Fancy Words for Simple Concepts

After much thinking, here is the new idea for my contribution to our fieldguide: 

  • The creation of multiple digital identities by adolescents highlights their need to share versions of themselves online, proving that there is no distinction between "real life" and "digital life".
You can see the specific questions I plan to explore in my other post: "It's Crunch Time!" Ultimately, I have come to realize that many are discussing the concept of digital dualism, and whether or not living online is real life or a separate entity. After reading "The Straw Man of Digital Dualism" and conversing with my friend Luna P., what's clear to me, is that the conversation sounds like a group of older individuals talking about "kids these days" when the kids are not just kids, but twenty and thirty year olds as well. I'm guilty of this---I've definitely thought "kids these days" when thinking about their technology use and also thought this new generation is a mess! But I also realize my generation is a part of the problem. This conversation presented in the article didn't provide any clarify, it simply discussed the ideals of both digital dualist and anti-digital dualist. 

I have come to the conclusion that, while there are different layers or things to be gained through in-face connection and then through screen time, they are both people's real life. My solution? I don't think there is one. My advice? That through accepting that this is the case, we can come to a better understanding of how to live our best lives. Period.

It’s Crunch Time!

Next week officially starts spring break in my district and I CAN NOT WAIT! I have spring fever to the max and, between my students and this class, I feel like my brain is fried!                                                                                                                This week, I feel particularly overwhelmed. We went over the specific requirements of the #fieldguide project and I really do not feel like it's any more clear. Last week when we shared our ideas, I felt like I had a great idea, but when I shared out, it wasn't specific enough. So in my blog post, I explored a new idea, that I was fleshing out, but then listening to the requirements and hearing the other conferences that were occurring, mine still didn't feel like it was right. 

Then, I thought maybe I'd create a unit of lessons as my own personal #fieldguide for helping my students navigate the digital age and explore their digital citizenship, footprint, and identity. After conferencing, I see that's still too broad and Dr. Zamora helped me think about the possible issues I may encounter, which made me nervous. We talked about how digital citizenship, footprint, and identity are such very different ideas. Truthfully, I didn't realize they were. I felt that they are all so intertwined and connected.

So I read a little bit about each and found:

  • digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. There's "passive digital footprint" which is the trail you leave unintentionally, such as your search history. An "active digital footprint" would be an email, one intentionally sent and left online. This is data you expect to be seen by someone.
  • A digital identity is an online identity claimed on the internet. One user may have more than one identity through multiple communities. It's my understanding that this is more about how people choose to present themselves on the network.
  • Digital citizenship is the appropriate and responsible use of technology and behavior.

I now see how these three ideas could take me down very different rabbit holes. This I don't want. I decided I'm going to go back to revisit my old idea of "F-Instas" which to me, sounds like digital identity, especially the idea of having more than one identity for more than one community. When Dr. Zamora and I talked, she mentioned thinking of instagram and adolescents in terms of what accounts they have, how many, how do they present themselves differently based off of the community they want to view it, and who is a part of the community, with the context being how students see themselves in terms of F-Instas.


  • The creation of multiple digital identities by adolescents highlights their need to share versions of themselves online, proving that there is no distinction between "real life" and "digital life".

In researching for this topic, I read the article "The Straw Man of Digital Dualism" by John Suler, and had a nice conversation with Luna P over whether or not the article is biased or even takes a stance! You can read more about that when you head to my second post of the week: "Fancy Words for Simple Concepts"! 

With Luna P., I plan to [drink coffee and wine] explore the following questions:

  • How do adolescents define digital identity? 
    • I do not think it's appropriate to talk about adolescents digital identity and analyzing how they create one, without first knowing and understanding their perception of digital identity. I plan to survey my students to get a census of their views of themselves online.
  • What are the different accounts adolescents have? How many of each do they have?
  • Who has access to each of these accounts?
  • Who do adolescents want to have access to these accounts? Who do they not want to have access?
I plan to gather two-three articles a week, in addition to the articles I've already gathered, to explore both sides of digital dualism and propose an intended solution. I also think it would be amazing to tell part of the story of digital dualism and those who are anti-digital dualism, through memes or gifs! We've talked so much about how they convey ideas in a different manner, that I think it would be both funny and powerful at the same time.

