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This is my first bit of commentary on the presentations…I missed the first group because I was visiting Virginia Tech in honor of the shooting that happened last year.  I have to say, though, that the presentations from last Thursday were well done.

 To start, I’d like to say a little about the Webkinz presentation that I worked on with Meredith.  I’m actually really pleased with the way that it turned out.  I think that we flowed together pretty well and seemed to generate some interest within the class about Webkinz World.  I am a little disappointed that we had technical difficulties with our video…but I am glad that we have gotten it up and running.  You can check it out on Youtube here.  I do get a little nervous while doing public speaking and feel that I have spoken more clearly and found a better way to articulate things…but that’s in the past and there’s no need dwelling on that.  I’m still working on it.  Basically, I think that our presentation went pretty well, technical difficulties and all.

I missed almost all of Ben’s presentation because we came in late…I’m not too sure of what to say since I missed all but two minutes of it…I’m sorry!

I thought that Jacqui’s presentation was FANTASTIC! She had very clearly thought a lot about how to present I really liked the forum that she made; I had no idea that amazon was so much of a community.  And I loved the milk video…I’m not really sure if I’d ever pay 30 dollars for a gallon of milk, but it was interesting to hear about it (and that some people actually will).  Lastly, I really appreciated how she really got the class involved in her presentation.  I’m actually considering hitting up amazon more…I’ve been thinking about getting a Kindle (they seem like so much fun!)

Missak’s presentation was interesting as well.  I had never heard of and his presentation told me quite a bit about it.  I think that it’s crazy that you can set up your own online store.  I feel like is kind of like amazon on steroids…it seems to cater to those amazon addicts: they can set up a place for all of the items they are selling…

I thought that Gracie’s video was really cool.  First of all, I love South Park and I mean, who doesn’t love playing the Wii. Every time I play that thing, it gets really intense.  I feel like it truly does take gaming to a whole new level:  it literally puts you into the game.  Because of this, things do get escalated. 

 All in all, I thought that Thursday’s presentations were interesting.  Good job everyone!! 

I think that we were supposed to post our final paper on the wiki but I can’t quite seem to figure out how to do that. So I’m just going to put it here…

           Once someone buys a Webkinz stuffed animal, they are linked to the virtual Webkinz World.  Webkinz appeals to the younger generation, with the average user being age twelve.  While it is designed for a younger target audience, it gets the attention of people of all ages.  Located only at select retail stores, Webkinz stuffed animals can be purchased for anywhere from eight to fifteen dollars.  With the stuffed animal, the customer gets a “secret code” that is unique to their pet.  This code can only be used once to activate their Webkinz account online.  Through the activation, you can officially “adopt” their pet and begin the virtual process.  

            After purchasing a Webkinz, individuals create a username and password and log into Webkinz World.  Users are directed to the Adoption Center where, with the help of a penguin named Mrs. Birdie, they bring their new virtual pet to life.  Each Webkinz comes attached to its own unique code that corresponds to its “species” and personality.  After adopting their pet, users get a “bio” that discusses the pet’s characteristics, favorite food, best friend, and often their most wanted toy.  Once they have completed the adoption process, users are sent to their pet’s new room.  Owners are given a medium sized room and 2000 KinzCash, the virtual money used throughout Webkinz World, each time they adopt a new pet.  This 2000 KinzCash can be used to decorate the new room or to buy food for your Webkinz.

            KinzCash, the currency of Webkinz World, is the main way that Webkinz motivates users to log on daily.  KinzCash is most frequently earned by playing games in the arcade: the longer you make it through the games, the more money you earn.  The game of the day is an arcade game that gets a bonus 10, 15, 20 or 25 percent KinzCash for playing.  The Wheel of Wow and Wishing Well 2 are two arcade games that people can play once a day to gain KinzCash just by luck.  The daily activities are the most addicting way to make money.  Hourly events are listed on the events page, telling the user when they can log in to get “free” KinzCash.  In addition, every eight hours Webkinz users can go to the employment office to do a job.  Selling items in the W or Curio Shops that you have purchased is yet another way that Webkinz owners can collect more KinzCash.  Mining in the Curio Shop allows users to gain a gem collection, but if they already own the gem they have most recently found they have the option of selling it back to Arte, the shop owner, for KinzCash.  Lastly, a Webkinz pet can have a garden that they have to tend to everyday.  About once a week the garden will produce crops that can either be eaten by the pet or sold back to the W Shop for KinzCash.  All of these activities are ways to gain additional KinzCash while in Webkinz World. 

