Don’t Follow Strange Noises

Exploring Frequnecy 2156  was a unique and fun experience. I really enjoyed its collaborative strategy to creating a digital story. It is intriguing to imagine people from all parts of the world experiencing the end and trying to communicate with one another. This crowd-sourced audio lets the listeners add in to the story and continue the stories of this post-apocalyptic world. This site greatly supports the concept of a co-imagined experience that both the listeners and sharers engage in.

Audio as the medium for this site lets the listeners be more creative when imagining each person’s situation. From my perspective, it also gave a feeling that the people are alone in their unique situations as the listener cannot see them.

For my own contribution to Frequency 2156, I recorded myself on Audacity. I added three sounds from freesound.org.  I used a zombie breathing sound which startles my character and encourages her to go see what was creating the sound.  I used a walking sound to create an image in the listeners mind of her walking towards the noise, and then it ends with an added sound of a zombie attack. When I uploaded my audio to the site, the site added a background that muffled my audio a bit, but I think it added to the effect of a mysterious post-apocalyptic scene. I placed my audio at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, and it is the one labeled: Beware There are Zombies.

Learning about Audio

Personally, I do not have experience creating audio, but I do enjoy listening to audio. I have always appreciated podcasts and I have been using them to get through long car rides and tedious tasks for years. I completely agree with Jad Abumrad from RadioLab that listening to stories can take you into a dream-like state.

I also agree that radio is what it lacks. What you cannot see you imagine, and your imagination is more impactful than anything that can be shown. I love his idea of “co-imagination” because radio does bring a connection between the listener and the speaker. It calls for a need for the listener to understand the speaker.  My favorite podcast to listen to is The Moth by NPR. Whenever I listen to it, I end up laughing and crying out loud, which goes to show that you do not need visual to make an impact.

In the second video, Abumrad mentions how it is the storyteller’s job to make a circle of connection, which can bring the listener to a dream-like state. Often, when audio is done well, I feel like I am thrown into the story and I am no longer a part of the real world.

Through the tips and videos, I learned how important it is to use the right equipment and be in a controlled environment when creating audio. These factors and editing and layering make a huge impact on the final product. I hope that as I begin to use Audacity and create audio, I will become more comfortable and be able to create audio that puts the listener into a dream-like state to become connected with the story.

Tala Madeira: The Lone Wolf

Name: Tala Madeira

Apocalypse Archetype: The Lone Wolf

Tala was born into a middle-class family in the Northwestern corner of Arkansas. However, she has minimal memory of this. At the young age of three, Tala was taken by the government to be trained as a child spy.

She spent her childhood traveling to different enemy countries to spy on people she was told were “bad”, and reported what she discovered. Occasionally, she was put on missions with her friend, Caleb, who was also a stolen child spy. They witnessed terror and torture and experienced it themselves when they made mistakes on their missions. Scared from a life without love or care, Caleb often would break down, but Tala would stay strong and protect him so he would not be punished by the superior agents.

As Tala and Caleb got older, they more often went alone on the missions, and the missions became more dangerous. Tala became hardened from the experiences she encountered and began to give a sense of indifference to the world. The CIA noticed her seeming lack of empathy and switched her track.

At age 13, she was moved to the National Defense niche group which tracked down and killed target enemies of the government. Though this took much of her attention and time, she found moments to write letters to Caleb, who was her one connection to humanity. Caleb continued to spy for the CIA and pleaded Tala to come back after reading the horrors she was involved with. She had become irritated with Caleb’s pleading and completely closed herself off to put all her focus on her work.

However, at the age of 17, something changed. She witnessed a family grieving over someone she was told was an “enemy”. “He is the target,” they said “He should not live,” they said. But Tala was not sure if that was so true. Wanting to look for a better, more human and caring future, she decided to run away. She got in contact with Caleb to get him to come with her, but he was unable to part with the life he had grown so dependent on in the CIA. Tala had no time to convince him, so she went alone.

She found herself in foster care in New York, though she knew she would age out with limited time. Her foster family was not friendly to her, but they were not abusive either, so it was all that she needed. Tala was able to take a few classes in the local, underfunded public high school. She was bullied for being a foster kid and being new, but Tala fought back. She was only able to last a week in the “normal” school before being expelled, and she saw no hope in her foster family, so she left to be on her own again.

Tala had gained some education from her CIA training and just from talking with the other agents who had graduated from college. Miraculously, this was enough to get herself into college.

She has been studying ecology for the last three years and will graduate this May. Tala is hoping to redefine herself and her life, and have a fresh start with her new education.

How to Take Photos

Reading the Tips for Better Photography helped me grasp the basics of taking pictures. The rule of thirds was probably the most helpful tip as it makes sense to highlight the focus of your picture in the spot that is looked at first. I downloaded the rule of thirds add-on to my chrome browser so I could look at how different photographers use it. I also turned on the grid setting on my iPhone camera to get the same effect when taking my own pictures.

