“People often forget about how beautiful the world is, the way the treese blow in the wind, how flowers bloom in the spring and how amazing the grass feels on our feet. We come from a generation where the only beauty we actually see is over an electronic. Go outside every once in a while, smell the fresh hair and the flowers, lay down on a blanket in the grass and look up at the sky and see how the clouds look, We dont really live in a bad world, you are just blinded by what you see. Show me what you see.”
For this assignment I took to the outdoors. Not too far from home though, I sat on my back porch 🙂
I love writing and so I just let this flow naturally and observed and wrote what I saw and felt around me. For this I didn’t need any special tools, just my head and heart. The original assignment can be found here and below is what I wrote…
The painters that worked on the apartment painted the porch french doors while they were closed. Because of that, my apartment doors stick and need a little push to open them. Usually I turn the handle right, lean in, and knee it. With a little force the right door unsticks and opens outwards to the small cement porch. On the porch we have two chairs stacked in the left corner. We've stacked them because we really don't have that much space in this little rectangle and trying to fit four steel chairs out around one small round table makes things very cramped. I put my notebook down on the steel table that had little diamond shape holes in it, and positioned the porch chair cushion where I was going to sit. The chair caught on the rope rug we have beneath the table and I had to reposition it and lift it to set it back down comfortably. By the time I sat down I took a moment to observe my surroundings. There is a large tree out within the grassy space between our building and the communal pool, which was now covered and closed, and I peered up to look at the top of it. The leave rustled as the wind blew through it. We had stormy weather pass through so the air had finally cooled off that day and the heat spell that we were all so used to finally broke.The weather was comfortable. The type of weather that you didn't feel sticky in after sitting for a period of time. If I moved, the back of my knees nor the insides of my elbows made any sweat droplets, and when I pulled my hair back the underneath of my ponytail wasn't warm. This type of weather makes it feel as if the Earth is just taking a break and put itself in neutral. I looked back up to the tree where a new rustling sound was heard unlike the one made by the wind. Three birds all flocked to the same branch and were interacting in what seemed like a very intense conversation. Lots of head bobbing, some tweeting, some wing flapping (but not enough to fly away). The conversation seemed meaningful. I continued to look around and noticed a tiny bug balancing on a part of the table around one of the small diamonds. The table is small but I've already moved two of my plants off of it since the last rain storm. They're both succulent type plants that don't need much water, but since the storm was unexpected, they were drenched the morning after it passed. I moved them on the the concrete further under the cover of the porch above us so that they were still outside but covered from the rain. The bug on the table didn't seem to be going anywhere in particular. I just continued to watch it chose to go left or right and wander around. I questioned how it even got up here to this second floor porch from the ground. Did it climb the building? Did it climb the tree? Or had the wind brought it up here? Would it remain here? Or would it somehow find it's way down? While I was lost in thought the bug walked out of my sight line. It was too small, I could not find it again. I decided to pick up my pen, and begin to write.
This week was full of work as we got into the first real assignments of the semester. I had a lot of fun creating them BUT at first I messed up. I completed 3 assignments from one section “Visual Assignments” instead of one from 3 different sections. OOPS. Well, after a little extra work, you live and learn.
Some were easier than others… particularly my “How short is too short?” written assignment. For this I was able just to use my writing skills and imagination. This was more of a creative activity because I needed to figure out what I wanted to say and who I wanted to feature. I remembered an event that was small yet comforting for me and chose to write about that. I find that it’s easiest to write from the heart as if you are the only one in your audience.
The tweet to accompany it came naturally. I used some colloquial twitter patters such as “2” instead of “too” or “to” and then used the #asktwitter at the end which is a popular hashtag on twitter where users ask the general twitter population an opinion about a certain thing.
For my visual assignment, I completed a movie barcode. I found the movie barcode to be the most fun because I focused on Bladerunner 2049, the sequel to the 80’s Bladerunner 2019; my favorite movie. The colors from the movie are my favorite and so the movie barcode really gave me the opportunity to isolate them.
