Amy Salce's Journal

Sandcastle Cake (Journal 1.1)

Every summer it's a tradition for my mom and I to bake a cake every Fourth of July. This isn't just an ordinary cake, however. It is called "The Sandcastle Cake" and it has become quite a hit amongst those who eat, or even just take a glimpse at the cake (my extended family and friends whom I celebrate the Fourth of July with). The first and easiest step into making this delicious cake is to make the batter and put it into a sandcastle mold. Once the cake is finished baking, it is taken out of the oven and flipped onto a plate. We are always holding our breath, hoping a tower or mote doesn't stick to the mold and get left behind when we flip the cake out. Once the cake is baked, taken out of the oven, and successfully flipped over, most might think the masterpiece is finished. However, the most difficult steps have yet to come. The next steps include decorating, in which we tend to get pretty creative. We cover the base of the plate in turbinado sugar in order to mimic sand. Once the golden tan cake is placed on the sand, it really does look like the spitting image of a realistic beach scenario. However, the best steps are still yet to come! Finally, we place gummy sea life creatures onto the "sand," such as whales, fish, and dolphins. Chocolate foil beach balls are always fun to use too! Lastly, we add mini American flags (attached to tooth-picks) to the actual sandcastle. For an added patriotic effect, we ignite sparklers and stick them into the towers of the castle. It is the Fourth of July, after all! Once the cake is complete, it is always hard to take the first cut into the masterpiece. The first time I tried the cake, it was such a surprise to me that the moist, vanilla taste was even more enjoyable than the actual process of making it. On top of the delicious vanilla cake, people tend to throw on some of the decorations to make the taste even better. Sprinkling the turbinado sugar and adding some gummies on top of your piece of cake definitely makes the taste more interesting! In addition, some people throw on whipped cream to load up the calories even more!

I do not have pictures of the actual tools we used and of the finished product, but here are some similar items I found online.

Sandcastle Cake Mold

Turbinado Sugar

The finished product… minus the gummies!

Taylor Swift and Kanye West Controversy (Journal 1.2)

On Sunday night, my roommate and I were busy doing some last minute homework when we decided to take a break to watch some of the VMAs (Video Music Awards). The VMAs are always the same old show, year after year. We did need a study break, though. We had the show on for about 10 minutes and were really enjoying the same old, typical, "so and so wins this award and makes a speech!" and the screaming teen crowd. Luckily, we decided to keep it on for a few minutes longer and I'm so glad we did. This year ended up being way better than the norm. Country music artist Taylor Swift won an award for "Best Female Video of the year." We were expecting a really interesting speech, like all the other winners make. But no, we received something more, something different! Hip hop artist Kanye West got up on stage, stole the show, interrupted her speech, and stated that Taylor did not deserve this award and it should've been given to Beyonce Knowles. According to him, had "One of the best videos of all time." Normally, this would strike a nerve with me. On the surface, Kanye's gesture seemed disrespectful and absolutely uncalled for, and it was. However, I really enjoyed it. Finally, America could receive some entertainment with this annual awards show! It is even more entertaining how this has already come to be such a controversy in our country. It is probably the biggest, most important issue going on in our world right now and we all need to help Taylor. We also need to hunt down Kanye and kill him, although I'd just want to tell him thanks for the entertainment! The best, however, will be Taylor's new song about how upset she is with Kanye.

The Garden of Forking Paths (Journal 3.1)

1. How does Tsun able to find out where Albert lives? I know that Tsun looked up "Albert" in the phonebook, but the whole scene is still very confusing to me. I think this scene was so perplexing because people on the platform knew that he was going to Albert's house. I just don't know how this could be possible.
2. How did Captain Madden find out where Tsun was before he arrested him (Albert's house)? It is very confusing to me how Captain Madden randomly showed up at Albert's house in order to arrest Tsun. I think that Captain Madden knew/found out about Tsun's plan at Albert's house, but I still don't know how he found out.
3. What is the significance of the novel written by Ts'ui Pen? Although the significance of the novel is still a little unclear to me, I now understand the concept of the "labyrinth." In Ts'ui Pen's novel, instead of choosing a plot with one possible outcome, he writes his plot in which his characters choose all possible outcomes simultaneously. All of these outcomes eventually come together and merge.

