On Tech Hiatus

Can you live without your phone, tablet, or PC?

Can you live without your phone, tablet, or PC?

Brief Introduction
As an experiment, the class was tasked to veer away from using gadgets (cellphones, computers, etc) and the internet (social media, games, etc.) in order to discover what life is like in the 21st century without contact with technology.

Feedback
Initially, upon being given the assignment, we had different reactions. Living in a life where 24/7 we have contact with these gadgets seemed untimely. For 2 days we had to do the task, I was up for it though I worried about certain issues.

On Friday, the beginning of the experiment, I found it difficult to do the assignment because I was given assignments by our head in the Student Affairs to submit documents that I had to do on the computer. Aside from that, we had a general assembly for The Tripod Society. Although I was worried about the assignment, what I did, I just finished the urgent documents and only reply to messages/emails that needed immediate response. Conversely, for our general assembly, we decided to do the old fashioned white board and marker type of meeting and proceeded with the issues at hand.

On Saturday, I had the similar dilemma, I had to cover an even in DLSU-Taft for Green Media Group (GMG). I had to use my camera from 7AM-3PM to cover the entire event. Like the previous day, I would only respond to calls and messages which needed immediate response. But after the event, I didn’t use any gadget but rather just watched TV with my mom.

Reflection
The whole experiment wasn’t new to me. Every time we go for vacation to Baguio every summer, our parents ban us from bringing any gadget, game console, and/or music player as these will divert us from having family time. We’ve been conditioned to do this since we were kids and we got to do more activities (like Mini-golf, shopping, sightseeing, etc.) when we had that agreement with them. My sister teases me of being old-fashioned and an old soul because she tells me that I was born at the wrong era. She does this because I always bring with me a small notebook and pen–for note taking, doodling, or computations; I’ve always been acquainted with my pen and paper. Aside from this, I don’t really get to use my gadgets until I’m done with chores.

Decades ago, people were able to live with out these gadgets and they were able to do without them in their lives. It made me realize why many people starting from my generation are so worried and insecure about not having gadgets in their hands. That’s because we grew up in a world where technology has already broken the sphere of discovery in compared to our parents’ and grandparents’ generation, technology was only at the beginning of its prime.

Honestly, I tried my best to do the assignment but there will always be external forces brought about by circumstance or other people that will try to challenge you to fulfill the task. I had trouble because of the things I had to do but as much as possible I did try to minimize, if not fully devoid myself from using gadgets. In the world where we live now, it is quite challenging to do because we’ve already integrated the use of technology to different aspects in our life. The use of technology also is dictated greatly by the lifestyle of the family and the environment. In our home, we’ve made sure that computer time is separate from family bonding time and study time. But over the course of time, these invisible boarders are being shifted.

The Verdict
Would I decide that living life without gadgets or technology at that, is impossible? No, it’s not impossible. There are still people who choose not to use gadgets. However, it is not ideal anymore to live without these since we have already integrated technology in our life. This is where the future is directed. We can choose to use technology or we can opt not to. It’s still a matter of choice, but the circumstances would be entirely different.

In conclusion, it is in the orientation that we were conditioned that make us feel like we have lost touch with reality because of the gadgets. It is not their [gadgets/technology] fault, rather it is we, humans, who decide to let them take control of our lives and that should not be the case. We are to utilize these gadgets so that, like what was said in an earlier discussion in class, to make work efficient and less cumbersome. In the end, it is in us to decide if we would let it control and manipulate our social norms, values and morals as human beings.

Critical Analysis: WALK THE MOON Album Art

WALK THE MOON Cover Art (c) Walk The Moon Website

      This critical analysis was done for my Introduction to Art class, and mostly based from my perspective of the art. Although I did some research on the band’s background which is indicated on the in-text-citation. Above all, enjoy reading!

P.S. If you will be using this as reference, please be sure to cite the proper sources, including this blog. However, my views do not reflect the original intention of the record company, artist, and designers, for that matter.

