Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Last Blog Post );

Today is the last class before the final project and I can still remember the first time I entered this classroom. From memory, I can recall not knowing exactly to write about in my blog post at first. I was left staring around the room, marveling in the multi-purpose usefulness of the room and the strange coils that hung from the ceiling that seemed to be connecting us to some other world. This class has made me think more critically but more open-minded about what I am doing and why I am doing it. This class has not only introduced my to the limited fork theory, which I have begun to think about a lot of the time, but it has introduced me to a new and more enjoyable type of working environment. Professor Moss is truly a saint and learning from her has been a delight and such a pleasure. Her brilliance can be felt in every conversation one has with her as her light shines through her bright smile without fail. I look forward to presenting in class on Monday and finishing up the final project. While I cannot say I have completely finished my journey I think that this is the point of the class. This is what limited fork theory is all about, because there are always going to be more possibilities. The idea of thinking abnormally makes you challenge the realm of normal, and think in more fascinating ways.


I don't have all the information.
I don't know any truth.
I can't see the future, and my memories are fuzzy.
Despite my perceived universe, which to me seems infinite,
it is only an impossibly small fraction
of the unbounded amount of universes that are available.

I think what Thylias said today about how these projects can't ever be completed was very comforting to me. Not only because I don't have to worry about trying to complete every piece that I've started within my project, but because she also seems to understand my above lines. I had been thinking about things like her 'fork theory' but on that first day when she sort of explained the reasoning behind it, and explained the theory in full, I was able to run with it. I was able to take its ideas and use the fork to tear a hole into the whole that is my personally generalized being.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Of Fleeting Nature

As I watch my completed project on a flat, illuminated computer screen, I think about privilege. The privilege to see, to hear, to collect and experience this information that I have, in essence, created as a contribution to the knowledge of the Inter Network. Experience, and gaining knowledge, is a privilege. It is an opportunity to collect information through the inputs of our body, transitioning what goes in to thoughts, emotions, feelings, produced by our brains. Now, I am no neuroscience major, nor a musician, but the functionality of the human body, the capability of it, seems an orchestra. An orchestra that not all walks of life can partake in. An orchestra that has all key musicians, without a note off, without an instrument gone. Yet this is the privilege to observe temporality, and perhaps the privilege to observe permanence--i.e., touching--is not a privilege at all, but one shared by all walks of life.

I think back to Helen Keller--where all she had was touch. Where everything I have just created, becomes void. If I create in order to contribute to this world, is creating something that has no space in the physical world, really creating at all? If its ability to be lost is as simplified by the click of a mouse or a touch of a button, is this really creating at all? If its ability to transform is trumped by the prospect of forever deletion of what was before, is this really creating at all?

What is so easily created, is so easily destroyed--of fleeting nature.

"Limited Fork" in Relation to Polarized Opinions

I began writing this chapter of my book, and I realized I cannot yet, with certainty or authority, answer the questions I ask at the end of this short paragraph. I think they are interesting questions to consider, and I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the subject before I continue with this section. "Limited Fork" in Relation to Polarized Opinions Over the past few chapters, I have explored the connection to a shared goal within the realm of polarized opinions. But now I wanted to shift the focus back onto the fork and its contribution in the situation. Linking the fork into the equation begs the question, how can people with the same goal traverse such different paths that their initial connection is forgotten? Moreover, can the fork ever lead them back to each other, or are the tines so distant from each other that they will never again cross paths? Please feel free to comment--your insights will be very valuable to me!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I finished my video for my presentation next week. Yet I am in the process of deciding how I want to pursue this for the rest of my life--how I can move forward with my exploration of sign, sound, motion, taste, and all the other senses that compose a physical experience. It is a project that definitely has potential, a project where I can specifically work on portraying more sensory experiences through digital media, through iBook, iPads, Blogs, etc. I am going to continue reading texts that examine different experiences with the senses. This process may change, and that is okay. But, as you have mentioned, this is in fact a process, and one that will take a long time. And frankly, it will be impossible to entirely represent the entirety of senses through technology--but this is, in essence, Limited Fork theory. This movie, which I have created, ends abruptly for a reason...that is, because it is meant to be continued. To be an ever-long film that heightens senses as I experience the world, as I develop and recreate my story. 


Because I don't expect everyone to be following my blog, I wanted to update the class on my progress so far in an easily accessible and connected environment. So, a short, condensed post: -I am creating an iBook exploring polarized opinions to find the common link. For example, gun control. Both sides ultimately want safety, but those wanting stricter laws argue that guns create danger, while those wanting freer laws argue that guns are necessary for self defense. -I have so far written the introduction to my book and the first chapter. Both of which are available on my blog. -I have begun writing a third section that begins exploring more universal, broad issues such as the human journey to find happiness, but I don't consider this a "third chapter," since I ultimately see the book leading up to this issue. -I also want to explore the argument of gay marriage, which I see has halfway between gun control and the pursuit of happiness. -I have found different videos and pictures I want to include in my book, though I haven't compiled final versions I am completely happy with yet. What I still need to do: -Figure out how I want to share a semi-finished product. I don't want to publish the book unfinished, so I am unsure how to share it with the class. Any ideas on this would help! -Finalize the videos and images I want to layer my project with -Finish the gay marriage and happiness sections I also think I need a separate section clearly describing limited fork's role in polarized opinions, so I want to start writing that as well. This would probably occur after the first few chapters in my book in order to tie my ideas together.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Beautiful things

Hello all!

I am thankful for beautiful things - especially photography!
I'm a big fan of the work of Jack Perno, who also happens to be a family friend.
He pioneered the emulsion technique for polaroid photography and used me as a model a few times.
Check it out!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Audience Decisions-post from my class blog

From Today, Thylias showed us a presentation she created where many different mediums were layered on top of one another and many different scenes were presented at once, in order to give the audience the freedom to decide where to direct their attention. This choice and freedom of choice is very interesting to me, and I think it would be fascinating to create a similar presentation and then survey the audience to see if there were any trends towards preferences. Because we are nearing the end of the semester and I am concentrating a lot on the progress of my final project, I am wondering if there is any way I can incorporate this audience decision onto my project. Unfortunately, I am thinking that books are a much more difficult medium to accomplish this. And even if I do incorporate sounds and pictures into my iBook, I think my specific project and exploration would not benefit as much initially from a similar presentation. Perhaps that would be something to think about continuing past the limitations of this semester.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Staring in Wonder

I have begun collecting photographs that help to demonstrate the way people experience the world--photos from blind photographers, as well as photos OF people experiencing the physical world. 

I was reading an article about Steve Jobs earlier today, as the author explored his thoughts on the accessibility of information online--he writes: "'I have given it all away': all our numbers, all our details, all our quirks and secrets and searches, and even our dreams, and we will stand naked. The computer that allowed us to stare in wonder at the world has allowed the world to stare pitilessly back at us." I want to explore this concept of "staring in wonder"...I'm still thinking. 

Thoughts about how to explore this?

