Cathy Tang's Journal

Journal 1.2

Online shopping

If you have seen the movie The Confession of a Shopaholic, you must be familiar with the fascination that white people have towards shopping. When you type in “online shopping” on facebook, you will get over five hundred pages of fan sites. What’s more, statistics showed that eighty-five percent of the net surfers in United States shop online. To look beyond scientific evidence, I felt online shopping is everywhere in my college life. Whenever I walk into the post office, the line for package pick-up is always surprisingly long. Packages from walmart.com, ebay.com and many other sites are swelling in. Walking around the campus, I find myself overheard tons of conversations like “I just spent two hundred bucks on jcrew.com”. In a word, white people do love shopping online.

One reason that white people like to shop online is the convenience which the Internet has brought us. Basically, there are only three steps to shop online. Step one, target a shopping website. Usually, nearly all brands in the states provide the service to shop online. Ralphlauren.com,abercrombie.com,coach.com and any brand you can think of. Besides that, websites like amazon and ebay that offer a wide range of products around the globe are also popular among white people. Step two, search for the products that you are in bad need of and click “add to shopping cart”. Step three, swipe the “magic card”. Simply enter some digits of your credit card and your online shopping tour is officially accomplished. In two to five days, your beloved package will be waiting at your door.

Another reason that makes online shopping uniquely attractive among white people is its security. In United States, nearly all the banks provide online banking with secured system. White people feel secured to shop online. In my country, however, it is relatively not safe to shop online. Despite the complicity to open online banking, some banks do not offer this type of service. In other words, you cannot use your credit card online. Moreover, if you shop online in China, it is plausible that you will receive a “cloned” product: it is either pirated or a fake one. A safe and secured online system makes white people love shopping online even more.

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online-shopping.jpg

Journal Entry 2.2

Response to Roger Ebert’s blog entry: Confessions of a blogger
http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2008/08/confessions_of_a_blogger.html

Mr. Ebert,
I totally agree with you on how bloggers get inspired from the comments they’ve received. I think blogging is the process of communicating with all the bloggers around the globe. Just like how people talk to each other in person: we communicate, we argue and therefore we inspire each other. Blogging is another form of communication with a wide range of potential audience.

However, as far as I am concerned, this blogging communication exists only when the blogger is trying to communicate with people who are reading your blog. I’ve seen some bloggers blogging merely to show off: either showing off their pictures or showing off how educated they are. Consequently, these “bloggers” have received some hostile comments or even no comments at all. Back to topic, when I say blogging communicatively, I do not literally mean to post a video clip talking to the bloggers. What I mean is to blog in a way that it can draw an connection to readers, to make readers feel like there is a intelligent friend who is talking honestly to them.

What I’ve seen from Mr. Ebert’s blog is more than a blog of a movie critic. You’ve written blogs involved in movies, 3-D effects, and even about the Olympics in Beijing. Moreover, you are “talking” honestly and inspires your readers. For instance, your blog entry The Achievement of China. As an Chinese my self, I learned a lot from that blog entry and the comments followed. That blog entry was nothing like the a typical news report on TV. It was more like reading a blog from an objective foreigner. I learned what kind of impression China has left on westerners and how does it change over these years.

Indeed, blogging is a good way to communicate and to have a back and forth conversation with your readers.

Journal 3.1

Three questions about The Garden of Forking Paths

1.

“ I didn’t do it for Germany, no. I care nothing for a barbarous country which imposed upon me the abjection of being a spy.”

It seems to me that Yu Tsun wanted to be a German spy because he wanted to prove that an asian like him matters: he can save armies. Yet, I don’t understand why he is helping the Germany which he called a barbarous country in order to prove himself.

2. What does Tusi Pen’s novel symbolize? The author puts a lot of effort on writing about Tusi Pen’s novel and his idea of infinite time through the words of Albert. Yet, I’m confused about how does the Tusi Pen’s labyrinth relates to the story.

3.

“He does not know (no one can know) my innumerable contrition of weariness.”

Why does Yu Tsun feel innumerable after he killed Stephen Albert? Shouldn’t he feel a sense of satisfaction because he proved that he can actually save German armies?