I also wanted to end my blog post with a quick comment about how much difficulty I was having doing the "Bot" make. The site required me to verify my twitter account, but kept saying it didn't recognize my twitter or email. Despite having used my digital alchemist's twitter, in addition to, I'm not sure why it has proved difficult. I hope that we can address and figure this out in class. 

Quitting While You’re Ahead

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

-Orson Welles

I always found the concept of long-running TV shows to be fascinating to me. Apart from shows that rely on comedical elements like The Simpsons, these are shows with plots that must accompany the long-running nature of the show. This is more common in anime than anything else; Fairy Tail is in its final season and will finish with 321 episodes. In comparison, the average anime series only has about 26 episodes, or even 12. But even this pales in comparison to One Piece, which currently has roughly 875 episodes and only recently had announced a conclusion in the near future. Sure, these series are immensely popular and therefore can be allowed to last as long as they do…but if popularity wasn’t a factor in the run length….at what point do you decide to stop?
I’ve noticed that over time, a lot of authors either fall out of love with a former project of theirs, or even worse, actively speaking out against the projects. Don’t expect Stephanie Meyer to do another Twilight book, and JK Rowling will change the Harry Potter continuity if it means getting another headline out of it.
I’m having a lot of fun writing this book for my thesis, one that I hope to become a successful series. However, I do recognize that eventually I will have to, and will want to, write something else. Hopefully people will want to see more, and I’d be happy to keep people posted if so. But the last thing I would hope to do, is to write a novel for profit.

It seems to be a trap that even the greatest of authors have found themselves in. Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes, only to bring him back in after a publisher threw a copious amount of money his way. Money talks. And solves crimes.

Holmes is dead and damned! I have had such an overdose of him that I feel towards him as I do towards paté de foie gras, of which I once ate too much, so that the name of it gives me a sickly feeling to this day.

-Arthur Conan Doyle on his feelings on Sherlock Holmes, shortly after killing him off (temporarily) in “The Final Problem”.

I’m having a lot of fun writing this book for my thesis, one that I hope to become a successful series. However, I do recognize that eventually I will have to, and will want to, write something else. Hopefully people will want to see more, and I’d be happy to keep people posted if so. But the last thing I would hope to do, is to write a novel for profit. The one book I’m writing now, is the first in a planned series of 5, maybe 6 if I split the final story into two parts (remember when that was a trend with movies?) . However, I fully intend to complete the story at 4. Why is that? I feel that the best projects don’t pack everything conclusive regarding their plot in the very last book, at least in a coherent fashion. A fifth and final book would give a sense of finality and bridge the gap between the two large time gaps in my story (late 19th/early 20th century and the present day), but it would also answer some lingering questions that may have been overlooked in concluding the story with book 4. With this type of presentation, the tension surrounding the main story would be alleviated, but there would be room to introduce some new tension with the plot. It’s the stress that keeps on stressing!

This all isn’t to say that I don’t have plans beyond the planned books. I even have a forbidden high school setting for all my relatively adult characters to be de-aged and then interact in, and oh boy will that probably be a story that will either completely alienate my reader base or bring in an entirely new set of readers to my stories. But I think that I would like to eventually take a step back, and look at all my projects in retrospect, and leave enough time to think “hmm, am I satisfied with this”? It’s a little more flexible with writing I’d imagine than other arts; da Vinci couldn’t exactly tweak the Mona Lisa once it dried, you know? But I don’t want to be left wondering, or even worse, realize something needed work when it is too late to do anything. Douglas Adams was so irate by his fanbase wanting more Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy books, that he with “Mostly Harmless”, he basically tried ending the series on a final, depressing note. When he regretted this and set upon making another book that was way more pleasant, he kinda passed away before he could finish it. Guess life is also mostly harmless too. Mostly.
I’ll go a deeper into my thought process in having multiple books tell a simultaneously story in another blog post, but to sum up my thoughts on this whole thing; authors should always write what they feel like writing. However, if people tend to enjoy a certain book, I feel an author should think twice before burning the bridge on it, or at least consider engaging readers in active conversation if it is brought up. Some authors have thought they were done with a project only to go right back to it sometime later, or at the very least, have regrets about the way it ended. Others (that includes you, JK Rowling) either don’t know when to give it up, and oversaturate their series as a result, losing some potential value it may have with the reader. There’s a fine balance here when it comes to knowing when a series is complete or not, and it’s one that authors have been struggling to balance for ages now.