Forked - a brief essay written before the second cup of coffee

I sit at the table with my date. I am drenched in sweat and ready to start screaming. It's not the company. Oh no, she seems pleasant enough. Middle aged, attractive, intelligent, and a 50/50 shot to offer to go dutch on the meal. No, it's not her. It's the forks. My place setting alone has four of them, intended for various uses. My date has a set. And the waiter, damn him, did not remove the other place settings, so there are forks there as well. The condiments jars with various foods soaking in oils and vinegars all have forks- tiny ones, yes, but still deadly.. I try to concentrate on her face but lose focus, and my eyes drift. But all the tables have forks as well and dear god, there are a lot of tables. It's an endless sea, with countless forks. Some are being used. The redhead with too much lipstick to the left of my date keeps catching my eye and she's putting her fork in her mouth, scraping the tines across her rather large teeth. She seems to be taking delight in my discomfiture. And then the moment. Somewhere, in the far corner of the restaurant, a fork vibrates. Maybe it was from a passing truck or the subway rumbling underneath the restaurant. No matter the cause, the vibration is picked up by adjacent forks, and they too begin to resonate, and it spreads like wildfire. The different forks resonate at various frequencies, a Ring Cycle gone mad. The vibrations gather momentum, a tsunami of metallic ringing that grows to monstrous proportion as it hurtles toward our table. The redhead smiles and pulls the fork from her mouth, lipstick smearing on it as it draws across her lips, and the taps it on her wine glass, the maestro conducting the horror. The wave washes across me. I am drowning. Dark spots swim before my eyes. I feel myself tottering on my chair, but summoning every gram of energy in my body, I struggle against the wave and manage to hang on. The wave passes, and my head pokes above water. Forks are strewn across the restaurant. The wait staff and patrons seem remarkably unconcerned. My date stares at me. "Are you okay? You look like you just saw a ghost. Are you having a heart attack?" I smile weakly, and making it look like an accident, sweep my forks off the table with my elbow. A waiter swoops in. "I am sorry, sir, let me bring you some clean forks." I shake my head no. "If you don't mind, I'd rather you bring me some chopsticks. And a double bourbon on the rocks please." He rushes off. I am better now. My personal space is clear of forks. I am safe. I look at my date. "Now, what was that about the time you hiked that mountain in New Zealand?" SZ 11/12/12 9:16am time for more coffee

Monday, November 5, 2012

shift, forks, tines, tangents

After happening upon the work of Angela Palmer,  a sculptor and video artist, a series of events has led me to shift my project's form (sort of) slightly. The body of Palmer's work involves the intricate mapping of MRI and CT scans using multiple layered sheets of glass. Her artist statement reads, "I have always loved maps. The process of investigating and visualizing topographies, natural forms and landscapes, and then producing them in a form which captures their essence is endlessly fascinating and satisfying." This eerily, magically correlates with my thought process and concepts discussed in our course readings.

I realized my project should illustrate both the connectedness and layered nature of my own process and thought.

Some more browsing and I stumble upon an article about Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers, entitled Crossing the boundaries of the cinematic screenI was attracted to the article's emphasis of "intertextual, intermedial and intercultural references." Video installation artist Aitken uses multiple projections and screens to "animate" the installation space, in this case, specifically the walls of the MoMa. The idea of primarily interacting with a space, rather than an audience, appeals to my frequent desire to be an artist, rather than just a designer. Video installations utilizing multiple screens effect simultaneity, often an intentional confusion that is essential to the experience. Whispers of Limited Fork Theory can be heard in the article: "Instead of presenting a continuous narrative, Aitkin focuses on the common threads of existence that connect the workers despite their divergent lifestyles."

Similar to the events in my head, these concurrent projections successfully communicate a "bigger picture" fragmented. Perhaps, instead of aiming to force the viewer, or experiencer, into recognizing a specific message, my perspective, or my intention, I can create an immersive environment that allows them a choice. I'm at odds, in general, about the notion of intention. I'd much rather linger in expression, even if it is unintelligible, or uncommunicable.

Thus, I've decided to translate my project into a video installation.

The form isn't all too foreign to me. Last fall semester, I took Cynthia Pachikara's course on video installation and completely fell in love with it. The projects were all collaborative, except for the final, so I'm interested in seeing how far I can get without an explicitly collaborative system. It may be good for me to externally think and work since living in one's head isn't always pleasant. Although we discussed the use of multiple projections, I never had the chance to try my hand at it. I'm hoping to use this project as an opportunity to experiment with different projections and screens, as well as explore modes of interference (recall an earlier blog post on glitchr art).

In the meantime, I've been reading Maeve Connolly's Place of Artists Cinema: Space, Site, and Screen. This shift in form creates some new questions: What is the difference between interactive art and art that necessitates an active "viewer," or participant? Which am I more concerned with? Do I want to maintain a distinction between projection and the actual space, or emphasize the seams? Will I transcend the flatness of a monitor and successfully create tangible space? How can I facilitate the activation of space? If I had all the time in the multiverse, I would fully pursue something like the Khronos Project.

Project Time

I have recently changed my project quite a bit. Before I was working on ideas for a children's book for adults and an adult book for kids. However, after much thought and consideration, I realized that those ideas were too finite. I wanted something that could be continually altered and added to, which also had an element of interactivity. My new project idea fits those parameters (which are really non-parameters) perfectly. I am working on the content for a website to be built in iWeb, that will allow the viewer to determine his or her own path. My inspiration for this ranges from limited fork theory to cootie catchers, and the content will draw from a wide variety of sources-including some of the poetry we have read for this course. I have not yet decided whether or not the viewer will have the opportunity to go back at times, but I would like them to mostly be pressing forward into the depths of the site. The site will include a variety of media, research for which I will be working on today. Additionally, the prompts to the viewer will have dual (or even triple or quadruple) meanings, which will be up to the viewer to read into (or not). For example, if one chooses to make the site darker, the content might be of a "darker" nature. Or, if the options are different shapes, one's choice will correspond not only to visuals, but perhaps also to the shape of a sound wave. Preferences will be grounded in research to present to the viewer something crafted for their particular mood or tastes without them explicitly realizing it. For example, someone interested in bright, vibrant colors might generate a page that includes louder, faster-paced, or more upbeat content. I want each page to have a central focus, and be pretty simple. The website will be more of a game, rather than having a practical purpose. Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Trees and Doctor Who

Ch-ch-check it out!


A beautiful Video

This video is a film of the redwoods in California. These trees are hundreds of years old, and this video kind of follows their lives from the beginning of the forest through a poem. 

"It was very quiet all the time because the trees needed to focus on their lives"
This is my favorite line in the video. I think that trees are so much more powerful and thoughtful than humans. I know that they don't have brains, but they have to have some sort of spirit that causes them to stretch their branches out in the way that they do, and to choose how their leaves will fall and grow. I think that these decisions just aren't made as quickly as humans change, because trees are so still. But really they are growing. They are always growing, and they never stop growing, and that's why trees are awesome. 

