On Evangelion: 1.0 You are (not) alone

Watching the movie, Evangelion: 1.0 at Scotiabank Theatre this evening, I was reminded of my animé watching experiences from my youth. The plot for this first movie pretty much mirrored what I watched at that point, and fulfilled my expectations in that respect. Certainly it was interesting to watch it again, with the overly expressive/dynamic voices that I expect when watching an animé dubbed in English — not that it's terribly different when watching it with subtitles. [my research into avatars seems to be spilling over into my movie watching, given the vocabulary I'm using to describe the characters' voices]

Regardless, merely watching reminded me of how much I miss animé on occasion. That said it was interesting to see the nearly empty theatre filled with mostly male animé fans. At one point it felt like I was the only girl there — certainly the only girl in a skirt! I was glad when Amanda, someone I knew, appeared. I hadn't expected to run into anyone I knew, particularly since I had won the ticket.

In other, not related, news: I brought MAC stuff in for recycling and got a nifty new mineral eyeshadow! Win! Gotta love being rewarded for environmental consciousness. Yet another reason why MAC is my favorite cosmetics brand.

On Teresa Dobson's Talk

Teresa Dobson presented The role of multimedia in critical literary and literary education on September 24th as part of the Humanities Computing Colloquium series.

The electronic world has given us the opportunity to create texts that act in different manners than those provided in the codex or book format, and/or are simply linear in progression. Electronic Literature, available through collections such as those in the Electronic Literature Organization's Electronic Literature Collection is becoming increasingly media intensive, including art and literature together rather than simply concentrating on the hypertext link, which was how much of electronic literature began. Instead of simply creating choose your own adventure type stories as presented through multiple hypertext links, these pieces of electronic literature often include sound, animation, text and other aspects that combine to create an apparent whole. As Teresa Dobson explained, this marks a trend in contemporary art, which is seen through such media as YouTub videos.

Interactive fiction, has risen and become a much greater factor in culture. For example, immersive game worlds have proliferated. Online one can also view the interaction between advertizing and such interactive fiction.

In Dobson's talk, I found the emphasis on bricolage with reference to creation of electronic literature fascinating. With the rise of attraction of bricolage in all media, not only the field of electronic literature, this certainly poses an attraction for the media form. In addition, literature has recently become more interactive. Folk literature, or texts created by the common people have become more and more prevalent in the forms of user created content, with the examples of wikis, YouTube videos and blogs. Often to create their content, users will incorporate content from various media. Texts such as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice have often been incorporated into new creations, including such works as Austen, Jane, and Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2009. and works such as Pride and Prejudice expressed in Twitter. These new creations differ from movie adaptations of the work, because they derive new meanings and add aspects such as zombies and the electronic world to the text. Having created pastiches, non-traditional works, and chapbooks and been fascinated by Artist's Books and art installations, I enjoy the use of media in literature, and found the opportunity to examine e-literature in greater detail a natural progression following my attendance at Dobson's talk.

Dobson also spoke about students' experiences with literature both as readers and creators. An interesting opposition between the difficulty of reading electronic texts and the enjoyment of creating these same texts occurred in her research. Dobson indicated that digital reading is much akin to the experience of writing or creating a new work, and by having students experience this, they were better able to understand non-linear texts that were previously thought to be exceedingly difficult.

Would encouraging students to have greater experiences in the creation of non-traditional literature, not only electronic literature, but artist's books, chapbooks, pastiches, and user created content help students understand what are thought to be difficult works of literature? What Dobson presents indicates that exposure to the creation of electronic literature may in fact accomplish this.

Further information about some other aspects of what Dobson discussed in her lecture can be found in the following article: Luce-Kapler, Rebecca, and Teresa Dobson. In Search of a Story: Reading and Writing E-Literature. Reading Online. readingonline.org, 2005.

Quick Update

Slowly learning to balance things in Grad School.

Contemplating getting a NetBook. Or a Cell Phone. Or neither. Or both. We'll see.

Learning tonnes. Trying to manage time effectively, yet there are tonnes of distractions.

October will be very busy. Must somehow fit it all in.

Still need to book an eye appointment among other things.

Have been enjoying trips to the Farmer's Market these past two weeks. Will miss it come Thanksgiving when the only market available is in Strathcona.

Remarkably, I feel more at home, more alert, more aware in this particular grad school program than I ever have before. My peers are awesome; the classes are interesting; I feel engaged in the material!

Reflections on Alberta Arts Days (CLC, Dr. Ang, Ted Bishop and Ted Blodgett)

So, it's Alberta Arts Days this weekend. I don't actually have classes on Fridays (though I did need/want to be on campus for a meeting and a session of sorts, among other things), but I went to campus early to attend several Alberta Arts Days events.

The first event I attended wasn't on campus, and didn't involve me going anywhere. CKUA is hosting an All-Alberta Music weekend from the 18-20th for Alberta Arts Days. I listened to these tunes from my favorite radio station before heading to campus.