            Most of the purchases made in Webkinz World are done through the W Shop.  Users can buy clothing, food, toys, and games for their Webkinz.  In addition, they are able to decorate their room through purchases made in the W Shop:  appliances, electronics, decorations (such as paintings or clocks), lighting, paint, carpet, couches, chairs, and tables may be acquired here.  The W Shop offers multiple themes of room decoration.  These themes range from a country antique look to a baseball or football field image.  Each theme has unique pieces to help fill out any room.  Rare items can be purchased from the Curio Shop at higher prices.  The items available in this location change every hour.  Before making a purchase in the W Shop it is best to check the Curio Shop because some items are available at a lower price here. 

            Items may be purchased at the W Shop to send to friends within Webkinz World via the KinzPost.  Users may send a friend one gift per day, ranging from one to three items. Sending gifts does cost KinzCash; the more you send, the more you have to pay.  Each gift is sent with a prescribed message attached.  These messages range from “Thanks for being such a great friend!” to “For you on your special day!”  Furthermore, users can send notes (without attached gifts) to their friends for a much smaller fee.  These messages are also prescribed but can be personalized by purchasing unique stationary or stickers to attach to your note. 

            In addition to sending notes and gifts, users can communicate with other Webkinz World inhabitants by visiting the Clubhouse.  There are many different rooms with varying themes within this Clubhouse.  Each room has a unique purpose and a different visitor capacity. Users can meet, “talk” using prescribed messages, and play games with the other visiting individuals while they spend time here.

            While Webkinz bridge the gap between really life cuddly stuffed animals and the virtual world, this is not what has given these stuffed animals the most attention.  Article headlines talk about how “Kids [are] hooked on Webkinz World”, “Toy Causes Classroom Distraction” and ask “Is the Webkinz Craze Bad for Kids?”  One article describes Webkinz as being “Beanie Babies on Steroids.”  Webkinz has several things that cause this sensation that the articles talk about.  For example, the Webkinz World has several activities that influence its users to constantly log in during the day to check and see what else they can get for “free.”  While KinzCash does not correlate directly to the dollar, there is a factor that makes its users want to keep building up the money on the account:  they can improve their niche in Webkinz World.  When users log on everyday there are certain things that they can do to make money.  The arcade is the main place where games like “The Wheel of Wow” allow people to once a day spin a wheel and get free KinzCash or goods for their room.  Every hour, there are bonus activities going on that allow users to get additional money.  These daily responsibilities and activities make kids want to log on throughout the day to avoiding missing anything.  This addictive quality is what makes Webkinz so appealing to its users, but also can be frustrating to other people.

            While there are many people that find the addictive qualities of Webkinz a problem for children, there are also aspects of Webkinz that are good influences on preteens.  One article entitled, “Webkinz: Big Money Lessons for Little Kids” describes how the KinzCash in Webkinz World is a good influence on children.  The KinzCash teaches children the responsibilities of ownership.  Webkinz furthers these qualities by having an employment office where children can do jobs every eight hours to gain more KinzCash.  The employment office teaches principles based on math and English in a fast paced environment.  The Webkinz World even has a garden that needs tending everyday and produces fruit that the Webkinz can actually eat.  This not only teaches children a sense of responsibility, but also teaches them to tend and nurture something other than themselves and their pet.  These aspects help in the development of children and certainly are a vital part of the Webkinz World.

            The activities performed by the inhabitants of Webkinz World relate to many of the essays discussed within our New Media Studies class.  First of all, the article written by Sherry Turkle entitled “Video Games and Computer Holding Power” relates to this virtual world.  She argues that the “most important element behind the games’ seduction [is that] video games are interactive computer microworlds” (Turkle 501).  Webkinz is, in fact, a microworld that is navigated in many ways.  The user’s Webkinz walks through their rooms.  All of the other locations can be reached through a “Things to Do” menu that is always at the lower right corner of the screen.  As Turkle argues, the individual must follow the rules governing Webkinz World, but the user is the ultimate judge of what he or she does within the World.

Secondly, Webkinz helps create the intrinsic motivation that Nelson discusses in his article “No More Teachers’ Dirty Looks.”  He writes that “education ought to be clear, inviting and enjoyable, without booby-traps, humiliations, condescension or boredom.  It ought to teach and reward initiative curiosity, the habit of self-motivation, intellectual involvement.  Students should develop, through practice, abilities to think, argue and disagree intelligently” (Nelson 310).  Webkinz achieves all of these goals.  Not only is it inviting and positive, but it insights curiosity (users are always discovering new nooks of Webkinz World) and allows for intrinsic motivation:  if users would like to purchase something in Webkinz World, they need to simply play these educational games to earn KinzCash.

