How to Survive Week Five

This week I told myself I would get my work done in a timely manner. I started out the week well by gaining my bearings and watching all of the videos and going through the resources for the week. On Wednesday, I got thinking about my character, Tala Madeira and wrote her an in-depth backstory. Wednesday was definitely productive for me because I also listened to the Peoria Plague Radio Show and tweeted along with some of my classmates. On Thursday, I watched the videos by Jad from RadioLab, but then I got caught up in other assignments and responsibilities and did not submit my reflection then.

This fallback in my schedule led me to finish the rest of the work over the weekend. I enjoyed exploring Audacity and getting some tips and tricks before beginning my own audio. After exploring the Frequency 2156 page, I got really into developing and editing my audio for the site. I recorded myself for that assignment just using the microphone on my headphones, but it seems to have worked well. For the two other audio assignments I completed (Humming Away and Call Me, Beep Me), I decided to take advantage of the vocal booth in the HCC. Although it was nice and quiet in there, I think it will be more useful once I figure out how to use all the tech inside it. I will definitely be visiting the Digital Knowledge Center this week for a tutorial!

Overall, I would say it was a pretty fun week, The End-wise.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

How are you feeling? Be specific.

This week I have been feeling extremely tired and overwhelmed. I have had so much to get done, and all I wanted to do was take a nap. Slightly afraid a plague of fatigue is sweeping over the school, which will lead to a constant stage of sleep, AKA death. But, hopefully, it is just from a large workload and the fact that we are approaching midterms.

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.