Getting Ready for Research Days…


I hope everyone had a nice week! I’ve been feeling better since the last time we spoke! Antibiotics are a helluva drug. Since I’ve been feeling better, I’ve gotten a lot of work done. I’ve definitely been working in maximum overdrive to get all of my work done so that I’m presentable for Research Days on the 23rd.

Since last week, I’ve gotten most of the work done on my metals installation (that I was very stressed about). Last Thursday, I spent most of the night assembling the bigger parts of my piece. By some miracle, nothing completely fell apart in the process. I had a few casualties: some of the metal rings I’m using to construct my bust, their solder seams popped while I was trying to solder them to a main support wire. Those were easy fixes though. I just soldered them back together and then reattached them to the support wire, making sure I stayed far away from the seam this time.

Next on my agenda for that is just bending the piece into the shape I want and then free wrapping wire around it to give it more of a facial shape. Hopefully, I can accomplish most of that on this Thursday night. I’m going to bring the piece home with me regardless that night so if I don’t finish working on it in the studio, I’ll definitely finish it at home. I feel much less stressed about it since I was able to get it together last week. Now, I feel like it will be presentable for Research Days. I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything at all so I’m in a much better place now.

As for the rest of my thesis, I’ve finished the writing for it. This weekend, I polished the last few sections and revised. I’m pretty happy with the results. 68 pages and 23, 235 words. 1.5 spacing. I think my thesis says everything I want to say and communicates the messages about new media I want to be associated with. There are definitely a few other papers in this thesis that I could write. But, for now, it’s all I need to say.

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to consolidate this work into one website. In a bit of a “manic episode” this week, I have begin creating that site. I have most of the design done and, currently, I’m in the process of moving the information from my thesis to the site. Now, I’m not moving all of the content from my thesis; just a taste of it. I want to protect my intellectual property, of course. But, it is going to represent the “gist” of my research.

On a related note, I have been having a blast creating gifs for my site using Giphy and Lunapic. They’re both free sites one can use to manipulate images, animate them, and create gifs. I mean, on its own, Giphy offers a wide variety of stickers and effects one can combine in their own creative ways to make a new work. Adding Lunapic to the mix just intensifies the effects. So far, I’ve been using gifs as headers for my pages. This is substituting for my inability to actually code a site. It’s providing me with the animation and dynamism I want to bring my work to life. It’s not ideal, for sure, but I think the results are kind of cool.




I really want the experience of the site to be like stepping into my own twisted mind. I want it to be in my vision and to represent a certain kind of feeling through design and aesthetic choices. I’m a little afraid that my own perspective will swallow the research but, also, it’s my research project so…. I think it’s fun and engaging and ultimately reveals something about me in its presentation which is kind of meta considering my focus.

Anyway, don’t just take my word for it, though. Check out the site for yourself and let me know what you think:

Degenerates’ Gallery

So, anyway, as you can see, I am getting my shit together. Hopefully, by next week everything will be done and I can finally chill. I have been stressed more than I ever thought I would be stressed in the past few months. Writing a thesis is no joke–even when your thesis is about memes. It is so intense and so overwhelming and consuming. If I did not have the support system I do in my peers and my adviser and family and friends and blog readers, there is no way I would’ve been able to accomplish all of this. At least, there would have been significantly more tears if I were doing this alone. I cannot thank everyone enough for all of their support! I can’t wait to showcase all of my hard work for them!

~Till next time~

Switchin’ It Up!

Well hello there! We are doing this week a little different this week, so I am going to get right to it. Last week I was giving the challenging but exciting task of starting to actual form pieces of my thesis. Last week, I introduced my idea of having a collage of videos, images, text, research, poems, audio, etc. The picture below is how I want it to look. After my thesis meeting, we figured we would start with the first letter B and create a document to put all my information. Since there are five letters, I matched it up with five chapters.

