This Is The Way The World Ends

This week I read two different short stories. I have separated my reflection in two so that I am able to go in depth on each story. 


The Screwfly Solution

The first short story I decided to read was “The Screwfly Solution” by Raccoona Sheldon. I also decided to listen to an audiobook of this while reading the text. I found this one very enjoyable. The people reading really drew me in, I think even more so than if I was just reading it in my head.

I really enjoyed “The Screwfly Solution” as it has a lot of mystery and buildup in the story. At first, you reading it and you know something is up.  

Then throughout the story you are given little hints to what is going on, but never the full situation. This is what really drew me into the story as I had to keep reading to know what was happening. This also made me feel like a detective as I had to put everything together and conclude to what was going on.

However, these little hints did cut both ways. At times I was like, “TELL ME WHAT’S HAPPENING?” You know, sometimes you just want to be told forthright was the situation is.

Moreover, what worked really well in the story was its use of exposition. Throughout the story, the reader listens to letters and articles from the protagonist’s’ wife and friend. This aspect was something I really liked as it provided information in an interesting way, as opposed to receiving information mainly from dialogue. This somewhat reminded me of my own writing style. I am not one to share big blocks of texts. I like to insert different media (gifs/video/audio) to add and extend information.

I do have to say that this story was a lot, like emotionally and mentally. A lot of heavy material happens in this story. I think that this is the part that stuck with me as it demonstrates how *dark* the apocalypse would be. Additionally, the ending was such a twist.

This plot twist really brought everything together. This short story was definitely enthralling so give it a read. If you don’t like dark material I would suggest not reading this short story.


Finis

The second short story I read was “Finis” by Frank L. Pollack. Once again I decided to listen to an audiobook while reading this. This helped me understand what I was reading and pick up on little words that I could have missed.

This story I did not enjoy as much. I feel like the late point of attack caused me to feel disconnected from the characters. I especially felt this at the end because the protagonist kisses a woman. The ending lost meaning for me because it was just a kiss and not a *kiss*. Thus, I wish the author had put more character interaction into the story.

On the other hand, I did appreciate the author’s detailed explanation of where the “new” sun is coming from and the destruction it released on New York City. This part really drew me into the story as I was able to read about the chaos that New York City was thrown into during the apocalypse. Moreover, this really formed a sense of place and rooted the story in the setting. Through this, I was able to imagine the buildings and streets they were navigating as they attempted to find a safe place to hide.  

One line from this story really resonated with me. Alice says: 

“Think of it,” she went dreamily, ”for a thousand years this wave of fire has been rushing towards us, while life has been going on so happily in the world, so unconscious that the world was doomed all the time. And now this is the end of life.”

This line stuck with me because I think it reflects our current feelings on climate change. We’re currently sitting around just focused on other things, while the world is slowly getting destroyed. I think that this is how the world will end as we will all be focused on life while in the background everything is slowly getting ruined.


In general I really enjoyed these readings. I also think I learned what aspects of storytelling I like and don’t like. I believe that I will be able to insert these features into my own writing and make it more interesting.

That’s all folks, I’ll catch you on the flipside

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I’LL BE A ZOMBIE (I GUESS)

Hello everyone! This week has meant a lot to me namely work (*looks at Martha and whispers “whyyy”*). That being said every reading and watching (my new phrase) was worth it as it lead into the assignment and definitely elevated my work.

To start off the week I completed two Daily Creates. The first Daily Create we did was to create a flash fiction story about the zombie apocalypse. I decided to make a video accompanying mine. I borrowed footage from the Our UMW video and transferred gifs to frames to keep the transparency. I then created a short tweet that expressed the stress and anxiety I would feel if zombie were chasing me.

The next Daily Create I did was the Gate to Another dimension one. This is actually the one thing that I wish I could change, if I could do the week over. I actually struggled a lot in coming up with an idea. I specifically kept thinking too large (something I couldn’t achieve in 10ish minutes). So I felt like I had to settle on an idea I wasn’t happy with. That being said, this Daily Create did take me awhile to do but I attribute that to my pickiness and once again my deep seeded need for everything to be *perfect*. Thus, this is the one assignment I wish I could get a do-over in.

After my Daily Creates, I did the Tell It/Tweet It Assignment. I think that this is the work I am most proud of this week. I feel that I was able to write a short story that drew people in and used digital aspects to elevate the quality of it. I also feel like I was able to TDLR it (tweet it in 280 characters) pretty well so that people got the gist from my tweet. Fun fact, I actually wrote the story in about 1 hour 30 minutes (fast for me). I think that this short amount of time actually made me get into the story and write it using a more narrative voice.