Once on campus, I went to the CLC open house, where I met with one of my friends whom I hadn't seen regularly for years! I hadn't realized that she worked there, so that was pretty nifty too. The space, while remote (unlike their previous home in HUB mall), was bright and welcoming, and I rather enjoyed my cookie and juice.

Then it was off to the UofA Hospital where I saw a great noon-hour panel about the Artists On the Wards program. The following speakers spoke to us about the importance of art to the hospital community and, really to everyone.

Dr. Steven Ang spoke about the importance of not just medical health but mental and spiritual health as well. He said that painting gives blessings to the area where it hangs in addition to positively affecting the artist during its creation. He is a physician, recipient of the Order of Canada, an artist (painter), calligrapher (Chinese) and practicer of traditional medicine (Chinese).

Ted Bishop read from an excerpt of a draft of his book Riding with Rilke, which didn't actually end up in the finished published book. This was highly entertaining because of both the humor involved and the importance writing and reading had to his recovery from his motorcycle accident. He explained that being hospitalized gave him the chance to read in a different way. Whereas academics and professionals reading tend to read in about 30 page chunks, because they mostly read an article and then go on to the next one, while he was ill, he was able to read more for pleasure and appreciate reading anew from this angle.

Ted Blodgett was amusing in a different way. He spoke with animation about people's reactions to him playing his lute on the hospital ward. Partly because it is an unusual instrument (it has 19 strings), it garners people's attention in a different way than a guitar or a mandolin, but it is a suitable instrument for this environment because it is quiet/intimate. He talked about the importance of art to people in the hospital: a hospital without art is worse than a motel, even a motel will have some (bad?) art on its walls. He also explained that music is unique because you don't have to be conscious of music as you listen. This means two things: you should be selective when listening to music, as it gets into your imagination, and that people who are ill can appreciate music even if they don't notice anything else.

Two med students also spoke of their experiences playing keyboard on the ward. Ivan and Ryan spoke about the importance of giving back and the therapeutic effect of music. It also helps them, as future doctors, reinforce the idea of patient-centered care where one treats a person as a person rather than as a carrier of the disease that must be treated.

Today I'm listening to more excellent Alberta music on CKUA. There are other Alberta Arts Days events going on, but I've chosen to balance that enjoyment with homework, cleaning, board games, and research among others. That, and of course, I ought to come up with a proposal for a SSHRC grant.

Power Outage, and yumminess

I had been up for over an hour this morning, and was finishing my breakfast while reading my LIS textbook, when I heard a low rumbling boom of sorts and my electronics beeped a bit. Since I wasn't actively using any of them, I didn't notice that the power was out until I looked at the microwave clock and noticed that the number display was blank. In fact, as I would later determine, the power was out to my whole apartment, my whole building and indeed, several blocks: several traffic lights weren't working when I stepped out to visit my favorite farmers market (the 104th Street one downtown). It really is a joy to not be working shift work on a Saturday morning. I can finally go shop at the farmers market! In fact, this was my first trip to the market since Vancouver's West End Farmers market in August.

I walked up and down all the stalls, visiting with a friend at her booth and finally settling on some purchases, though nothing cold, because at the time I didn't know whether the power would be back when I returned. Still I got some delicious carrots, a basket of mixed fruit (yummy grapes!), a cone of pumpkin seasoned almonds, some whole wheat Montreal style bagels, a loaf of whole wheat bread and a necklace. It's a nice red beaded necklace that just caught my eye.

When I got home again, I had to reset all the clocks, and began my homework/internet/cleaning journey for the day. Tonight I'm having board games at my place, so I'm doing a bit of tidying today for that purpose, but mostly it's just the whole getting things done online game that has captured my attention. I'm still doing readings for class and all, and REALLY hope to get started on the lit review that I'm working on, and perhaps even write up some SSHRC grant application stuff this weekend as well. We'll see. Regardless the homework needs to get a dent before board games! And I can't wait to play board games.

Check out my guest post on the Libraryroad blog!

This summer while I was in Birmingham, Alabama I visited a library. Here are some of my thoughts on it: my guest post on the Libraryroad blog!

In other news today I learned about worm composting and decided to help check on the worms, I visited some new areas of campus, did some mending, some research, and some faxing, read stuff, responded to emails, and yes had loads of free food/drink at various locations before meeting for the usual Monday night fun. A great day all 'round, though, believe me I was not terribly pleased with every aspect at the time, and my back is sore right now, probably from all the sitting.

Oh and Hanne's cookies rock! Honestly, definitely the yummiest food of my day, and I ate a lot of different stuff!

The weekend of seeing so many people…

Friday night I went and saw The Drowsy Chaperone at the Citadel. It was wonderful! I love how it was totally self-referential and included so many fun aspects. Pastry Chef Gangsters? Blindfolded roller-skating? Random Racial Stereotypes? All for comedic effect? Wowza! Totally worth it, and really some catchy tunes! I adored it. It was also pretty nifty to catch up with my mother too.

Yesterday I caught up with Brendan, who I hadn't seen for over a year I believe (in person). It was great to walk to and from the coffee shoppe where we met, and great to catch up after all of this time. I also explored Whyte Ave and picked up some beading supplies and repaired a necklace too, so it was pretty productive.

