Final Video Detournement Project for Digital Composition

For my final project in my Digital Composition class we were supposed to take all of the lessons from the term and come up with an original way of showing what we had learned. I chose to do another detournement project. I took this video by the band Anti-Flag:

It is a social and political commentary by a band that takes themselves fairly seriously, so I decided to change the method of delivery and see how it changed the context of the message. I used the tool Xtranormal in order to make this countrified cartoon spoken word video:

Lyrical Detournement Video
by: Twinmamameg

It was a lot of work making this short video, but I am a little proud of how it turned out. It takes serious content and makes it almost laughable. I still prefer the original version, but I can appreciate how life takes itself a little too seriously at times and requires a bit of silliness every now and again.

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Toddlers Are Better Teachers Than Parents Could Ever Hope To Be

Restless little kids are impossible. There is a lot of whining and hitting and other unfavorable behaviors that require skillful maneuvering to avoid full-on meltdowns. Normally I would just take the boys outside on days like today, but one boy is still recovering from a bout of RSV and should probably stay out of the wind. After trying to get them to color with little success, creativity (or possibly madness) struck and I decided that we were all going to bake cookies together.

Don’t get me wrong, I am normally one of those horrible hovering parents that everyone warns you about, but I am aware of it and am trying to do better. I could try to justify my behavior or talk around it, but i really don’t see the point. Every parent has their issues right? Anyway, I thought that letting them do the majority of the work on this particular project could help all of us. The boys helped me gather all of the ingredients and the measuring cups and spoons and set them on the table. Then they measured out the right ingredients and stirred everything together. It took restraint, but all I did was crack the eggs and hand out the right cup for each ingredient (and I might have stirred a bit at the end). Their level of concentration and cooperation was more than I thought was possible from two busy two-year olds. They were excited to help and to have a job to do. Here is a picture of them hard at work:

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I am going to give you the recipe we used because I am always disappointed when I read a blog post about food and there isn’t a recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookes

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (ours was crusty so we used more sugar)
1/2 cup butter, softened (if you forget to set it out early, just micro-wave for 20 seconds)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (we used coconut oil)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (we substituted Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips (dark chocolate chips are my favorite)

1. In large mixing bowl, combine sugars, butter, shortening, eggs and vanilla. Scrape bowl.
2. Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt until well combined, scraping bowl often.
3. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. (If making gluten-free, whatever you do DON’T taste the cookie dough. You will think you ruined them).
4. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven 9-11 minutes (if you choose to make these gluten-free you will want to cook them more like 12-15 depending on size).

Of course, with two toddlers running the show, none of these instructions were followed to a tee. I was a little concerned since this was my first attempt at making my husband gluten-free cookies, but it somehow worked out fine. They were slightly crispy and chocolatey and perfect. And most importantly, I relinquished control long enough to let my children feel useful. (Hopefully that will help fill-up their self-esteem bank for moments when I am a much less perfect parent). Seriously though, I am really proud of all of us. I took a step back and the boys took a step forward.

I Just Want to be Maurice Sendak

I have been given an unconventional project this week that is causing me more than a little heartburn. For anyone who is in my Digital Composition class, you might be thinking that I am concerned about our plagiarism assignment. Actually, it is something a bit more intimidating…my husband has asked me to write him a children’s book.

“So what’s the big deal?” you may ask.

Well in no particular order, here is a list of issues:

1) This book is supposed to be finished by my husband’s birthday…which gives me exactly13 days to write and edit it. Talk about pressure!

2) My husband intends to publish it. He is an artist and has been trying to get me to write a children’s book for him to illustrate for years. I think he fancies us as some sort of Stan and Jan Berenstain, which might be a bit of a stretch.

3) It has been my dream to write a children’s book since I was a child (well either that or to write for Reader’s Digest). Now I am aware that when most people think of children’s literature, things like Go Dog Go come to mind. This is of course a great beginner book, but not exactly the most imaginative writing. If I were just setting out to write another Go Dog Go, my task would be simple. But of course, I want to write a truly timeless piece of children’s literature. Something a little more like Chicken Soup With Rice or Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

And last, but not least:

4) I am the worst kind of perfectionist. It could take me a whole month to write a poem, let alone a simple children’s book. In some ways this blog has been incredibly therapeutic and helped me work through my perfectionistic tendencies – but writing for any public audience is revealing and a bit like jumping into the deep end of the pool when you are a horrible swimmer (which I am).

