adventure, japan, travel

My Side of the World – Sannohe, Aomori

It’s been a strange six weeks since I hung up living in America and moved halfway across the world. I’ve tried to settle into a routine that doesn’t consist of classes and cramming papers into the wee-hours of mornings when I consider running into traffic a realistic solution to my procrastination, only to close my eyes for a second and lose a few desperate hours that I’ll never get back. I knew that this wasn’t going to be easy, I knew that going in and I still know that now. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve picked up some friends while I’ve been here and it definitely helps but not being able to handle basic daily tasks without my phone is bothersome. I try my best still and I hope my efforts show.

I hope to do a housing tour soon, but that’s still up in the air as I’m waiting to get certain things replaced and fixed before I allow anyone to really see it. So you’ll have to take my word that I live in a 2 bedroom, 2 story apartment with a garden. It’s nothing to look at from the outside, in fact it looks like it could be abandoned and boy do I hope the apartment next door is actually empty. I’ve found that here, I’m constantly doing something and finding time to sit and write is hard. My battery is constantly drained and recharging fully feels like wasted time. But the important thing is that I feel okay, for the most part. It’s not something I’ve been able to say in a while. I’ve only cried two or three times since I’ve been here and that was when everything just felt super overwhelming. So I’m getting better. I live in a beautiful place, it is honestly beautiful. It is as though here, if there can be a tree, there is a tree.

The view from my second story office window is populated by rolling hills drenched with greenery, the tops of traditional houses, constant wisps of mist and clouds, and solar panels. There is a house there as well, but I’m not sure anyone lives there. The tin on the roof sings me the songs of it’s people in the dead of night when it’s windy and the broken washing machine stares at me when I hang my laundry out to dry. The only light I ever see is my own being reflected back.

It’s eerie at night, especially as I can hear my neighbors cough in the house across the street from my living room. Insulation is poor here, but it’s lucky I’m from the state I am or I wouldn’t have the knowledge I do when it comes to winter. I have a couple of posts planned out already, I’ve tried to go adventuring as much as possible and I hope to get those sorted. One of my new friends has been careful to photograph our activities together and she’s been gracious to allow me to use her photos until the time that I can secure my own camera. I’m not the best but she thinks I don’t do half bad. I’ve done three or four short adventures and soon I hope to be able to also start doing videos again. I think almost a year since the two week hell of video editing is enough to get me moving again. I want to show my tiny town to the world.

Oh, and before I go, Hello to anyone currently looking at this blog trying to figure out how to structure posts for WRIT371. I also had no idea, but GOOD LUCK!


CPE Process Reflection

I am falling asleep as I write this. It was no fault of this class or this project it is because I’ve been up for 4 days with about, erm, 5 hours of nightmare inducing sleep. So that’s been fun, bring on the scary things!

Overall this project was fun. Like most things I grew to large to quick and lost view of my project. I was trying so hard to fit everything into a 10 minute video and realized that by the time I was getting to what I thought was the point that I hadn’t actually said anything and I was running in circles trying to get organized. In the version I finally settled on I take a few small jabs at Stephen King (he has my ideal life, I’m allowed to poke fun) and I get to tie in some of my favorite movies as well.

I talk in my CPE about how the emergence of Creepypastas have impacted the horror genre in a positive way. How the genre needed a way to utilize technological advances of the new age to help stay relevant. I talk about how there are more casual readers of horror.

Originally, I wanted to set this up as how Creepypasta narrators produce their videos. Usually it’s just royalty and fee free stock footage with spooky music under it and then their narration. The stock footage usually follows a theme with the story being told and I’ve even seen some where the narrator takes you through a house and the video changes based on the room the narrator is describing. I quickly realized that while that may work for pieces that have an intrinsic story to them, it wouldn’t work with my project. I don’t sit there and tell you about the weird and other-worldly customers I get at the gas station I work at in the middle of nowhere. That’s a story you can get into and the stock footage doesn’t really matter. Mine did matter. I very much constructed a video that needed some way of holding the attention of the viewer. So I used clips from The Ring, IT, and Slenderman to help break up just the monotony of my talking.

I wrote out a script that was over 8 pages and wasn’t close to being done. Usually I don’t write scripts so that was a new experience for me. Most of my projects I just wing it and keep what sounds good. But I had fallen behind and didn’t have time to sit there and do nine takes of the same bit of writing. I also learned that I need to work on my own handwriting, because while it is nice and flowy, it’s damn hard to read it. If I were writing letters to soldiers in the civil war it would be crap, but for this day and age it’s nice. How many kids can write in cursive, eh?

I do think I’m going to take a break from video editing because I’ve burned myself out on it.

travel, WRIT371

What Were You Saying? I Forgot. Can I Google It?

