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All posts for the month October, 2014

Let’s talk about it. No “Strings” attached.

Published October 20, 2014 by accentsmagazinekeanuniversity

“Strings” by Dan Waber was, to say the least, not an interactive piece of electronic literature, but the feelings evoked and visual effects from viewing it were pretty amazing.  Other than clicking on each individual string, it did “not require any action from the user” of this media.  Strings was created using Flash and conjures images of human behavior and the give-and-take of the behavior/relationships between humans, as well as handwriting and communication.  I was unable to find any literary criticism on this piece published in 1999.  (Perhaps it is too old for the current databases?)

Upon first examination when viewing the “argument” in “Strings” a fun feeling was elicited in my brain.  It was fun to watch as a single string morphed from YES to NO and back again.  It felt as if there was an argument between two people ensuing in this visual.  It looked like a tug-of-war between the words. Imagining that two people were having an argument with a constant back and forth of the YES and NO until the piece was stopped could have meant that the argument was never ending until a third party (me) stopped it.  What an interesting concept.  I had to see more!

In “argument2” another argument ensues between YES and NO, but now MAYBE has entered into the conversation.   The words aren’t morphing from one to the next but are stable images, which move through the screen.  This time my imagination is running with the idea that a child is involved in the conversation between his/her parents.  A fast YES moves in and out of the screen, while the NO seems to be steady in the middle for most of the argument, with the MAYBE close to the NO at most times.  I conjure the idea that a Dad quickly said YES, Mom said NO, and the child is saying, “Aw, come on.  How about MAYBE, which will turn into a YES?”  When my children were young they would almost badger me until I gave in to say YES.  It didn’t happen much, to say the least!  This argument was a little more fun to watch, since the words were already created and not morphing, so the implication of the words was immediate.

As I went from screen to screen viewing all of the Strings, the one I liked best was the last one, which was titled “poidog.”  Upon investigating what a poidog is, or should say WAS, I found that it was a now extinct Hawaiian dog, which was fed poi—a kind of thick paste made from the taro plant.  What does an extinct dog have to do with the words “words are like strings that I pull out of my mouth” in this electronic literature piece?  The graceful movements of the words morphing from one to the next produce questions about the meaning.  This may have been Waber’s first thoughts about creating the piece, since when we talk we do string words together to form sentences, though single words, like NO are also complete sentences without being strung to another word.

Perhaps this last thought on “Strings” is that words coming out of our mouths may become extinct with all of the electronic media now being used and explored.  For example, I look around while in an elevator full of people, and on any given day most of the passengers are looking down at their electronic devices and not speaking to anyone nearby.  Will the spoken word become extinct with the constant overuse of electronic forms of communication?  Should it?  This thought brings to mind a Star Trek episode of many years ago (from the original 1966-1969 series).  In this particular episode titled “The Cage,” the race of beings encountered by the crew of the Enterprise communicate solely through thought and no words come out of their mouths.  The current generation of people may not be able to communicate via brain waves and thoughts, but through the object in their hands, so, essentially, these people, their hand(s), and their electronic hand-held devices will replace the mouth when it comes to forming words, albeit on an electronic device in order to communicate.  I may be old-fashioned, but I think that there is no better form of communication than actually speaking words, since there is no inflection of the voice through the written word, in all of its forms, electronic or otherwise written.  Let’s talk about it.

Getting to know Jacque/Jacqui Lopate

Published October 20, 2014 by accentsmagazinekeanuniversity

Jacque/Jacqui Lopate:

Twitter:  @JacquiLoki

Facebook:  Jacqui Loki

Email:  JLoIncognito@gmail.com (J Lo Incognito)

My first thought about Jacque’s/Jacqui’s transgendering is that Rachel is right and that Jacque is doing it to hide out from someone or something.  With that said, Jacqui’s social media reflects that “low key” attitude that Loki, the Norse god of mischief might have.  (It’s a little play on words.)  Jacque/Jacqui is anything but low key.  During his years of dating Rachel, Jacque always had to be the center of attention, which originally attracted Rachel to Jacque, since she is a more nerdy and scientific type and prefers to be out of the limelight.  So, now that Jacque/Jacqui is transgendered, he/she prefers to appear low key.

So far on Facebook, Jacqui has about 10 friends, all but one are men, with whom Jacque has associated with at one point in time, probably in one of his schemes.  The lone female in his group of friends is his sister, Betsy, who is married to a schemer cohort of Jacque’s (oddly nicknamed Chumper), who doesn’t have his own Facebook account.  In order to keep in touch with Chumper, Jacque/Jacqui has his/her sister as a friend.

Initial idea for hypertext:

At the moment Jacque/Jacqui is having an email conversation with a nameless cohort, who goes by IrishWench0725@gmail.com.  From the sound of the conversation, the two are scheming to put together a new deal, and so had planned to meet on Friday night at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.  Jacque/Jacqui is originally from Asbury Park, so this is his/her old stomping grounds.  Hoping not to be seen in his usual haunts, he/she is hoping to blend in with the gay community in Asbury Park, so Jacque/Jacqui originally asks IrishWench0725 to meet at Georgie’s, a known gay bar.  IrishWench0725 prefers the Paradise, which is another gay bar, since the “view” there is better, if you know what I mean.  Jacque/Jacqui mentions that there might be someone at the Paradise, who he/she wants to avoid, and so decided on meeting at the Stone Pony—hoping for a Bruce Springsteen sighting.

Jacque’s/Jacqui’s life of scheming and betrayals is loaded with snippets of conversations via email, messages on Facebook, and private tweets on Twitter.  I am hoping to incorporate these conversations into the details of my character to give the reader a better understanding of how it all relates back to his relationship with Rachel Behar.