discuss the idea of vanity/ego in a way that prompts the listener to reflect on their own life.

Internet History Post

When asked by Ray to write a post on my internet history my first thought was, why would he want to know what kind of porn the class is looking at?? Okay, I’m sure that no one would post about watching porn…and if they do good for them.  No shame!  While this isn’t an admission of my own viewing of X-rated videos, I feel very strongly that if you should want to get your kink on to some videos from time to time, just do so in the safety of your own home. Evidently, there are one too many Michiganders trying to watch porn while driving, this man for example.  Whether I do or do not watch porn will remain censored on this post (although it really must seem like I am a total junkie and have set to prompt on-screen whenever I open Safari…which is not the case…but who would believe me now?)  Back to the purpose of this post: to analyze my internet consumption.

Since asked to track my history my top three sites are Gmail, Youtube, and GoogleSearch.  I also visit Facebook, Comcast, and click bait with high frequency and the various other sites I visited were to acquire information for practical reasons (such as Canvas).  There was some online shopping, but that was very brief as per my New Year’s resolution to cut back on unnecessary expenses.  I was shocked by how often I checked my email…I did so more than twenty times on Saturday!

This little assignment has given me some perspective into how I use the internet primarily out of habit.  It is my habit to go online check my email and to get work done.  I seldom will search the internet aimlessly, yet I did succumb to click bait more than once each time I visited Facebook.  As far as my relationship with Facebook goes, I think I use it to keep in contact with my family.  My family relies on facebook to stay connected on a daily basis, yet this  worries me.  At what point did I go online in search of connection?  That’s against the pillars of my own morality, or so I thought.

It has become very clear to me that I hardly read anything online.  The idea of reading something on my computer screen gives me a headache, so I stick to print as best I can.  I keep up to date on my news via NPR and very rarely I will turn on the TV.  How do I expand what I am reading?  I go off of recommendations I hear from friends/colleagues and even reviews.  I’ve had relative success with this; however, perhaps there is a way I can use the internet to do just that?  Something to consider.

Writing for a Music Publication

One venue I would like to work for is a music publication, such as Pitchfork. The idea of listening to music and then reviewing it is a great deal of pressure, but I’m confident I would be knowledgeable enough to write meaningful reviews that were not overly critical of musicians/artists.  Writing about music is difficult. How to articulate anything abstractly based and then putting it into prose requires thought and precise articulation.  I think this is the same as any artform.  I’d choose Pitchfork because they are not quite as prestigious as Rolling Stone, and I find myself reading their articles and reviews on a more regular basis.  Of course, I would have to move to the west coast which isn’t ideal, but it would be an invaluable experience that I couldn’t turn down.

Of course, if luck didn’t go my way, my backup writing gig would be writing about gardening.  Petunias are always hype.