The evening included spending time with Elaine, Colin, Kathryn, and Sharon among others, at the DanceSport Fundraiser. It was a total blast to see such awesome dancers like Jim and Darren and Amanda and Grace perform! I love how some of Canada's very best talent is from Alberta! It's so much better than watching a dance TV show to see it all live. Plus the silent auction was really nifty too: I came away with some excellent items (pizza, a massage, Ticket to Ride Card Game). Plus it was good to to a bit of dancing, though by the end of the day I had walked over 80 blocks.

Today I started my day with Brunch with Nick. We caught up and chatted about grad school plans. This was highly beneficial. Then I met Kim for lunch and we ended up going for Pho before attempting shoe/sandal shopping at West Ed. I even found some new sandals! And I got a couple new t-shirts (yay for slogans!).

When I got home, I ended up accidentally breaking one of my favorite mugs by dropping it in the sink *sighs*. However, I had just gotten a new mug from the Silent Auction yesterday, so I think I'll use that one instead. Yay for Famoso pizza advertizing!

Anyway, I ought to get back to my xml learning, my Digital Humanities readings, and my other homework-esque pursuits. Oh, and I think I'm also hooked on the new Monopoly City Streets game… I like the fact that I can buy areas I'm familiar with.

Oh yeah, and I'm a little confused as to why my left arm is playing the being numb game today. It has been months since it had last done this, so I totally don't get why it's being annoying like this yet again.

Apparently I'm supposed to write blog posts…

… for class! Not only that but I think I'll be occasionally posting on my peer, Maria's blog about libraries at: http://libraryroad.wordpress.com/ Fortunately for you, I don't currently plan on developing a new blog, but rather adding some more erudite (or rather less emotionally charged blog posts, not that I don't keep what I post online in check anyway) postings to this blog.

In other news, I've attended my other class this week, and have a bit of a better idea of what I'm getting myself into. When I say a bit of a better idea, that's exactly what I mean. I have no idea currently (well no particularly well refined ideas) what I'll do for a major project in that class, what I'll come up with for a SSHRC grant proposal (and those are due soon, yikes!), or what I'll ACTUALLY end up doing for a thesis. Yeah, it's overwhelming, but I pretty much expected THAT do be overwhelming.

I'm also debating in WHAT to get more involved. I've made some decisions, but obviously I can't be as superhuman as I would like to be. Thank goodness for my agenda book! It's a life saver!

I also have an inkling as to what I'll be working on as an RA this year. My advisor is in London on a conference at the moment, so I'll meet with her next week to get more information, but I'm looking forward to that.

I'm slowly getting started on my readings — I actually read my optional reading first, but I think that that was likely a good idea at the time. I'm also learning that the readings are pretty decent for my first LIS class.

I attended the GELA (Greater Edmonton Libraries Association) pub night last night, and along with some of the LIS students with which I am most familiar, I enjoyed my evening. Tonight I go see The Drowsy Chaperone at the Citadel, which I'm totally looking forward to. I'm really happy I thought ahead and bought theatre tickets in advance!

In other news, my printer is back to hating me. I think it's definitely the cable this time, so tomorrow I'll meet up with Brendan and hopefully borrow one that actually makes it work. If that doesn't work out I don't currently have a plan B, so we'll see what transpires.

In other news, Stan's expression when he realized that several of us in HUCO don't own laptops was priceless. Honestly, considering the time I spend online, I may as well have a semi-ergonomic workstation (it's really not that perfect, but I try!).

Also, I finally installed the new version of Trillian, and so I can finally connect with people reliably via AIM, ICQ, GoogleTalk, Yahoo! MSN and Astra… so considering the outdated nature of my contacts, please feel free to bug me on occasion online… I'm often reachable (yes, Grant, I will turn IMing functionality on more frequently while I'm online), and yes the concept of eventually getting a cell phone etc. is still in the planning stages, but it's becoming more likely all the time, I just doubt it'll happen for a while. Tuition is the next big expense afterall!

ARG! :)

When group work works out this well, I can't help but be pleased.

This past week, a group of students consisting of me, a first year HUCO MA student, a second year HUCO MA student and a CS PHD student got together to design an alternate reality game (ARG). I'm glad this did not involve actually building one (though that would have been rather cool), since we only had a week to work on it, but I'm really pleased with the results.

This is not to say we didn't have hiccups. We originally had a different 4th member (who dropped out), and David was in California, and Garry and Riley both got sick… so there were hurdles of course, but that is the nature of group work, particularly when dealing with such different skill sets, locations, styles of working and whatnot.

I'm glad for free long distance though because it has allowed me to call frequently to people who I need to reach. I'm also glad for Google Docs (even if it doesn't always display things correctly). I'm quite happy with how it all turned out — sure our presentation wasn't perfect, but it worked out splendidly, and I think we submitted a killer design doc.

So yeah, I can now a breathe a sigh of relief, feel the contentment of accomplishment and generally be rather pleased with the many hours we put into the success of this project.

Plus I can digest all the yummy food we ate at the Sugar Bowl, yum!