Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Merriment" - a short horror story

The town of Merriment, Colorado was built to rival Celebration, Florida. It was advertised by its creators, Carp Industries, to be a peaceful utopia. Carp Ind. had other plans. The entire town was rigged - wired - with cameras, actors, and special effects. It was the dream of Richard Carpenter, Carp CEO, to create the first "real" horror movie.
His plan was to creep and haunt the real residents of the town in order to capture their response. He did not plan for the actors to become ghosts and the residents to start killing each other. It gets to the point that town becomes literally haunted, far beyond Carp's simulation.

I wanted to play with Baudrillard's third order of simulacra: when the simulated replaces and then produces the real. Carp's fictitious effects cause very real psychological damage to the residents, and, in this world, cause very real hauntings.

Alzheimer's with Annette

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Gender According to Judith Butler

For my project I chose to do a analytical paper focusing on Judith Butler's Gender Theory. I focused on defining her theory as best as possible and giving insight to the amount of awareness on campus through a student run survey in addition to an interview with a Drag Queen named Carl/Amanda (see photo below). I touched on my personal beliefs in addition to the possibility of gender creating a new order of simulacra, or at least one that falls in between the first and second order. Is it possible for the imitation or copy to surpass the original if we don't know what the original is?

Here is the video introducing my project! Thank you!

Posthumanism and Human Functions

So! I have done my project on PostHumanism and the transformation of basic human function into hyperrealistic human function. I decided to look at how the transformation of function is happening currently, as well as how it would continue on in the future.

My basics that I go through are how the brain is being changed with microchips now which mess with memory, and how that can alter one's basic identity. I also get into how making production easier means humans have less to do in regards to production, and so they turn that productive drive to create inwards. This ends up working into them trying to improve themselves to the point that they become Pothumans, or hyperreal humans.

I also dug into some sex stuff and how sex, being one of the most basic thing people like to do, is being transformed into its perfected for by being put onto the internet and in games and all that fun stuff.

I also looked at how communication has been altered. People no longer communicate flesh to flesh, but instead text or call or what ever else they do. Talking face to face, disconnecting ourselves from the intimacy of getting to know other human beings is very much a break from human function. We are social animals, but social media is not the same thing as socializing.

I ended up using Twine to create a digitaliterature peice that goes through this non-linear narrative about the transformation. I mix and match time a little bit and try to show the kind of confusion we are living in now, in this transitional stage between human and the rush towards posthuman.

And yeah!

Lucid Dreaming - Final Project

I chose to do lucid dreaming as my final project. I went on to talk about what lucid dreaming is and the relation to reality. The five types of dreams allow distinction between them. Benefits to lucid dream include a chance to look into their subconscious, as well as interaction with the conscious. A better sense of self-awareness is also a benefit. In addition to this, the aspect of how to lucid dream is highlighted. These ways include: motivation, questioning of reality, dream recall, dreamsigns, mnemonic induction of lucid dreams, and napping.

I also talked about out-of-body experiences (OBEs) which are just as they describe. One feels as if they leave their physical body and enter a “second body.” This is really our mind making up a mental model of the world. No danger is associated with lucid dreaming, although many people are afraid of this. To conclude, the views on Descartes and Baudrillard are highlighted.

Here’s the link to my video…thanks for watching!

