This is my second Current Events post. I am writing about two articles from Time magazine on Japanese and U.S. relations, and E.U. and American relations (in light of Russia). I decided to alternate between international politics and domestic politics for my weekly current events post.
In the first article President Trump and the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, plan to make trade between the US and Japan free. Trump is sending a missile defense system to Japan. But Abe is unhappy that Trump removed the Pacific Trade Agreement, canceling free trade between several nations in the Pacific Ocean.
I learned that even though I don’t always agree with Trump, some proposals I think are smart. The free trade between Japan and the U.S. will make our trade more prosperous.
In the next article I read that the E.U. has growing diplomatic tension with the U.S. The leader of the E.U.’s public face and executive branch, Jean-Claude Juncker, said in an interview that Russian forces have started to meddle with several European elections. He states that the U.S. can’t make a unilateral decision regarding Russia (removing sanctions?) without consulting the Europeans.
I have learned that currently our relation with the E.U. has gotten worse since Donald Trump openly criticized the E.U. and is neutral with Russia.
In week 5 of Networked Narratives, our class was given an assignment about sound. In the small clips that are posted on the weekly announcements, one of the videos talks about how we hear things, but we don’t listen. There is a huge difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is just hearing. Listening, is hearing and taking in what somebody said. Listening is noticing. My mind trailed off and I started thinking about language. When you think deeply about language, we are just making random noises with our mouths. What makes us decode these random noises that we understand as language? How did we set certain combinations of sound to equal logical meaning? Sound is truly a story shrouded in mystery.
Picking up on the idea of listening, I participated in the NetNarr weekly webinar. It was intriguing to listen to so many with experience. In the Networked Narratives webinar, the subject was creative chaos. Howard Rheingold talked about how when he was in school, everything had a lot of restrictions and rules. But luckily his mother was the art teacher, and any students who didn’t follow the rules were sent to the art room. I am able to relate to this because my old school had similar restrictions. There were even rules and boundaries in the art room. It was hard to shape a cool idea in that atmosphere.
Near the end of our conversation, Howard Rheingold talked about how when you don’t do creative things, you “starve” a part of your mind. I like this idea because whenever I just do things that don’t make me think in new ways, I don’t see the point. He also mentioned he was a gardener, and said that life is like building a compost pile. You throw in ideas like seeds that grow into a garden. My favorite comment is that when an alchemist experiments with elements, the alchemist transforms too. Everything creative that I do shapes me and changes my mind set. Howard’s comment makes me see why our minds change due to our actions and personality.
A part of my homeschooling agenda is to learn about events going on all around the world. I will have a weekly current events post based on my reading of Time magazine. For this blog post, I have decided to write about an article on Chuck Schumer and Donald Trump.
The title of this article is “The Face of the Opposition: Inside Chuck Schumer’s plan to take on President Trump.” Since President Donald Trump was elected, the democratic party has become the minority party. The question of this article asks “Do the Democrats Matter?” The Republicans have more power in the Senate because they are the majority party. Therefore many, if not all proposals passed by Trump are more difficult for the Democratic party to stop from becoming a law. That is why the big question of this article is “Do the Democrats matter?”.
It is obvious that Trump and Schumer have been rivals for a very long time. They have been arguing for years about real-estate and politics. But though they are rivals, they are both New Yorkers and have done business with each other. They have known each other, and have been dealing with each other for a really long time. One thing I found interesting is that the Trump family has funded many of Schumer’s campaigns.
What I learned from this article is that even though Trump and Schumer are the leaders of two different parties, they have known each other for a long time. I think Trump will use the fact that his family funded Schumer’s campaigns as a weapon to possibly “use” the Democratic party. This teaches me that money is a source of persuasion. Money can cloud judgments made by important leaders in our country.
The format of a story was always a mystery to me. I always had trouble understanding where the character is in the climax, or the rising action. But in the Week #4 post of Networked Narratives, there is a video by Kurt Vonnegut which explains a lot.
In this small clip, he draws two lines on the top and the bottom of a blackboard. Then he draws a line in the middle of the blackboard. He explained that the top line is where the character is most healthy, happy, and rich. The middle line is the tipping point for whether the character is going “downwards” or “upwards” in their emotional disposition. The final and bottom line is where the character is unhappy, in despair , and sick in the story. Then he used Cinderella’s emotion’s from the book Cinderella and drew a line on how her emotions fluctuated throughout the story. For example, when the Fairy Godmother appeared and gave her a dress, glass slippers, and a sweet ride, her mood rises up to above the center line. When she dances with the prince, her mood rises even further! But when the clock strikes midnight, all of her special stuff disappeared. The line rocketed downwards. Later on when the glass slipper fits here feet, her mood once again rockets skywards.
This example helped me understand a character’s position in the story by looking at their feelings at the time of a big change in a good story. After watching this video, I can think from outside of the story to see how it is structured. Stories are like buildings. On the outside, you can see the structure of the building, but you have no idea what is happening inside it. When you walk inside of the building, you can experience what is happening inside. But maybe you can’t see where you are. Stories are the same.
Earth, 2084. A Nuclear war has broken out between the races of men. Earth is now a charred, barren desert world. Deep underground, in a fallout shelter, there is a tunnel. Not a clean, shiny tunnel. But a very dirty and disgusting tunnel. Not one that many would hope to climb. If you would think to climb down it, you will find the most magnificent sight the world should see. Down in the depths of the shelter, Is a greenhouse as big as a country. It has such forest,s and flower of all sorts. The are different climates, as well as habitats. But if you are brave enough, in the snowy pine forest, there is a small cabin. Inside, is an Alchemist. He, is the Guardian of the Underground Greenhouse.
What is Alchemy? Alchemy is Chemistry. Well, not really. Alchemy is the medieval forerunner to Chemistry. It is mainly known for turning a common element, such as lead or carbon, into gold. A lot of alchemists were also know for trying to make an elixir of life, that will either awaken a passed loved one, or make themselves younger or immortal. I know, all of these spells sound impossible. I doubt that many succeeded in this crazy sounding magic.
But what did people think of alchemists back then? (not that there are no alchemists around today.>:)) Where they respected? Or were they outcasts? If they were outsiders, what was life like for them if they were outcasts? Alchemy was illegal in 17th century England. Where else did alchemists practice their trade? If it was illegal, life would be hard for alchemists. Would they have to hide what they were doing? What if they were caught?
How does Alchemy relate to Networked Narratives? Here are some guesses. Storytelling is like alchemy, a random mixture of different things. Alchemy and stories are like a sandbox in your mind, where you can have fun with the world without any force stopping you from creating magic.
This is the excerpt for your very first post.