Real Time Loud Neighbor Convo #RayRay

At this point in the semester I am blogging for points and am so concerned about points I am going to real time blog about my apartment neighbor (who shares a living room wall with my room wall) and her clueless friend because I have no clue what else to speak about.

Back story: they always come over, sit in the living room and YELL about their guy issues.

Guy issues for neighbor: he dumped her forever ago, she likes him, he makes excuses not to see her except for reallllly late at night

Guy issues for red headed friend: he won’t hangout with her but hangs out with other girls (they are not even dating)

They sit in the living room and complain about their respective guys. I sit here and type this because I think it is entertaining. We have told my neighbor multiple times that he is not into her. We have told her friends multiple times as well. Yet they still refuse to believe. I. Do. Not. Understand.

It is like they want to keep getting hurt just for the thrill of some excitement in life. If this night is like others before they will sit on the couch, continuing to scream, drink three beers, claims to be “wasted” and drunk text the guys. They will go then and see the guys and think that everything is fine. * little budding hearts surrounding the two couples*


This brings me to a very important life question. Is ignorance bliss?

I will go ask them.

neighbor: “NO! I would rather know than just think I know and live under that lie”

red headed friend: “yeah I totally agree. People who say yes don’t understand I think”


This leads me to the conclusion that yes. Yes, ignorance is bliss.


Tell a Friend

We’re starting the application process for new Minor in Writing students for the Fall 2014 term. If you have any friends or classmates who you think might be interested in the program, there’s an Info Session right after break and the deadline to apply is March 24th. All of the information about applying is on the main Sweetland website. Thanks!

I feel affirmed in my hatred of WordPress…(Sorry, WordPress)

Embedding video.  24 hours ago I got a little tight in the chest thinking about all the steps that there probably would be, and the hassle…until I actually tried it and realized how easy it was….on Wix.  I now feel very affirmed in my hatred of Word Press as a platform for my portfolio.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to embed a video here.  Oh well.

Check out the video I embedded and the post I wrote to go with it on my capstone portfolio-in-progress!   



“Writing in the margins…a passion to communicate”

So I just listened to the podcast of Sweetland’s Writer to Writer session, and I have to say, I’m so bummed I didn’t get to go to live event! It seemed like there was so much energy in the room, so kudos to anyone who contributed to it. Maria Cotera seems like a really amazing person and professor—her voice came off as calm, yet powerful in a way. I could almost feel her passion and commitment to her work through the recording (as weird as that sounds).

Before I started to listen to the podcast, I didn’t really know what Maria was going to speak about. I knew the purpose of the session, but I didn’t know any specifics. So when she started talking, I was so shocked that her story was so relatable. She starts the conversation by speaking about her mother, and thus her exposure to writing through he mom’s social action and plea for justice. As she was speaking about her mom, I started to think about who my writing guru was—the person that inspired me to start writing. Maria’s story sounded so familiar to me, because that’s really how I got into writing (and I didn’t even realize it until after she mentioned her story). It hit me; Maria’s relationship with her mom reminds me a lot of my relationship with my dad. I guess more specifically, Maria’s mom reminds me a lot of my dad.

I should give a little background first: I am the youngest of five redheads who grew up in a house that strived on organized chaos. We were all the products of two passionate, energetic, silly, and loving parents who strived (and still strive) to make the world a better place. I didn’t grow up like the other kids in my neighborhood. Instead of family meals (which rarely occurred because everyone had such crazy schedules), family time consisted of stuffing envelopes for various philanthropic causes (which include, but are not limited to, foster care reform, LGBQT issues, or donating money to help refugees in Israel) every Sunday evening around the dining room table. The envelopes consisted of eloquent and powerful writing that was supposed to motivate recipients into action. Essentially, my dad would spam his contact list and use as a human assembly line. But somehow, I didn’t see to mind this tradition. My dad’s passion was contagious, and as I grew up, I started to realize that he was using his writing to make the world a better place. I was inspired and motivated to do the same.

In high school, I joined our nationally ranked newspaper, The Lightning Strike, and quickly worked my way up to Editorial Editor. As the head of the Editorial section, I was in charge of layout and design of the pages, oversaw all of the content being written, and wrote the unsigned editorial, on behalf of our the staff. My pieces were unconventional, as I geared toward topics like human rights, the importance of voting, community action, and social justice. I hoped to use my writing to motivate readers into action, and thus developed a passion for writing about social change. Like Maria, I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless.

However, Maria and I differ in the definition of “the voiceless.” During the podcast, Maria spoke about “writing as a communicative art; avenues for telling stories that haven’t been told. [She has] an impulse to tell stories about the people have been ignored because time has passed.” However, Maria argues that she only gives a voice to people who are dead, because it’s impossible for them to speak up. But she won’t speak for those who are alive because “everyone has the power to speak for him or herself.” Frankly, I don’t agree with that. To me, speaking out seems to be a privilege—one that not everyone has access to. My father and I do a lot of work with children in Foster Care for this reason alone. People who do not have support systems, who are emotionally, physically, or sexually abused, who don’t have the proper outlet, who are silenced by authority or the system at large. All of these people are very much alive and don’t have the power to say anything, for the consequence is way too risky. These people are living examples of “the voiceless” and their stories desire to be heard and spread, so the world can do something about it.

Therefore, I use my power of words for those who are not granted that privilege. In essence, that’s why I write.

And that’s also why I wish I were at the live recording of this event—so I could bring this up and ask Maria her opinion. In the meantime, I’m curious to hear everyone else’s thoughts, so feel free to comment below! If you (like me) missed the show, here’s a link to the recording. Enjoy!