Final Project

           Overall, my intentions for this project was to ask the question, what would it be like to have a robot gain consciousness. I pulled from various sources to actually obtain this general idea of what I wanted to do, namely taking a few ideas from the piece, "Computations of Emotions, between Man and Machine," where two key aspects came from one being the general learning and gaining of emotions and the other being about the idea of how emotions started, namely as a way to survive. Other than that, I focused more on Lycan and how his ideas of the mirror stage is most apparent in the android.
            To begin, Two scientists are trying their best to discover the right brain to create the consciousness. The two scientists names are Michiyo and Haralson. They are working on an android, named Shelly, working their hardest to create a new life by making multiple brains and see how they work. During one mishap, (namely Haralson dropping the brain), we see the emergence of a new life form in Shelly. Shelly spends the rest of the piece slowly obtaining consciousness and seeing the world change around her.
            I really wanted to see the piece through the eyes of the android, rather than an outsider looking into the concept of consciousness. The piece starts off with the robot having little or no consciousness, having no real idea of self, gender, and of emotions. I do talk briefly about the science of the brain, but my main intentions was not based on how the brain worked, but the fact that just by focusing on the brain, leads to the idea of the brain holding the self. I also had Haralson, one of the scientists, drop the brain so that there would be more chaos in the creation of life. So, that instead of humans only creating this piece of magical technology, the whole thing is a mystery.
            The two characters other than Shelly, are suppose to fill the learning role, stated in the Computations article, namely that "the overall goal is to establish a framework in which the social and communicative skills can be aligned with those of the human participant" (Robinson 3444), which (when I read that) read a sort of family. I tried to make sure that a lot of the information that Shelly was obtaining was confusing and overloading her, but that Michiyo was trying her best to help Shelly get a hold of emotions. I made Michiyo into a very blatant mother figure so that Shelly could have someone to copy and to introduce an idea of fake parenting. Is it actually parenting if the child himself isn't really a child? Anyway, the rest of the story is pretty much Michiyo unintentionally being a guide for Shelly and having her learn the ways of emotions and consciousness.
            The Lycan bits are pretty obvious to those who really know their stuff. I placed a mirror in front of Shelly so that we could start to see her change in consciousness and see how she was growing. To those who don't know Lycan there is a video below. Once, she is able to differentiate herself from the mirror, that was when she was conscious enough to become human. However, in-between the brain dropping and that point, I had this connection between Shelly and Michiyo, where they were more of a mother/offspring connection, with the idea of Shelly not being able to disconnect herself from Michiyo and thus when she leaves the room, she becomes confused. A bit blatant, but I enjoyed putting it in there. After, she learns that she is not attached to her mother and she is not a part of them at the ending point of the piece, we learn that she is completely conscious. Also, I threw a curve ball in, having the idea of absolute truth be an idea where, she cannot be able to understand consciousness without function. Bringing up the idea that she could just be malfunctioning, and that she really isn't alive. Depends on how you read it. Side-note. I also had this idea of making Shelly a child to increase the family dynamic in the piece.
            Other than that, the only main focus I had was getting the idea of emotions in there and gender, which I felt were the lacking bits in my piece, because with my writing style you could only get in so much without it sounding weird. I tried to tie gender with Michiyo and have her be (as with the emotions and other ideas) the anchor on what is feminine. I also had her question her gender later on in the story in order to bring a bit of Butler. She doesn't know how to play a women, so even though Haralson and Michiyo call her female, she really isn't.  I also gave Shelly no face, so as to create (one) this idea that the two scientists do not know until later, and (two) having this  question with her identity, making the whole thing less cut and dry. That's pretty much it for the information that I wanted to display.

             I understand that I did dabble in a lot of ideas, but I hope it formed enough of a cohessive whole in order to be somewhat interesting to you guys, my viewing public. I wish you all luck on the final and hope you all have a happy summer. 

The War Between

Some fun facts on drones and drone pilots:
·         Drones are also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

·         There are two main types of drones for the military: reconnaissance and surveillance drones and those that are armed with missiles and bombs

·         Drones are launched by ground troops in battle zones, but operated by a pilot on the ground on U.S. soil

·         Some drones can stay in the air up to 82 hours long

·         At any given time there are 36+ American drones flying over Iraq and Afghanistan

·         There are around 19 surveillance analysts per drone

·         An estimated 2,400 people have died from the U.S. drone campaign under President Barack Obama (as of January 2014)

·         Drone pilots are starting to get burnt out from working between 50-60 hours a week

·         Only 3-5% suffer from PTSD, compared to 12-20% of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq

·         It is difficult, however, for drone pilots to seek therapy because they have a limited source of professionals with whom they can share confidential information

A drone pilot at work
How does this relate to my project and to Baudrillard's theories of the simulacra you ask? 