  1. History: What is AAVE? Where did it come from? The importance of it and learning it’s origins?
  2. Education: Mainstream/Standard English. Oakland CA School Board, Ann Arbor, and the use of AAVE in the classroom.
  3. Community: Representation, oppression, embrace, culture, beyond words-gestures, hand motions. (The gestures and hand motions are a small part to this chapter).
  4. Power: Oppression, empowerment, society, racism (covert, institutional, overt, systematic), discrimination, “the upper hand.”
  5. Identity: Family, voice, self, reclaiming, and anecdotes.


It took a lot of music, hanging upside down, and Starbucks to get me to focus and produce the best work I could. Also, to be naturally creative. So this is what I came up with so far for the first letter B: History.

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 8.31.28 PMScreen Shot 2019-04-08 at 8.31.42 PMScreen Shot 2019-04-08 at 8.31.50 PM

It was difficult to find various pieces of creative work, adding my voice, and a decent amount of research to have a balance. Creating charts was a good way to keep me organized and not overdo it too much. I found artwork, memes, a YouTube video, and I even wrote a poem about Black Language and how it’s captive in the mouths and minds of black Americans. I was also able to add important information from the research notes I had about the history of African American Vernacular English. At the same time, I did not cut my voice short in these charts. My personal opinions and feelings about this topic are within the charts.

This is a very rough and first draft of it, and I am hoping to tighten up the charts and add more content, but I jumped in cold water by doing this, and I am proud of myself. Anyway! We have a bit of a “break” so stay tuned for my next blog!

See ya later!

P.S. I just found this to be so funny! “Don’t use slang. Womp womp womp.” It made me laugh so I figured I would share that with you before I sign off.

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 9.04.05 PM

Previous Blog!

Black is Beautiful

Luna P. Won’t Stop Drinking My Coffee (and wine)!

At the start of this week's class, we looked at the upcoming schedule for the remainder of the semester-WHERE DID THIS SEMESTER GO? I feel like summer is still so far away, but I also feel like this year FLEW by! 

One of the main points we discussed with Kelli's upcoming installation of her thesis, which I'm stoked to see! As someone who hasn't thought about her thesis in a while, and knows that she should start, this girl cannot wait to see all the work someone did for theirs!

We also continued to think about our final project-the field guide for surviving the darkness of the internet! We spent some time looking back over past posts and conversing with our group about topics we are specifically passionate about!

We reflected on the following:
  • What discussions in class have caught your attention most?  
  • What concerns have felt most urgent?
  • Try to make a list of “internet challenges” that you are most confused, worried, or even scared about.

I feel most passionately about how teenagers are interacting in the digital age. I know we said that was too broad, so I’m going to try to narrow that down.

I don’t believe that I can change their minds in terms of using social media. I think they are too involved in this digital age to just say, “Yeah, you’re right we’ll totally stop using it.” I mean I am using it now. But I’m thinking that maybe through some poetic activities, I can shed light on their perspective? If anything, get them thinking about their own thoughts...CRAZY stuff right?

The IRL Fetish  may be a good place to start in thinking about dualism and “F-Instas” which truthfully horrified me. The concept of "loss of logged-off real life" is frightening to me. Ernest Cline showed us the dangers of this. Ready Player One anyone?

In trying to get my students to do this work, I was thinking of our upcoming poetry unit, and how I could infuse this work. As I type this, I can hear my coworker down the hall playing one of my favorite Slam Poems-"Touch Screen".

This poem does a beautiful job of showing the dangers of technology and how, if we're not careful, we could turn even more like robots than we already are.

I was also thinking of bringing in the "Selfie, Unselfie" idea into my classroom, or maybe an image, like self-image of Brooke Davis from "One Tree Hill" below. One image where they showed how social media makes them feel and one about how they truly feel or want to feel. 
Or maybe working through Found Poetry. Like maybe having them reflect on how they use technology and feel about technology. But then picking out lines that stand out to them.

