Aric's Journal

Aric's Journal (definitely not a diary)

Version 1.1 (This will be outdated like Thoreau and AOL 3.0)

At Vanderbilt I have come to appreciate the little things. The food from the Varsity Market is pretty much the biggest life saver in my life. My favorite Tuesday and Thursday meal would definitely be Lunchables. Specifically, I had a turkey and cheddar lunchable with whole grain Ritz crackers. Only the finest will suffice my pallet. I don't think I have ever grown out of the taste of the cheddar, a bit sharp, but delicimo! The whole grain Ritz crackers help me feel better about my self image for I do not want to be weighed down by grease and fried (non)edibles. The turkey saturated my tongue with flavor as I grabbed my ice cold coke to wash it down. No better way to finish such a delectable lunch than with that crisp and one and a half month aged bottle of soda, soda is always better aged. Unfortunately my least favorite part of the meal is having to throw it up so that I can keep my weight down. Don't tell anyone alright, our little secret? The taste of the acid mixed cracker sandwiches puts my throat at odds as it comes up. Unfortunate, but a hefty price to pay for such a delectable snack.



Iron Man

I agree to disagree. Technical marvel and computer animations have there place in society as did the Colosseum and Lord Chamberlain's Men. Iron Man brought a sense of superhero enlightenment that wasn't brought to the establishment by any other superhero film, yes, not even Batman Begins. The way that Iron Man mixes super human technology with human curiosity makes it stand out in comparison to Batman's approach of, of course I knew how to put together throwing stars that blow up when they hit someone, of course-
By adding in the extra sense of personality, I can relate to the premise of this superhero more. 'Really smart guy' gets himself taken prisoner and needs to build something that he can use to save the day. More reliably honest to the human condition then Fantastic Four where the only thing believable is that the name is an alliteration.
The main problem I have with your view is going back to gladiators vs Shakespeare, you can't compare the two and not qualify them as great movies. In the same sense you can not compare The Punisher to Iron Man on all levels. The reason you go to see The Punisher is not because you are wanting some strange twist in the plot that you haven't seen before, but instead for the action packed sequences of blood and guts, missiles, and karate, crime fighting sequences which you wish you were able to do instead of going to school or work.

(On a side note I would like to point out the parallels of this story with the Greek myth of the inventor and his son who get trapped on an island, where the king will only let them go if they kill the Minotaur. Knowing that the king won't let them go even if they succeed, the inventor builds wings so that him and his son can fly across the ocean. Similarities are inevitable, and it leads me to believe that what entertained hundreds of years ago still entertains the human mind for the same reason, good vs evil, and the triumph of good.)

Version 3.2

Garden of Forking Paths

The website created for the Garden of Forking Paths, has a nice ability to show they way the story layers on itself. It takes the ability of Borges to mention one thing and not know if it has already been mentioned or if it is the first time you have read it. In doing this he allows himself to de-create the beginning and end of the story, having it flow in many different directions, with different decisions deciding where in the story you are. The online story also adds the fact, as mentioned in the commentary, that the words are part of the story and part of the background with no more significance then the geometric shapes and Japanese letters.

By creating a story in which time is not set in stone, or by creating a labyrinth with your story, it makes it hard to read casually. I mean this in the fact that yes it is a highly philosophical work where Borges is contemplating how a story can have infinite outcomes based upon the decisions made by the narrator. In doing this it makes it hard to enjoy the story, for the guy dies and the event that followed didn't even need him. By making time irrelevant, in my opinion it makes the plot irrelevant, and more so it makes there no good or bad guys, because everyone has the choice to make good and bad decisions. However, the choice to make good and bad decisions I do not think follows that a person has the ability to make good or bad decisions. In the case of the Nazi Germany commander, every decision that he has made in the past is what shapes his person and decision making in the future. So in a way decisions are decided in advance by the type of person you are today.

The other problem I have with the online version of the story, as where it gives you an idea for the deep meaning of the story, it takes away from the author's medium of writing. The author wrote the story to be read in the form of a book, even if his ideas were for that book to split within itself. Also the parallels created between Borges and the book with the book that tries to do the same thing that the short story is doing.

The website is a great idea, but I would not check out the website until you have tried to grip the story without it.