I decided to write a short story from the perspective of a military-wife-gone-widower as a way to delve into warfare, specifically as it pertains to drones.  Olivia writes her personal essay, a combination of anecdote and analysis, to share the insights she has gained in regards to the condition of our hyperreal world.  With first-hand knowledge on the topic of drones, an aspect of combat that is often critiqued for its simulated qualities, she is able to evaluate its role in the greater picture of warfare, and of humanity – the things often overlooked as being constructed or simulated. 
Society’s focus on drones and the current technologies and methods of warfare is a distraction from the state of warfare itself.  We produced war to defend our humanity, but it is paradoxically the thing that destroys us.  In today’s culture, many people disapprove of the use of drones for their automated, disconnected, and virtual traits.  What they don’t recognize is that every aspect of war possesses these qualities.  For the drone pilot, there is no difference between this “video-game”-like way of killing people and the “real” combat.  It still has the potential to produce the same results and the same effects for people on both ends. 

War itself, the whole kit and caboodle - drones, raids, front-line battle – is a simulation. We constructed the premises of warfare: territory, money, land, technology, and conflict.  Like the drone, it is all man-made.  Sure the idea of the drone is terrifying, but it is still controlled and created by man and this is the problem. Warfare itself is the problem – we  are the problem.

Furthermore, the narrator's essay provides a wake-up call for Americans who are so concerned about the morality and the “realness” of our current state of affairs overseas.  Olivia suggests that from an American standpoint, war never exists; it is never real to us in the way it is to the people in Afghanistan or to the people in Iraq.  Her theory is Baudrillardian by nature.  In his collection of essays, The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Baudrillard argues that “from the Western perspective, having witness much in the way of strategic models, media coverage, and military simulations prior to the invasion, the actual war was virtually impossible to distinguish” (Lax). 

Olivia ends with the statement that we indeed live in a hyperreal world – a world where there is no distinction between the real and the simulated.  Rather than fight this truth, rather than question what is real or not, right or wrong, moral or immoral, we should accept this reality of our world and learn how to live in it the best we can by supporting each other, especially (all) our troops.  We should not deny the reality that we are presented, even if half of it seems artificial.  

Image sources:,,,

Works consulted:
"Drone Use by the U.S. Military." International Debates 11.5 (2013): n. pag. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Apr.
Johnsson, Patrik. "Drone Hunters: Why Are Americans Lining up to Shoot down Drowns?" Christian Science Monitor (2013): n. pag. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Lax, Joshua. "Jean Baudrillard: Reality, Hyperreality, and Asymmetry." Krax in Logic. N.p., 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 03 May 2014.
Linebaugh, Heather. "I Worked on the US Drone Program. The Public Should Know What Really Goes on." Guardian Weekly. Guardian News and Media, 29 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.
Miller, Greg. "Drone Wars." Science., 18 May 2012. N. pag. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Mulrine, Anna. "Drone Pilots: Why War Is Also Hard for Remote Soldiers." Christian Science Monitor (2012): n. pag. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.
Reardon, Sara. "I Spy, with My Faraway Eye." New Scientist 217.2901 (2013): n. pag. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 May 2014.
Zenko, Micah. "10 Things You Didn't Know About Drones." Foreign Policy 2012th ser. Mar/Apr.192 (2012): n. pag. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
Zucchino, David. "Drone Pilots Have a Front-row Seat on War, from Half a World Away." Los Angeles Times. N.p., 21 Feb. 2010. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.


The Aviary

For the final project I took on a challenge of illuminating the word of the marvels of Simulation and Simulacra as defined by Jean Baudrillard. Over the semester The “Real” World class read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick where we first encountered a fictional account of the simulacra in action.  Dick was able to construct a narrative that left readers frequently asking themselves what the significance of what “Real” truly is.

My paper is a fictional short story is focused on the construction on stories within my narrative. The stories that the characters I created share within the narrative construct the identity of a patriarchal figure, Henry. Throughout the plot that spans more than twenty-five years, we see Kai, an Afghan-American and Henry’s son interact in a world that is not his own while he constructs a reality through his father as a child.