Memory is a tough thing and it is something I struggle with on a DAILY basis. It started when I got my first phone; back when the phone was JUST for phone calls. Texting was new and no one did it yet, you sent an email from your phone instead. That when I went from knowing every phone number I’d ever been given to knowing… three, and two of those bring me food so I’m not sure if they even count (it’s a few more than three but for drama I’m gonna change it). It was a strange change when I had to start keeping my phone in my pocket and look up numbers to dial on the house phone if I wanted to call before 8pm (calls were free after 8pm).

My first phone that I had for years, and was the third owner, of was the second phone from the right. Its antenne was about a foot long.

Thompson addresses this with his short anecdote about the incident in Starbucks, though I’m never asked a friend a question in Starbucks without some rando answering it, and it really got me thinking to how awful my memory is, or at least my perception of it. I’m going to share with you how I realized I couldn’t rely on my phone for everything.

Last year, during Spring of 2017, I went to Tokyo for spring break. It feels like it was longer ago but when I look back through my planners it seems like it was yesterday.


There are a few posts I’ve actually made on this blog about this trip, but it was a series I didn’t finish and for continuity’s sake, I didn’t want to feel pressured to finish them just yet so, I set them to private.  But it was in Japan that I realized I am on my phone way too much.


I have a very rudimentary understanding of the Japanese language, mostly because I can’t remember it when I need to use it. But I figured I was halfway through my second semester of the basic language class and I’d just KNOW it when I got there. I had always wanted to go and instead of paying off some of my debt, I spent about 995 dollars on a flight and a hotel and went. There is a lot that I went through to get there, but it was fine in the end.

Now, I had never been to Japan before and I had no idea how complicated getting around would be. I had rented a pocket wi-fi but, when I picked it up from the post office in the terminal, it wasn’t charged. So getting to the train (which are never late and when they are the company releases a national apology) in the 5 minutes I had given myself from the purchase time was complicated. It was like I had literally forgotten how time worked.

17353301_10154558767269372_5692534856175956293_nI am not one to get lost, but I did in Tokyo. I did my best to memorize the map on the train but it was quickly gone from my memory once I stepped foot onto the platform. I instinctively reached for my phone which I had turned on in the airport and then realized I had been roaming for about an hour (thankfully I didn’t get any calls and the phone had just been on). But my phone was no use it had no service.

I felt stupid. Absolutely stupid that I hadn’t thought about this beforehand and I struggled to find my hotel (which was literally 150 meters from the surface entrance of the station I got off at). I thought I’d be able to rely on my phone right away, I had it all written down on my Google Drive. Guess what you need access to in order to get to your Google Drive?

My hotel was so nice to me, they could tell that I was lost, tired, and sweaty. The clerk17309816_10154553032404372_852940244408385175_n that checked me in did his best to speak English and I appreciated it because the Japanese I had practiced on the plane had apparently stayed there, recirculating in the vents above US-bound passengers heads (I also didn’t find them when I flew home).

I could have just printed a map onto a piece of paper and followed it from there. I didn’t because I rely so much on my phone I just figured it wouldn’t be an issue. But I think I needed to get lost in Tokyo. Not only is it one of the nicest cities I’ve ever been in, but it is also the best place to get lost. The crime rate is incredibly low (not to mention I’m a damn Ice Giant) and people keep to themselves. I needed to get lost though to re-engage my brain into how I grew up, surviving off of memory. It made me realized that I am too dependant, and if I did have a Japanese phone plan I wouldn’t have had this problem. I’m not entirely comfortable in how reliant I am (because the machines are coming for us all) but I now understand that I partially allow myself to be because it does make life easier.

Our brains aren’t chess-playing computers, they can’t compute every outcome ever in seconds. The amount of knowledge that our phones allow us to store and recall isn’t a bad thing. But I also think it’s important that we take a step back away from the loads of information we try to process on a daily basis and remember that our brains can remember things as well.

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I Got Lost In The Post Truth World Dinner Party I Wasn’t Invited Too

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I read more of the book than we are commenting on today because I couldn’t put it down. I’ve got a thing for conspiracy theories and the first part of this book just revels in the hinting of them. One is a theory I heard a lot about growing up, that 9/11 was an inside job (I was in the 5th grade when it happened) and the other the Kennedy Assassination. Most of what I knew about the Kennedy Assassination was what I learned from Dale Gribble on King of the Hill, but as time went on and I got older it was definitely one of those things that intrigued my interests. It was more interesting than something I found believable.

But, anyway…

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I appreciate how Manjoo has the dinner party example in the first chapter. Even though this book came out before the big social media boom (it came out the year I joined Facebook, when you still had to tell them which university you attended) I think that his example is quite telling to which direction the world has gone in. No one really checks their information anymore. Memes (even if I disagree with how broad of a term that has become) are spread without checking the information they contain and as the information is so easily shared. You see information that you agree with, hit share, and that’s it. Half the time the information is inaccurate or was created to echo what the intended sharer already believes. The other half of the time the meme is plagued with nonsensical minions or tinkerbell (I have limited knowledge into why this is a thing but I do know these memes are incredibly popular with woman over the age of 35 and I DO NOT understand it in the least).