Version 4.2

Fairy Tale Generator

They were after me, well sort of, they were after what I knew. I had been tricked by a man into going into the Bush's Baked Beans factory and stealing the secret recipe. He told me not to read it if I wanted to remain safe. In telling me this I could not resist, what man could? As I had opened it I gasped and dropped it- running I took myself home away from it, away from everything. They found me. How? Doesn't matter, I had to get away. A mountain range in the distance invited me towards it. Before I had started running. I ran up the side of the mountain, knowing that they were following me. I glanced back, a mistake, I saw their torches and could see the moon off the cold reflection of the blade. My feet moved left, then right, then left- I was stilling running, my mind couldn't stay focused on what was going on, side tracked, thinking about the recipe. On the left I saw a cave and ran into it. I ran passed the dragon while playing a flute, knowing that the melody would save me. I got to the treasure room of the cave, saw a rock with a sword in it and suddenly knew what my destiny behold of me. I grabbed my AK-47 shot at the rock, and then proceeded to grab the sword. Now I was able to defeat my follower.

I got back to the entrance of the cave with a sort of firery insensity deep within me- next time I can't forget my pepto bismol. Just then I saw them, they had just reached the cave. As I charged towards them, I grabbed my sword, glowing, I slashed left and hit one of them across the throat, blood shooting 15 feet out in every direction, I then proceeded to charge the other, jumping I jabbed down and struck it in the heart. As I pulled out the sword I could hear the silent barking of the dog, it lay there, motionless. The baked bean guy laying in his own pool of blood, I had triumphed!

I left for home, leaving the bodies for the dragon, I came back home covered in blood, and asked my girlfriend to marry her. Nothing would stop us now. We got on our horse and road off into the sunset.

Journal 6.2

Patern Recognition

In this section of Pattern Recognition we are getting to more of the plot of the book. We find the background of Bigend a kid from a rich family who lives the upper class life of prestigious boarding school who then goes to Harvard. After that has a job here and there, has 1 year of self-contemplation in Brazil and then starts Blue Ant. This image of Bigend is a generic rich person, which makes me wonder what else is behind him since Gibson is not normally known for his ordinary characters. We find out that Bigend is interested in the videos and wants to hire Jayce to figure out there origin. At this point I really questioned what I would do in this situation. Jayce being so enthralled in these videos it would almost seem like a betrayal to uncover the artist before the videos are done/all released.

I found it very interesting that she uses coffee as an escape and tea as way to relax herself when the flat had been broken into. Both of them contain caffeine which seems to be as away to numb her mind to her ability to feel originality in corporate logos/design. I also found it very interesting that Dorotea was a corporate spy, because the fact that if she got the job she wanted she would be working with companies that she could later sell out to their competition, which would be bad for the business even if it was good for her specifically.

The complex descriptions of everything makes it hard to read at time, but I think this is nice, because once my mind got use to it I was able to start picturing how things are working in my head. However, the video clips really confuse me at the moment, partly because I have only heard about one or two of the video clips, but partly because they just seem so strange. The actors in the clips are dressed to fit a wide range of time, which makes me wonder why?

Journal 7.2

Pages 124-165

In this section Cayce seems to run into a lot of coincidences. The first is that the lead singer of BSE and Velcro Kitty are both on a plane, first class nonetheless, to Tokyo. This is very odd, because Cayce only starts remembering about Billy Prion because he has a gallery in which Voytek is hoping to show his ZX 81 collection. The next coincidence is the fact that Blue Ant seems to have perfect timing when contacting Cayce which leads me to believe that she is being watched in some way by the company. The main coincidence is the fact that Boone Chu knew exactly what needed to be done after Cayce was attacked. It was almost like he knew of the event ahead of time or had expertly planned for worst case scenarios, which in itself would indicate that he knows more than just his background in computers.

Cayce’s ability also is used quite frequently in Tokyo. She picks up the brilliance of individual liquid sugar and lemon packets at the Starbucks-ish coffee shop. She also detects a fashion, or more like fetish, trend with the tall socks that were imposed on to the fake Keiko picture. Not only does she pick up trends, we learn a little about either her ability or Japan in general by the fact the she isn’t really annoyed at all the different logos. Hello Kitty logo didn’t really bother her, which seems to indicate that no matter how mass produced and mass imposed on paraphernalia a logo might be, it doesn’t take away from its originality as long as it is the original work and not a copy.

I think it is pretty interesting that Win’s father has such an interesting past, and I wonder what kind of role it is going to play in this book. At the presence, Win seems just like a thought process to me. The mere fact that every time Cayce thinks about him, she is sharing some way in which he explained to her something, whether it be about conspiracy theories, duck in the face, perimeter protection, or self-defense.

I do find it very interesting how some of the names seem to connect with their personalities. Win, Cayce’s father, seems to be all about winning, or better yet surviving. His job was about winning and he makes sure that his daughter knows how to win if she gets mugged, and makes sure she learns the self-defense that might not be nice but is guaranteed to win. Bigend on the other end could mean a few different things, but I seem to think that his name is foreshadowing some kind of grand plan that he has for Cayce or for the footage in general. His name could also be a play on words with big end meaning a big ass, or pain in the ass.