Journal 4.1

Mulan

Mulan is a story that embodied several functions that Propp proposed. At the beginning of the story, the villain Shan Yu and his troops planned to invade China by abducting the emperor. ( 1. Reconnaissance of the villain) Mulan, the hero, left home to join the army. ( 2. Departure of the hero. ) She impersonated herself as a male to join the army because her dad was too old to join for the Fa Family. Captain Li was Mulan’s head. As Captain Li was training the troops, he was very disappointed due to their lack of ability. Captain Li even told Mulan to go home. (3. Testing: Mulan’s ability was tested by Captain Li )However, Captain Li resolved to keep Mulan after Mulan retrieved an arrow from a tall pool. On the way to their journey, Captain Li’ troops encountered the villain Shan Yu. (4. the hero and the villain join in direct combat–struggle) As they fought against each other, Mulan accidently fired a cannon which caused a major avalanche that killed most of Shan Yu’s troops. However, Shan Yu survived. When the troops of Captain Li were treating wounds after the battle, he found out Mulan is actually a woman. For that reason, Captain Li demanded Mulan to stay out of this war and drove her away. After that, Mulan found out Shan Yu was still alive and they planned to abduct the emperor. Mulan decided to follow them to warn Captain Li and to stop the villain from abducting the emperor. ( 5. a difficult task was presented to the hero: in this case, Mulan was under the task of saving the emperor) At last, Mulan conquered Shan Yu by killing him. ( 6. victory and solution: the villain was eliminated ). Mulan returned home with numerous precious gifts from the emperor. (7. recognition from the emperor.) Mulan’s dad, however, put away all the gifts and called Mulan his greatest gift and honor.

1.departure: Mulan left home to join the army.
2.reconnaissance: Shan Yu wanted to invade china by actively capturing the emperor.
3.testing: Mulan’s abilities were tested through tranining.
4.struggle: A direct combat between Captain Li’s troops and the villain.
5.difficult task: Mulan needed to protect the emperor and save her country.
6.victory: Mulan saved the emperor by killing the villain.
7.solution: the problem was solved through the elimination of the villain.
8.recognition: precious gifts from the emperor were presented to Mulan and the Fa Family which marked the recognition from the emperor.

Journal 5.2

The Blue Velvet

Before entering this website, I thought this was just a site that plainly describes the event of Hurricane Katrina. However, this thought immediately vanished when I clicked “begin” . When entering the website, I was presented with a calm background music of the sound of gentle wind. As I clicked one of the flowing words on top, the word sedimented and the music immediately changed to a fast-beat one. This definitely grabbed my attention. I wondered that what the author was trying to tell me. As I clicked around, I started to understand the message.

This site enables me to perceive Hurricane Katrina in a total different way. I knew about Katrina through the news. To me, it was a natural disaster. I’ve never thought of anything behind this catastrophic event. Yet, by clicking random words, I got to see this event from different perspectives. It was not only a natural disaster but also a social catastrophe. Race discrimination and neoliberal politics and many other things were revealed under the surface this natural disaster. I was astonished and learned. Racism was something that caught my attention. At the time when Katrina took place, I only knew there was a delayed response to the hurricane in New Orleans. But, I did not know why. Now, everything is revealed.

“New Orleans, 65% African American before Katrina and 53% women, today is 60% white and 53% male.”

Race was the reason for delayed response and salvage. The poor and colored people were left behind while the rich ones got emergency support. The sedimentation of words were just like reveal of the cruel reality beneath the surface.

I really enjoyed reading this website. Clicking the words, I was following the twists and turns that the author created. After encountering all the twists, I got an complete understanding of the subject by seeing it from different focuses and perspectives.

Journal 6.1

The story starts with Cayce Pollard, the main character, arrived in London. Cayce is a middle-aged women working as a marketing consultant. She lives in Damien( her friend )’s place. I found her very interesting in this novel.

Firstly, she has her own perceptive of fashion. She wears what her friend calls Cayce Pollard Units. She only wears color black, white or grey and she only wears old clothes. Cayce’s outfit to the Blue Ant meeting, for example, is a black Fresh Fruit T-shirt, anonymous black skirt with black leggings, black schoolgirl shoes and black Buzz Rickson’s MA-1 jacket. Secondly, she has allergy towards trademarks. Cayce got really sick when she went into a shopping mall because everywhere were labels and brand names. Tommy Hailfiger and Harvey Nicholas all made her experience a psychological panic. I think Cayce’s phobia toward trademarks is what makes her unique in her career. She is a marketing consultant especially giving advice for logos. She seems to have a sensitivity toward logos whether they are good or not.

While reading the first four chapters of this novel , there’s one scene that seems random to me but I think it’ll make sense as the story goes on. There is a mysterious forum called Fetish: footage: Forum that Cayce usually goes on. My guess is that she secretly goes there to find film clips. This F:F:F: grabbed my attention when the author says,

Fetish:Footage:Forum, which Damien, determined to avoid contamination, will never bookmark.

Another thing that makes this forum more mysterious is Cayce’s online friend Parkaboy. He sent her an attachment marked #135. It’s a footage which need to discover. But what are those film clips? what does it have to do with Cayce? Why does she frequently go on that forum?