            Lastly, the images of Webkinz World relate very clearly to McLuhan’s argument that the “medium is the message” (203).  The ads throughout Webkinz World often relate to recommended ways of living: “Brush Your Teeth,” “Drink Milk,” “Stay Active,” and “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” for example.  Instead of parents telling children what to do, the colorful characters that they interact with on a daily basis are promoting these ideas.  It is much less daunting and, probably, more effective.  A child is more likely to follow the directions of a cartoon character of which they are fond than those of a parent screaming at them.  Thus, McLuhan is entirely correct: the medium through which we receive directions has a profound impact on how we take those instructions. In short, Webkinz creates a positive environment for children to explore and learn.  They are taught many valuable lessons such as responsibility, patience, and skills for school.  The inhabitants of Webkinz World are enriched by their time spent there.

Since it’s ridiculously late (I just got back from an AMAZING concert at the black cat: the dirty projectors), my post probably won’t be too long.  But there were a few things that I wanted to think through.  First of all, I really liked Turkle’s statement that “video games are interactive computer microworlds” (501).  When you step up to any game or console, you are stepping through the threshold into an entirely new Wonderland.  By playing you learn the rules of the game, of the world.  The repetition of learning a new set of rules for a new game teaches you how to learn.  In other words, by playing video games, according to Turkle, we are learning to learn. (Meta-learning maybe?)  Also, I think that its interesting that by learning the rules, we learn how to manipulate them.  This is something that I had never considered.  I always assumed that once you understand the rules, you abide by them.  However, by existing within a set of parameters and working your ways through a problem, you are learning to manipulate the rules you follow.  I now understand that video games simply emulate this process in a very succinct way.  Behind every game is a precise set of rules and situations outlined by a program.  By understanding the program, you can understand how to master the game (by manipulating rules).

Another topic that Turkle discusses that really interests me is the evolution of culture.  Personally, I like to believe that this is an event that takes place at a snail’s pace.  However, this article showed me that it does in fact change quite frequently.  It has changed a lot since I was born.  The development of new technology is what catapults the society forward.  Children today are growing up taking technology for granted.  This puts off parents and, therefore, they begin fighting against the computer and anything connected to it.  Turkle’s statement that “ti feels like a chance to by time against a new way of life” really resonated with me (501).

In fact, it reminded me of the fear that Mary has in Simak’s short story “Immigrant.”  I think that humans in general are afraid of change.  We like to feel capable and are adept with the current situation and technology.  Moving forward challenges our ability…we have to learn something new.  Mary, similarly, seems to be afraid of moving forward in a foreign world.  She currently has communion with the humans.  She lives a life similar to theirs and paints for a living.  However, she has picked up some of the skills of the Kimonians and doesn’t want to let go of her past.  Moving up in the society of Kimon would force her to completely leave Earth behind.  Abandoning her past is a terrifying task.  At the same time, she is curious about touching the infinite, reaching her full potential.  I think that the mix of curiosity and fear causes her to respond so harshly to Seldon’s requests.

The last thing that I wanted to discuss is “The Kugelmass Episode” by Woody Allen.  I know that Turkle only mentions this short story…but I love Woody Allen and had never read this text.  So I looked it up and read it.  And I LOVED it.  Instead of having an out-of-body experience (watching the plot like a movie while reading, or feeling as though you’re watching yourself read), Kugelmass has an IN-body experience with the character Emma Bovary!  It is really strange for me to think what would happen if every individual’s interaction with a book could forever alter the text.  How much would literature change? Could we still appreciate literature at all? Every book, every text would become one giant Wiki!

This story was so fascinating to me! First of all, it seemed that Bishop was truly an anthropologist.  His friend Morley sent him to learn as much as possible about the Kimonians and to report back as truthfully as possible.  He was educated and incredibly smart (on Earth’s standards at least) and it seemed that he was fully prepared to report back.  However, as the situation pans out Bishop is no more prepared than anyone else because of some flaw in human wiring.  To be honest, I felt that the moral of this story (to follow the train of thought from the Ugly Duchess from Alice) is to be more humble and to view life as a continuing education. 