Journal 8.2

Pages 208-248

So Cayce has another dream, one that I think is still important and has a common thread among all of the others- predictor of future event. I know it is a long shot, but I just don't believe that Cayce's father is communicating from the dead, and I don't believe Cayce's father would die/kidnapped without a fight with all that he has taught Cayce in self-defense. I think Gibson is more likely to throw her father into the story, or some weird connection to her father associated with the Russians.

As for Dorotea, she is definitely the shady figure that we all thought, but is their more to her? I think that it is the job of the writer to pull us along in one direction and then just completely change directions on us. Dorotea might turn out to be trying to help Cayce in the future, while Boone Chu might be a bit more of a shady character.

The question is how does everything start to tie into each other. Some of the recurrent characters are Cayce, Voytek and his friends, Bigend, Dorotea and her two handmen, Chu, Cayce's mother and father, parkaboy and his friends, damien and his girlfriend, and (the BSE) singer and his girlfriend, along with the Footage. That is a lot more characters then a book normally would have still in play, yet Gibson is doing this all for a reason, maybe to get at this point of human nature that we pick up on these patterns, and it is our brain's job to sort through them and find out what is important and what is not.

I wanted to touch a little bit on the fact that in journal 8.1's reading that Cayce mentions a little bit about history, and how it can be replaced(205). Supporting evidence for the history argument as well as information on that page about her other views.

Journal 9.2

Pages 289-328

So we find out about the tower protruding from the found in Russia, not quite as creepy as I had suspected. It was a Nazi airplane stuck under mounds of dirt in the middle of Russia. How this is possible and why it is important is kind of a question to me. It might be some kind of symbolism of the savageness of Russia and of the thought that Russia might not win battles, but just wins wars of attrition kind of like when Germany attacked Russia in the first world war, and Russia just burned their own fields as they retreated as to eventually starve the German forces.

We have talked a lot about the three main countries of this book: Russia, UK, Japan, all in their major cities, showing these hubs of culture and a certain way of doing things. We see the effects of these countries on culture, fashion, and food along with other things every year. The spread of their culture kind of shows this dominance in society, but then we have to take in affect all of these extra countries thrown in especially the US, Cyprus, France, and now this German airplane. I think maybe the introductions of these countries has some kind of comparison, but I don't quite know what.

We run into Dorotea again, and find out that she is the double cross person that Gibson wanted us to believe she was. She drugs Cayce and is trying to figure out how Cayce got the email address. This is an interesting situation, because that wall of just corporate espionage that we picture earlier is mixed in with this almost like mob mentality, of using people and doing whatever it takes to meet the objectives.

One thing that I found really interesting is that Nora's studio has a view of the Kremlin, but the windows are painted black. These black windows could be because of a sensitivity to light, but I also think it draws a comparison to the shunning of the Russia government. The reason that their parents are dead, the fragment is in Nora's head, and the reason that their Uncle is rich. It would seem this comparison of a really rich man and the suffering other people have to do in order for him to be rich would be a portrait of capitalism and its evils, but instead this pain and suffering on others was created under this pretext of communism, of this 'forever college student' mentality of people during the soviet union.

Journal 10.1


I have been a fan of nearly all of the readings in this class except for maybe forking paths. However, I am defintely not a fan of Photopia. Maybe I am just so used to playing a lot more graphic of games or maybe it is the fact that I just didn't like the storyline. I mean the story was about different dreams that a child had had, and then talking with the kid that was being baby sat trying to come up with a connecting story. All of this is interspersed with other stories. Some of the stories were connected to others, and the real life situations were also connected, but it was really hard to follow for me. I am still a little confused why the story of the drunk guys and the car accident is important if all that is connect is that Alley had gotten in a car accident.

The writing was definitely a mix between a narrator that had a pretty good vocabulary, and a bunch of slang from the talking. I think this is to make everything feel more like reality than everyone speaking like a computer. I was confused when she would define words. This was probably to teach the girl she was babysitting new words, but it was very odd interruptions.

I think my main problem with this game is the fact that it wasn't that much fun to me. The story was kind of interesting, but after reading the game for a while my head started to hurt. Maybe this was because I was just thinking to hard or a lack of caffeine, but it wasn't entertaining. All this being said, I am sure that it was rather advanced when it came out. The fact that people were able to have commands that could be typed must have been cool, but I think my generation finds this a little uninspiring. On a scale from having to change my nephew's diaper to most fun I have ever had, I would almost prefer to change the diaper. No hard feelings, it just wasn't that interesting.

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