“Create a voice mail message for a character in a film or tv show. Use samples, impressions, and/or music to create your message. “
Some of the most iconic slang comes from the 80’s movie Heathers. Starring Winona Ryder as Veronica, the cult classic movie tells the story of a group of popular high schoolers and the trouble (and murder) they get into over boys, gossip, and popularity. This movie has all the 80’s classic styles including poofed hair and shoulder pads.
I was inspired particularly though by the slang and wanted to make a narrative where I could use the slang. Here in my voicemail message, I speak as one of the “Heathers” and leave Veronica a message stating that I’m curious as to why she wasn’t in History class and that J.D. (another movie character) looked out of it. I mentioned that the class was boring without her and asked why she wasn’t there. The movie itself makes a lot of jokes about serious mental health and physical health issues including suicide and bulimia. I included that I would “slit my wrists” if she didn’t call me back and make it interesting and that if she was missing class because she was bulimic again then she better tell me so that she doesn’t look skinnier than me at prom (basically to say that I would lose weight too if she is).
I tried to give it a “valley-girl-air-head” feeling by drawing out my words. I was able just to draft what I wanted to say on paper before recording my voice on the iPhone microphone. I then uploaded that recording to Soundcloud. You can see the original assignment here, and my rendition here:
“First, go to your blog and tell us a story. Any story. Fact or fiction. Make it as long as it needs to be to tell it well. Then, go to Twitter and retell your story, distilling it down into a single tweet. Embed your tweet at the end of the original blog post. “
For this “Tweet it/ Tell it” assignment I’ve written a very short story that is personal and true. I went to a coffee shop one day with my boyfriend and had a wonderful time escaping the cold weather with him. I love to write and write in a personal journal frequently so when I though of something to write about I thought about the day we spent in the coffee shop and let the rest flow! The only tools I needed to type up this short story were my thoughts and fingers.
The cold reminds me of a weekday last winter, we didn't want to spend another day cooped up in the house but the air was too chilling to spend much time outside. As a happy medium Kullen and I gathered our coats and the books we were reading at the time and journeyed to Georgetown to sit in a warm coffee shop for the afternoon. We arrived and found a nook to nestle in, out of the path of the cool air that circled in each time the front door opened. We ordered drinks and when I stood waiting for them I admired the metal of the espresso that bent each image before it. That day we sat and read in silence, enjoying the company of each other and shared glances. I finished Colin McCan's "Let the Great World Spin" and I recommend it to anyone looking to gain a bit of perspective.
After, I adapted it to a tweet, which was also not difficult, except for it took me a while to upload it because my wifi was not working!
Lesson to learn here that sometimes just writing something by hand is the most relaxing way to express yourself without having to deal with wifi and connection. But Twitter CAN reach a larger audience… give and take.
“Find a picture of any secret agent you would like, preferably a fairly well-known one. Next, pick a quote from a similar secret agent character. Finally, attribute said quote to a third similar character. You want the characters you chose to be well-known but also similar enough that people would confuse them with one another.”
I’ve made a poster of Matrix’s Morpheus, holding the iconic red and blue pills, with a quote from Sean Connery’s James Bond “Never say Never Again” giving credit to Neo, another Matrix character.
I love the Matrix and always confused the characters names with one another, specifically Neo and Morpheus. I was quick to find out that I am not the only one! I chose James Bond to quote because while it is recognizable, it is a general sounding quote.
I was able to make this poster entirely with an app on my phone called Pic Collage. I found a picture of Morpheus (credited here) and cropped it in the app. I then typed in my quote and positioned it in the correct spot like a poster.
Below I’ve attached my poster and you can find the original assignment HERE.
What’s more 80’s than full hair and makeup, lengthy guitar solos, tights, and sky high boots? That’s right- nothing. When people think of the 80’s they usually think of neon and athletic wear and forget all about the impact KISS had on 80’s style. While their popularity grew in the late 70’s the 80’s saw their fame. What a party a KISS concert would be!
“Copy and paste a picuture of a concert you want to be at,or you wish you were at into the photo editing app. Then copy and paste a picture of yourself in the picture of the concert to make it look like you were there, even though you were not. You will have to cut and remove away the background of the second picture, so that all you see is the backgroud of the first picture.”
In the picture below I have photo-shopped myself into a KISS concert crowd! Try to find me! (Answer at the bottom)
The picture includes the original “Kiss Army” commander-in-chief Bill Starkey holding his “Kiss Honorary Member” plaque onstage. Gene Simmons is in the background.