Speaking of Alice, I completely freaked out when the story made an Alice reference!! The “live-it” is something that could exist within Wonderland (if you were to bring Wonderland to that level of technology…I’m not sure the 19th century Mr. Carroll would want it present within his world).  You could argue, however, that the “live-it” is a type of Wonderland…and, therefore, all daydreams are “live-it” experiences.  Stepping outside of the context of Alice, the “live-it” reminded me of that old Disney Movie Smart House.  Pretty much, the house is an entire “live-it” interface…however, I’m not sure that it has purposes that are solely educational.  But, for example, the two children are awoken with huge images of basketball games and concerts or can choose a scene by which to eat.  These scenes place them within the action…maybe I’m just being a little nostalgic; I’m not sure.

 Anyways, moving on to Buggers.  While reading the text, I couldn’t help but continue comparing the Kimonians to the Buggers from the Ender’s Game series.  I know I’ve mentioned the Bugger’s before…but they are also telepathic. When they first come in contact with the human child Ender, he is floored.  I imagine that I would be as well…He only speaks out loud to them accidentally because he is instructed that it is wasteful and because he can here them speaking within his own mind.  To me the one-sided telepathy is even more striking…I personally like to think that my thoughts are 100% private unless I choose to voice them.  If I found myself in this situation, I would probably end up like Mel Gibson in Signs….sitting on the couch wearing some form of aluminum foil helmet!

 The speaking cabinet is another aspect of the story that I’d like to discuss.  Honestly, it reminded me of Beauty and the Beast (yet another Disney movie).  Being able to converse with some form other than a human is a concept far beyond my realm of thinking! I have to say that I am glad that the only things I speak to are humans…I think I would feel as though everything around me was a spy.  My words would definitely become few and far between if I was in that situation.  However, I have to say that me saying this in a blog is incredibly ironic.  BUT I think that while blogging, the only beings that read my blog are human…so I suppose it’s all the same.

Last but not least, I did have one other sinking feeling while reading the story.  I was very afraid that it would end like an episode of Twilight Zone called “To Serve Man.”  In short, aliens land on Earth and begin shipping humans away to their planet.  Once people leave, they are never heard of again.  The aliens leave a book behind…the title is deciphered to mean “to serve man” (the rest of the language is to complex and is taking a lot of time to decode).  Eventually, man figures out that the use of the word “serve” does not mean “to be a servant to” rather, it means “to prepare and eat” man.  I have to say that I was very happy that the men on Kimon were not eaten…even if they were used as playthings.  The ending is much more hopeful, even if Bishop is stuck in a place where he can never truly be free again. 

Haha…so if it wasn’t clear from all of the random connections I made, I LOVED this story.  It was really jarring for me and is making me question what exactly my goals are before taking action on them.  However, I believe that thoroughly thinking over your goals and actions is absolutely a good thing.  In addition, I am glad to have realized (once again) that life should always be a continuing education.  And, personally, I feel that everyone can always use a little more humility in their life.

 Wow, this was a lot longer than I expected…but I suppose that’s a good thing.  I think I’ve had enough for one night.

Illich states that schools should ask “What kinds of things and people might learners want to be in contact with in order to learn?” instead of “What should someone learn?”  His point that schools are more focused on forcing the proper ideas onto students is incredibly salient.  As a student myself I know that if I was given more freedom in what and how I studied, I would probably work much harder for each class instead of picking and choosing my favorite classes. 

The statement that the current school system teaches children that the world is a “pyramid of classified packages” really scared me.  Personally, I like to think that I am able to access any part of  my surroundings if I work hard enough…but maybe that work is simply seeking out “the proper tags” required to unlock the packages…I think that I might be a little more brainwashed that I orignially thought. It seems that Illich wants to transform the existing system of locked doors (that can only be opened by professors or higher-ranking people) into one of open doors (equally available to the students). 

Illich’s theory of education as a unit of networks available to students reminds me of the ideas proposed by Nelson.  For some reason, however, the ideas presented to Illich are not as scary to me as those of Nelson.  I know that I’ve said this before, but I love that both of these authors are concerned with instilling some form of intrinsic motivation within students.  I believe that this truly is the key to having a successful school system.  Creating a system that is capable of going in any direction depending on the interests of individuals is exactly what our society needs.  I believe that Illich’s networks do, in fact, create the pathways needed for this type of education:  channels are created to get students in contact with educational objects and peers, skills, and even different types of teachers. 

