Monthly Archives: February 2009

New Media?

I have to say that I was a little disappointed by “Afternoon” once I was finally able to figure out how to open it. The format was interesting, but to call it revolutionary is, in my mind, giving Joyce a bit too much credit. I think this was mentioned in class, but the text reminded me of an intentionally more confusing version of the classic “choose your path” adventure book. The difference here is that you have no way to know where your path will lead–and that really is the appeal, after all. However, the concept of the hypertext adventure still seems pretty firmly grounded in what is by now a pretty unimpressive form of literature. Perhaps Joyce deserves some credit for attempting to add some artistic and literary flair to what is normally a children’s genre, but in terms of evaluating the media itself, “Afternoon” is easy to imagine as a printable publication (although the size and shape may be unwieldy and the format antithetical to Joyce’s goal of confusing the reader). So, linking this back all the way to our very first discussion of hypertext, I think we once again have missed the mark in terms of creating a truly revolutionary new medium for expression. Perhaps if Joyce had incorporated images, sounds, videos, or scents (?) into his hypertext, I would give him more credit, but overall the entire experience still resembles those novelty Goosebumps books I read as a kid.

This Afternoon

I was so frustrated with trying to open the document Afternoon. When I came into class today and we were talking about Afternoon, I was so confused. At first I thought that Afternoon was a reading and not an interactive piece. But once Lauri clarified what it was exactly, things started to make more sense, that is until we started playing around with it. It didn’t make any sense, but then I realized that it’s just an example of hypertext. The use of hypertext to be exact. I wouldn’t want to purchase this software today because it seems pointless, but I probably would back in the day.   To have an interactive piece that allows you to use links to navigate your way through a story and not come to an official ending was a pretty cool concept.

From Content to Form

I find it interesting how electronic novels like Joyce’s “Afternoon” seem to be mimicing modern art in a way that seems to me quite different from other non-electronic literature.

An example of modern art is Duchamp’s fountain –

I believe he was also the pioneer of “ready-mades”

This is a movement from the content of art (or the actual picture in a painting) to the broader form of art, and what qualifies as art, and is a reconceptualization of how art is created.

It seems that this modern art puts a much greater emphasis on the explanation of the work of art, and the values or philosophy that the art is trying to convey than on the acutal content itself.

In this way, I think “Afternoon” is an importance piece of work in that the actual story that you will get from clicking through the book will not really be as important as the overall structure and design of the work.

In most other modern books I have read (with a few exceptions), there still seems to be a large emphasis on the content and language.

“Afternoon” is an important work in that it combines some of the art philosophy into the form of writing and language.


Seems like everyone is doing a non-reading related blog for today, so I’ll follow lead. The word tentacle was mentioned in the reading and it made me think of these two  tentacle related posts I found earlier. Neither of them is really relating to the notion of a branching out tree of information, but they’re still pretty cool. First one is just on abnormal octopi, and the second is a jellyfish-like flying contraption. Interesting how lots of engineers are designing nature inspired machines.

…guess I have a fondness for jellyfish because of being stung three times in my life and that one scene in “Finding Nemo”

cell phones and privacy

My mom passed this article on to me that was pretty interesting…it talks about the cell phone’s ability to violate out privacy. It reminded me a lot of the website that we checked out in class where a man was on the phone with a woman, attempting to order pizza, and she knew everything about him.


Thought this was an interesting article about how celebrities are using things like Twitter now.


Here’s a pretty interesting article speaking to cyberculture and internet celebrities. It’s about a young energetic girl’s quirky YouTube videos and how they have created a pretty significant rift in communities like 4Chan. The article’s ending was of particular interest:

OK, yes, the whole story is extremely convoluted. But it’s the sort of thing that I saw in evidence at ROFLCon earlier this year: somebody who is entirely unknown can get picked up for basically doing nothing, but doing it in public.

So when our future digital archaeologists start looking back at our actions, they’ll come across Boxxy and look confused. How on earth do you relate that story in a way that makes sense in 100 years, given that it makes basically no sense right now? That’s partly what I love about the internet – and partly what makes my brain hurt.

cool shoes

I came across this website a couple of years ago, and it’s one of the things that inspired me to start decorating my own clothing (namely, shoes). Seth Brau, the artist, has an amazing talent for drawing…especially on white canvas Vans. The only downside is that, because each pair of shoes is entirely unique, they’re really expensive. I decided to do my own, buying cheap solid canvas shoes and drawing on them with permanent marker.  

Brau’s stuff is awesome. Check it out:

Gender/Racial Changes

I know this is a little late, considering we finished the discussion about a week or two ago, but it’s late right now (or early) and I need to take a break from history, so I figured I’d post this. We were talking about what it means to present oneself as a different gender or race on the internet and whether that helps or hinders people in understanding the identity they were pretending to.

There are two very interesting books where people do that very same sort of identity switch, but within real life. One, which I’ve read, is called Black Like Me. Written in 1961, a white journalist from Texas, John Griffin, took a drug that darkened his skin to the point where he could pass as a black American. He then traveled through Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. I think it’s a very interesting read myself. The wikipedia article can be found here.

The other book, which Max pointed out to me, is called Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent. I haven’t read it, but it’s an account of a woman who passes herself off as a man for a year. The amazon site is here. I can’t speak for it, but it certainly seems interesting.

I thought I’d put these on the table. I do think that a lot of the critiques brought up in class still do apply to these books, especially the fact that both of these authors could have had the opportunity to back out of the situations they were in at any time. But it’s interesting to think about how this sort of racial/gender-bending changes in reality with real life consequences. Food for thought.

I like thinking about strategy in sports a good deal. So I was very happy about how this article explains the importance of being a positive team player. While having great stats is certainly impressive, there are other aspects of a game that are not recorded by a stat sheet. Things like hockey assists (passing to the player that passes to the player who scores the point) and forcing offenders to take their second and third preferred options are amazing traits for players to have, yet they are often overlooked because a statistical value can’t be placed on them given our current systems.

This article is fantastic. It is about one player who scores zero points in a game, yet makes his entire team play better, and his opponents play worse. Every team he is traded to in the NBA starts winning with him on the team, and this article examines what makes him such a great and underrated player. Making your opponent take the hardest route to the basket counts as a success for him, because statistically and fundamentally, that is a sound strategy- this player rarely swats a shot for a crowd-pleasing play.

Anyway, take a look. This is a great article.