Thanks!

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            Walk The Moon is an American Indie Rock band based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray, Sean Waugaman, and Eli Maiman formed the band in the late 2000s. With that, in 2010, they independently released their debut album ‘I Want!, I Want!’. The tracklist from that album they adapted to their WALK THE MOON album under RCA Records. (iTunes, 2014).

               Their self-titled album, WALK THE MOON, boasts of the band’s youthful, eclectic vibe—not just the tracks under the album, but also the art used as their cover. The use of bright vivid colors attracts the eye of anyone who sees it. It is very pop art-esque yet somewhat psychedelic. Aside from being the cover art for WALK THE MOON, it is simply the visual representation of what you may feel while listening to the band’s songs such as ‘Anna Sun,’ ‘Tightrope,’ and ‘Shiver Shiver.’

                   Apart from the use of various colors, the album design is mostly repetition of trees and a tree house—the trees which represent the growth of the youth; while the tree house is a hideaway, a fort, or simply a place away from the mainstream world. Futhermore, since the band is hailing from Ohio, a state in the United States of America, it was historically known to be “the Buckeye State” relating to the Ohio Buckeye Tree (Aesculus glabra) which bears fruits (Why is Ohio known as the Buckeye State…, 2008). They extract the tannic acid from the fruit and use it to treat leather—it is also considered a poisonous plant (Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A., 1985).

                  The cover art is brimming with visual elements such as color, form, shape, and lines. Color evident as it was used on the trees. The shape is very natural and organic, with exceptions for the the tree house which is mostly geometric. The form of the tree house made by the artist is made to look like its 3-Dimensional, popping out from the rest of the trees which are flat. The lines help create structure for the elements within the artwork and make it stand out.

                The artist also made use of rhythm, contrast, and focal point to the cover art. S/he created a forest of trees manipulating color and size to create a rhythmic background as well as to contrast the pure white tree house in the middle which is the focal point of the artwork. I believe that the artist was successful in tying in the ‘roots’ of the band members’ hometown to the kind of music they create. Directly translating also the messages of their songs, like for example, ‘Anna Sun,’ goes something like this:

“Screen falling off the door; door hanging off the hinges
My feet are still sore; my back is on the fringes
We tore up the walls; we slept on couches
We lifted this house, we lifted this house

What do you know? This house is falling apart
What can I say? This house is falling apart
We got no money, but we got heart
We’re gonna rattle this ghost town
This house is falling apart!”

which talks of high energy, youth, rebellion, perhaps, or merely just enjoying losing oneself to the hype of  the music and forgetting about one’s worries. Frankly, Indie music is something I just discovered recently and I have to say that this genre has produced such artistic outputs that usually mainstream music does not give freedom to do. That is why I can say that this WALK THE MOON cover art is a good work of art because it feels so liberating, youthful, eccentric, quirky, yet stayed true to the band, and their songs, which it represents. 

WRITER’S LAMENT: An Overly Over Dramatic Comedy Based on a True Life Story

CREDITS TO: OWNER

You’re typing your thoughts on a document

with the things you want to say already in mind.

You read through what you have done,

you’re happy with it and save it.

Just as you’re ready to email it to the one you intended to send the document to,

it seems to not exist at all.

You’ve extinguished so much of your energy into finishing that file,

and just like that it’s already gone.

It’s heartbreaking.

Suddenly, you feel like a wilted vegetable,

hopeless,

like your world is on a standstill.

Your fingers are trembling as you mindlessly type in keywords,

trying to search for that one document.

You freeze into a halt,

and give up just like that.

With no choice at all,

you result to doing it over.

You seemed selfish

at that first try anyway.

So you open a new slate,

start once again from the beginning.

This time,

as you finish the current file,

You tell yourself,

good thing I got rid of that.

Satisfied,

you save it.

Glad that’s over

and done with!

Click!

SEND.

