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.