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Week 6 Citations

I have to start this blog with a quick comment on the photo of the monkey. Now I am all about animal rights and conservation of endangered species but I think this is a slippery slope…to give animals authorship. Should we start asking animals for consent when taking pictures of them in the wild? I know that’s far-fetched but I think this conflict is far-fetched as well. I am sure there is some kind of compromise that these two parties could reach instead of spending the money to pursue a lawsuit (money that could be spent helping to save this species of monkey)!

On the topic of citation, I found the material especially useful this week as I am working on my defense paper and have noticed a bunch of mistakes in the EndNote citation outputs on my reference list. The VT Library Citation Style List led me to VT’s American Medical Association web page which provided a really great PDF that has a bunch of solid examples and basic info:

I remember when I was an undergrad, I had such a hard time with citations. It was like the huge gray area in all group projects. No one was really sure if online citation generators were right…but it seemed like so much additional effort to actually generate your own citation (it’s not). EndNote makes life a lot easier, I only wish I was more open-minded to using it in my early undergraduate years. Although I do find EndNote to be a bit slow and I have heard great things about Mendeley, at this point it’s not worth switching two and a half months before my defense. I was surprised and disappointed to learn that I won’t have access to my EndNote library after I graduate unless I pay for it but I’m hoping that the company or hospital I work for will provide access to some kind of citation manager or perhaps I will make the switch to a free option.

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Pick a Keyword, Any Keyword…

When I began brainstorming for a final project topic, I was so overwhelmed by all my options and I couldn’t even begin to think about them in a creative way, let alone continuously; my ideas were so fragmented it was hard to create a big picture of all my half-processed ideas. We read so many intriguing essays about cognition, learning, and the internet. Upon meeting with Dr. C, my worries were silenced when he informed me that no student had ever chosen Clifford D. Simak’s essay, Immigrant, as a final project. I was shocked and excited simultaneously (how is it that we can experience more than one emotion at the same time?). Why wouldn’t a student pick a narrative on which to map another layer? A whole other narrative to further tap into the senses and further augment thinking. Already that makes two meta layers, without even considering the viewers of my narrative and the mental places to which my narrative takes them. I felt an obligation to take the challenge, an obligation to those half-processed nuggets that were jumping around in my head; I didn’t look back once. I was so eager at the prospect of  incorporating the ideas of all my favorite essayists. Even more, I couldn’t wait to just think, an emotion that I have never felt or thought about before. Yes, I was thinking about thinking. Why do we always come back to that? It must be an indication that all these concepts, all these bolded words are, need I say it, INTERTWINGLED!

Something I kept trying to do throughout the semester was relate the nuggets from my favorite essays to each other. How better to do this than through a narrative wherein I am able to govern the conversations between say for example, Nelson and McLuhan? I really had to engage my imagination and let establish the necessary connections. I knew if I attempted a webpage I would inadvertently start making unnecessary divisions. The movie-making forum of Xtranormal enabled me to incorporate my thoughts with the characters and conveyed a sort of individual reflection through my use of scenes, emotions, and character scripts. Although I didn’t incorporate a lot on the augmentation and education power of computers, the WWW, and the Internet, I think the mere fact that I, Erin Passaro, created a small movie of my own is an indirect ode to the influence of these mediums/messages.

I spent hours trying to determine a clever story but I wanted to make sure it was something my viewers were still somewhat familiar with, so I could better reach out to them with these complex thoughts…because after all, not all my viewers on YouTube will be accustomed to the ideas we discuss in #vtclis12 (well let’s hope not anyway). I found that the introduction style utilized by MTV producers in  the making of the Real World television show provided the proper stage to engage curiosity.

Going through my old blog posts and notes proved to be very beneficial. I stumbled across a Word document entitled “My Revelation” and it talked about McLuhan’s signature phrase “the medium is the message.” It only seemed appropriate then, for me to start with the point at which I felt revolutionized. In thinking about the medium, which is the channel through which an idea is communicated, I realized that WAIT a second…our minds can be channels right? Because when I think about something and then relay it to another part of my body, well that’s a channel right?! And then when that part of my body does something with it (whether it be my hand or my mouth), there’s another channel, and therefore, another medium! So where does the message part come in then, right? Well can’t an idea, which is the preconceived notion of a message, be a channel? Because can’t one idea lead you to another idea? Can’t one idea help a person gain insight into another idea? YES. So we’ve established that an idea, is obviously the message and less obviously the medium

Of course, that’s just my way of thinking about it…remember, we’re all our own individuals, with our own thought processes. My path of thinking might not lead you to the same idea but the two together could create something so complex and so much more advanced and meaningful, which is why I also talked about the holistic view, which Nelson emphasized a great deal. “THE UNIFYING VISION MATTERS A LOT MORE THAN THE LITTLE TECHNICAL PARTS.” Insert line about the unifying power of the WWW and Internet…here………………………..and here……………and…..right..about….HERE.

Did we just move in time and space simultaneously? Well of course not, it’s a continuous sentence, therefore a single instant in time, RIGHT? Not exactly, according to McCloud, “words introduce time by representing that which can only exist in time — SOUND” (p. 713). Our eyes have been trained well, huh? Speaking of our eyes, sometimes they play tricks us. Did my use of the grid-lined backdrop in scene three with McLuhan and McCloud do anything for your perception of time? Maybe a sense of “lingering timelessness” (p. 721)?  Since we’re on the topic of time, let me pose this question, the question of the semester: is time linear? Well, it must depend how you’re thinking about it…if you’re hopping around from past to present to future to fantasy…then where are you in time? It all depends on your first meta level, but good luck finding that!