I took to photoshop to add myself into this picture. I had already had a candid picture of myself and a friends where I was looking to the side and laughing. I thought that this picture made a good reaction photo. I cropped the picture and put it into black and white through the iPhone photos app, sent it to my email, and uploaded it as a second layer on top of the concert photo above. Then, I transformed the image to make it smaller and appear over top of an existing person to appear legit.
“For this assignment, you will create your own unique bar code from your choice of movie. UMW’s own Zach Whalen has a image generator on his website where you can upload your movie stills to create the bar code.”
For one of my assignments I created a movie barcode. Keeping with the theme of the 80’s (but making it my own a little bit) I made one with screenshots from Bladerunner 2049. It may be obvious that this is my favorite movie- but I can’t get over how beautiful the colors are. I saw this movie in the past year and I instantly loved the color schemes but also the cinematography. I first tried to take the screenshots and put them directly into the bar code generator. I tried a few different options but I wasn’t getting the color results that I wanted. I wanted more of a chronology by color throughout the movie. So, I figured that dealt with the order of the photos saved in my folder. I ordered the screenshots from the movie by color. This wasn’t necessary, but I thought it might be more visually appealing. After experimenting with different sizing and types, I found one that I liked the most! Mostly, I found that the neon colors, shades of purples and blues, and later oranges just looked really cool! I could recognize the movie even by seeing the bar code because of the bright colors.
I think that 2049 brings in all the same themes and ideas that Bladerunner 2019 wanted to show but maybe didn’t have the technology to create for the movie at them time. The colors in articular give it a futuristic ethereal feel. I think out of all the movie aspects the color schemes give the movie a dystopian feeling.
What I also found difficult were the times in which the IMJ did not work fully. I would upload all of my panels but while a some showed up a few panels did not. I continued to try and play around with it until I figured out something that worked, but I had no real method of how I did it.
I liked the finish product of Blade Runner shown through the bar code the most. Because the colors stood out so clearly within the screenshot, it was easier to categorize them. Further, the transition between the colors was visually appealing and it made the bar code itself recognizable as “Blade Runner”.
The original assignment is hyperlinked HERE. Below I’ve attached just a few of the screenshots I included in the movie barcode and then the movie barcode itself!
“What do the 80s mean to today?” is a difficult question for someone who can only know the 80’s through movies music and reminents of a past they didn’t live through. Personally, my parents, like many others I’m sure, were big “80’s people” and played 80’s music through my youth. I listened to a lot of “Pump up the Jam” before I was 5. But in spite of that, or maybe because of it, I find the 80’s somewhat overdone. We always had “80’s day” for spirit week in high school and I wondered will we have 2010’s day 30 years from now? I can’t imagine high school aged kids walking around in UGG’s and yoga pants quite like I remember the neon scrunchies and leg warmers that flooded the halls before homecoming.
For me, it’s a “we get it” feeling. Every decade has it’s pop culture importance. But what I do understand, and hope to focus on, is the way we’ve begun to remake 80’s pop culture. Blade Runner 2049 comes to mind. This sequel is one of my favorite stand alone movies but I understand its impact being a sequel to such an iconic 80’s artifact like Blade Runner 2019. I think in remaking pop culture from the 80’s we can examine what we choose to emphasize and downplay and why. We can also look at the nostalgia element
This week I’ve set up accounts on numerous social media platforms in order to use them later for projects for digital storytelling. I’ve made an Instagram and Soundcloud and previously had a YouTube account and Twitter account. I’ve posted introductions on all of them briefly stating my name major and year at UMW. In a few introductions I also stated some clubs or things that I’m involved in on campus.I felt like this weeks assignments weren’t too complicated and that I set up my accounts well. The only thing that gave me a bit of trouble was recording audio to post on Soundcloud. My microphone in my phone right now is broken so I had to use a friends phone to record the audio. I considered recording it on my computer but the iPhone voice recording app was one I was much more comfortable using. I learned that I need to become a bit more comfortable with other tools.
I’ve also vented about my thoughts and feeling about 80’s pop culture in my blog post here!