On Trees

Talking about trees in class brought of many thoughts and memories in my mind. It is hard not to love and appreciate trees. For their humbleness, patience and overall grand appearance. They are deep and rooted in every sense of the word. However, something else that we talked about in class sprung another idea. The idea that we can change our minds as we please and that we should. I think the same is often true for trees because they can change direction and alter the course of their existence. It is almost as if trees have a mind of their own. I am glad we talked about trees in class today because it made me think about one tree I planted when I was little and how fulfilling and thought provoking it is when I go back to see it. Signing off. Thank you!


Trees remind me of a lot of things. First, I think of my Mom. She loves trees and has certain trees that are "hers." The tree on the corner of our street is very old and tall, and in the fall it always promises vivid oranges and reds. This brings to question location: my relationship with trees, as someone from the East coast is probably much different than someone from California's relationship with trees. I look forward to and celebrate their changes. I also love when they become a frosted white in the winter.

In high school I was involved with an environmental organization on campus that has been around for many years. We have our own farm within a stone's throw from campus called "Paddock Farm." All of the trees that grow there were planted by members of the EAC and we have our club traditions upon picking their apples, and adding to the collection of trees. During my junior year of high school, threats were made to tear down this farm and build in it's place a golf course. This was an emotional time for our group and to the years of history and memories that filled Paddock Farm. We fought back, sending letters to newspapers and funders of the golf course. Ultimately it was decided that the environmental damage of the golf course would not only be detrimental to Paddock Farm, but also to the town as a whole, as pesticides from the golf course would be distributed everywhere in rain run-off. I still go back to visit Paddock Farm with my friends and we love to check on the trees we planted as they progress through their childhoods.

Progress on Physicality

In prepping for my project, I have begun to think about what my iBook would look like, and in doing so, have arrived at an interesting realization. The comparison that I hoped to create--between experiencing the world through the physical realm versus the technological realm--is one that cannot necessarily be represented on a digital format. In showing a physical experience within the structure of an iBook, I essentially reproduce that physical experience in a digital form--increasing the difficulty of translation of physicality. Which then draws me to an interesting conclusion--that we cannot evoke a physical experience digitally, which increases the gap between what we can share among these two worlds of knowledge. What does it mean to climb a tree in the physical realm? What does it mean to climb a tree in the digital realm? How does either make progress toward our acquisition of information?  Excuse my tendencies as I think, or type, out loud. How much knowledge can we gain about the world in sharing experiences, both in conversation and in proximity, with respect to the amount of knowledge we can gain by the retelling of stories and experiences through digital mediums?

To me, there is power in conversation--in body language, in tone, in responsiveness--that allows us to generate more feelings crucial to our perception of this world. To me, there is power in touching--in climbing trees, experiencing nature, feeling the vibrations of live music--that allow me to explore what this world is capable of.

It is here that I begin my progress on my project and my authorship of the iBook as my project--comparing how we experience things and gain knowledge by taking the channel I use into account. That the reader of my project is essentially gaining knowledge about my thoughts through the technological realm, and not the physical realm. That my argument essentially contradicts itself through its ability to only be relayed and understood through the readers experience with the digital world. It is also here that I can work with Helen Keller's words in tandem with my thoughts.

"Anatomy Atlases"

Click on the links to see cross sections of the male and female human body! A perfect mix of disgusting and fascinating.

Old Trees

I highly recommend that you read this:

--useful to emerging understandings about forks!

Should be both useful and delightful!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Class blog

I've been making a lot of updates to my blog recently--click here to follow me and my progress on my class project!


Hi all,

I was having some thoughts about the ibook presentation as class was wrapping up, so I thought I'd share them here.
Something kept bugging me throughout the presentation and I think I can finally put my finger on what it is.
For me, ipads feel less like amazing instruments of technological development, and more like inaccessible devices that are designed for and service only those with enough money to be able to participate.
In other words, as a financial aid student myself, I have a hard time seeing ipads and ibooks as anything more than a means of limiting new information and important news articles to a very specific, isolated group of people.
Perhaps it is this discomfort that has caused my hesitancy about creating an ibook and my desire to seek out other options, like Prezi, a website, or a blog.

Does anyone feel similarly/have any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Progress Since Monday

The brainstorming session we had in class Monday was extremely helpful and got me thinking just how much sharing ideas leads to progress. Since sharing my idea of exploring opposite methods people use to reach a shared goal--such as opposing viewpoints on gun control with the common goal of safety--I have been brainstorming many ways to illustrate this concept using pictures, videos, and potentially interviewing people on their beliefs and the goals behind these beliefs. I realize this could get personal with questioning beliefs on subjects such as gun control or methods of obtaining happiness, but I feel that honest responses to these questions would illicit a very meaningful message. Ultimately, in my project, I want to explore a few different questions. However, with only a month and a half left, I am not sure how many topics I will be able to explore. For now, I want to do a little research into some topics I am considering and then see what could be feasible to complete by the end of the semester, and which would stretch beyond December 11. While I know this is an ongoing project, I would like to have at least one or two topics explored in my iBook by the end of the semester so I can show everyone my progress throughout the semester and give you all a good idea of what my final project would look like.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Hey all,

Thanks for brainstorming today!
It helped me quite a bit to discuss my own ideas/hear all of you work through your plans.
Looking forward to updates from ev'body!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Workin' on

Hey guys -

I've been pondering quite a bit lately about my project theme of mis/translation and retelling myths, here's some evidence on my blog!


Hi everyone,

So I'm a little stuck, if you could not tell from the title. I've stopped progress on my original project, for reasons none other than the fact that I was simply not passionate about what I had chosen to do--not committed. I look for inspiration everywhere, waiting for it to come to me so that I can embark on the process of this iBook, and share my knowledge with others as information to acquire. So, my friends, this is where I am at. I can only hope to update soon.

Documentation of Last Wednesday

I wasn't in class last wednesday, because my father came into town to take me to Lansing for a special honor I received. I documented some of my journey in hopes that maybe I could find a connection between what went on in class and what went on at the same time in Lansing. I had not seen my father since April, so that made the outing even more special. Did anything special happen in Ann Arbor last wednesday morning? Please share!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Progress and Process

This update is long overdue, but, here it is. After much inspiration sourcing, brainstorming, and experimenting, I have the beginnings of the process and product of my project. Below are some screenshots of an animation on thoughts: reoccurring, tangential, rare, and what may fall into "etc." Like always, my eyes are bigger than my stomach; my idea may take more time than the semester allows. I was hoping to design an interactive website with video, sound, and photographic content. This first animation is still in its drafting stage, so I'm thinking I may have to focus on condensing the website into the video. In that case, the animation will turn into a mixed media video,  teetering between the photographic and graphic.