 The last thing that I wanted to discuss is Illich’s statement that “Technology is availablet to develop either independence and learning or bureaucracy and teaching.”  During my English 295 class last semester, we discussed binary pairs and the ways in which they are set up.  In our language, the positive almost always comes first.  For example, good versus bad.  Following this rule, Illich is arguing that “independence and learning” are much better than “bureaucracy and teaching” (or, in other words, the system we have now).  He states, therefore, that no true learning occurs in our current school systems…every type of learning takes place outside of the system on behalf of the individual.  I think that I would aruge that, at least in my case, school starts my learning.  It is through my work at home that is spurred by class discussion that I really learn…I learn what I am truly interested in.  I remember the things that I discover on my own more than those forced on me by classes.

Possibly the most startling thing about our individual existence is that it is continuous.  It is an unbroken thread – we have been living this same moment ever since we were conceived.  it is memory, and to some extent sleep, that gives us the impression of a life of discrete parts, periods, or sections, of certain times or “highlights.” (464)

After reading this part of Viola’s essay, I was totally floored.  I think I sat still and thought for about 10 minutes.  In fact, I’d have to say that a lot of Viola’s essay really made me think…but I didn’t get very far with some of it.  Anyways, back to the part that I (hope I) understood:  never before had I considered life one long moment.  Our perception of this one moment, this now is constantly changing.  The way we view the present depends solely on every other “present” moment we’ve experienced.  It is in this way that memory breaks up the perception of our lives.  I also really am intrigued in the way that sleep acts as a way to break up our lives.  I guess sleep acts as a divider within a single notebook – multiple sections appear within the binding but really make up one single unchanging entity.

If life truly is one long stream of present moments, it is like a film.  We can only appreciate what is before us:  neither can we completely remember the past or predict the future.  I really liked that Viola stated that “we only see the narrow slit of “now.”  As McCloud points out, life is not at all like a comic.  Furthermore, our perspective is forever skewed and incomplete.  This is a topic that has always interested me.  Since I was 10, I’ve tried to picture my experiences through the eyes of someone with me.  I have always been baffled by the idea that no two people can ever have the same experience.   

I also wanted to discuss holism.  I am currently taking Anthropology 100 and holism is a concept on which we spent quite a bit of time.  From an anthropological perspective, to utilize holism is to attempt to understand every aspect of a culture as you learn about the smaller parts.  Therefore to understand the gender ideologies of a culture, you must learn about the social structure, etc.  To me, it is really interesting to apply holism to technology.  Digital computer do, in fact, think of structures and concepts form a holistic point of view.  They allow you to act and edit within a structure while maintaining and understanding its overall point and framework.

And, just for thought…who are you, the porcupine or the car and driver? 🙂

I’ve kind of avoiding my other work but I really wanted to post about my thoughts on the differences between work and play that we discussed in class today.  First of all, I believe that work and play are far too interconnected to be made into two separate categories.  I think that instead they exist on some scale…for me, its easiest to think of as a sliding scale with complete work on one end and total play on the other.  Everything we do fits somewhere in between and, as the context changes, can slide farther towards either end.  In other words,  every action is always part play and part work. I believe that at this point, the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation we discussed comes into play. Personally, what I consider play to be what I do for myself….whatever motivates me intrinsically.  Work is defined by whatever (part of my) action that is motivated by my surroundings.  To me, then I guess, meeting guidelines, following rules, reaching goals from others, or even satisfying social norms qualify as work.

The gray area between work and play is much more complex.  I think that almost all actions or behaviors exist within this area.  If work and play exist on some sliding scale, this seems to fit.  There is much more space between the ends than at the ends themselves.  Therefore, an action that is more work would exist closer to the work end of the spectrum.  I’m starting to question whether complete work or true play exist.  I mean, even when we go to our job, we are at least going to earn money.  That qualifies as intrinsic motivation to me; it would therefore be tallied up at least as part play and cannot exist at the end of the spectrum. 

Anyways, I think that I’ve avoided work long enough.  Back to the grindstone! (I hope.)

The essay by Morningstar and Farmer really changed my perspective on MMPORG and cyberspace.  Within the introduction, first of all, I really liked the point that the editors made about cyberspace.  They state that cyberspace is “the essential resource both for understanding those virtual environments which look like physical spaces and or understanding the online experience through the metaphor of space” (663).  The concept of cyberspace as a metaphor never hit me.  Thinking about it now, it was completely obvious.  However before it was some totally different concept.  Instead of a metaphor for space, it was just space.  Then, I guess this was just a very effective, very subtle metaphor.