Some other readings/watchings we did this week was watching a BBC special called “End Day”. It was honestly WILD. We also read an entry from the “Routledge Companion to Science Fiction”. This week I also got to choose the book that I want to read throughout this semester. Because I am indecisive, I asked my friends what they recommended I should read. Unanimously they said that I should read “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood. I read an excerpt of this and WOW, I cannot wait to read the rest of the book. To read some of my thoughts/opinions on these you can read my reflection post on them here.

Another assignment we had this week was to come up with an archetypal characters we’ve encountered in apocalyptic and post apocalyptic fiction. I really enjoyed this assignment and even made a post about it that you can read here

In terms of my website, I’ve been doing some little changes since I got my title, tagline and theme taken care of early on. So what I’ve been doing this week is creating categories along the way (e.g. Reflection Posts, Weekly Posts, Assignments). I then have been adding those to my menu for increased navigation and efficiency. Because of the assignments we’ve been doing this week, I have been able to add more content to my website. Besides one weird posts glitch, this has been amazing for making my website look more complete and not an empty hole (like my heart).  

Chris being a funny lad with Chris reactions (ft. tide pods)

a blurry Martha in her apocalypse hat

Regarding my participation this week, I feel like I’ve settled into participating more openly. I have answered a good number of questions on our #tech-questions channel on Slack. Because I am a mole at the DKC, I have picked up a couple of things that have allowed me to help others. I also this week have made Slack reactions that have brought us together as a community. I made one based on Chris’ in my bag video and one with Martha. Even though it’s something small, I think these add personalization to Slack that brings us together. Lastly, I also have been looking at other people’s Instagram and Twitter posts. I have especially liked looking at everyone’s Daily Creates. It always intrigues me that we can all be given the same prompt and go so many different, creative directions with it.

Looking forward, I am excited to do more Daily Creates as they force me to be spontaneous and and run with an idea. I tend to be someone who overthinks, so having the Daily Create has forced me to trust myself and my creative instincts.


This week Martha asked a really depressing question that I actually know the answer to immediately. She asked  

“In the event of a zombie apocalypse, would you rather be turned into a zombie or have everyone you love turned into a zombie? Why?”

A major characteristic of myself is my desire for everyone around me to be happy. Therefore, I would choose to be a zombie. I want my friends to move on and enjoy life (to the extent that you can enjoy life when you’re in a zombie apocalypse) after I become a zombie. I guess the “Why?” part of the question again can be answered by my deep rooted desire to be a people pleaser and I know that obviously no one would be happy as a zombie. So I’ll take one for the team and become a zombie.

On that depressing note, that’s it folks. I’ll catch you on the flip side.

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Axpert

Axpert: a combination of the Archivist and Expert archetypes.

-A definition by cypherpunk106

Hello everyone! Today I am going to discuss the type of archetypical character that I’ve encountered in apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction.

The archetypal character that I’ve encountered a lot on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction is the Archivist. The characteristics of the Archivist includes collecting or hoarding technology. They hoard technology for two  reasons; maintaining knowledge until humanity is ready for it again or collecting it for personal reasons (value/power/nostalgia/it’s pretty). I think the Archivist archetype bleeds into the Expert Archetype. These overlap as the main characteristic of the Expert is having a useful skill and the equipment (like old tech) to do said skill. In general, Archivist/Expert combination is very skilled and can manipulate older technology if needed. They also find personal value in the technology itself.

The first example of the Archivist/Expert that I have is Julian Casablancas (yes, a musician) in his 11th Dimension music video. The character he plays has a lot of older tech (especially recording equipment) that he enjoys for personal reasons.

Moreover, an example that speaks to more of the Expert side of this combination is Aaron Pittman in Revolution (TV Show). Aaron Pittman is an MIT graduate who is really good at writing code and technology in general. This is why I believe you could argue that he is an Archivist because he preserves old knowledge of coding and when needed, whips it out.

Here are two videos that speak to the magic of Aaron Pittman if you are curious.

Lastly, J-Bone (my mans Ice T) is a prime example of the Archivist/Expert combination. J-Bone is an expert as he has the knowledge of how to use THE DOLPHIN and also leads the Lo-Teks movement which has a lot of older technology around Heaven (their base).

I have really enjoyed thinking about archetypes and which ones I’ve encountered a lot. I definitely identify with this archetype a lot (*hint, hint*) and could really picture myself hoarding tech (ya know, for the cause).

That’s it folk, I’ll catch you on the flipside.

