Friday, March 17, 2017

Nuclear Family: Remixed by Patrick Stahl (and You!)

(You can read about the spark for this project here.)

The first story that came to my mind when I decided that I wanted to make an interactive remix story was "Nuclear Family."  After asking author Alex Shvartsman for permission to use it, I went ahead with my piece.  I crafted twenty-seven pages in Sublime Text 3 using HTML and CSS coding.  Then I uploaded the files to my UPJ server space with WinSCP.  "Nuclear Family: Remixed by Patrick Stahl (and You!)" contains twenty-six remixes of "Nuclear Family," some with subtle changes and some heavily rewritten.  The first four sentences are maintained throughout the piece.

Some of the remixes of this story are meant to be manipulative to the user, making them think there will be major changes when really there aren't.  This story is pretty brutal, and often the remixes are too.  It's possible that none of the remixes are quite as horrifying as the original, but I think a couple might be even worse.  Several, on the other hand, have a relatively happy ending.  Still not great, but sometimes more comical or soft.  Certain remixes are based upon differences in situation or character, while others change effects by changing causes (like the first option on Page 3AA aka D.html).  I made many of my specific decisions for this project on the fly.  Some remixes are more entertaining within the context of this project than as stories standing on their own.  In fact, many of them probably are, and that was my intention.  I think this project turned out just as well as I had hoped.

Sorta Pie Memes

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word "meme" is: "an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."  Most of the time, memes are presented as images overlaid with words; however, this need not be the case.  The idea that I am about to present borders on memehood.  The individual pieces may not all be memes, but some of them would convey parcels of culture, and some could potentially enter into popular culture themselves.  Below is the exercise I was inspired by:

This exercise was left undefined.  There are pie charts that are wont for labels.  So I labeled them.  I tried to take them and turn them into charts of frequency.  The proportions are approximate.  Then the one broken to thirds forced my hand.  I've cut cat food into various pieces, but when I first started it was always two cans, each split into thirds.

Check out this cool pie chart that, coincidentally, exemplifies my idea!

I think it could be interesting to start a new sort of "sorta meme" site.  Have a "Sorta Pie Meme" generator that allowed users to break a pie into as many pieces as they wanted (up to maybe ten), each in whatever size they would like (with the minimum being a one-pixel line).  Different sorts of ideas could be conveyed in this manner than can be conveyed by standard memes.  I don't have the technical know-how to execute on this idea right now, but it's possible that I will some day.  I sorta like it.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Of a Thing Writ

The entry I did for today's post (for my Writing for Digital Media course) is a Moby Dick black-out poem.  The Steal Like An Artist Journal printed two pages from the classic novel with the request to black out words to make a poem.  I only ended up using the first page.  You can see it below.  (I've also typed it out at the bottom of this post.)

I used this prompt as inspiration for my idea for my next project in the class.  The project is an interactive narrative.  I'll be selecting a flash fiction piece or a passage from a longer story (or even a poem, perhaps) to use as my base.  To start, there will be a few words, phrases, or sentences toward the beginning of the base that'll be hyperlinked.  Clicking on the hyperlink will dissolve those words on the next screen, as well as change the text that follows, based upon the absence of those words.  That next page will also contain options for the second round of transformations.  The transformation process will repeat at least once more.

This project will require a good number of pages.  I believe I will be using HTML and basic CSS to make them.  Because of the time required to rewrite the text and determine where the hyperlinks should go, I'll probably limit myself to around 25 total pages, maybe a few more.  This idea takes the interactivity of a black-out poem and strips it of some of its freedom, but instead allows the player to look into the writing process, to see how decisions made in storytelling affect a story as one writes.  It should be interesting and entertaining as well as interactive.

Below is the poem from above, typed out for easier reading:

see a space
the light to spread
faster than
top-gallant sails
kept on 'tis but
the rush
pertinacious pursuit
into night, and through
no means
confidence great
observation of
circumstances, pretty
for a time
while out of sight

losing of a coast,
return again,
this pilot
of the cape
with the whale
gently daylight,
wake through the
darkness sagacious mind
of a thing writ in
water, a wake
steadfast Leviathan