It's often difficult for me to talk about process because 'what exactly am I thinking about right now?' I rely on reading about what others have to say, but never fully comprehend how my own process operates. Everything is a work in progress, I guess. Michael Bierut, an experienced designer and writer, offers this in his article, This is My Process, "They are careful to identify the defining characteristics of this kind of work: allowing solutions to emerge in a process of iteration, rather than trying to get everything right the first time; accepting the lack of control in the process, and letting the improvisation engendered by uncertainty help drive the process; and creating a work environment that sets clear enough limits that people can play securely within them." I should make a more organized list of my scrambled thoughts. Compulsively making to-do lists is really just another form of procrastination. I'm certainly guilty of doing this. In a way, this video is a process of process, or the visualization of the work towards some semblance of a product.

I want my video to be interactive, similar to how some websites have the ability to do more than visually engage. The viewer isn't a passive observer, or merely a consumer. The music video for Arcade Fire's The Suburbs is an example of this interactivity. The interactive video personalizes the experience of a music video by setting the video in the viewer's childhood neighborhood, after having the viewer enter the address. The video further exceeds a sense of containment by launching multiple browser windows. no small feat, this production is the result of cross-disciplinary collaboration, crediting an impressive team of musicians, designers, programmers, filmmakers  and more. How do you have a conversation with a thing? How can I engage people in the way we work through our own thoughts? Inspiration can be so intimidating! Any words of advice?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

From across the state

Hello all,

As we all know, sometimes life prevents us from being able to follow through on 100% of our plans and obligations.  As some of you may know, my mom has fibromyalgia and a myriad of other medical complications, which is why I typically go home during any study break to offer my mom some extra help.  I am currently still in my hometown with her, offering assistance where I can, and won't be back until this evening.  I apologize for not being able to be in class today, but please know that my project has been on my mind!

In fact, I've been wrestling with how to present my final project for this class, as I do not have an ipad or an e-reader and would like it to be as accessible as possible to as many people as I can reach.  Are any of you familiar with the website Prezi?  I just recently learned of it myself and it's really quite incredible.  You are able to create intricate, interactive presentations including text, pictures, links, videos, etc. that can be open to public domain.

What do you guys think about me possibly utilizing Prezi for my final project?
Feel free to comment here on any information you think pertinent that I may have missed today!!

Happy forking,


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lichtenberg Figures

What are Captured LightningTM Sculptures (Lichtenberg figures) and how are they made?
Copyright Stoneridge Engineering, 1999-2012, Updated 02/17/12
Lichtenberg figures are branching patterns that are created on the surface or the interior of insulating materials by high voltage electrical discharges. The first Lichtenberg figures were two-dimensional patterns formed in dust that settled on electrically-charged resin plates in the laboratory of a German physicist, and their discoverer, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799). The principles involved in creating Lichtenberg figures are fundamental to the operation of modern copying machines and laser printers. Their study was the beginning of the science of Plasma Physics. Today, we use modern materials and electron beam accelerators to create stunning 3D Lichtenberg figures – our famous “Captured LightningTM” sculptures.
We make our sculptures out of polished acrylic (Polymethyl Methacrylate, or PMMA), since this material has an ideal combination of optical, electrical, and mechanical properties. We also use a linear accelerator, or “Linac”, to generate a beam of high-speed electrons. Electrons within the beam are accelerated to “relativistic” velocities – over 99% of the speed of light. During acceleration, the electrons in the beam acquire a large amount of kinetic energy, measured in millions of electron volts (MeV). We place pieces of optically-clear acrylic in the path of the electron beam, “irradiating” them. The electrons first travel through 22 inches of air. When they slam into the surface of the acrylic, they don’t stop immediately. Instead, they burrow inside, colliding with acrylic molecules and rapidly slowing down, finally coming to rest about 1⁄4” to 1⁄2” below the surface.
As we continue to irradiate the acrylic, excess electrons accumulate inside, forming a cloud-like layer, called a “space charge”, which may contain over a trillion extra electrons. Since acrylic is an excellent electrical insulator, injected electrons become trapped within the space charge layer, causing an extremely high electrical stress that can approach 20 million volts per inch. If the stress overcomes the insulation strength of the acrylic, chemical bonds between acrylic molecules begin to rupture, and a network of thousands of electrically-conductive (“ionized”) branching pathway suddenly forms within the acrylic. These pathways allow the trapped charges to blast their way through the acrylic in a brilliant blue-white flash of miniature lightning, accompanied by a loud BANG. In a 4” x 4” sculpture, the main discharge may last for only 100 billionths of a second, but smaller secondary discharges often continue to flash for many minutes afterwards, as pockets of residual charge redistribute themselves.
Electrical breakdown occurs on a much grander scale when natural lightning drains highly-charged regions within storm clouds. However, unlike sparks in air, discharges within acrylic leave a permanent “fossil” record of their passage. The white-hot discharges create chains of small tubes and fractures inside the acrylic, and a tiny crater is also created on the surface at the exit point. If the specimen doesn’t self-discharge as it is being irradiated, we manually trigger a discharge by poking the surface of the charged specimen with a well-insulated metal point. The sharp point concentrates the electrical field, triggering a discharge at the tip. Specimens that self-discharge usually form a chaotic tangle of discharges instead of a nicely branched tree. The crystalline “flakes” that appear along the discharge paths are actually small fractures. These curved fractures are characteristic of the way that glassy materials fracture when mechanically overstressed.
Lichtenberg figures usually have tree-like or fern-like structures that appear similar when viewed at various scales of magnification. As with numerous other self-similar phenomena in nature, Lichtenberg figures can be modeled by a branch of mathematics called Fractal Geometry. The outer surfaces of the acrylic sample and the surrounding air form a dissimilar dielectric interface where some of the trapped space charge can leak away. The regions of reduced charge density cause the discharge-free zone along the edges of the specimen. Most of our Lichtenberg Figures were created with electron beams having energies of 2 to 5 MeV. The beam dosage and energy are adjusted to produce well-formed figures within each sculpture. Although they look similar, your Captured LightningTM sculpture is truly unique, fashioned in a flash by a multi-million volt lightning bolt.
Newer sculptures often have an amber tint, called solarization. This appears as a tinted zone between the irradiated surface and the discharge layer. Solarization is caused by defects in the molecular structure of the acrylic. Called color centers, these are created by structural changes in the acrylic from X-radiation or small numbers of stranded electrons. Powerful X-rays are generated when high-velocity electrons are rapidly slowed as they collide with acrylic molecules. Electrons in the beam are initially traveling at close to the speed of light prior to hitting the acrylic. As they collide with acrylic molecules, they rapidly slow down, releasing their kinetic energy in the form of high-energy X-rays. The color centers tend to absorb light at the blue end of the visible spectrum, so white light passing through a solarized region acquires an amber tint. Solarization usually fades with time. Gentle heating in air (more specifically, oxygen) often accelerates the bleaching process. Many specimens also show slight changes in the refractive index from residual stresses or light radiation fogging in the solarized regions. Considerably more information about Captured LightningTM sculptures, including short video clips of our team actually making various sculptures, can be found on our web site:
Caring for your Lichtenberg Figure
With care, your Captured LightningTM sculpture will remain beautiful for years. Dust carefully using a dampened flannel cloth. Remove fingerprints using mild detergent and water, then rinse well and blot using a damp flannel cloth. Never wipe your sculpture with dry paper towels or Kleenex tissues, since these can scratch the surface. Never apply window cleaners, spray waxes, solvents, or scouring compounds, since these may permanently damage the surface of your sculpture. To restore your sculpture’s original luster, use a soft cloth and a polish specifically made for acrylic, such as Novus #2 from Novus Plastic Polish, Ltd., or an automotive paste wax (NOT a cleaner/wax combination!). If your specimen has heavier scratches, use Novus #3 Heavy Scratch Remover first, then polish to a high luster using Novus #2.
Stoneridge Engineering is proud to provide the most beautiful 2D and 3D Lichtenberg Figures in the world
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For more information, see Download a copy of this explanation at
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Into the Garden with Charles

