Media Analysis & Keep in Touch

Hey everybody here is my media analysis.

My analysis reflects my experience in caving, climbing, and scuba over the years. You’ll get to see some pics of me from when I was active in scuba and climbing.  

Well, it’s been a fun class. I will miss this class. I’ve enjoyed everybody’s company this semester. I have never had a class where I was assigned to play video games and read comic books for homework. My family and friends are jealous of me. Then there was watching Sex Ed. videos from the the 50’s which was amusing. Anyways feel free to drop me a line anytime at madcrazyvtcaver@hotmail.com , jobensch@gmu.edu (I’m a graduating senior this spring. So, I may be losing access to the mason acccount in a little while. So, send to both the mason and hotmail accounts if you send me an email). There is always of course AIM which I’m addicted to.  My screen name is "RenaissanceCaver"  Hit me up anytime.

Take care, Happy Holidays, Party On! , Good luck on finals!

                                                                   Jason

American Memory and Hanging out with my historian friend

     The material I looked at deepest on the American Memory website was a selection of spirituals. I have studied various spirituals with my vocal teacher. I looked through the scanned music of these pieces. Maybe I could actually use some of these pieces in my study of voice with him or pieces from another database like it! I actually found a piece called Deep River which I studied in the past on the archive. I like spirituals because they have a lot of "soul and depth" to them. I have found in my study of voice that opera can be overly zealous and fancy. There can be more emphasis in opera on vocal virtualosity than actually singing with heart. 
     After class, I hanged out with some friends. My friend Steve is a Masters of History student at Mason. We talked about in class about how historians use archives for research and study. Steve is living this currently in his Master’s studies. He and I talked about the use of google and databases. He talked about how there are other databases you can use besides google. He showed me one called Heritage West (http://www.cdpheritage.org/collection/heritageWest.cfm) and the "Internet Movie Archive" (http://www.archive.org/details/movies). We tried to get into the Prelinger Archives from the movie archive but had problems. There was maybe a problem at the server of the archives or a connnection problem with the DSL connection we had. Not everything at the National Archives or Library of Congress is digitized. Steve will be doing research at the National Archives. He told me at the National Archives that they let you take digital pictures of the material you are looking at. So, we went off and looked for a digital camera that night. We went to Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. He ended up not buying one that night and probably will borrow a friends for the weekend. Eventually, I think he will buy one. Well, that it’s for this posting. Time to get ready for a weekend of gluttony, drinking, and time with friends & family  hehe….  

         Happy Turkey Weekend Everybody!        

Digital libraries and Digital stuff

     Various things went through my head as I read the Wired article and played with the archive. One, it talked about digitizing books. I took a history class last year and tried to get cliff notes of a book. The notes were either not sold at the stores I was looking for them at or were not in print anymore. I ended up actually getting a digital copy of the notes. Bookstore may someday become a relic of the past if books are eventually only published in digital form. The article made me think back to a story on tv about there possibly being a like online university or something similiar to that in the future on the internet. 

     After reading the Wired article, I went to the archive. I played aound with it for a while. I looked up various terms. Some of things I looked up were "climbing,"  "dance," "capoeira," and "contact improvisation." I came across various videos. I was not expecting to come across an video with eastern indian dance. I watched it because I had taken a semester of indian dance. There are a lot of videos on the archive. Not all the search results were accessible.  One to something had basically being reviewed by "Million Book Project." Maybe they are having copyright issue with it at this time and can’t display it. 

     The article and the archive are all about digital material. I am a trained musician in this digital age. One thing I have thought would be cool is to have is a digital music stand. In an orchestra, the conductor could write things into the music on the podium onto the music directly that would be seen by the rest of the musicians on their stands. The musicians could do the same and write stuff individually on their music. I am sure the technology for this idea exists but it would be expensive. I also own a composing program where I can save my music it’s written form as a webpage. An audible music file can be played as the music is looked at. Bascially, the day I write something, I can put it on the internet if I want to. However, I would only do this on music I don’t plan to try to make money on. Anything important / that I put a lot of work into, I would probably copyright before putting it online. 