NOT THE JVC CAMCORDER

Hello everybody. I’m here with a casual Assignment and Reading Reflection post. 

To start off this reflection I am going to talk about the “End Day” BBC special. This special basically showed 5 different end day scenarios in a Groundhog day-esque way.

I thought that each of the apocalypse versions outlined in End Day held some truth. I think all of them (the tsunami, meteors, the virus, the super volcano and the particle accelerator) are things that are very plausible. I would like to think that my instinct in all of the situations shown would be to attempt to escape and survive, but knowing me this is most likely what my response would be:

The most silly situation I think is the super-volcano in Yellowstone. I’m not denying the super-volcano, I’m just saying when the tourist family dies it was so cheesy and cringe I wanted to scream. Some notes I wrote while watching that scene include

NOT THE JVC CAMCORDER

he told his wife to shut up so nah fam

OH COURSE THE CAR STALLS AND YOU NEG YOUR WIFE

Oh they dead, that car is gone lads

The most frightening situation of all was the virus scenario. I am personally scared of this one because something of this level has already happened. As the pseudo-professional explains in the video, the Spanish Influenza killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims. I think that if something like the Spanish Influenza happens again the death toll would be even higher because of our mass transit and interactions. This scares me because as someone who travels a lot, I’m afraid of picking up a disease and bringing it home and giving it to all of my friends (just the type of souvenirs they want).

The next thing I read for this class was a reading from the Routledge Companion to Science Fiction. In this reading, I learned that we as a society are almost dependent on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction as a measure of our satisfaction as a society. This satisfaction could be with our government, technology or human relations in general. This thought connects with another that really tickled my brain for the next few days. This thought being; we are so dependent on apocalyptic/catastrophe fiction, that without it our society could be looked at as a static one-dimensional utopia. That sounds all well and good, but utopias never last as the end of political conflicts and social ills are temporary and will break eventually. All in all, I learned that we as a society use apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic as a scale for our satisfaction and that without this measuring device our world could be viewed as a “utopia”.

The last reading I did for this class was from “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood. This is the novel that I have chosen to read throughout this semester. My initial reactions to the novel excerpt were those of deep curiosity and thirst to read more. The idea of pigoons and the Snowman’s weird emotional state post-apocalypse has me seriously intrigued. I will for sure continue to read this as I really need answers to all my questions. In what I’ve read so far, I feel like this is a way for Margaret Atwood to reflect on where we’re heading as a society. I’m excited to read more and analyze this text throughout the semester.

That’s it folk, I’ll catch you on the flipside.

A Tragic End

I bit my lip, avoiding letting the words in my mind come out.

“What’s wrong, babe?” Malcolm asked inquisitively.

I sighed, looking down at the ground.

“There’s been something I’ve been meaning to tell you. I haven’t told you because I’m scared you will be mad.” I whispered looking at the campfire.

“What is it?” Malcolm said grabbing my hand, gently stroking my thumb.

He then screamed a blood curdling scream that echoed off the surrounding trees.

I quickly looked up from the fire and saw that he was holding a hand.

“What happened? Who’s hand is that?” I asked him, frantically looking around our camp.

He stood there looking at me in horror. He raised a finger and pointed to my side. I looked down and realized that my hand had come off fully. Panic set into my body as I saw him backing away from me.

“I can explain, Malcolm. I promise. I didn’t think this would happen!” I said with tears clouding my vision.

“You’re one of them! You lied to me, you said you wouldn’t do the experiment. I trusted you!” Malcolm shouted.

“We needed the money! Where did you think that rent money came from? I had to give up part of my brain for us. I didn’t think it would turn me into this–this thing!” I screamed back at him.

“This thing? This thing?! You haven’t even accepted it. I can’t believe it.” Malcolm said, disgust creeping into his voice. “Accept it, you’re a zombie. You betrayed us, you’re a sellout.”

I sunk to the ground, weeping. Of course I had seen the signs coming. My thoughts would creep into strange places. Sometimes my vision would blur and I would have an almost animal instinct to run.

The only time I ever acted on my zombie instincts was when I killed an animal while Malcolm was getting supplies in town. A weird blackout came over me and next thing I knew my hands were in a rabbit, my mouth covered in its blood. I had eaten the rabbit’s brain without even thinking about it.

I thought that it would stop there, that my symptoms wouldn’t evolve. But here we are, my hand fully detached from my body.

Malcolm looked at me with anger filling his eyes. He turned and threw my hand into the forest. The soft thump of the hand landing was the only sound between us.

“What did you think would happen? I mean you read what they were going to do to you during the experiment,” Malcolm asked harshly.