Into the Garden with Charles is a very moving novel about a man’s journey to find love and connections. Interestingly, he didn’t find this “great love” when he was looking for it in his early life. Instead, he found love after he was passionately connected with his garden. This is an interesting exploration of how connections are made, both with people and with passions. Skip’s story is an authentic experience with a somewhat-tired cliché “you find love when you’re not looking for it.” However, I feel that Skip’s story is different than that, and meant something more than that. Skip threw himself into his garden, and ended up becoming a better person because of it. Gardens require amazing amounts of care and nurturing, and the more you put into a garden, the more you get out of it. And then, because of the compassion Skip learned from his gardening, he was able to wisely care for a romantic relationship when it did come along. To me, this is a beautiful story of the power of connections. It holds true in almost every aspect of life that you get out what you put in. We are presented with thousands of opportunities for connections every day, and we pass almost all of these up. By necessity, we cannot possibly connect with every person or piece of information we meet—that would be impossible. But, what if we, and especially me, tried to pay more attention to these opportunities? For Skip, he never imagined gardening would ultimately lead to a great romance, but it did exactly that. This is a wonderful, true story of the importance of all connections, and of nurturing the connections that matter most to you.
Hey Guys!

I can't wait for fall break to take a break from classes and let my mind go on a vacation. This fall break I will be heading home to New York City where I will get to see my family. I am especially excited to see my sister who just started school in New Orleans and I look forward to seeing how things are going for her. many of my friends are going to Las Vegas for the weekend, of which I am very jealous, but I will try to distract myself. I am also going to the New York Jets game in their new stadium and cannot wait to experience that. I will miss Ann Arbor for the weekend but it will be great to be in New York City and walk through Central Park to see the changes in the colors of the leaves.

Thats all I got for now.

My project

Hey all,

in response to the moments of retelling myths or mistranslations that I'm collecting, does anyone have any areas of interest they could point me to?

Please check out this link to Lichtenberg Figures:
 and watch the video in which forkergirl discusses their significance in her work,
a YouTube video.  

In the following image, you see journeys of electrons in plexiglas --a fractal similarity to forests is unmistakable --but this one can be held in a hand!  --Please notice how these tines, of so many forks appear to be reaching out to each other --in attempts to connect --temporarily!  Electron bridges!  Electron connections!  --on every scale, some form of this happens!  in every location!  for EVERY duration!  --so important that we attempt to connect!  What would we be without attempts!  --fine if we fail, as long as we've tried!  --and the figure itself documents attempt!

This image of captured lightning comes from the website this link goes to.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Remix Culture

Hey y'all

I ran into this website and thought it was really interesting, and thought that it was relavent to the class.

Watch the front video, and let me know what y'all think.


Monday, October 8, 2012

On Touch

I just completed Helen Keller's The World I Live In this morning. I found it fascinating. She spends the majority of her time discussing the power of touch, how the senses of seeing and hearing are in no way crucial to her understanding of and experience with the world--how feeling implanted an imagination and intuition about happenings and characters. She writes,

"There is nothing, however, misty or uncertain about what we can touch. Through the sense of touch I know the faces of friends, the illimitable variety of straight and curved lines, all surfaces...I derive much knowledge of every-day matter from the jars and jolts which are felt everywhere in the house."

Which then got me thinking about our experiences with this class--and the book's connection to Limited Fork Theory. If Keller's purpose is not only to allow her reader to understand her point of view, but to additionally shed light on the ability to experience the world whole-heartedly through physical touch, then perhaps our attempts to gain knowledge about this world should expand beyond the internet and what we can attain through a computer screen. Keller's senses would feel computer keys, buttons, that essentially cannot lead her to the infiniteness of what's inside--yet she attests to being at no greater loss than the seeing or the hearing. The power of touch. I am currently reading another book, Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, in which the speaker writes:

"if we human beings are information processing machines, reading X's and O's and translating that information into what people oh so breathlessly call 'experience,' and if I had access to all that same information via cable TV and any number of magazines that I browsed through at Hudson News for four- and five-hour stretches on my free days...if I had not only the information but the artistry to shape that information using the computer inside my brain...then, technically speaking, was I not having all the same experiences those other people were having?
     I tested my theory by standing outside the public library at Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street...
     ...Like all failed experiments, that one taught me something I didn't expect: one key ingredient of so-called experience is the delusional faith that it is unique and special, that those included in it are privileged and those excluded from it are missing out. And I, like a scientists unwittingly inhaling toxic fumes from the beaker I was boiling in my lab, had, through sheer physical proximity, been infected by that same delusion and in my drugged state had come to believe I was Excluded."

So, perhaps we cannot gain knowledge and experience with the world, but rather only within it. I chose to read the books for this class as hard copies, renting from the library...that is, not as e-Books. While e-Books are interactive, and are immediately connecting you to what I mentioned above as the infiniteness of the Internet, the physical book allows me to physically interact with the actual world while I read it. And while I am not making an argument for the e-Book vs. physical book debate, I think Helen Keller was able to provide me with a little insight, and a little inspiration, about our ability to gain knowledge about this world through the power of touch. 

Blog Post on Myths and Re-myths

Hey guys,

I've got a new blog post up! This one deals (again) with myths and retelling the myth.  I think this can relate to what I've been working on for my project about collecting moments of mis-translation and translation, perhaps retelling a myth can be the same thing?

Thoughts and guidance please!!!

Bloggy Blogging

Hey all,

Just thought I'd send you an update on some other blog-related happenings in my life.
I'm a tutor for Sweetland Writing Center, and last weekend I participated in a conference on writing in East Lansing, MI.  The theme of the conference was "storytelling," and small groups of peer tutors from colleges all over Michigan gave presentations or lead roundtable discussions on topics of their choice.  Two other U of M tutors and myself lead a discussion on blogging and the future of blogging and writing centers.

Currently, we are trying to make bloggers feel more welcome in the Writing Center.  We encourage students to come in with both personal and academic blogs and get feedback from our tutors.  We discussed the freedom a blog allows a writer to explore, while an essay provides much more of a rigid structure.  We, as Sweetland tutors, are on hand to help students embrace this newfound freedom and break themselves out of a typical thesis-essay format in their blog comments and posts.