Since McCloud is so willing to let his mind play tricks on himself (or so it seems in his comics), I thought it would be kind of funny to introduce him to Maxine. Not only did I want to see how that scene would play out, but I also wanted to snap viewers back into a semi-normal level of consciousness, to provide a sort of “comic” relief from all the complex thinking. Maxine represents the only person in this movie who is concrete and unyielding. By concrete and unyielding, I mean something that readers can hang onto for a second and be POSITIVE they know what she is saying for she doesn’t allow curiosity or uncertainty into her brain like the others do but do not fear, McCloud threw in the monkey wrench (does that surprise you?) when he started talking about teleportation, mass, and matter. I know we never talked about that in class but I thought it was relevant and when I thought about it while making my project, my brain was screaming “nugget” at me, so I just went with the flow.

Anyways, Maxine’s pride and defensiveness led me into my next frame with Viola and Illich. Maxine, to me, represents the typical student so I thought it would be a smooth and relevant transition. Also, as I’m sure most of you picked up on my casual mentions of Bishop. The characters touch on this progression through thinking about thinking and at the end of scene five, you will pick up on the strides the others see in him. That is because, Bishop to me, represents students like US, students who are willing to open ourselves up to randomness.

Viola and Illich make this whole episode recursive; Viola when he talks about the learning structures. The fact that schizo even exists clarifies to me that time/thought do not necessarily have to be linear, which is pretty cool. I want to have a day where it will be socially acceptable for me to voice aloud all my nonlinear thoughts. That would be cool, maybe we should start a petition for yet another national holiday. Off topic. Thanks Dr. C. Back to Illich and how recursive his thoughts were. He takes us back to the importance of individual-based education system, tailored to each and every learner’s needs. Funny how that works though, because when individual-level learning takes place, the sum of the parts (society as a whole) benefits exponentially more…than when we are educated in a “one size fits all” manner.

My last scene, the preview for “next week’s” episode recaps on the nuggets that truly interested me throughout this class and they convey the sincere hope I have for myself, for us, and for the future of a more meaningful education.

As I sat down to write one of my last blog posts for class I tried not to let myself approach the essay as I normally would when writing a final term paper. Although for a second, I did allow myself to get psyched out by the gravity of importance that always accompanies the word “final.” I found my mind reeling for a decisive or purposive point of From Memex to Youtube; a question for which my essay must provide a conclusive answer. I still couldn’t provide you with a concrete answer and I don’t think I ever will be able to, but I think that’s the very thing that has preserved my interest and pleasure in this class…the fact that there is never a right or wrong answer.



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Reflecting on McCloud

If anyone’s interest was particularly sparked my McLuhan’s comic book style essay, I would suggest exploring the Museum of Modern Art’s website.  They have over 1000 comics in their online collection.  I visited the MoMA over spring break and am now feeling disappointed that I did not take advantage of their extensive collection.  I never really had an appreciation for comics until this week.

Anyways, since class was pretty in-depth today, I kind of wanted to reflect.  I think it’s interesting how comics, a casual and playful media/medium (I can’t find a clear distinction anymore), can portray a serious topic.  Examples can include social problems but I especially like how McCloud opened my eyes to the idea of time and space, and how sequential pictures on a piece of paper can be four dimensional.  It’s hard to wrap your head around so many dimensions which is why I am particularly interested in the idea of inception.  Just like “the medium is the message” somehow I feel like time is all the same if you can return to it, or look ahead to it, because when you do that, then you are in the present, right?  Or are you? I think this relates to Dr. C’s statement that the brain cannot distinguish between perception and memory.

In trying to articulate exactly how I felt about these seemingly crazy ideas, I started looking around on Delicious and to my surprise I found an extremely insightful write up by Mark Bernard and James Bucky Carter.

This quote is taken right from the article and I think pretty much coins what we were talking about today.  “When the viewer interacts with the work, time, space, and real-time experience meld. Hence, quite literally, dimensions cross: there is a concrete positioning of the viewer in his or her own space and time added into the already interdimensionality of the work itself.”

Pretty cool if you ask me.  I am not anywhere near a complete reflection of today’s lecture but I am hoping for some clarification from you guys.  Let me know if anyone has anymore input!


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I am having flashbacks of Xanga and Myspace right now.  Maybe I am not so new to the concept of blogging…hopefully this time around my attempt at participating in popular social media will be more interesting than my previous documentations of daily activities.  Either way, life here in the hustle and bustle of Blacksburg is exponentially more interesting than my days spent as a middle school-er in good ol’ Dillsburg, PA.

Since I don’t know what to blog about quite yet, I will begin with my recent obsession with optical illusions.  I spend nearly every free second I have scrolling through archives of optical illusions and trying to look at them in different ways to see different things.  Most of them are illustrations such as the Rubin Vase…you know, the famous “vase or two face” illusion that used to be on the back of cereal boxes.


There are definitely an abundance of classics but I recently came across someone who is more dedicated to optical illusions that I am.  This person painted rooms in a fashion that made them appear three dimensional.  The indoor optical illusions are out of this world until you see the outdoor ones.  The outdoor images show tape that spans across a vast area to mimic laser beams.  It’s interesting to see how the viewpoint changes EVERYTHING.  I suppose that’s the whole concept of “optical illusions.”   Either way, the amount of work that must have went into these projects is unfathomable.  Speaking of  which…did you know a fathom is the average distance between a man’s outstretched arms, fingertip to fingertip?  That’s only about six feet which makes most things pretty unfathomable if you ask me.

Well I guess that will suffice as my first blog post.  Maybe next time there will be more rhyme and reason.


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Hello world!

Welcome to Blogs@VT Sites. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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