Facebook Is Listening

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 10.47.00 AM

I recently saw this article about Facebook using your phone mic to record sound and to then tag the different sounds to your status updates. Personally, the idea of Facebook listening to what is happening around me is super creepy. What do you think? Does it “remove every last bit of friction from the way we reference bits of pop culture on the social network,” as Ryan Tate of Wired noted.  Does this add a sound layer to your status update? Or is it just another invasion of privacy?


The Hero’s Journey and Documentaries – Sheridan Dastrup

The Hero’s Journey was created by Joseph Campbell. The Hero’s Journey is basically every good story distilled into a cycle. In this cycle, a hero is called to adventure where they leave the known to face challenges and temptations. As this goes on they overcome whatever it is that called them to adventure and this transforms them. The last step to this cycle is that they return to where they started as a new, more developed person. This cycle occurs in most, if not all, of the good fictional stories that we read and see. When authors use this they create a compelling story that people can relate to. The hero always starts off as a normal person; they are always someone that the audience can relate to. As they go through the challenges that face them we as an audience grow too.

The Hero’s Journey works in fiction but it often doesn’t play out that neatly in documentaries. While many people have interesting stories to tell, they don’t often play out neatly into the Hero’s Journey. Because of this, documentaries often don’t follow the Hero’s Journey cycle. The purpose of a documentary is to shed light on things that we don’t know about. Documentaries often depict an interesting piece of history or an issue that is going on in society. While the Hero’s Journey makes fictional story more compelling and some would argue that is the one of the only ways to create a story that maintains the audience’s attention, documentaries don’t need it to keep the audience engaged. Many documentaries have a compelling story and because of how much the people in the documentary care, the audience is easily brought into the story. The details that are put into a documentary are what keeps an audience’s attention rather than the Hero’s Journey.

Digital Usage and Writing Mediums – Breanna Larson

I have been thinking quite a bit about my digital usage and, also, the kinds of mediums I prefer for various different activities.  When I recorded my digital usage for our assignment, I couldn’t help but hate myself a bit for using technology so much. This is not to say that I like technology necessarily, just that it’s a need in this day and age.  On Monday, when we wrote about our childhood rooms using multiple mediums, it got me to thinking about what medium I prefer and why.  I will try and outline my thoughts on why I use technology when I do, and why I don’t when I don’t, and ultimately which medium is the most highly ranked in my mind.

Computer usage: My use of the computer seems to only happen if I need to do homework or if I’m just really bored.  I don’t think there’s a real part of me that wants to, it’s just a medium that’s mostly been forced upon me over the years, and therefore living without it is nearly impossible.  I don’t hate the computer…but I don’t love it either.  I have very mixed feelings about it because while sometimes I enjoy using my computer, I mostly feel like I’m wasting my time on it since I’m always thinking about the other things I could be doing with my time.

Cell phone/iPod usage: Again, I tend to only use these things if I have to or if I’m bored…and the more I think about it, I seem to get bored quite a lot.  I do not at all prefer technology though, because I feel really lazy if I catch myself playing games on my iPod.  I think it’s possible that technology has, in fact, made me a lazier person than I would’ve been otherwise.

Handwriting usage: When it comes to planning, I much prefer writing things down by hand than putting them into a electronic calendar.  I also find that it’s easier to organize thoughts in handwriting than in computer typing because I don’t have to worry about margins or font or anything of that nature.  Computers certainly have their advantages when it comes to writing essays or needing to get some kind of written work done fast, but my best work actually starts in handwritten form and then moves to the technological.

Ultimately I have decided that handwritten words are my preferred mode, but my reasons for why are a little muddled.  There’s just something really appealing about handwriting.  There’s something more natural, real and personal about handwriting, and also something more concrete, that typing on phones or computers doesn’t offer.

Noah Bailey – Taking the Stage (Blog Post #3)

The white noise of conversations, house music and the bar bleeds into the small back stage room of Dingbatz in Clifton, New Jersey. It is the end of the last day of the 2013 “Ghouls’ Night Out Festival”, the largest festival of its kind in North America. A two-day gathering of horror movie geeks and punk rockers from all over the United States and the world abroad, “Ghouls Night Out” is the only place to be if you enjoy the music subgenre of ‘horrorpunk’.

Hasty last minute preparations are made. Drums are moved from the cramped room and onto the stage. Guitars, amp heads, cabinets, pedal boards – all manner of gear is hustled out to the stage. The space is a literal bee hive of activity. Argyle Goolsby, frontman and lead singer of this project, tightens the black leather gloves which cover his hands and adjusts his solid black wide-brimmed hat. Beneath the white contacts that hide his eyes, an intense focus on the task ahead is brewing. Soon he, myself, Joe, J-Sin and Paulie will blow on through the hour long set list of his debut live solo performance.

The stage is set. I sneak on prior to the cue for the intro music, to make sure my guitar is still tuned and that my amp and pedal board are powered on properly and ready to go. I look out into the large room of the bar. People are filling in, buying drinks and taking their positions in front of the stage. I head backstage again.

Five minutes pass. Joe, J-Sin, Paulie, Goolsby and I all give each other slaps on the back and a few words of encouragement. Then silence for some moments.

The intro music begins. A roar of excitement erupts from the bar. Our audience is waiting and they are ready.

As the intro slows, our cue to walk on stage is given. Goolsby leads the five of us out in front of the crowd. The applause and screams are deafening as Goolsby greets the crowd. Like a wall of energy.

300 screaming fans packed into a tiny dive in New Jersey to bear witness to this special moment in time. One show they won’t forget.

It was one we would never forget, either.

Freytag’s Pyramid & the New Narrative – Davor Simunovic

Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and the denouement . . . oh, that word . . . form to complete the dramatic arc, Freytag’s pyramid. Synonymous with fictive story and epic adventure, this narrative structure comprises most of all written prose. But is this concrete set of immovable measures a tad bit antiquated? Can this approach be applied towards new narrative structures; ones melded and mixed with the digital and the hyper-textual? Is Freytag’s pyramid just that, a pyramid, an old structural relic of the past?

I wonder, with some of my cohorts against Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, is there any go-to narrative structure. The problem, I believe, lies with the stringent linear mandate of the pyramid. Non-linear and incomplete narratives bring about them inconsistent form if placed within the pyramid. Stories told with changing narratives, swinging point of views, and multi-linear branching plots tend not to follow conventional narrative structures. Films like ‘Momento,’ ‘Before the Devil Knows Your Dead,’ ‘The Fountain,’ tell most – if not all of their stories in reverse chronological order. Can the conclusion also be the exposition? What if the rising and falling actions inter-converge? What if there is no denouement? I may not have the all the answers, but can the answers be justified within Freytag’s structure? Narrative is a fascinating topic, and it is undoubtedly an ever-evolving component of story. If only mapping it and modeling it into a perfect paradigm were so easy.