I was also thinking that then maybe I could pull their lines and do a sort of digital project with it, to convey how the incoming generation feels and use that to support what the research shows.

I would also be interested in maybe looking into memes and selfies but at the younger generation. How do they view it as a representation of self vs. how adults do? Haven't fleshed it out yet, but I can feel the ideas starting to take hold!

In other news, one of our tasks for the week was to create a Twitter handle and account for our avatar, which I did! While I haven't gotten the hang of tweeting back and forth with my avator (Twitter is dumb and giving me a hard time about switching back and forth between the two since they're sorta kinda on the same account-all these smart techie people in the world and we can't figure this out-come on people) but I actually really enjoyed the back and forth conversation I had with Luna P. on Twitter! She's got some really interesting points and I'm happy I have her as a guide! I'm looking forward to getting to know her more and learning from her!

Common Sense: Does This Exist in the Middle Schooler’s Mind?

Instagram, Middle School, and Digital Citizenship by Jeff Knutson

Check out @LunaPandCoffee and @_teachreadwrite have a somewhat intelligent conversation about digital citizenship at the middle school level. Sarah Landis is a sixth grade teacher who implements lessons from Common Sense Education and allowed Common Sense Education into her room to observe one of the lessons on digital citizenship and how students view themselves online.

Time Is The Enemy…..Or Is It?

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

-Jack Kerouac

Oh look, a meme that encompasses everything I feel about writing and what time of day to do so.

I read a wonderful post on Reddit the other day. The post creator wanted to go back to school to earn his degree, but was not keen on the idea that he would be 40 by the time he finished. Another Redditor put it simply: “You’re still gonna be 40”.

I’m the type of guy who hates hates HATES waiting for something to come in the mail. And yet, when it inevitably does, the duration I’ve waited never really seemed all that excessive to me. I eagerly await the next entry in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series this year, but when I stop and think about how much has changed since the last one released in 2011, it doesn’t feel all that long ago.

This isn’t a blog about reminiscing about the past and how it relates to the future, no I’m pretty sure I know how it relates. Rather, I’ve been contemplating as to whether or not my writing is as time-sensitive as I originally believed it to be. Sure, we write primarily what we know and I’ve certainly know a lot more now than I might have when I originally conceived the idea back in 2011, but the important thing to me is whether or not the story is meant to release when it’s finished, or is that just the procrastination talking?

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

-Stephen King

Oh, Stephen. I want to agree with you wholeheartedly on this, but when I think of your $400 million net worth and copious time spent migrating between your three houses, I suddenly feel less inclined to do so.

Okay, my petty jealousy aside, I do believe part of my issue with my writing being as trickled down as it has is partially due to my disinterest in reading anything meaningful lately. Part of that is intentional; the last thing I hope to do is end up with a novel that reads a little too much like the last one I read. But at the same time, there’s also that sense of building experiences, developing vocabulary and writing prose that just doesn’t suddenly come out of the blue.

But the references that come from them (Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) are eternal to time.

I’m always the first person to say “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” when it comes to lengthy things, but I can’t help but feel that the inverse could apply to my writing, even though it is probably one of the biggest time-consuming things around. I’ve scrapped many passages that I felt either didn’t flow right or weren’t what I felt was needed at the time, and despite that being part of the writing process, I get just a tad bit jealous when writers younger than me put out anything sooner, and to great acclaim. The acclaim part isn’t because I necessarily fear negative reception (there’s bound to be some for any work regardless of the scale), but rather if the amount of time I put into something is truly my best work, and if the time spent reflects that.

There’s a long-standing rumor that Lawrence of Arabia had burned the first manuscript of Seven Pillars of Wisdom instead of lost it, solely because he was finding it unsatisfactory, and decided to rewrite it. And I figure that if someone with significantly less writing efficiency could find the courage to start over again and rewrite solely from memory, I can appreciate the fact that I had a little more patience with writing my own work. I guess it’s just a little shocking to see the end finally in sight, my big project finally coming to light.

Also, nothing of what I said applies to George R.R. Martin. That man has been enjoying the fruits of his labors for nearly a decade now.