Cinderella (Propp's Morphology of the Folk Tale) Journal 3.2

"Cinderella" is a classic tale that contains many of Propp's elements and narratemes. First, I will briefly talk about the plot. When Cinderella's mother dies, her father marries another woman. Her father and new step-mother end up having two children. Eventually, Cinderella's father dies too. Once this happens, Cinderella becomes under complete control of her cruel step-mother. The step-mother turns her into a servant. While her and Cinderella's evil step sisters are laying back and relaxing around the house, Cinderella is forced to complete servant-like chores. When word comes out about the King holding a ball for the Prince to find the perfect bride, the step sisters do everything they can to win the Prince and make sure Cinderella does not attend the ball. Eventually, Cinderella finds a way to the ball, obtains the perfect dress (thanks to her Fairy Godmother and mice friends), and wins the Prince. However, Cinderella must return back to her house before the Prince announces who his bride will be. While rushing home, Cinderella loses her glass slipper. The prince finds the slipper, and recognizes that it is the slipper of the woman he's looking for. He holds a test in which all women at the ball try on the slipper. No one's foot fits the slipper, but the Prince eventually finds Cinderella.
Trickery: Villian attempts to deceive victim
Several times in this tale, the evil step sisters and step-mother attempt to manipulate Cinderella. Not only do they disable her from seeing the world and experiencing life (not letting her leave the house and making her do chores), but they trick her in many ways as well. For example, when Cinderella receives the invitation to the ball, the evil step sisters hide the invitation from Cinderella, hoping she won't find out about it. Another example is on the night of the ball, the evil step sisters cut up Cinderella's beautiful dress, in hopes of her not showing up. The step sisters also trick the Prince when he holds the glass slipper test. One of the step sisters cuts off her toe in order for Cinderella's slipper to fit, while the other cuts off her heal.
Delivery: The villian gains information
An example of this is when the step sisters find out Cinderella knows about the ball and is attending. They find out by seeing a beautiful gown in her room, which they proceed to rip up.
Mediation: Hero discsovers the lack
Cinderella finds her gown cut up, and begins to panic. Luckily, her Fairy Godmother saves her by creating an even better dress.
Testing: Hero is challenged
Although Cinderella isn't actually "challenged," she receives a Fairy Godmother for all her hard work and abuse. The Fairy Godmother is always there for her and helps her out when in need. An example of this is when the Fairy Godmother creates a new dress for Cinderella. Another example is the Fairy Godmother giving Cinderella a magical ride to the ball in a pumpkin carriage.
Wedding: Hero marries and ascends the throne
The Prince and Cinderella dance the night away, and the Prince falls in love with her. After all the negative results of the glass-slipper test, he eventually finds Cinderella, and the slipper fits. She then becomes his bride.

Chroma (Journal 4.2)

While on this website, my attention was immediately brought to the animations. I really have never seen anything like this before. I thought it was amazing how wherever you placed the mouse, the animation would follow. These abstract animations really perplexed me, however. Although they were very neat looking, the first thing I asked myself was "What is the purpose of this?" I really could not grasp what was truly going on in the animations or in the story behind the animations. Not only were the animations distracting to the story, but the voice of the speaker was very hard to understand. This website is very far-fetched and bizarre. I would really like to know what the purpose is, and how the story and the animations relate. One thing I did pick up from story is that there are 3 different people. My guess is that these people are represented in each chapter. Another thing I picked up from this website is that it is the viewers choice to do just about anything. The viewer chooses which direction the animations go, and also what to navigate on the site. Each viewer's experience will be different. Everyone will choose different areas to navigate, will mouse over different areas, and have different animations on their screens.

Pattern Recognition (Journal 6.1)

All of the characters introduced in "Pattern Recognition" have been very interesting and unique so far. The most interesting and unusual aspect about the protagonist, Cayce, is the fact that she seems to literally be allergic to certain images. Firstly, she cannot stand the site of some logos and advertisements. The fact that she works in the the advertising field confused me at first. Now I understand that her allergy actually enables her be the best in her field, due to her strong sensitivity to the logos. Secondly, she seems to be allergic to certain types of fashion. In fact, she can only wear the colors black, white and gray. She also refuses to wear anything but old clothes (clothes from 1945-2000.) This is clearly unusual and makes her character unique and mysterious, making the reader anxious to find out more.
I could already tell there is something off and cold about the character Dorotea from the way she was introduced in the novel. The first sentence we hear about her is Cayce sensing that she is both "business and trouble." Her and Cayce have not gotten along in the novel so far, as Cayce immediately knows that Dorotea's drawing does not work. I think the tense nature and animosity between these two characters in the chapter "Bitch" foreshadows further trouble between the two characters. I believe Dorotea presents danger to Cayce, and will be an antagonist throughout the novel. However, so far we have read so much about Cayce's wisdom and intelligence, so hopefully she will be able to out-smart Dorotea.