The three family members construct their realities by the stories they tell. The narrative is heavily stream-of-conscious and incorporates much of Henry and Kai’s inner monologues as they try to find each other in the world and themselves

He’s a short snippet to get some of the flavor:

“It had been almost five years since Henry’s unfortunate encounter with the Private, now a major. Definitely a general’s son, or a senator’s, Henry thought to himself. It had taken hundreds of phone calls with people with tone’s he generally disliked before he could even get a sit down with his commanding officer. He was always brushed off as crazy. For at least the first few months. Some didn’t even believe his story.
“What do you mean you’re wife was killed and your son is in an orphanage,” the sounds articulated through their mouthpiece, breathing ignorance through the receivers. “What was your wife doing over there?” The voices on the other end of the line couldn’t even fathom that Henry had taken on an Afghani bride. It was a bit unorthodox, but so what? Home of the brave land of the free? If Henry hadn’t been nominated for the congressional medal of honor he never would have made it this far. He wondered how many illegitimate children fathered by American soldiers had been left to fend for themselves once the game they were playing was over. Henry was too determined to teach his son how to be man.

Henry finally got a meeting with the Pennsylvania senator that nominated him for the country’s highest military honor. “It’s about fucking time,” Henry responded when the call came in. He went in for a meeting and the senator said he had sorted out all the detail he would have nothing to worry about. It still took an extra three month for the authorities to find him. There were more of orphans in Afghanistan than Henry would have liked to think about. Kai wasn’t an orphan. He’d have his father now.”

Adora - Fantasy Prone Personality

For my final paper, I wrote a seventeen page short story based on my topic: Fantasy Prone Personality. Fantasy Prone Personality (FPP) is when a person has an over active imagination, to the point where they can no longer tell the difference between reality and their fantasies.

To represent this topic, I wrote a short story called, "Adora." The story follows a young girl as she grows up with FPP. The way the story is written is both in her perspective and also in those around her, i.e her mother and father. I did this because I wanted to show how FPP is viewed in both parties. As the story progresses, more is revealed about the family and FPP.

Real Money vs Counterfeit Money Final Project

A Trillion Copies

I chose to create a film for my final project in regards to Jean Baudrillard and his three orders of Hyperreality & Simulacra counterfeiting money falls into the first order of simulacra. It is trying to represent the real by imitating it. There is a representation of the real, and it is obviously artificial (that is, if the person handling the money understands the difference between counterfeit and real money). Any member of the US Secret Service would agree that counterfeit money does not supersede the real.

Within my report I discuss the history of the United States currency, and how it is regulated and produced, as well as the differences between real and counterfeit money.  I believe unless actually knowing all of the intricate details and components that are put into designing, creating, and distributing money it may be hard for a typical person to realize the money in their bags could be counterfeit bills. For experts, such as the United States Secret Service and/or anyone that deals with US currency on a regular basis (and is trained on how to detect fake money) one can detect flawed bills. There are clear indications on every US currency, such as the portrait/design, Federal Reserve and Treasury seals, the border, serial numbers, and the paper. Within my video, all of these details are explained in further detail.

According to The Federal Reserve in regards to the number of US currency in circulation currently, “There was approximately $1.27 trillion in circulation as of April 30, 2014, of which $1.23 trillion was in Federal Reserve notes.” This means trillions of copies of the original design of a real US dollar bill are currently circulating throughout the world. 
[this is my video]

I didn't get to put this in the film due to technical problems, but I found it SO interesting...I went to different stores on Main Street and asked the cashiers questions about if they knew how to tell if money is real or counterfeit, and every place I went to [besides the owner of Samahas] said the didn't know and weren't trained to know (keep in mind too most cashiers were college students, but nonetheless interesting). After doing this project I think if we as Americans, educate ourselves about our currency, then we are better off and less likely to pick up/use counterfeit money…because it isn't real.

Attached is my essay.

City of Arabel

City of Arabel

In my essay entitled "City of Arabel: Adventures in Hyperreality" I discuss the relationship between virtual persistent worlds and hyperreality as it is described by Jean Baudrillard. To effectively do this I explain some of the basics of video game theory including the role of the Dungeon Master in a persistent virtual world RPG, the definition and relevance of a player's in-game avatar, and the components and role which immersion play in connecting video game theory and the theories of Baudrillard, Hume and Descartes. I discuss how the world in which the avatars exist in terms of Descartes' theories on realities, and immersion's roles in Baudrillard's simulation theories plus the implications of a virtual world simulation.