After reading the tips, I looked at Abandoned America’s Greatest Hits gallery, keeping the tips in mind. This photo of a cathedral stood out to me because the rule of thirds brings the attention to the most put together part of the church, but as the eyes wander, the destruction overtakes the beauty of the church.

This next photo that stood out to me related to the tip about creating depth. The observer’s eye is drawn back to the center of the photo at the very end of the narrow hallway. The photographer captures a large portion of the abandoned hallway but makes a clear focus leading to the end of the hall.

The last photo I chose to highlight is of an abandoned clock. It is taken from a unique perspective that makes the observer think about where and why they are placed there. It relates to the confusion of time stopping and malfunctioning after the abandonment.

Moving onto my own photography, I did the 20-minute photoblizt challenge on Saturday and it was pretty exciting to think on my feet about what I could take pictures of and how I could best capture them.

My first challenge was to make a photograph with my camera at floor level. I chose to take a picture of my dog, Shea at floor level to give an interesting perspective and I decided to edit it black and white for dramatic effect.

The second challenge was to take a picture featuring a repeating pattern. I had to run around my house because I could not find a repeating pattern, but finally I reallized that my kitchen wallpaper has a repeating design.

Then I had to make a creative photo with power plugs, so I took two lamps and made their plugs spell out “on”. I retook this photo quite a few times, trying to get the right angle and perspective until I liked it.

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For my closeup picture of an object, I chose a box of Crayola pencils. I do not love the way it turned out because it is a bit blurry, but it was difficult because my iPhone camera did not want to focus so close up.

For my square photo, I took a picture of a Ball jar, mostly because it looked artsy. I made sure to use my grid to line up the photo well for the rule of thirds.

For the picture of a scene looking out a window, I think I was supposed to have someone looking out the window, but I just took a picture of the window. I played off the eerie look outside when I was editing the picture.

For the last photo, I needed one color to dominate it. I chose blue because the color of my walls and a lot of the stuff I own is blue. I really like the aesthetic of this photo, and I againtried to use the rule of thirds to make this photo look good to an observer.

I was able to finish taking all 7 of my photos in the given 20 minutes. I want to take what I learned from the tips, looking at the photographers’ abandoned photos and taking my own photos to continue taking more and better photos in the future.

 

 

 

Writing for The End

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

In the event of an apocalypse, do you think you’d be the kind of person to hoard your supplies (for yourself and your loved ones) or would you share them with those around you in need? Why or why not?

Honestly, I would be the kind of person who would hoard supplies for myself and my loved ones. Although it may seem selfish, in the event of the apocalypse I will probably put the survival of myself over others. It would be unknown how long the apocalypse would last and how devastated and depleted the planet would be, so I would want to make the limited supplies I have last for as long as possible.

WRITING HEAVY WEEK 3:

This week definitely included a much heavier workload than the past two weeks. I tried my best to keep this in mind throughout the week in order to stay on top of all of the work. Although I did end up doing a bulk of the work during the tail-end of the week, I did complete some work for the course almost every day this week.

My favorite assignments from this course are most definitely the daily creates, as I have noted in my past weekly posts. This week I tweeted about a UFO abduction of Westmo, a very romantic compliment involving ketchup, and a plot line to a story called Creepy CorpsesI always have so much fun with the daily creates, though I am never quite sure if they are quite as hilarious to everyone else…

The major works for the week were all of the writing assignments. I started out with the Amazon review assignment because it seemed like a fun and simple assignment. I chose to review a camouflage hammock because I personally love hammocking and it is decently useful for survival.

Following the review, I read and reflected on two of the assigned short stories, which helped me dive a little deeper into the realm of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. I chose to write an alternate ending for There Will Come Soft Rains, because I found that story much more intriguing than Finis, and I had a fun idea for the alternate ending.

For my six additional stars of writing assignments, I chose The End is for Everything, which I wrote from the perspective of a speck of dirt in a post-apocalyptic world, and When and Where would you live, about living in a storage container tiny home in a post-apocalyptic 2025. Although we were given the option to only have three stars be dedicated to writing about apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic topics, I have been getting more into the theme and chose to incorporate the apocalypse in all six of my stars.

Two works of other survivors that I would like to highlight are Cypherpunk106’s Apocalypse Terms of Service and Samara Wong’s story on cats’ post-apocalyptic world. Cypherpunk always impresses me with how well she incorporates media into her posts. I also admire how interested she is in the apocalypse as she displays a deep knowledge of the subject through her hilarious writing.

After reading Samara’s work, I had the reaction of “Ok. Cats can take over. That makes sense.” She just made it so obvious that cats are way smarter than humans and deserve to take control. I thought it was quite well written and insightful!