Journal 7.1

Reading through the chapters so far, I found Dorotea especially interesting. Since the beginning of the book, she acted hostile toward Cayce. She burned Cayce’s MA-1flying jacket. She had something to do with the mysterious burglar who broke into Cayce’s place. What’s worse, she somehow figured out Cayce’s phobia to Michelin Man and showed the logo to Cayce at the meeting. But how did she know Cayce’s phobia toward Michelin Man? Why did she make such effort to scary Cacye away? I truly do not understand her hostility toward Cayce. What makes her to hate her so much that it she wants Cayce to disappear. The novel did not describe any scenes showing direct conflicts between Dorotea and Cayce. Cayce is only a consultant who has a contract with Blue Ant. How could she possibly be a threat to Dorotea. Yet, I think this part will make sense as the story goes on.

Another thing I’m confused about are the random characters that the author mentioned throughout the story. For instance, Cayce’ mom and her e-mails. Cayce’s ex-boyfriend Donny. And Cayce’s close friends. Yet, Donny is a typical one. For example, the author mentioned Donny when Cayce was suspicious about who broke into her place. Donny was mentioned again before Cayce went to the meeting with Dorotea. I know that Donny has something to do with Cayce, the main character. However, it seems to me that he has nothing to do with the main plot, or the footage. So, what’s the purpose of spending so much time writing about Donny?

Journal 8.2

Reading so far, this is the second time that Cayce dreamt of something. Dreams seemed to play a significant role in this story. In this dream, Win guided Cayce by holding the antique calculator in his hands. After Cayce woke up, she decided to look for Hobbs to find the company behind footage. No doubt, this dream inspired Cayce to find the source of the footage. She is a step closer to reveal the mystery behind the footage. However, I’m confused with other parts of the dream and their significance. Firstly, Cayce’s dad showed up again and acted as a leading guide to Cayce. “Ask him”. “The dead can’t help you, and the boy’s no good.” are the words that Win gave in Cayce’s dream. Why did his voice play such a significant role in this story? What did he mean by “the boy’s no good”? Secondly, the twin towers appeared in Cayce’s dream. Does this has to do with Cayce’s dad and his absence? Thirdly, Cayce’s ex-boyfriend Donny showed up in her dream as well. What’s more weird, he was acting the body language in footage #135. What on earth is the connection between Donny and the footage?

Another thing interesting is Dorotea and her identity. She finally revealed herself as being hired by a Russian company to drive Cayce back to New York. Yet, this did not really solve the mystery. The Russian company seems more random to me. I believe there are millions of footage followers out there, but why the company aimed at Cayce? In addition, after Blue Ant hired Dorotea, it seemed like someone broke into Cayce’s place again. If its not Dorotea, the who else? the Russian company?

Journal 9.1

One thing that I found interesting reading so far is Cayce’s feelings toward Boone Chu. Cayce panicked after she sent that e-mail to the Russian address and the first person she called was Boone Chu, not Damien or Bigend but Boone. And when a woman picked up the phone, Cayce obviously felt uncomfortable. This reminded me when Cayce went to Boone Chu’s ex-girlfriend's apartment, she felt uncomfortable too. I’m suspecting that Cayce was acting jealous. She might have some romantic feelings toward Boone Chu. However, Cayce is obviously an insecure type of person. She did not like Blue Ant and didn’t really trust anyone in that company. Yet, what’s so unique about Boone Chu that he had power on Cayce’s emotions? and how does this ambiguity between Boone and Cayce influence the plot as the story goes on?

Another thing that I found odd is a post of Cayce’s on F:F:F which she did not really remember. On that post, Cayce was suspecting that the forum is controlled by a Russian company. Although Cayce did not intend to say so and she completely forgot about this post, “Russian company” that she mentioned seemed more than coincidence to me. Now, it is a Russian company that wanted Cayce to return to New York. It is a Russian company that made the watermark of the footage. And Cayce’s post on F:F:F mentioned “Russian company”. Is this really a coincidence or there’s some kind of connection between all these.

Journal 10.2

Exploring Photopia enabled me to experience a totally different form of literature. I typed in commands, I examined whatever I thought was interesting, I explored around the scenes. It was like reading a novel but in an interactive way. I got to go in various directions I wanted. For example, I can choose the topic to talk about with a certain person. a) ask rob about alcohol level b) ask rob about those chicks c)rob, please pull the fuck over. When I’m exploring Photopia, I felt like I’m part of the story. I got to decide which part to read without missing any important information of the story. In addition, Photopia gave extra explanations to certain words. For example, “Your instruments indicate that there's at least one piece that's still functioning.("Functioning" means it's not broken.)” The words in the brackets provided clarification to readers so that readers will be about to understand what the author is trying to tell. It’s not like you can go in ANY direction that you wanted. Photopia intended to lead you to read along with the author.

Despite Photopia’s interactivity with readers,I found color is another interesting aspect of Photopia. Each scene of Photopia is different and presented with a different color—black and white, red, blue..etc. At first, the colors and scenes seemed random to me. But as I went through several scenes, it seemed to have some connection. For example, red represented something bazaar like exploring Mars. Blue represented under the water. With the help of highly contrasted colors, readers are easily guided to make connections and to think further about what’s the theme of this interactive friction.

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