I also describe the social rules by which the City of Arabel server runs and the roles of both the player and Dungeon Master in terms of Althusser's State Apparatuses and how these function to improve immersion and further the pleasurable experience of hyperreality. I explore the manner in which the server is designed to encourage instances of hyperreality and how its design rewards behaviors which further draw the player into the virtual world. I interview a veteran player briefly to discuss his long-term commitment to the game and the effects which demonstrate the presence of hyperreality and the extreme nature of simulations in virtual persistent worlds which gives the research its importance.

In the following video, uploaded on October 20th 2011, an instance of the Dungeon Master with the avatar name "Abby" who I worked with regularly acting as a Repressive State Apparatus can be seen as a player breaks the rules by engaging in an attack on a player in the presence of NPCs without a Dungeon Master present to ensure the NPCs react appropriately, as well as generally acting out of character and damaging the server's immersion which in turn damages the ability of nearby players to enjoy a hyperreal experience which is the goal of the simulation. While the clip is not incredibly interesting it does demonstrate many of the abilities the Dungeon Master, as a State Apparatus, uses to ensure the success of hyperreality including pulling avatars out of the role-playing areas for private warnings, killing a player's avatar and even banning a player which disconnects the player completely from the simulation permanently.

The Real Invades Our Simulation
 (it was joke.)

City of Arabel Forums
Neverwinter Nights on

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Alzheimer’s in the “Real” World: Treating a Perception-Altering Disease

(please excuse my voice... I have a bit of a cold)

The paper I wrote for this final assignment is about Alzheimer’s as a perception-altering disease. Using some of the theory that we discussed in this course (Bruner and Baudrillard, specifically) my paper looks into three different, holistic treatments that currently exists to treat dementia. TimeSlips is a creative storytelling program that allows patients with dementia to collaboratively narrate a story based on a photograph they are shown. This allows them to escape being forced to try to remember things they no longer have access to as well as the skills to maybe try to put some order to their memories and life’s story. The Bus Stop is another treatment I found, one that is based on the idea that dementia patients need to be able to meditate for a period of time on their anxiety, aggression, or wandering feelings. This fake bus stop is the way for them to do that while still allowing them to think they are waiting for their transportation to take them where they think they want to go. Dementia Village is the last treatment I looked at and certainly the most complex one. This is a village that is made to be a fully functioning place for only dementia patients. It has specifically designed rooms so they feel as at home and as normal as possible, as well as functioning shops and boutiques in town. It is meant to trick patients into thinking they are living their independent lives like they used to even though they are elderly and have memory issues. While Alzheimer’s is a disease that is currently incurable, these holistic treatments seem to be far more effective than the medicine that is on the market.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Fringe Multiverse: The Prime and Parallel Universes

     **I created this video using Animoto**

Here is my Final Project: Fringe Multiverse
Please check it out!

My goal for this project was to prove that the television show Fringe attempted to persuade their audience that their two universes, the Prime Universe and Parallel Universe, were both equal. Neither one was more ‘real’ than the other, and the Parallel Universe is just as real as the Prime Universe. I looked at the characters within each Universe and examined how they were developed. The differences between the “copies” of the characters in the two universes revealed that each character was an individual, and that their history and environment defined who they were, rather than their appearance or name. I also focused on how the introduction and title cards manipulated the opinions of the viewers, demonstrating how the different Universes and alternative timelines are equal and have equal time on the show. Finally, I researched the TV show’s spin off comics. These comics attempted to focus only on the Prime Universe. As a result the comics ultimately lost readers. The readers for the comics wanted the focus to be equal between the Prime and Parallel Universes, similarly to how the television show demonstrated these worlds.

               I also decided to create a form of Transmedia for my project. The link will bring you to webpage. My analysis is weaved through different media platforms. I used Instagram, the Popcorn Maker/ Kaltura, and Animoto/ YouTube editor together. With the subject of my project being a television show I felt that a more media oriented project made sense :) 
Please take a look! 

The Wilderness and ADD: Comparing Alzeimers to ADD
If Your Friends Ever Say They Have ADHD, Just Show Them This.

This link is a response, from the depths of the internet, to a the passive attitude towards ADD.

Perception problems are perception differences.

Imagine if nursing home communities understood this; if communities treated differences in perception as such, rather than diseases or disabilities, what would the world look like?

How would that be reflected in culture?

As a person with ADD, such a shift would mean a critical step towards eliminating the shame of diviance from the "norm".