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Seriously… what the hell is this and what does it mean?

I see more minion memes than ever because my friends are getting older and having kids and are overcoming that age boundary and I’m scared. Another reason I’m getting rid of a lot of my social media is because I can’t handle the weight of the minions much longer. Thankfully my mother hasn’t descended into the madness but I’m ever prepared for the day when it happens.

When we think of the information we exchange and the information that we want to hear as minions it is easier to track the ideas that Manjoo puts forth. Sure, we’ve got the Instagram models at the dinner party, we’ve got the family oversharing in facebook live streams and youtube videos, we’ve got the weird uncle that just shows up in your house during parties that is on his ninth beer and is fading between yelling and whispering about politics. All of these people attract their own audiences and those audiences start to refuse to listen to others. Minions begin to fight the tinkerbells, because both of them their they are right and the other must be wrong. More and more parties join the rabble and then it just becomes noise.

Noise that we don’t have a button to push to hear what we need to hear to help us grow.


I’ll Tell You What I What, What I Really Really Want

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This gif isn’t related to what we’re reading – kinda. But the title of Pariser’s 7th chapter has just… got this song stuck in my head. When I was five the Spice Girls were life, don’t judge.

What I really want to talk more about is Pariser’s section on robots. The reason being is because that is why I originally came to MSU. My plan was to build longevity robots to help keep seniors in their home longer. I don’t like nursing and care homes, I think there are people who are placed there just because they’ve become a burden on their family. Younger and younger seniors are being shipped off to care homes and I think it’s interesting the greed that is behind that. Anyway, get off my soap box about elder care. I wanted to (and still want to) build robots to help the elderly maintain their independence in the home. Not only to help with chores but because the elderly do face issues of being lonely. Loneliness is a prominent issue in the United States and the UK when it comes to the elderly. Which is why programs like A Place at the Table, an adult foster care home in Minnesota, are so important. People get to busy to care for their aging family members and APatT works to give the elderly in their care social experiences to help keep them happy and healthy. It prides itself on providing personalized care for every senior living with them (though their license only allows 4 people at a time). My idea that robots can provide a lot of these same services isn’t false, but APatT provides something a machine can’t, the human based interactions that we crave.

That being said, I am so uncomfortable with the idea that I can be reduced to a code in a system. I know I already am. I know that this blog post connects with my social media while that social media is found via a string of letters and with my involvement in socialImage result for matrix stream gif media almost my entire life is accessible via that string of letters. Come December that is going to change, because I’m removing myself from a lot of social media in the coming year (with graduation, prospective jobs, and so forth). But there will always be a string of letters that makes up who I am online. Pariser touches on topics in chapter 7 that make me so uncomfortable. I hate the idea of facial recognition software, if only because I don’t want to be accused of crimes I didn’t commit but am accused of committing because the software said it was me. I always feel like I need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall when he goes through security. I have a gif for that but it’s very flashy and I don’t want anyone coming across it and it triggering a seizure disorder.

We are numbers already. Everything about us comes down to a number. Our numbers are bought and sold everyday.

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“Is the End of Sunday Contingent on When I Go to Bed or When Actual Time Restarts” and Other Stupid Questions

Another day, another process reflection. Let us talk about the e-poster that I published, discovered broken, found as a broken file on my computer, restarted the project at midnight, only for the program to crash a few hours later (I didn’t save because I get cocky when I’m drinking), and I restarted it once again at 3:30 Sunday morning and finished at 7am. It is a project that I’m not that proud of anymore, but I was much too tired and much too drunk/in headache world to do much else. The program I used was Inkscape, a program I haven’t had issues with in the past and that I use to create things all the time. For some reason, every time I try to do a project for this class my  PC freaks out and decides it is going to have all of the problems.

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Anyway, I did my poster on a slice of what I hope to include in my CPE. As my project has a lot to do with the evolution of the horror story I thought it was only fitting that I would do the poster on the different elements that a CreepyPasta has and somewhat discuss how a future writer could handle and combine all the most popular elements that create a CreepyPasta. It is a list based on information I’ve gathered from my own experiences while reading as well as data collected by others interested in the the formulas behind the stories that have captured the attention of so many. Creepypastas are more accessible to ordinary people and almost everyone at this point knows who Slenderman is (whether it is the original stories, the film, or the attempted murder). Most CreepyPastas are short and episodic in nature, their stories have a tendency to cliffhang which can inspire some readers to stick with the author writing or go a different route and just accept that cliffhang. Even though they are all horror stories, more people read them. People who would normally not read anything in the genre. It is something I want to cover in my CPE because the growth of the audience is definitely something that deserves to be looked at.