For next week, I want to continue to participate more and make my website more professional and organized. I have really enjoyed reading my classmates works and posts on twitter, so I want to dedicate more time to reading and responding. Also this week I have been developing the organization of my websites with categories and tags, so I want to work on those more to make them as clear as possible to those who visit my site. I am looking forward to what next week’s challenge will be!

My Storage Container Home

The year is 2025 and I live in post-apocalyptic D.C. in my storage container tiny house. During the years of the apocalypse, my home protected me from viral diseases and extreme, destructive natural disasters. Now that the initial collapse of the old society has died down, I have been adjusting to life after the apocalypse.

I have begun adding outdoor space to my modest home. There is a front patio where I enjoy eating breakfast and watching the sunrise. On the side, I have a garden, where some crops are beginning to sprout. I cannot wait to eat some fresh food; canned food is becoming sickening to even look at.

My tiny storage container home is perfect for me right now. It does not require much maintenance, which is extremely necessary because I need to focus on meeting my basic needs for survival as necessities are scarce these days.

Life in the storage container can be lonely, but it is built for one and it works for me in my situation. It can be pleasant and cozy at times when I lay in my lofted bed and listen to the silence of the world be drowned out by my tiny box house that protects me from all that can cause harm.

A Dirty New World

Finally, the humans are gone. The humans, along with all other “living” beings were obliterated in the apocalypse. Even for me, a mere speck of dirt, the apocalypse was absolutely terrifying. I was thrown around from field to forest to sidewalks to anywhere you can imagine. I am so relieved that horrible experience is over.

Currently, I lay in an abandoned backyard and I have made some great dirt particle friends. Many of them are from the suburbs and they tell me horror stories from before the apocalypse. Miniature humans would dig them up in metal or plastic scoops and relocate them wherever they pleased. Occasionally, dogs would use their paws to throw them in all different directions for seemingly no reason at all.

On the farm, I also had some terrible experiences. Every time I would get settled in and become close friends with my neighboring dirt, the humans would use huge machines to churn us up and even cut some of us into pieces. They overused us and constantly drained our nutrients for their plants which they laid on top of us. However, now they are gone and life is much better.

We get to relax, and for the most part, we stay stationary aside from the occasional wind or rain. We get to keep all of our nutrients because there are no more plants. I never knew how friendly they were, because I never spent so much time with them. Hopefully, living things do not repopulate the planet soon, because I am enjoying this new lifestyle.

Alternate Ending to ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’

*My alternate ending is bolded*

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! as if it were afraid nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
“Today is August 4, 2026,” said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling., “in the city of Allendale, California.” It repeated the date three times for memory’s sake. “Today is Mr. Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills.”
Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes.

Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o’clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one! But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the fron door sang quietly: “Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today…” And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.
Outside, the garage chimed and lifted its door to reveal the waiting car. After a long wait the door swung down again.
At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry.

Nine-fifteen, sang the clock, time to clean. Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust. Then, like mysterious invaders, they popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eye faded. The house was clean.
Ten o’clock. The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave of a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.
Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air with scatterings of brightness. The water pelted windowpanes, running down the charred west side where the house had been burned evenly free of its white paint. The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titantic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hand raised to catch a ball which never came down. The five spots of paint- the man, the woman, the children, the ball – remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer. The gentle sprinkler rain filled the garden with falling light.

Until this day, how well the house had kept its peace. How carefully it had inquired, ‘Who goes there? What’s the password?” and, getting no answer from the only foxes and whining cats, it had shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old-maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.
It quivered at each sound, the house did. If a sparrow brushed a window, the shade snapped up. The bird, startled, flew off! No, not even a bird must touch the house!
The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.

Twelve noon.
A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch.
The front door recognized the dog voice and opened. The dog, once large and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud. Behind it whirred angry mice, angry at having to pick up mud, angry at inconvenience.
For not a leaf fragment blew under the door but what the wall panels flipped open and the copper scrap rats flashed swiftly out. The offending dust, hair, or paper, seized in miniature steel jaws, was raced back to the burrows. There, down tubes which fed into the cellar, it was dropped like evil Baal in a dark corner.

The dog ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing, as the house realized, that only silence was here. It sniffed the air and scratched the kitchen door. Behind the door, the stove was making pancakes which filled the house with a rich odor and the scent of maple syrup. The dog frothed at the mouth, lying at the door, sniffing, its eyes turned to fire. It ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy, and died. It lay in the parlor for an hour
Two ‘clock, sang a voice.
Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out as softly as blown gray leaves in an electrical wind.
Two-fifteen.
The dog was gone.
In the cellar, the incinerator glowed suddenly and a whirl of sparks leaped up the chimney.
Two thirty-five.
Bridge tables sprouted from patio walls. Playing cards fluttered onto pads in a shower of pips. Martinis manifested on an oaken bench with egg salad sandwiches. Music played.
But the tables were silent and the cards untouched.
At four o’clock the tables folded like great butterflies back through the paneled walls.