Lexia to Perplexia & The Bomar Gene

You can’t exactly read Lexia to Perplexia. From previous experience with it in another class called Hypermedia Poetry, I learned the best way is to view the piece is to look at it holistically versus dissecting it. My hypermedia poetry class was basically said this piece is hypermedia taken to the extreme. There is the page "Exe. Termination." Boxes of text overlap each other here. It’s hard to read them. This reflects the title of the piece which is has "perplexia" in it. This section of the piece and the whole thing in general is perplex. The Metastrophe page made me think of the Unabomber because of the use of "Minifesto" in it. Programming languages are blended into the text of the piece. I think it might be html or java.

The Bomar Gene was much less ambiguous more easier to understand. It played on the idea of that everybody has a specific gene that is individual to him or her. I am taking a class right now called Science in the News and we have covered DNA in detail in it. The moving slide on top is made from DNA sheets. Each gene that can be clicked is a marker that is individual to a specific person. There were various genes. "The Laired Numbers of the Dead" gene caused someone’s head who be filled with numbers after the suicide of his neighbor. There was the "Yeh Spirograph Gene" that made someone into a math genius.

I like both of the pieces. There is the use of sound, text, animation, video, and images in The Bomar Gene. Lexia to Perplexia had animation, images, and text in it. It was meant to be perplexing while the Bomar Gene wasn’t. The creator of the Bomar gene I think is almost saying "beware of the use of DNA, cloning etc…. and where we are headed." The multimedia used allowed the readers to experience what it would be like to have the specific genes being described. There was a lady with "The Rosario Match Gene" who liked pictures. There was a matching game with pictures that you could play. It’s hard to get a meaning from Lexia to Perplexia. It often slams it’s readers with a large amount of graphics and text all at once. It can give a reader sensory overload. The graphics and text that overlap each other make it harder to understand than The Bomar Gene. It would take several hours to decipher and attempt to read all the text in it. It was as if the piece was saying "I am hypermedia / hypertext to the extreme and am here to confuse you. Hear me roar! ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAR!" If it’s creator’s goal was to do this, he definitely reached his goal.

For Tuesday….

In addition to reading the Lev Manovich article, here is a short exploratory assignment to complete before Tuesday’s class.

Explore the following two sites: 

 Write three paragraphs about your experience:

  1. A paragraph "reading" of Lexia to Perplexia
  2. A paragraph "reading" The Bomar Gene
  3. A final paragraph comparing how these two sites use multimedia to create and challenge meaning

Post to the blog before class begins…

Minimal Textures and Closure in Afternoon

            There is not much texture in the link between lexia titled 2/, Talking at the Boundaries, White Afternoon, Speak Memory and Winter.  Meaningful or weighty texture found in words that yield is limitedly few throughout Afternoon.  The lexia 2/ have seven words that yield but in the Links menu it shows 10 different links that the readers can follow.  Similarly in White Afternoon and Speak Memory, these two lexia have more links through the Links button then links embedded in the words.  The words that yield in White Afternoon are boy and him, but they both lead to the same lexia (Speak Memory), but Speak Memory does not seems to have any relations to the narrative of the car accident in White Afternoon.  Speak Memory lexia appear to take place at a different time in the narrative from White Afternoon and different characters speaking as well.  A statement that sums up well about the readers quest in finding words that yield can be found in 2/ lexia one of the words that yield is free which lead to another lexia dialectic, “It’s all a fraud: the illusion of choice wherein you control the options, the socalled yielding textures of words…”   Most of the lexia give an illusion to the readers that they do have choice and freedom in the paths of the narrative, but many times the narrative is very much guided by the author.   

            The themes that run through the lexia are history, memories and death.   Afternoon as a whole presents the Peter’s reflection of his son’s death and live with his wife before the separation, and the rest of Afternoon shows snippets of Werts, Lolly, and Narsicaa’s past.  In Speak Memory and Winter, there are the idea of trying to remember or recall some events or images in the characters life.  In Winter, the character that tries to recall winter I speculate to be Peter speaking, but since it follows right after the lexia Speak Memory where a female character exclaimed that she would remember something, makes me come to the conclusion that in Winter the I refers to the female narrator.  Winter describes a scene when a snowmobile burns up and a bunch of yellow oats stands as helpless witness to the incidents.  Then in White Afternoon, the victim of the accidents, presumably Lisa and Andy, lie in the green grass and the witness stands helpless like the oats in Winter, just gazing at the bodies lying on the ground.  Everything in life is part of history, even the poem is “a kind of history” in Talking at the Boundaries lexia.  The type of images and remembrance one has of history is chaos and death. 