Ummm, about these micro-assignments…#RayRay

I’m going to come out and state the obvious…I’m writing this blog post as a way to get points. There, I said it.

I’m putting that out there because I have spent the past day doing everything I can to rack up some points before we head for spring break. I did, by my count, four micro-assignments to snag some points, with the intention to do a couple more tomorrow.

My intention is not to make you feel bad that you aren’t doing this either; rather, I want to say that I AM STILL SO STRESSED OUT ABOUT THE POINTS WE NEED FOR THIS CLASS. I literally spent hours today doing these assignments for, what, maybe 100 points? For 1/20th of the grade I need to earn an A?

I know the goal of this class, and the Minor, is to not worry about grades as much and focus more on the writing process, on stimulating yourself as a writer and thinker, on engaging in different forms of media, but I can’t help it. I have academic goals (GPA, graduation honors, etc) that I don’t want to miss out on by not completing these micro-assignments that are staring me in the face. Yet I feel like I am ignoring the more important things for the class–the Evolution Essay, building out my portfolio, the Capstone Project–to focus on gaining points with micro-assignments that aren’t always applicable to my project. I’m trying to strike the correct balance between the two, but it just seems like I wasted a day that could have been spent perfecting my Evolution Essay or even getting a head start on my project.  And, with just about a month left after spring break and before everything is due, I am feeling increasingly panicked about not getting the # of points I need for an A. I want an A in the class AND to produce outstanding work, but I’m really struggling to make it work.

I know we talked about it in class, but is anybody else feeling this way? Any suggestions on how to make me feel better about myself?


Tiki Toki

For my comedy film Capstone project, some of my classmates gave me the idea of including an interactive timeline into my website. That way, I could establish the sex and sexuality changes that occurred in Comedy films from the 1950’s to the 2010’s! For my New Media Skill, i googled “interactive timeline creator” and played around with a few different websites. The one that seemed to most exciting and easy to use (so to speak) was Tiki Toki. During break, I will continue to play around with the website and hopefully create the base of my own timeline.

Alexis and I ran into a few issues when we first started to look around the website. We are not sure exactly what is available versus what is not available with the free account. We will mess around with it some more to get our answers.

I feel that the interactive timeline structure will really enhance the arguments I am trying to make with my Capstone project. It will be a really interesting and exciting way to display the information. Also, it will be a great way to keep the audience’s attention and get them involved in my presentation!

Take a look at this photo of a potential timeline made by Tiki Toki!


Interactive Timelines

For my new media skill I am going to learn how to make an interactive timeline on Tiki-Toki. I think this would be a really great way to visually document my three-week withdrawal from social media. Each day of the timeline would include the aspects of connection/conversation that I am recording, along with any commentary I want to include.

What’s great about the Tiki Toki platform – besides from it being very clear and easy-to-use – is that you can embed images and videos into each “day” or “post.” The user can easily scroll through the timeline by dragging their mouse over the days they wish to read more about. The only downside to the platform is that I may need to pay a small amount to upgrade for a better version of the timeline. Karly and I took some time today to go over the platform (she will be using it for her comedy in film project), and we believe the upgrade may be worth the additional features it provides. Below is an example of one of the timelines:


On another note, after meeting with my mentor on Tuesday (yay!) I learned that my project is not really an “experiment.” Instead, I will be referring to the method as an auto-ethnography. An auto-ethnography is “a form of self-reflection and writing that explores the researcher’s personal experience and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings.”

That’s all for now!





Tweetable Moments.

Why is it that we, the 2014 version of the human race, feel the need to document our day’s moments in 140 characters or less? Why is the light blue app with little bird the first place our touch screen-trained fingers go? Is the moment less of a moment if we let it pass by, as almost all moments do, without digital evidence of its happenings?

These are just questions, and I don’t really want answers. I just want to send these cosmic questions out into the void. So goodnight, dear void. 

Technology . . .

“I just don’t want my capstone podcast project to sound homemade,” I say, sitting in one of the fancy media rooms at the Duderstadt and talking with a peer media consultant about “amplifying” and “wav files.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like on a scale of bagels covered with cheese and ragu to a pizza lovely crafted by Italian immigrants- I want it to be Digourno. It can be different than professional but I still want it to be good.”

He laughs.

“No matter what you’re going to have to teach yourself some about audio recording- levels etc. And vocal performance too probably”

That’s the moment I realize that I may have bitten off more of this pizza than I can chew. In the Writing Minor, we like to talk about how we write, why we write, what we right. Yet with this podcast, I’m having to contend with technology and with performance. In fact, how I write it may be affected by these programs and how they work.

I am not a Luddite. I have been having a passionate love affair with Photoshop for the past three years, designing covers and booklets and posters. However, relearning a complex program, learning enough so I can make it sound professional, is that too high a goal?

I just want to do my ideas justice. I want to do any listeners justice. I don’t want them to be distracted from my content because of a voice crackle.

I also want to be realistic about my abilities. I want to be realistic about the time I have left as my senior comes to a close with a bang of work and a whimper from me. I also don’t want to engage the obsessive perfectionist qualities of my personality. The part of me that will tweak-tweak-tweak at Photoshop.

I want to do the best I can with my time and abilities, but will that be enough?

This American Life by Ira Glass has an episode called “Fiasco!” where he sayings that when everyone reaches just beyond their grasp that’s when greatness can occur.

I’ll settle for Digourno pizza.