LITERARY ANALYSIS: FAST FOOD FICTION BY VARIOUS AUTHORS

I am a big fan of Filipino masterpieces—may it be music, art, literary works–anything basically, that I can get my hands on. My fascination for reading local literary pieces began when I was in my freshman year in high school. During our english subject, our teacher required us to read novels from Philippine Literature. My classmates initial reactions upon hearing the announcement was disappointing. Many find Filipino books/literary pieces of low quality or shallow story lines. But that’s not entirely true. They’re probably just exposed with the wrong type of media that formed a false perception of local literature. It sad to think that Filipinos themselves cannot learn to love their own art and continuously discriminate these for petty reasons. I was very much ecstatic about reading these types of stories because they somehow relate to how I live, how my family is, the traditions that my family keeps, and the stories of other Filipinos especially those written by prolific Filipino authors I wasn’t even familiar with came into the picture. It was more relate-able, I should say, and it was easier to comprehend since I understand the same context the writer uses.

The first Filipino novel I read, ‘Without Seeing the Dawn’ by Stevan Javellana gave me goosebumps and it felt surreal at the same time tragic. The flow of emotions were intense and I can picture them vividly in my head. The events were heart-warming at the same time ignited rage. It was a serious rollercoaster of emotions. The second one was ‘Catch a Falling Star’ by Cristina Pantoja Hilario is a collection of short stories that I was able to relate to my childhood. It brought back memories at the same time, I found myself comparing it to how the children lived during the 70s and how I grew up in the modern era. Upon reading the stories, it also gave me inspiration to write short stories as well that translate to how I am but that also gave me the liberty to re-imagine other stories. I started writing on my journal. Stories about my day, people whom I care about, those kinds of cheesy stuff. I continued on as I found solace in writing and I found it as an effective outlet of my emotions and the things that continue to bother me, and circulate around my busy head.

Then, upon entering HUMALIT class in college, I found this interesting bookshare by Prof. Dianne Siriban which really intrigued me. I know I had a thing for Filipino works, but this definitely, caught my eye. For a moment, as I was reading through her description of the book, I convinced myself that I really wanted to read this book and the more I read about it, the more I wanted to get hold of the book. Just the title itself, Fast Food Fiction, boggled my mind. “What is this going to be about, huh?” So I did, I borrowed the book from my professor and read one story after the other. I can be quite a picky reader though, so I segregated the stories and picked the ones that I liked. When I started reading the first story, there, once again, my nationalism has been re-ignited and I just can’t believe how so many Filipinos do not read local literary work. I will not continue to rant on how disappointed I am, but it is indeed very alarming. As a communication student, I think it’s best that we introduce our youth to these kinds of art and have them appreciate the beauty and unique qualities of Philippine literature.

There were specific stories that really put my eyes glued on the pages of the book and kept me wanting to find out more about what happens next. Since this is a compilation of short stories, most of them cliffhangers and it’s usually up to the reader to come up with his/her own ending, its open-ended. Yet, sometimes, I wish the authors of these stories would write a sole book for each story I’ve read because frankly, I’m hungry for more. (So that explains the fast food aspect of the title. Pun intended.) Like what its title declares,these stories symbolize food for the soul. Fast food is also known to many as comfort food, the food the relieves you of your stress, and makes you feel relaxed and at ease. Same goes with the short stories found in this wonderful compilation, it feeds your senses. Just like fast food, the stories are short enough to be read in a matter of minutes and yet it brings you happiness, relaxation, bliss. It makes you forget about your worries even if it’s just for a short while and that’s probably what made me fall in love with it after all.

I am a sucker for reading lengthy novels, and I admit to that. It will probably take me months before I can finish a novel, much more an entire series. I love reading but I am a slow reader so it make take me a while before I can fangirl about the story I’m reading. But then there’s this. It makes me smile for a while. Just stealing a few minutes from schoolwork, I read at least one or two stories from the book and it calms me down, it entertains me. We’ve probably spent so much time on social networking that we’ve forgotten about these stories and other sources of entertainment that certainly have more substance, don’t you think so?