The discussion was received very well by both tutors and professors who participated.  Although some professors seemed somewhat hesitant or confused by the importance we were placing on blogs in the classroom, they seemed willing to explore the possibility of including blog-based writing in their classrooms.

I was able to use this class as an example, and even got to show off this blog! Thanks to all for making the blog such an interesting webpage to show off during my presentation!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Newyorican Blog Post

Hey guys!

Here's a more lengthy (and photographic) documentation of my trip to NYC. Ch-ch-check it out!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Class Tomorrow

Hi everyone! I will unfortunately have to miss class tomorrow because I had to schedule a job interview for noon. It would be a position in Target's distribution center as a team leader, managing 25-30 people to ensure proper distribution of goods to Target's hundreds of stores nationwide. I don't think it is a position I am very interested in, but an interview is an interview and will be valuable experience connecting with potential employers. Plus who knows? After this round of phone interviews there are a few in-person interviews at the distribution center so I may find it to be a better fit than I'm anticipating. Anyhow, have a great class and I'll see you all next Monday!

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Weight" and Airplanes and Expectation like Myth

I decided to save "Weight" to read on the airplane on my trip to New York City last week. I had glanced at the flap of the book before, and thought that reading the text while on the airplane might provide a unique experience for interpretation.

While Heracles was struggling and straining under the weight of Atlas' burden, I was flying through the air and feeling curiously weightless.  While Atlas pondered the possibilities of setting the world down for a spell or two, I had done just that - set the world down on the ground and made a bee line for the sky. Moreover, I'd set my Ann Arbor world down for a time and taken off into the untapped possibility of NYC.

I imagined my plane wrapping around the knee of Atlas as Laika playfully swatted at the plane's tail.  I loved being able to both read and feel the story like this, I'm not sure if the tale would have been as significant to me had I not read it while flying.

Thoughts about "Weight" kept coming to me as I moved throughout NYC.  Having never been there before, I realized my expectations about the city were far from realistic.  Unknowingly, I'd been hanging on to an image of the New York Frank Sinatra danced down in "On the Town," the New York of Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and the New York of black unitard wearing beatniks and the New York of Coca Cola ads where men wore sharp hats and women waved hands covered in crisp, white gloves.

After trying to explain this to a friend, he told me I'd been watching too much Mad Men.

The possible truth to that accusation aside, my I realized my expectation of NYC had been a myth.  I don't mean this in a disheartened sense, merely a practical one.  The mental image of NYC I had been visiting since I was old enough to sing along with Frank Sinatra and dance along with Ginger Rogers was an amalgam of everything I had seen or heard about NYC and wished to be true. I had literally re-written the myth, the concept, the possibility of NYC all without meaning to.

So, like Jeanette Winterson, I found myself wanting to tell the story again - wanting to recreate NYC again and rewrite it's presence in my mind.  I want to write the story again as a blending of fact and fiction, my expectation and my discovery
Hey y'all! I'll get to the class readings for my next post, but for now I wanted to share some exciting news! After 2 years of searching for a new job, my mom is finally a full time employee again, doing marketing and events for the Rubin Art Gallery in Manhattan! For a while, it seemed as if her pursuit of work was going no where, but she never gave up, persevered, and I'm so proud of her! This not only provides a lot of financial relief to my family, but will keep my mom busy with what she loves- the arts.

Link to my Tumblr Blog

Here is where I will document my progress for my project, stay tuned!

The Smaller Connections--Class blog and possible project

Life is about connections. The big connections are obvious: your family, your friends, and your passions. And while these are the most important connections that require the most attention, what about the smaller connections? The connections with the bus driver who waited an extra couple of seconds for you to run and catch it, the guy in the library who lent you his phone charger, the barista who made your favorite caffeinated beverage. What happens if we were to look into those connections and examine the effect they have on our lives? I generally brush off these connections without giving them a second thought, and I would be likened to assume I am not alone in that indifference. While I know it is quite literally impossible to document and notice every connection made, I am going to attempt to make note of these smaller connections and examine the effects I draw from them. I am not sure if this is something that can turn into an entire semester-long project, nor do I know where it will take me or how I plan on documenting it, but I am going to have these observations be the central theme of my blog, and from there I will see where I can go with it. I’d love to hear any ideas for ways I could share these experiences in an interesting and accurate way! Find my blog at

Class Blog

I am waiting for the purpose of this blog to come out of the images I find. Sometimes I think we can learn things about ourselves, not by collecting things we already know we want to collect, but simply collecting things that we are drawn to.

Weight Reading

I actually listened to the Weight reading over audiobook. I felt that this gave me a different reading of the book because I was able to hear it from the voices that the author wanted me to hear it from. The voices were expressive, deliberate and specific to the character in the way that Jeanette Winterson wanted us to hear them. Throughout the audiobook I was struck by some of the things that Winterson had to say. About the struggle between freedom and struggle but what really hit me towards the beginning of the book was Limited Fork Theory and its relevance. I could hear things that I have learned about the theory resonate in the book. The idea that "everyone has a particular story" and that "we contain" different things as human beings resonated resonated with me very deeply. This made me think of my last post when I wrote about how everyone has a different experience of life because of the small things that happen to us, almost like the butterfly effect. The ideas were so human even though the book was about greek Gods. It was almost as if the Gods, made from the ashes and the depths of the cosmos were reflections of us humans. And though they very well may be, the descriptions of Atlas showed us that they encounter very human problems involving love, lust, greed and health. They were almost so human that they were inhuman. When Atlas, the strongest man in the world admits that freedom does not exist, thats when it hit me that everyone, no matter how Great, Godly, or Greek, has problems that they are facing, small and large. That was the most compelling point of this reading for me.

Mexico Images

I found these images on a blog post. Something to think about, how we start our days, and our stories. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

The World I Live in and Optimism

Both of my parents are handicapped.  They each treat their disabilities differently.  I found Helen Keller's attitude to resemble my mother.  They are both, loving optimistic women who find beauty in the world they live in.  My father on the other hand fills with anger at his own physical limitations on a daily basis.  I find it remarkable how differently people react to being "disabled."  I challenge you to think for a moment, how would you react to being "disabled"?  with grace, with anger, as a knew oppertunity?

I think eventually I would come around to accepting my knew way of life, but I know that there would be a long period of anger and resentment in which I would have to grapple with my lack of control.  

side note-
there is an artist (highly controversial at that) who went around asking blind people what they though the most beautiful thing they ever saw was? ....most blind people were not born that way.