“They said that they were only taking part of my brain. Then they would replace the rest with the AI bot thing. Everyone else who did the experiment had their entire brain removed and replaced. That’s why I thought it wouldn’t happen to me. I promise Malcolm, I couldn’t have foreseen this,” I said.

“I would have foreseen this. I would have predicted this. You should have told me,” Malcolm whispered with a tear rolling down his cheek.

“I know, but I didn’t want you to worry. I didn’t need you to go through more than you needed,” I explained.

“Well, you know what I have to do. I can’t let you hurt other people. I’m so sorry…” Malcolm said with more tears streaming down his face.

He raised his arm, it was shaking violently. Malcolm was holding a shotgun in his hand.

“I’m sorry,” I said to him as he moved towards me putting the cold gun to the back of my head.

I could feel him hesitating, avoiding doing the deed.

“Malcolm, you gotta do it.”

“I know.”

With one last final sigh, he squeezed the trigger and made the world zombie count one less.


Behind the Process

The one thing I found difficult about this story was actually writing a story. I always am very specific and want my end result to be perfect. Today, I learned the valuable lesson of creating just to create. However, I did find it easy to find gifs to insert into this post to set the mood. I think that this was something I did well as I curated gifs that matched the vibe of the story. Something I wish I did better was reading the directions of the assignment. In the first posting, I didn’t understand how to write this blurb here. Fortunately, Martha told me what to do. I really did like this assignment as it allowed me to write and play with some digital aspects (gifs).

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The Flickerings of Cypherpunk106

Hello everyone, it’s me cypherpunk106. This week has been exciting and been a lot of creating. I started the week by joining the Slack channel and introducing myself. I decided to be different and create a gif of myself and share that on Slack.

This gif was used later in my first Instagram post.

For my Instagram posts this week, I decided to be different and instead of uploading photos, to create and post videos. These Instagram video were all 90’s inspired (of course using Strokes music). I think this is the work I am most proud of this week. I spent a lot of time on them and learned a couple of different things, namely how to extract frames of a gif, the aspect ratio of a 1:1 video and how to nest a video in Final Cut Pro. I think I was really creative with these videos and pushed my skills.

 

Some other activities we did this week included our Twitter Intro, putting objects in the bunker and our Daily Create. All of these activities pushed me to think differently (especially my Daily Create). I also liked my Daily Create because I was unique and also used my *amazing* humor to make my video lighthearted.

One thing I would change was starting the reading so late. I was actually surprised how long the Wiki page was (Martha why) so I left it somewhat last minute. However, being the nerd I am, I made the reading more exciting by using Hypothesis. I love Hypothesis as I can leave notes and photos for myself. I also use it to add my stream of consciousness for later so I can laugh at weird things.

I am also looking forward to next week because from what I’ve heard (I’m a mole in the DKC) is that we’re going to choose our archetype. So I’m already calling dibs on the moody, hacker type. OR I’m snagging being the dolphin from Johnny Mnemonic because that GEEKS. That actually brings up another thing I want to discuss. Martha this week asked

“What genre of the apocalypse (zombie, alien invasion, plague, etc) seems particularly interesting to you? Why?”

I’ve always loved cyberpunk because of the mixture of high tech and low life. This seems interesting to me because a theme I’ve grown up with and that I think we’ve all experienced is the idea that the future will be a perfect tech haven with perfect automation. So cyberpunk challenges this idea by saying “I mean guys we can have high tech and a mixture of lower life, like tech doesn’t equal utopia.” Additionally, cyberpunk got big in the 90’s and I am currently going through a 90’s phase because I’m convinced life was easier then. I mean *gestures vaguely to things that are happening and deep sighs*. So yeah.

In terms of what my personal relationship with apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic fiction is I guess you could say I’ve been a big reader on the topic. I think stories like the Maze Runner and shows like Revolution have really stuck with me (Revolution Season 1 not when all the weird bug things happen? Really what were they thinking). I think that these shows have fostered a connection with me to the theme of apocalyptic and post apocalyptic fiction. I do think that apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction is a good reflection of the thoughts of the time. For example, Revolution I feel like was trying to express a fear that we as a society are too surrounded and dependent on technology. I think this realization for me has strengthened my relationship with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction.

In general, this week was amazing and challenging. I rarely get to create for creations sake. So doing things like playing with subdomain and making it all flashy or interacting with people outside our classes who are following DS106 was great. Even though it was hard work, I think it meant a lot and helped remind me to create things just to create.

That’s it folks, I’ll catch you on the flipside.

Low Life and High Tech