With this, I’d like to continue my search for Filipino literary pieces because I strongly believe that there is a serious need to promulgate and make-known these works of art. Because we’ll never know who we might have just influenced. Also, to keep an open mind, pen, and journaling paper, since as I a writer as well, believes that each one of us has his or her own story to tell. It’s just that either we are unable to share them, have a hard time expressing them, or probably waiting for someone to tell their story for them. But, because of these, I’ll continue my venture into collecting others’ stories and later on create a literary masterpiece that many will enjoy and appreciate.

*Note: I’d like to thank Prof. Dianne for lending me her copy of Fast Food Fiction. It will definitely be one of the books that’ll I’ll forever remember (and keep in my little library). Thank you once again.

 

BREAKING FAIRY TALE CONVENTIONS: Fragile and Innocent Today, Movers and Shakers of Tomorrow

What was originally a requirement, became something much more and I just thought that it would be something worth sharing to the world, not just in class.

                                                             

             Initially, upon reading on ‘The Story of the Eldest Princess’ I was intrigued. It caught my eye simply because it was about the eldest princess. As I always say, I often relate it to me being an elder sister and the persona it tried to define was personally, quite similar to the conventions of being the firstborn. There are perks, I know, but there are more pressures brought about by the family and by society which confine the ‘ate’ or ‘kuya’  to act a certain way. Often times it gets really annoying while others times you just thank God you were born way before your siblings did.

With what my professor said during the discussion, does birth order really matter? We don’t really have a choice and it’s definitely something our parents are liable for. So why do we have these conceptions and assumptions that a certain birth order is equivalent to a list of responsibilities, attitudes, and successes, that may be quite difficult to answer, even explain for that matter. But definitely, it is just a generalization because it’s something situational and vary depending on the family’s set-up. However, the most important lesson I learned from this selection was about making your own life path. Yes, it is true that society dictates to us how we should live our life but the thing is, they don’t have a hold on us. They cannot control us, we are rational individuals who can decide for ourselves and learn from the consequences of these decisions.

When the eldest princess realized that she was following a certain pattern, it woke up her senses and made her question  herself if this was the path she wanted to follow. At that moment, she realized she wanted to make her own choices and write her own story.

            “There is always an old woman ahead of you on a journey, and there is always an old woman behind you too, and they are not always the same, they may be fearful or kindly, dangerous or delightful, as the road shifts, and you speed along it. Certainly I was ahead of you, and behind you too, but not only I, and not only as I am now.” (p. 28)

Each generation has a predecessor and a successor. The generations before us, including our parents, grandparents, teachers, professors bosses and the like, often tell us ‘Papunta ka pa lang, pabalik na ako’ which simply means they gone through so many things already in their life and they’re already aware of the effects of these causes. When we decide they often tell us that this will lead to this, or if you choose that it will lead you to something like this. That’s their role, that’s what makes the wise individuals. But then, we can’t always rely on them to make choices for us. As a member of today’s youth, we are encouraged to speak and decide for ourselves and to make our own footsteps in the sand. We can stray from the path, but it is us who will have to undergo the challenges that life throws at us. Then, from these experiences, we learn for ourselves, something our elders have not experienced, and we share them to the following generations after us.

Our lives are not meant to follow a straight line. What fulfillment would it bring if we just walked 500 m straight, that would be dull and boring, and lifeless, and there would be no sense in accomplishing something once you cross a finish line. Vis-a-vis walking a mile with a slopes, crawling, and just every single hurdle you could possibly think of. But, when you conquer all of those, then you can truly say, you deserve success because you tirelessly worked for it. Though there we times you thought to yourself that you’d give up, however, it further pushed you to do your best and keep aiming for the finish line. The people that come into our lives, they are only instruments, catalysts, I must say, that continuously motivate us to continue living our life but in the end it is in our hands to decide where we want to go and how we want to go through this journey.