Androids> Women says South Korea?

Remember that time that researchers actually said, "Imagine if some people treat androids as if the machines were their wives?"

Well it happened. And it shouldn't have.

In a National Geographic article that reported on the "Robot Code of Ethics to Prevent Android Abuse, Protect Humans," a deeply problematic gender theme arose.  A member of the South Korean Ministry of information and Communication's robot team (because they have one!) is credited (to his detriment) to the above quote.

The article centers on a charter drafted to deal with future social problems between androids and robots.

South Korea's ministry envisions "putting a robot in every South Korean household by 2020," and "robots in children's rooms."
What is South Korea trying to do? Replace their women folk? 

Though not the focus of the article, the sentiments which rose almost as an afterthought seem more significant. 

I wish I had posted this sooner so I could hear some responses. This is absurd. The comparison should never have been made. 

The Future Looks Bright for Valeria Lukyanova

Especially the food she will be consumer. Due to the recent conflict in Crimea and what appears to be an impending doom for the former soviet county, I decided to revisit Ukraine’s most popular Barbie, Valeria Lukyanova, after coming across an article that appeared earlier in the year. Lukyanova, pictured, resembles what she believes is the ideal figure; one that mimics that of popular self-image defeating plastic doll that is universally known the typical American consumer’s vernacular. Lukyanova is pulling a new stunt, training herself in the art of Breatharianism, a religion dedicated to a reliance of only sunlight and air for sustenance. I truly hope she is successful in what hungry people will mock as a ridiculous endeavor. If it became mainstream after centuries of evolution, who knows what type of Barbie-esque race she could conceive.

One day she'll rule us all. Which one am I talking about though?
Besides all that speculation of Lukyanova, who also believes she is an extraterrestrial and she has the power to transcend space and time: this might be the ultimate test to determine whether she is actually from the origins she claims. It also makes me wonder why she is living in Ukraine instead of a more hospitable planet, where they only survive on sunlight and air and don’t destroy natural resources faster than you can say ‘Bob’s my Uncle’.

Throughout the semester our class has analyzed the process of simulation and simulacra and construction of reality through the Theoretical techniques of Jean Baudrillard. Lukyanova is featured in a 20 minute documentary for Vice Magazine, one of the leading producers of online video content on the internet where she describes her purpose and has already influenced disciples to follow her in her hyperrealistic journey. I say hyperrealistic because her image originated from an actual doll poorly made in proportion to the actual feminine figure. Her own conceptions of reality are so wildly convincing in her demeanor about her purpose and humble tone towards people that feel attacked by the nutritionally unhealthy image she chose; the lines between reality and simulation become skewed. When she returns to Earth in the future after plastic and oil are all used up, future civilizations can use Lukyanova as the template for their new line of dolls and the hyperrealistic reality will become evident in their culture, unbeknownst to them.

The Full Documentary.

And another link her to her official Vice Magazine photo shoot ---> HERE.

Giggle to Remember: Technology and Classrooms.

Epoch Times, 2012

          In Soveida Espinal’s far earlier posting, it was questioned whether or not the Augmented Reality of teaching children through technology is really as effective as teaching them “old school.” It was argued there that the children, because they will be playing games that are designed to help them learn, will not actually learn anything. An example used was a game where kids went through a zoo to track a game virus that was going through the animals, and they were to learn facts on biology and ecology along the way. Espinal claimed that it was unlikely for them to really learn from these games because kids, being kids, will probably just want to play the game to win, not read any of the information or soak it all in.

          While I do agree that some uses for technology in the classroom are not as effective, I think that game play really is. When people enjoy something, they are more likely to remember it, and the same is when for people are deeply disturbed or saddened by something. By linking information to be learned to a game, they allow the children to have fun. Doing this means that they are more likely to remember what went on that day because, let’s face it, we try to recall and keep the happy memories more often than the boring ones.

          You will not see nearly as many pictures that people have taken of them shopping for milk and bran cereals as you will of people at parties, or smiling, or with loved ones and smooching, and all those other warm and fuzzy things that happen.

          Games like the ones they are using in classrooms now with technology is meant to be fun, and fun is remembered, and so the information is more likely to be absorbed. I can recall far more from my own classes here in college when the professors are hilarious, as opposed to the ones who speak at me the entire time and never allow for humor to enter the room.