 Anyways, moving on.  I also had never considered the front and back ends of a network connection.  Having worked with computers so much, I never actually thought about the differences on either end.  The front end seems like it is actually a simplified version:  one that is designed for a single person instead of a computer.  The back end is more complex and is code based.  It seems like the communication between the two computers is like some instant messanger communication that translates between two languages instantaneously. 

I reached a third epiphany while reading the essay by Morningstar and Farmer.  I’ve previously mentioned that Meredith and I are working with Webkinz for our final project.  Webkinz is a child’s version of a MMORPG!  Before reading this essay, I felt that these games were foreign objects.  Now I understand that MMORPG’s come in many different forms that range from Warcraft to Webkinz. 

 Oh! I also wanted to mention that I logged into Twitter and I absolutely love the idea.  I don’t log in as update it as much as I probably should…but I’m trying to get better.  Anyways, my username is jhedrick.  Soooo, yea. I think Twitter is great.  Find me if you’d like! 🙂

For my final project, Meredith Langer and I are working with the world of Webkinz.  This new media is an interesting combination of Beanie Babies, the Sims, Tamagachi, and almost any form of an online game you could imagine.  Customers must purchase a stuffed toy in order to get into the online world where they take care of their pet.  (I have two pets already:  a duck named Dudley and a cat named Olivia.)  Because Webkinz is aimed at children, it also has an educational aspect to the activities participators are supposed to perform.  For example, in order to earn the virtual money KinzCash, children do jobs and play games that range from spatial recognition to memory to spelling and math. Webkinz incorporates networking by allowing children to send gifts and pre-scripted messages to their friends and participate in pre-scripted chat rooms and tournaments.  You are also taught patience by being forced to wait a certain amount of time to perform jobs, go gem mining, play special games, or even gardening.  Responsibility is enforced because participants must feed and bath their pets while earning, saving, and spending money.  Overall, I believe that Webkinz is an entirely positive experience for children of many different ages.

Meredith and I are gaining research by actually participating in Webkinz World.  It seems that some new cranny of the world is discovered daily.  We’ve also looked up newspaper articles online that discuss this new fad within the culture of American children.  We are still currently working on gathering information.

For our final presentation, Meredith and I are planning on building a model of one of our rooms within Webkinz world.  We are then going to film a video of a pet moving around in both the online room and model room.  We feel that switching between the two really will exemplify the way Webkinz seamlessly travels between the real and virtual worlds.  There may be some second part to the presentation but as of now, we have not settled on exactly what that will be.  All in all, I have to say that I am really excited about this project!

I found McCloud’s comic really interesting.  First of all, I really enjoyed that he presented it in the form of a comic strip; it really made things much easier for me to understand and read.  Not only was I being spoken to by the narrative character the entire time, but I really appreciated that I didn’t have to constantly switch between the form of the essay and the form of the comic.  Before reading “Time Frames” I had never considered the ways in which the lines surrounding a panel, the number of times that a panel is repeated, the shape of the box or the lines showing motions affect the ways I perceive the duration of a single panel.  McCloud also discusses how words and actions add to the duration of a panel.  I thought that it was interesting that the artist can use the time it takes me to read a panel to communicate more time passes.  It almost pushes the role of the artist to a whole new level.  Instead of just manipulating what and how we read, they are affecting our perception of time and, to me, that is something that should never really be altered.  If something as simple as a comic can affect my understanding of time (even within the comic) it makes me question the arbitrariness of time.  Does this mean that time, language, and other forms of communication all exist within the same category of uniquely human calculations?  I cannot imagine life without them.

I also really appreciated the ways McCloud discussed time.  The comparison of time to a rope really intrigues me.  Not only is time linear but, as a rope, it is also created from strands (or moments).  I thought that the way McCloud linked happenings to hooks along the rope.  It was incredibly significant to me that the hooks were not placed within the rope; instead, they were along the rope and are, therefore, capable of sliding along.  In other words, time is fluid.

Another thing that really appealed to me about McCloud’s discussion of comics was the way in which a comic displays all aspects of time:  past, present, and future.  An artist is capable of displaying these in any order.  In addition, a reader can chose to read them out of order…even though they are conditioned to read left to right, top to bottom.  This reminded me of Papert’s discussion of the way a program actually programs a child.  I think that Papert would be more in favor of the comic McCloud displayed that goes in all directions while each chosen direction is a plausible story (page 723).

Anyways, I’m planning on blogging more later about the thought experiments and final projects we’ve been discussing in class.  So I’ll be back…