Despite all of these reasons, I am grateful that I have such a wonderful and supportive husband. He challenges me to step outside of who I think I am capable of being every time I turn around and I want to write this book for him. Actually, I want to write this book for me more than I even want to write it for him.

So now, how do I go about accomplishing this incredible task? Well, I am thinking of approaching it in poem form because it somehow seems less daunting for a first book (though of course it’s late and I could quite possibly be sleep deprived). I’m honestly not sure where I am going with it yet, but I would love any and all suggestions anyone may have. If I manage to get it done sometime in the next millennium I will try to post an excerpt or two, and maybe a picture to go along with it.

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Controlled Chaos – An Exercise in Detournement

We had a group project for our Writing For Contemporary Media Class that required us to detourn (or change the meaning of something in simple terms). Thomas Wolfe and I chose to add words to the poem “What The Doctor Said” by Raymond Carver (his words are in bold). This is the chaos we created:

He said it doesn’t look good

♬♬Besides functionality, code also possesses literary value.

he said it looks bad in fact real bad

map those territories, define terminologies, and create contexts

he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before

What we’re experiencing for the first time is the ability of language to alter all media,

I quit counting them

Materiality- fluidity, plasticity, ductility, malleability—-

I said I’m glad I wouldn’t want to know

about any more being there than that

How can we regard something that might in another configuration be extremely valuable?

he said are you a religious man do you kneel down

in forest groves and let yourself ask for help

a word processing document is an example of a microclimate where the variables are extremely limited and controlled and yet the true possibilities are endless.

when you come to a waterfall

mist blowing against your face and arms

do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments

èI said not yet but I intend to start today

he said I’m real sorry he said

I wish I had some other kind of news to give you

There’s nothing stable about it: even in their most abstracted form, letters are embedded with semantic, semiotic, historical, cultural, and associative meanings.

I said Amen and he said something else

I didn’t catch and not knowing what else to do

and not wanting him to have to repeat it

and me to have to fully digest it

I just looked at him

Physical geography. Overlay it with psychogeography—mapping the psychic and emotional flows of a city instead of its rational street grids—-DRIVE THE BUS!

for a minute and he looked back it was then

I jumped up and shook hands with this man who’d just given me

something no one else on earth had ever given me

the city is an ecology, a series of networks, each replete with its own potential for meaningful exchanges and encounters. NO RELATION TO ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARIES. OBJECTIVE PASSIONAL TERRAIN/LOGIC OF SOCIAL MORPHOLOGY

½ I may have even thanked him habit being so strong

What are your sources? Oh we have plenty of sources. You can ask and we can tell. Just follow the links. Point and click your way to the beginning. It is the point that the beginning is not so sure and steady at hand. Like choppy water on this grey and dusty Oregon/Idaho day. Yeah, the location is a multitude. Two locations. Two locations with two beginnings and not an end in sight. Just be glad your fair (fare) is paid and bought for. Come on now, get loose, get ready and read. Cut and paste your way. Concrete poetry.

Do you remember floating down the 405 awash in that California sun? No? yes? The freaks along the boardwalk sailing past feet up off the ground eyes twinges and groggy and full of redo. Come on now.

Cite your damn sources. Please. Give credit where credit is do (due). Do your own work. Use the gifts and make sure they remain intact. Here, at ‘intact’ is the point of contention. What are you borrowing and what are you taking and what are you taking out on loan? Borrowing and Loaning. What is the difference? Difference. “the transparency of the clearing means a maintenance of the invader’s specific right over a territory in which he claims to settle, of his power to penetrate. What this week is circling around can be identified as a phenomenon of retention. What are you retaining and what have you borrowed that make this retention possible? The bordering of our two states now is like so much imagined refuse.

I take the words from the page and rearrange them to fit what burns inside. Your pulse quickens, the sweat breaks upon the back of your neck, you are lost amongst the words seeking direction. I have none to give. Turn left.

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