I remember a song from the 90s called, ‘Next In Line’ by After Image–a song that I always carry with me in my heart never fails to remind me how important our generation is, as well as the future ones, role in shaping the world for our sake and the benefit of society backed up by morals and values.The song goes:

“What has life to offer me when I grow old?
What’s there to look forward to beyond the biting cold
‘Cause they say it’s difficult, yes, stereotypical
Gotta be conventional, you can’t be so radical.

So I sing this song to all of my age
For these are the questions we’ve got to face
For in this cycle that we call life
We are the ones who are next in line
We are next in line”

This would always inspire me to keep making decisions, keep taking chances, to be open-minded and accept failure because only then we can achieve our true sense of living. Our purpose in life will not easy to identify, but we just have to keep living for today. This is our life and we hold the steering wheel to where we want to go.

I am saying this not just for the sake of answering the questions given for this requirement, but I am sharing these from my past experiences and collective learning and I would want to share them with the class because I see no point in just keeping it all to myself. Someone has to know my story as much as I have to discover your other stories. This life is not yet over because we have a million, billion, trillion other stories to read and discover in this lifetime. Who knows we might just end up writing an entire library collection of untold stories from the past? We’ll never know what fate would lead us to.

THE STANDARD OF INFLUENCE

Through the years, people have made remarkable statements that is unique to their individuality. These people expressed themselves different from the rest and later on, served as influence. The constant change that time brings gives birth to new, revolutionary and inspiring individuals who shape the world based on their tastes and then, from there, creating a dynamic impact to the masses.

Each one of us has our own source of influence. If you were an aspiring rock-star, you’d probably confide with listening to The Killers, Rolling Stones or AC DC. If you were a fashion trendsetter, you’d browse through the look books of Lauren Conrad, Rachel Zoe, or Nina Garcia. If you were into street art, you’d get inspiration from Mentalgassi, Hyuro and C215.  Basically, my point here is that we have a standard of influence. We have a wide grocery store of influential people whom we can get ideas from and motivate us to continue pursuing our desired path in life. We have the liberty to decide how this will affect our lives.

In every generation, there must have been people who have moved, shook, and stirred the notions and beliefs. What was just an experimental idea, now has become a mainstream trend almost everyone is familiar with. Take for instance branded clothing lines with the likes of UNI QLO, H&M and Top Shop. They try to tailor fit their clothing line to a certain lifestyle that their market appeals to. The clothing they sell are not uniquely theirs, rather it is appealing to the public eye because it shares the same style and orientation that people live up to.

Personally, I look up to numerous influential people depending what field he or she belongs to. I feel that having someone you look up to give you a picture of your ideal self. You may not end up exactly like him or her, but you direct yourself towards his or her influence. You never get tired of living your life because he or she is the motivation and drive you have stepping on your pedal that keeps you moving forward.

Influence is a never-ending process. An idea begins from a person which is passed down to another and another and another. In fact, ordinary individuals, like you and me, can be influential. It might be your outgoing attitude that has inspired your quiet and timid friend to come our of her shell or your good taste in music that has now made you and your colleague share the same interest in indie music. Even the little things such as which restaurant to dine in tomorrow evening or shampoo brand to use.

Life is a pool of influence and that we can never run out of. With the constant change of our times, influence will always be present within our midst. Why do you think social networking sites, the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, have such a solid stronghold among the masses of different gender, age and race? It’s all because of the influence that each one of us bring to society and that’s what keeps us moving, evolving, changing and want to try out something out of the ordinary (at least for a while until it gets into the mainstream).

Because of the impact it makes to our lives, we continuously make a better version of what we already have. We want to rise above what has been done before with the purpose of influencing others. And as I have said earlier in this text, it is a never-ending cycle. As long as man continues to breathe and walk this earth, we will not lose sight of influence and influencers.

Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”  – Dale Carnegie