My Ever-Expanding Technological World

I still remember the day my dad came home with a brand new Garmin GPS from Costco.

“Why do you need that?” my mom asked in clear disapproval.

I understood her point. Why did my dad need a GPS? He not only knew where everything was, but he knew the quickest way to get there. And if you needed to get to a Wal-Mart on the way to your destination, he could tell you which one was the closest to your intended route. Wasn’t that the point of a GPS?

Nevertheless,  my dad kept his new “toy,” and before long, it had disappeared… into my mom’s car. Eventually, with license in hand, that same GPS was relocated to my 1991 Pontiac Grand Prix (Craigslist cars, I’m telling you… it’s where it’s at).

Nowadays, nobody really needs to buy a GPS, because at the touch of their fingertips exists a GPS, compass, flashlight, stopwatch, calculator, and camera, not to mention a device that can keep you up to date on social media, text messages, and phone calls. Smart phones. I was proud of my “dumb phone” for the longest time, despite the fact it broke three separate times during my Freshmen year due to the massive amount of rainstorms here at GWU. After the fourth (and ultimately final) time, my dad said enough was enough… and I was the proud owner of a new, free iPhone 4.

During our “wayfinding” assignment today, I discovered just how much my smart phone could do. Not only did it have a compass, but I could scan QR codes and input GPS coordinates to determine a set location. My technological world is ever-expanding!


The Idahoan in North Carolina

This week, we analyzed a graphic novel called The Arrival by Shaun Tan. When I first opened it up and saw all of the sepia-toned pictures, the strange looking creatures, and no words, I was not looking forward to reading it.

“But wait, Liv! How do you read something that has no words?”

Good question.

I was not looking forward to viewing it. (I don’t even know if that’s any better.)

Either way, I would like to admit just how wrong I was to judge The Arrival off of a simple first glance. There is so much depth and storytelling involved in this beautiful tale Tan has spun. Moreover, I discovered I could even relate to some of it. Although moving from Idaho to North Carolina was not quite as drastic of a change as the one that Tan’s protagonist faces, I still had my fair share of things to get used to. For example:

1. The humidity. In Idaho, we have what we like to call “dry heat.” The best way to explain this is to imagine a blow dryer in your face 24/7. Here, the air is wet.

2. The food. Prior to North Carolina, I had never had grits, southern sweat tea, livermush, or a strange concoction of Bisquick, sausage, and cheese called sausage balls. (Some I still wish I had never had.) I also never knew just how many foods could be dipped in batter and fried.

3. The bugs. I will never forget one of my first nights on campus during my Freshman year when my roommate and I decided to take an evening walk. We were going along, minding our own business as we casually passed a tree… which then started making the strangest noise and rustling all about, and I’m telling you, this tree was alive! I screamed, and that, my friends, was the first time I learned about cicadas. (Don’t even get me started on the first time I saw a firefly… when his light went out, I asked if his butt had broken.)

4. The language. Everybody says y’all, and they’re all “fixin'” to go do something. I learned the difference between “He’s visiting his grandma, bless his heart,” and “Would you look at her haircut? Bless her heart!” It appears the unspoken rule of the South is you can say just about anything about anyone, as long as you bless their heart afterwards.

So Shaun Tan, props to you for making an awesome, relatable graphic novel. If you haven’t read/viewed it yet, check it out here.

Books, Movies, Graphic Novels, & Presentations – OH MY!

As I previously mentioned, I will be studying The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel over the span of the next couple of weeks. I’m intrigued that this story has been retold in several mediums, from book (2004) to film (2008) to graphic novel (2012), and for this week’s post, I thought I would give you a taste of the movie:

What do you think? Did anyone else find it odd that the creative team behind the movie dropped the “The” from The City of Ember? Any opinions on why they did that?

I also discovered I’m a little behind on all things Ember… in case you weren’t aware, The City of Ember is actually a part of DuPrau’s “Books of Ember” series. To my knowledge, it was a trilogy, but I discovered there’s actually a fourth book called The Diamond of Darkhold. Turns out, it was released in 2010! The things you find out when you get to researching, huh?

Jeanne DuPrau’s Books of Ember

On another note, we’ve been experimenting with different types of visual presentations (from PowerPoint to Prezi to Projeqt) over the span of the last two weeks in class. Now, I’ll be honest. I’m not typically the kind of person who likes change, so I’ve always been a straightforward PowerPoint-girl. I had attempted to work Prezi in the past, but being someone who’s prone to motion sickness, it didn’t sit well with me. Today was our Introduction-to-Projeqt day, and while it gained rave reviews from my classmates, I’m not really sure I felt the same way. In fact, after testing out Projeqt, I’ve found that my opinion of Prezi has been slightly raised! I’m finally starting to grasp just how much Prezi can accomplish, and I think if I keep the “jumping around” feature to a minimum, I could create some pretty stellar presentations!