Pattern Recognition (Journal 7.2)

In the reading for Friday, pages 84-124, there are several instances in which Cayce is manipulated by various characters. She is basically forced into Bigend's proposal of changing Cayce's job so abruptly. Bigend seems to be the biggest manipulator, as he hires people such as Magda and Boone Chu to randomly appear in Cayce's life in order to encourage interest in pursuing the footage job. Magda and Boone Chu both appear as friendly people, but in reality they are just doing there job for Bigend in convincing Cayce. Cayce herself even ponders, "what is Bigend doing?" (pg. 89.) On top of Bigend's tricky ways of getting Cayce to pursue the footage (which will of course benefit him in the end, of course,) Cayce is also attacked by Dorotea when she presents the Michellin Man in the meeting. To me, it really seems like Cayce is on her own, in a team of one. I think Cayce deserves a little more help in completing this huge task. When she is in Japan for the first couple of days, it seemed like Cayce was able to breathe a little and get away from the little tricks that have been played on her throughout the novel so far. However, this all ends when she is attacked by Italian men after meeting with Taki. If these men have in fact been hired by Blue Ant to possibly spy on Cayce, I think Bigend is taking this whole footage task way too seriously. It is actually putting Cayce's health and life at risk. It is amazing to me how she puts up with all of these attacks and the manipulation. It really shows how determined and passionate she is about the footage. She will have to go through hell to reach the goal.
Hope was offered at the end of the reading when Boone Chu appeared. Hopefully he will be on Cayce's side for the rest of the novel, assisting her and offering her the help she deserves.

Pattern Recognition (Journal 8.1)

Cayce seems to be doing just find with her new job, as she has successfully flown to Tokyo and has obtained what seems to be the number or watermark for video number 78. However, the book cannot end yet. After reading pages 167-207, I can sense some negative foreshadowing in pages to come. I think Cayce and her team need to come up with a back-up plan in finding the creator of the footage. What they are doing right now has been okay so far, but from Parkaboy's phone call to Cayce at the end of the reading, there seems to be some trouble with Keiko. The plan they have set right now might end up falling through, resulting in disaster with Taki. The next step I think Cayce needs to take is warning Bigend about Dorotea before things get horrible. We realize that when Cayce goes to Blue Ant at the very end of the reading, she is not meeting with just Bigend, but Dorotea as well. I think that Bigend has hired Dorotea (possibly the position Dorotea thought Cayce was going to get in the first place) at Blue Ant. This would be just terrible for Cayce, as she would have to pursue her job with more manipulation at her side. I do think Cayce should still warn Bigend, although it might be too late. It was very ironic how these two pieces of negative news came right after the other. Cayce was eating peacefully, and was abruptly interrupted by Bigend's phone call to meet with him (and Dorotea, although she was unaware.) Just seconds after, she was interrupted with the bad news from Parkaboy. It will be interesting to see how these two situations play out and if my foreshadowing is correct.

Pattern Recognition (Journal 9.1)

You know an author has written a good book when the reader is anxious to read on and find out what happens next. Both Cayce and the reader are in the same position in the reading (248-288). Cayce is very excited to meet with the creator of the footage, and the reader is also very excited to see this happen and to follow Cayce in Russia. The reading left off at a very exciting part, in which Parkaboy decides to fly to Russia and meet up with Cayce so he, too, can meet the maker of the footage. It is very exciting that firstly, Cayce and Parkaboy finally get to meet up after talking for years. Secondly, they get to meet the maker of the footage together. This is a dream come true for the both of them. Their goal has finally been reached. However, I think Cayce is going to have some trouble in Russia, perhaps, before meeting with the maker. The espionage company is stationed in Russia, so this definitely might come into play somehow (in a bad way.) Luckily, Cayce will not be alone since she has one of her best friends at her side. I also think the person that Cayce has been communicating with (stellanor) is not really the maker themselves. I think that when Stellanor and Cayce meet up, Cayce will discover that she isn't truly the maker and, of course, there will be disappointment. However, I think stellanor has some kind of connection with the footage and will be able to help Cayce out. Along the lines of what might happen next, I believe some unclear things will start to make sense, such as why Billy Prion keeps coming up. I am excited to see how unclear little pieces of information like this will all fit together and relate to each other in the end.

Photopia (Journal 10.1)

Photopia is a very interesting game and I had never experienced anything like it before today. It reminded remind me a little of interactive books I used to read when I was a kid that would say "go to page x if you want this to happen, or go to page y if you want another thing to happen." However, Phototopia is somewhat different from these books I used to read, and it showed me that the "interactive fiction" genre is very interesting and unique. Before playing the game, one might think that a "game" with soley words may get boring. However, I played the game through most of the scenarios without getting bored at all. I was quite amused, actually, as I was able to talk to the characters and control the entire game myself. I can say, I did get a little stuck in some the scenarios, but I learned that if you're not sure what to do, the key is to "wait" around or to travel in any of the directions until you reach a solution. I think this game is so unique because it is not only a piece of literature (various short stories,) but it also resembles a video game. This game is very important, as it has given rise to new advancements in technology. People have taken games such as Photopia and have created interactive novels, and "real" video games with visual aspects. This game is a great puzzle that will really make you think, while keeping you amused throughout it.

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