There are ways in which people who are differently abled experience the world which differs from the abled body population.  For example Helen Keller's understanding of personality through each persons fingers on hers....What am i missing out by not having that intimate connection which each person I meet.  Think about it, what if every person I met I had to hold hands with to communicate.  How personal!  I also think of arguments or tense group meetings that I have had, in those situations I would have to be holding their hand while disagreeing with them...when now I am used to distancing myself and wanting to disengage. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Signing an iPetition

Today I signed an iPetition in order to allow Creative Writing to be considered by the Art & Design program and to support our Professor, Thylias Moss, in her effort. I had never heard of this idea before, in or our of class, but when Professor Moss came to us in earnest to us about this idea, I saw the reason in it. Right now, Creative Writing is only offered in the MFA program in English. The petition's aim is direct, to open up Creative Writing to Art & Design to allow students to also pursue degrees in that while in Creative Writing. I am in full support of my professor in her initiative as I believe this movement would be the first of its kind. Check out the link below and sign the petition!

Signing off. Ben

Project Maybe Start ish eh?

I've been struggling as to what I want to do for this class "project." While my tumblr has been a start, I think I don't want to just keep posting on there, and call the end result a "project," which was my original idea.
But now I think I want to write something. In one of my other classes we've read lots of work by William Blake, and this is the form in which I want to write. I guess in the end I want to have an "epic."

I've started to germinate a couple ideas, but the latest post on my tumblr, here, is the idea that I want to expand on the most. I want to try to tap into this "infiniteness" and "unity" of the universe. I want to expand beyond my senses and try to catch the things that have fallen between. The title "I Will Taste Light" really captures the general feel of how I want to write. Light has been traditionally used to represent truth, but also associated with only sight. Tasting light does not only represent my desire for truth in unity and infinity, but also attempts to mix my senses, to synthesize my perception of the universe. I also love the idea of anthropomorphizing nature. I like to think that I am no different from a tree, (read more) because we are made of the same things. The pieces that make up my mind and my body are no different than the pieces that make up a tree. This idea can also be extrapolated to apply to the entire universe, and I want to capture this somehow. The pictures on my tumblr are my attempt at finding non-traditional representations of trees and forests to keep inspiring the expansion of the branches in my mind.


Attention all concerned tines and all forkers --whoever you are and wherever you are: please consider signing an iPetition to offer Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Art & Design --as well as in English!  Please spread the word!  and send this petition to everyone! 
Hey guys!

This is my first blog post for English 420, where we will examine the limited fork theory throughout the upcoming semester. I look forward to reading what each and every one of you has to say regarding your time here at the University of Michigan. To my knowledge thus far, limited fork represents the depth of knowledge available to a given individual. That is, each student is representative of a fork, and can absorb as much knowledge depending on what's out there. Relating back to the "fork", the theory is representative of "food for thought". In addition, the theory has the ability to connect new technologies in a transformative manner. Please let me know if I'm understanding all of this correctly! I could definitely afford to learn more and would love to hear what you have to say.


Journey Preparations

Hello all,

Just thought I'd let everyone know that I won't be in class this Wednesday, as I'll be in NYC looking at grad schools! It's been a lifelong dream of mine to visit NYC and the possibility of attending grad school there is absolutely thrilling.  I want to document and share this trip as best as possible to then include in my blog(s) and share.  I plan on taking my phone and laptop with me, so does anyone have any suggestions on how best to document my journey?

My class blog, finally!

Hi everyone! My apologies for being slightly absent and silent on this blog the past couple weeks. I have a natural preference for physical writing and journaling, so I have been keeping a physical journal of my thoughts and responses so far. I have begun posting the entries on my personal class blog, and will continue to do so throughout the semester. Follow me and reply to any of my posts as you wish! Here is the link to my blog. See you all in an hour!

Project Notes

Note to self: Remember!

Perhaps the concept of translation and mistranslation can play in my project hatching. Thylias told me about her experience of translating Spanish poetry when studying at Oberlin and there's an idea! What if in my course of mapping, I include the paths of mistranslation and other-translation? While I am currently in a Spanish class, I thought this idea might be interesting with my knowledge of Chinese. Although I grew up fluent, years of not speaking or reading it has caused it to deteriorate. What remains of this once fluent language? What would the decomposition of this knowledge look like

Rather than a crumbling building, I'd like to think of it as a more organic form. Maybe there is mold or moss growing in the spaces where knowledge once blossomed. If I retaught myself Chinese, would I not acknowledge the strange evolution that had been taking place? It's a re-education and not a rehabilitation.

I can still recite the poems and proverbs my grandmother made me memorize as a child. While I can poorly translate the gist of the poems, I have long forgotten the significance of the act of memorizing them. It's become a tongue-twister, like "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." I'm sure if you asked me to actually recite the poems, some words would be incorrect due to askewed inflections and pronunciations. That proves troublesome because Chinese, like most languages, depend on the inflections. I could either be saying, "Who am I?" or "I die water."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weight and Boundaries

"In the limitless universe of his imagination he would not be punished for wanting the impossible. Why did the gods insist on limits and boundaries when any fool could see that these things were only rules and taboos -- customs made to keep people in their place? Rebellion was punished like this -- by taking away what little freedom there was, by encasing the spirit."

Boundaries. We establish them for ourselves, choose to abide by them for others, lean on them for structure, direction, guidance. What for? The only limitless behavior are our thoughts, our mind, and even then are we so structured to have to think about finance, about psychology, about law, about formulas, essays, tests. We write bucket lists because there are boundaries to our everyday actions. And as much as we talk about freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of expression, we are not. The visual limitlessness is right above us--there is nothing above us. But gravity holds us down to the confines of the earth, physics constricting our motion and norms constricting our behavior. Yet what puzzles me, and even troubles me, is that tomorrow, today, in an hour, I will continue to live by these boundaries, and abiding by the paths that I am already walking on. It is not that I think I do not have the potential--I do--but I cannot reach to no limit. None of us can reach to no limit. They say reach for the stars, but then the stars are the limit. There is so much beyond the stars, a universe we cannot grasp, cannot fathom, do not try. 

Reflections on Weight By Liz Ludwig

I lied back on my bed listening to my kindle methodicly announce each word precisely, and felt completely at ease.  The story of Atlas a familiar one, (from all of the times teachers have assigned it).  I lie there waiting excitedly wondering which part of the story she was going to change - also nervous knowing that i don't like change and that i might be saddened by some of her re-wrights.


This is how my heart functions.  It likes to know how the story is going to end.  I want to plan everything out and chose my own ending.  Do you remember those books that had "choose" your own endings, well I hated those because I could never read the same story twice.  With TV shows I am similar, I have only a few shows that I have seen...and seen all the way through...but i have watched them many times, they are comforting and soothing.  

reread not rewritten and yet even in the rereading of a familiar book, i get something new out of it.  I find something that had stayed on the page last time, and i am forced to acknowledge that it is indeed me that has changed.  Why then am I so scared of my own change and the change of my surroundings-it is the possibility of a devastating ending that my heart has had enough of and will not accept more of, yet- same time- it expects at every turn devastation, disappointment   
I have learned to fear and hate illness, disease, death, loss, movement, divorce, broken hearted....

yet, I have learned more, so much more from my life-and my mothers illness (all of the "positive" things-which I speak of often, I just don't talk about the "negative" ones because people don't want to hear the bad side, the hardship, they really just want to hear that you are doing fine, and to congratulate you for being so strong.) 