Four-thirty.
The nursery walls glowed.
Animals took shape: yellow giraffes, blue lions, pink antelopes, lilac panthers cavorting in crystal substance. The walls were glass. They looked out upon color and fantasy. Hidden films clocked though the well-oiled sprockets, and the walls lived. The nursery floor was woven to resemble a crisp cereal meadow. Over this ran aluminum roaches and iron crickets, and in the hot still air butterflies of delicate red tissue wavered among the sharp aroma of animal spoors! There was the sound like a great matted yellow hive of bees within a dark bellows, the lazy bumble of a purring lion. And there was the patter of okapi feet and the murmur of a fresh jungle rain, like other hoofs falling upon the summer-starched grass. Now the walls dissolved into distances of parched weed, mile on mile, and warm endless sky. The animals drew away into thorn brakes and water holes.It was the children’s hour.

Five o’clock. The bath filled with clear hot water.
Six, seven, eight o’clock. The dinner dishes manipulated like magic tricks, and in the study a click. In the metal stand opposite the hearth where a fire now blazed up warmly, a cigar popped out, half an inch of soft gray ash on it, smoking, waiting.

Nine o’clock. The beds warmed their hidden circuits, for nights were cool here.
Nine-five.  A voice spoke from the study ceiling: “Mrs. McClellan, which poem would you like this evening?”
The house was silent.
The voice said at last, “Since you express no preference, I shall select a poem at random.” Quiet music rose to back the voice. “Sara Teasdale. As I recall, your favorite…

“There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone.”

The fire burned on the stone hearth and the cigar fell away into a mound of quiet ash on its tray. The empty chairs faced each other between the silent walls, and the music played.

At ten o’clock the house began to die. The technology inside the house began to malfunction and the music came to a stop. For a moment there was complete silence. 

Suddenly, figures emerged from the walls of the home. The silhouette of a man mowing a lawn became a real man, the picture of the woman picking flowers became a real woman, and the picture of the children playing with a ball became a real girl and boy. 

“I knew this would not work forever” stated the woman in defeat.

“But we survived past the destruction, and now we can go on and finally continue our lives” replied the man.

“So we don’t have to live as a house anymore, Papa?” inquired the young boy.

“No, but now we must find another way to survive.” replied the man, ” There is not much left on this desolate planet, so it will be difficult.”

“Will you still share a nightly poem, Mama?” asked the little girl.

“Of course, but we must be on our way,” said the woman, “Which poem would you like to begin our journey?”

 

Apocalyptic Short Stories Review

The first apocalypse short story I chose to read was There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury. Published in 1950, this is a futuristic story set in 2026. Although most people do not live in them today, the concept of a “Smart” house does exist in this day and age. It was so interesting how the author achieved a pretty accurate representation of modern technology. In the story, somehow the humans are no longer around, but the technology of the smart home is still going through the old house-owners’ daily routine. I began to take note of how technology is able to outlive humans and survive without us, and immediately after I wrote that down, the house had the fire and began to malfunction. This short story was extremely easy to read as it was fun to think of how it is possible that the concepts could happen in our future reality.

The second short story I read was Finis by Frank L. Pollack. Published in 1906, it is understandable that the female characters seemed fragile and not as knowledgeable as them men, but it still bothered me. The way the characters were not very well introduced or described made it slightly hard to follow in the beginning. The action towards the middle of the short story was the most interesting part, but then the author made the poor mistake of adding a love scene to the end. Overall I would say it was okay.

Can You See Me in My Camo Hammock?

Here is the link to a state of the art camouflage hammock:

https://www.amazon.com/WoneNice-Portable-Camping-Mosquito-Camouflage/dp/B01NADZ7NU/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1517443455&sr=1-4&keywords=camo+hammock

I recently ordered this camouflage netted hammock in preparation for our impending doom. I thought it would be best to test it out before the end comes, just to make sure it works. But good news! It’s perfect. I spent a night in a hunting ground in this camo hammock, and I was completely invisible to the hunters! When the apocalypse comes and we need to hide from aliens or zombies, but also get our beauty rest, this is the product that will keep the innocent alive. As an added bonus, the hammock was extremely comfortable, and I got a great night’s rest.

The hammock comes with an attachable net, which is completely sealed, so in the event of uncontrollable airborne diseases, you will be safe. It also keeps away any unruly pests from infected you, or just being a bother.

If this review is not convincing enough yet, just consider the alternate uses for the hammock pieces. You can use the carabiners for rock climbing. The ropes have an abundance of uses, such as making a tourniquet, building a ladder or making a trap.

This lightweight hammock condenses into a small compact bag and can easily carry 500lbs. It is a staple for anyone anticipating the apocalypse. Highly recommend it for all you future survivors out there!