          It is much the same logic that goes into SuperBowl commercials.

          People will recall the hilarious ones. They will be more likely to buy the products, by that logic. I can remember a lot more of these advertisements than I can remember what I learned in Chemistry in High School. I enjoyed the commercials, not my high school class.

          Perhaps the enjoyment will help, and perhaps the technology will hurt. I don;t know. But I think that, given how we enjoy technology so very much, it might be a good way to get into our heads a little bit more than the standard methods these days.

Defining Cuteness

Cute Cats
(Poor little guy.)

Hello Kitty, as I'm sure you're all familiar with, is a Japanese marketing campaign which relates heavily to Kawaii culture. The goal of the marketing is to create a character which appears cute, harmless and loveable. To this end the company which created Hello Kitty, Sanrio, decided to use a cat as their mascot for its ability to signify all of the above aspects of kawaii culture.

(How does it eat without a mouth?)

In recent years Sanrio has produced everything with the Hello Kitty logo from backpacks to snackfoods but what is most interesting from a theoretical sense is the production of costumes for cats which allow for a customer's cat to look like Hello Kitty. This is an excellent example of Baudrillard's procession of simulacra as a model of the real begins to replace the real once it relates more closely to the signified concept both the real and the model are trying to represent.

In this instance Hello Kitty was based off of a cat because cats were meant to be the most cute and loveable creatures in the real world, but now when seeking to make your cat more cute and loveable you have the option to purchase a Hello Kitty costume so the cat can be as adorable as the fictional cat who was created after its own image.

Overall I think all costumes for animals are silly and probably make the cat feel like a total jackass, but at least in this instance the costume makes a statement about simulation and Kawaii culture.

(I call this one "Someone help me")

Online Personas and The Realness of Internal Selves

A fellow blogger, Alexa Moore, discussed the article “The Pointlessness of Unplugging” and how a particulr quote stuck her:

                        When reading the article I was really struck by one passage:
                        “Many submitted self-portraits to Reboot holding explanations of why they chose to unplug:                           “to be more connected,” “to reset,” “to spend more time with my family,” “so my eye will                              stop twitching,” “to bring back the beauty of life,” “to be in the moment.” Not so long ago,                            those very reasons (except, maybe, for the eye-twitching) would have explained why many                            took to the devices that they were now unplugging: to connect with old friends, to talk with                            family across the world, to see beautiful places and curious creatures through photographs                            and documentaries, to relax for a few moments with music" (Moore, 2014)

She further discussed the melting together of one's "real" self and one's "fake" internet representation of self, but I do not think that these are different things at all. I think that they are a part of one whole being.

Take this image that Moore found. I'm going to call this person James. James is both online as a rocking out, skateboarding fun dude. In his "real" life he sits o his couch and drinks beery-beer with his cheezy poofs all over the place. Well of course, you may be thinking, he is misrepresenting himself online. That Facebook douche is not the real douche sitting in that chair.

I challenge you on that, my imaginary heckler. The internet version of the self is exactly that: A version of the self. This is an extension of his real self. It may be his dreams, his aspirations, his desires, he idea of what his ideal self should look like. I think that this is an extension of who he is, internally, and should be read as such.

Certainly, there are people who will post truths online, as exemplified by the rounds and rounds of these kinds of people:, 2012

I am going to go ahead and guess that they really do have that food in front of them, and they really are going to eat it (I feel the need to point out that we are looking at a picture of a picture of food here, with the food in the background blurred out. Since when has the photography of food become more relevant than the food itself?) But back to the stuff I was talking about...

Even if these people were not eating this food, if they are pretending that they are, then there is something in the image that that portrays that says something about the person who has posted it. They want people to view them in a certain way, and I think that this is how internet selves and avatars should be read: the ideas of how people want themselves to be viewed. The things that they think are the best about them, and sometimes even the worst. What do they talk about on there? What photos do they put up?

this can tell you a lot about a person;s internal life, and so these "fake" internet selves were never fake to being with. These were windows they were allowing us to see into, showing us what goes on in their heads and their hearts in a way that seems like they are just presenting a persona.