Some lexia may repeat itself but in a different context.  A lot of the story is built on associating one events with another depending on which order the lexia are placed.  There is a play on the idea of closure, which is two folds in this hypertext.  There is not a sense of ending or conclusion in the story; therefore it can be taken as a story with no closure.  On the other hand, the story relies on the technique of closures that makes the readers draw their own conclusion from the orders of events that is presented to them.  The readers have to assume that whatever comes next in some ways refers to the lexia that was mention before in some ways.  For there are no names in some lexia, it is merely stated, she says or he says or I.  Therefore based on context depending on the choices of the readers, one can assume the she might be referring to the characters previously mentioned.       

Afternoon, A Story

When I first read this novel, I was reading through it by simply clicking on the white-space somewhere on each screen.  After reading through a few pages, I accidentally once clicked on a word which showed up as a hypertext because the word became surrounded by a rectangular box.  I then began to click on different words, but found that they all took me to the same pages, so I didn’t think twice about it anymore.  After class last week, we discovered that different words — however few — on the page take you to different places. 

The second time I went through this novel I took my time in reading the pages and then seeing where the words are linked to.  Just as before, the majority of the words are linked to the same page — what seems to be the next page in line.  To begin with though, I am choosing to start with the page titled, "What I Say."  This page has the narrator talking about trying to get a hold of his wife — Lisa — by calling her office.  Her secretary apparently hates the narrator and has said that she isn’t available.  On this page, while all the words are ‘hot,’ only one word is SO hot that it takes you to a different link — the word Desmond.  Desmond is the man that the narrator’s wife is now involved with.  When clicking on the white-space or any other word on this page, it takes you to a different page, which seems to go along with the story that was being told on this page.  The following page seems to flow smoothly with this page as if I were just turning a page in a book.  When I click on "Desmond," however,  I am taken to a page that discusses Desmond and tells a little bit about him.  It’s as if "What I Say" is hyphenated at the end of the page, and we get "ax player;" a page that supports what we were talking about in the previous page. 

"Ax player" talks about Desmond and how he is now intimately involved with the narrator’s ex-wife.  You can tell that the narrator is quite jealous of this because of the line he writes, "A half-blind classical saxophonist and Professor of Theory, rebound lover of the world’s most stubborn woman, he whom my son calls Thisman Larry."  The meaning behind the link that brought me to ‘ax player’ is the name of the man who is now with the narrator’s wife.  On this new page, if you click on his full name "Desmond Larry," you are taken to a different page which then pretty much trashes Desmond and really displays how little the narrator cares for him.  He calls him a ‘frigging moo-sician’ at one point, and insults his disability — he’s blind.  I find it kind of interesting that I click on two seperate links that have the same name in them, but they take me to two different places.   When I clicked on ‘Desmond’ in the first page, it took me to a page where I thought all the description of Desmond would take place.  But on the second page, when I clicked on his full name — Desmond Larry — I’m brought to yet another page which discusses him.  Not only does it discuss him, the narrator insults and cuts Desmond down for obvious reasons.  The very last line of this page, he comments on how Desmond’s voice sounds like a "hornpipe Irishman." 

From this lexia, I clicked on the word "Andrew" and it took me to a different link than the rest of the words on the lexia did.  "Andrew" took me to a page titled, "Thisman."  Andrew is the son of the narrator.  In the lexia titled, ‘ax player’ the narrator says that his son — Andrew — calls Desmond "Thisman Larry."  This is pretty interesting because I noticed that this lexia would have been reached in "Ax player" had I clicked on the word "Thisman Larry."  I found my way back to this page by clicking on Andrew in a different lexia.  This particular lexia is different than the previous three because it is spoken by Andrew towards the narrator.  You can tell this because Andrew says, "I told him (Desmond) he should know you and he said he’ll take my word for it."  The tone is immediately different; it is more playful sounding and innocent (like a child).  Andrew says how funny Desmond is and the things they like to do together.  This was a bit of a twist since I was used to reading from the point of view of the narrator, rather than someone else, let alone his son. 

All of these lexia connect together through words that are used among these four pages.  The titles of three of them are pretty straight forward — Thisman, What I say and Desmond — but ‘ax player’ was a bit of a stretch for me.  The only thing I can think of is how the third party, in this case Desmond, is coming between a family and is the axe that is cutting them apart.  That particular lexia is about Desmond, spoken from the point of view of the narrator, so it is a rather sour, partisan description.