Black is Beautiful

“People have the impression that African American Vernacular English is nothing more than a collection of errors because that’s how they’ve been socialized. If it’s not Standard English, it’s wrong. So we have this framework that all of us have been indoctrinating to. There’s a right and a wrong in language. Language is always right because there’s always a systematicity. There’s a pattern to it.” -Walt Wolfman


Image result for living single gif
Living Single


My thoughts exactly Wolfman.

Moving on to the exciting and difficult part of my thesis this week was a process, but a good one. Last week’s class Dr. Zamora was helping me with some ideas as to how I am going to structure my thesis. Short stories? Documentation? Visuals? Images or videos? Audio? Also, what relationship does research have with this thesis? Creative and analytical? This was a lot to tackle over a week, but then I had an idea when Dr. Zamora said the word “collage”. I sketched this image when she said it (and yes I spelled collage wrong but I was rushing so no judging! Please and thank you).


That picture turned into this:


Here’s my rough idea: Growing up, I knew black was beautiful, but the rest of the world didn’t think so. “You’re not black enough to be a black queen.” “You talk funny.” With this image, I want to show that black is beyond beautiful. It’s rich. It’s royalty. And in each letter of the word “BLACK,” you will see these individual boxes. Within those boxes I want a person to be able to click on them and be able to unravel all of these pieces of research I have been collected. Images, videos, audio, text, etc. I want it to be a multimodal collection that formulates my thesis.

Research would have to play a big part in this thesis because a lot of my thoughts, opinions, and feelings about this topic came from what I read and studied. Since this is a heavy and controversial topic, I will need as much academic and credible support as possible. The last task I had to do was come up with a few chapter ideas:

  1. History: What is AAVE? Where did it come from? The importance of it and learning it’s origins?
  2. Education: Mainstream/Standard English. Oakland CA School Board, Ann Arbor, and the use of AAVE in the classroom.
  3. Community: Representation, oppression, embrace, culture, beyond words-gestures, hand motions. (The gestures and hand motions are a small part to this chapter).
  4. Power: Oppression, empowerment, society, racism (covert, institutional, overt, systematic), discrimination, “the upper hand.”
  5. Identity: Family, voice, self, reclaiming, and anecdotes.
  6. Conclusion (This is a maybe): Where do we go from here? What to do next?

That’s all for now!😊

Here is the link to my Early Proposal Draft (3). The parts that I changed and added some text are highlighted in yellow.


Basically Done!

This is another short & sweet post because I’ve been in-and-out of being sick and also so busy with about a thousand other things. Sorry!


So…. I’m basically done with my thesis??? I mean, I’ve been done with it for a while but now I’m actually done?

At the very least, I’ve completed the content analysis section of my work. The last few sections will definitely need some proofreading and polishing but the content is good. The ideas are down and my main points are made. I feel… accomplished. I know I have some rough edges to clean up and a lot more work to be done in regard to the installation part of my thesis but, right now, I’m happy with what I’ve gotten done. It took longer than I thought it would and, technically, it’s still not done done but it’s on its way. I wrote a graduate thesis and it didn’t kill me.


From here, I need to focus on completing the installation part of my thesis and creating a WordPress site to house the content analysis and Elit aspects of my work. Creating the site will, realistically, only take a few hours. As for the installation part of my thesis, I have a lot of work to do. This Thursday night, hopefully I can get the bulk of the piece assembled. I foresee that I will be coming in on many weekends between now and Research Days in order to complete this piece. I’m hoping for it to be presentable enough for Research Days at the very least. Additionally, I want to make a flyer to advertise my presentation and start a hashtag for it. (Is #takemeseriously too long?) On WordPress, I believe you can display a specific tag from Instagram so that would work for my purposes.

Also, I have to plan how I’m going to document this installation. It helps that the Netnarr class is going to be part of my presentation now. Any contributions they make will be very helpful to me, especially those who video parts of the installation and their experience of it. With their permission, I can provide those video clips on my site which will hopefully allow others to experience the work.

I still have plenty of work to keep me busy but I do feel like I’m finally on the homestretch. I just need to power through these last few weeks and then I can take a much-deserved nap. Wish me lots of luck!


~Till next time~