Yet, as the story unfolded I began to appreciate the updated language into moddern colloquial, much more easily understood.  I found I could not tell where she had REWRITTEN and where the origonal story differenshiated, my memoriy of Atlas's story has been rewritten in my memory as hers.


The scary truth is that my memory is so often rewritten, like a computer program, edited and updated.  There are memories of my as a child which I have only because my father has told them to me they are from his perspective and not my own, but they seem like a memory.  The most frequent one is due to emotional editing   Where I know that i have not seen the whole picture due to the colored film which my emotions have placed over a i try to remove that film to see more clearly what actually happened.  
Other times i do the opposite, and a situation latter becomes colored with an emotional film days later.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reflections on: "Into The Garden With Charles" By: Liz Ludwig

This memoir was a safe haven for me.  It was like cuddling up in a fluffy cloud blanket of a rainy day.  It gave me hope and filled me with a safe kind of reliable love- in opposition to real life love and its unpredictable nature.  To help you understand why this story so touched me you will need to understand my mother a bit better.  She is 61 years old and a beautiful women.  She has been a plant lover and a loving person like the men in this romantic story are.  Almost every day she would find some beautiful flower to give to me, weather a whole vase full or a small flower and stem no larger than my finger.  I began to understand it as love, a live gift of love, something bigger than the two of us- spiritual and pure.
My mother has been sick with a neuro degenerative disease for the past 5 years and like the book mentions having an illness is as hard for the person who has it as for their care takers.  She is no longer the women that I remember from my childhood, with one foot in the door of the next world.  That's why i so dearly treasured this book, its words were my childhood love, untainted and immovable, yet like reality the pages moved forward and i was sad to see them go,
                                          I left with a memory of safety and love
into a world of uncertainty.

I myself and bisexual without a strong community of LGBT friends and so i took refuge in a world surrounded by gay couples and friends feeling normal and safe and loved.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My introduction to Limited Fork Theory (remixed)

I have just begun to dive into limited fork theory and in many ways I find those ideas similar to some that I have had in my life. In terms of interconnectedness and exposing yourself to knew knowledge, I have always thought that it fascinating how individualized everyone's brains are because of how we decide to use our forks in such different ways in life -- to eat, indulge and feed ourselves through exposure and collaboration. I also think it interesting how all of that changes our perspectives and our mindsets in any given situation or opportunity. Thus, no one can ever be thinking the same exact thing as another person because they are influenced by completely different life experiences...but that is what makes us human and individuals.

At the same time, there is a mental interconnected that must be created through human nature and some kind of mental wiring between our brains. Whether it is the coils that connect our computers to Michigan's database or an electric sensing between our brains, we will never know but I am looking forward to exploring this more in class.

- Ben

A poem for the masses

                                Screen savers

                juxtaposed across blackened shadows
streams of light and borrowed atoms
                            sorrow fails to disrupt the clouds
      days of succumbing to open wounds
                                                                droplets terminate the desktop of pictures
    washed away in turbulent cries
                       glassy tips of twirling reduction
                     distinguished marks passing through 
                                                                   funneling carriage rides to darkness

                                                                                  burning pages before buried breathless

Age 7 in America

Yesterday I was watching a documentary called "Age 7 in America." Eight children --aged 7-- of various races and backgrounds from all over the country were interviewed about their very different lives. It was amazing to compare the answers of, for example, a caucasian girl from New York City attending one of the best private schools and an african american boy from the projects in Chicago. When asked if drugs and violence exist in their community, the girl was appalled and couldn't imagine such an idea, whereas the boy said he saw a man get shot in the eyeball just the other day as he was leaving for school.

This immediately reminded me of limited fork theory. We are all so affected by our backgrounds, whether or not we know it, and the things we are exposed to shape our view about the world. The only way to extend our knowledge-- or the tines of our fork-- is to get out and meet new people and experience new things. Even just by watching this documentary my fork has been elongated in ways I probably can't even consciously acknowledge.

Happy forking!
Here's a quote my mom shot my way yesterday:



I thought I'd share this in thinking about the part declaring all choices as experiences, not mistakes, and moreover, that mistakes are  beneficial things.  I think this could connect to what I've been focusing on about miscommunication and how it is not only beneficial, but perhaps essential.  I keep thinking more and more about this for my project, but I need some advice and/or brainstorming help. Could I maybe attempt to catalogue moments of miscommunication? Record them? Collect an assortment of various forms of miscommunication - the poem from my previous post, the "fake" word in my tumblr post, various autocorrects, and find a way in which to present them -- maybe even do this as though they are completely "normal"....In other words, create a "life scene" where all texts are only autocorrects, all language involves half-words, all editions of literature are different, containing unique errors...I'm thinking this could make a really awesome presentation in the form of a one act play! I would collect instances of "miscommunication" and then utilize them in the play! Thoughts????

Liz Ludwigs Blog...view and comment

cheers and love

New post on miscommunication

hey guys, here's another new blog post:

AND, here's a sampling of the post:

AWARING /əˈwerɪŋ / noun 1. the act of a person having knowledge and sharing it with himself and/or another person: What did Bill want? Oh, he was just awaring me that the shipment was going to come in a little late today. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


"To believe in the interweaving of all existence, is to sense all men in one man, the whole world in a grain of sand, eternity in a moment" -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel This quote gets me thinking--what if one moment in my day didn't exist? Would I still end up where I am now? What if a moment had been replaced with another or altered in some way? Might I still think the same things I am thinking now? And if I am happy now, then do I owe my gratitude to every moment that has made up my life thus far?

Monday, September 17, 2012

My class blog

Hey guys! Here's my personal blog for the class I started today - I've never done a blog all on my own like this before, any advice to help me get the ball rolling?

Am I missing something?

“The coolness of a water-lily rounding into bloom is different from the coolness of an evening wind in summer, and different again from the coolness of the rain that soaks into the hearts of growing things and gives them life and body. The velvet of a rose is not that of a ripe peach or of a baby’s dimpled cheek. The hardness of a rock is to the hardness of wood what a man’s deep bass is to a woman’s voice when it is low. What I call beauty I find  in certain combinations of all these qualities, and is largely derived from the flow of curved and straight lines which is all over things” —Helen Keller
Beauty comes to me as easily as opening my eyes. It almost feels like I’m cheating. There is no effort in my appreciation of beauty. I see something, and I either find it beautiful or I don’t. There’s no conscious effort in the decision of beauty. This breeds the question: does there need to be effort in finding something beautiful? Is my idea of beauty less legitimate because I don’t have to reach out and touch something—because there is little effort in my observation of the universe? 
I'd like to think that maybe with some effort, I can find everything beautiful. Even a worm, as gross as it may seem at first, can still be beautiful. It lives in the earth and eats the dirt to make food for plants and trees that I find beautiful immediately. I have to just try and be mindful, and not take anything for face value, I guess?