Designing My Site on Google Sites…

a glimpse at my homepage

For my writing for social media module in university I needed to make a website. The website could be about an event, business, campaign, hobby, society etc. I chose to make my website about cooking, a hobby of mine I really enjoy. I am vegan and have been for a really long tome so I wanted this website to reflect my diet and the things I eat on a daily basis. I decided to create my website using Google Sites. Google sites is pretty easy to navigate but my lab notes for this module really helped me a lot. I designed a home page, an about me page, a reasons to go vegan page, and recipe pages.

a summer recipe

I used my phone to take photos of all the recipes I made. I had to make each recipe from scratch so that I could be sure my ingredients and instructions were as accurate as possible. I love photography so taking and setting up the photos was definitely one of my favourite parts!

a healthy breakfast

It was so fun to mess around with all the colours and themes available on the website. I chose a particular colour scheme for my website and made sure the photos I took were consistent with my scheme. This scheme is pink, green and brown. I chose these colours because green and brown make me think of nature, which ties in perfectly with the recipes I created using natural, whole ingredients.

a perfect lunch

I chose pink because it give my theme a pop of colour that I think goes really well with green and brown. It’s also one of my favourite colours, so it gives my website a personal touch. I made sure that parts of the text on my website were clickable, meaning they had internal and external links coded into them. This makes navigation easier and gives my website an authentic and textual feel.

Overall, designing my website was a very enjoyable experience and I learned a lot. I would really recommend you try it if your interested in creating your own website! The lectures and lab notes the class was given taught me so much about not only how to navigate the website, but how to design it in the most aesthetic and suitable fashion for the medium.
You can access my website lunchlikelisa if you are interested. I’m pretty proud of it, so why not?

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Colour Conspiracy and Cookie Consent

Colour theory is fascinating. Psychologists have discovered the ways in which colours affect our minds and emotions. They evoke thoughts and feelings inside us at a subconscious level. In one my lectures we discussed how colour theory is used across the internet. In particular, we looked at blue. Shades of blue are used by websites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit because of their calming and trustworthy quality. No wonder we share our lives, opinions and thoughts on these platforms.

This got me thinking about where else we may see blue used on the internet. After looking around I noticed that pretty much every website I visited presented me with a Cookies pop-up with an “I agree”, “consent” or “accept” button in blue text. These pop-ups are a recent development due to new GDPR laws which state that we must agree before our data is released. Not that we really have a choice. It’s like a ‘democratic’ state with a one party system, we have the illusion of choice, but that’s all it is. They use blue intentionally because they us want us to feel calm and trusting as we hit that consent button.

SO, do you think technology should be trusted to hold so much information about us? What we do and look at on the internet is personal and potentially revealing. Who knows what could be done if our information got into the wrong hands by hacking etc. I don’t blame some people for thinking that cookies may be used manipulatively and are potentially damaging and harmful to our reputations.

BUT, I don’t see the problem with this! The chance of hacking or anything bad happening is so slim that it’s irrational to even think of it. Yes, Cookies do store information about your search history but they do this so that when you revisit a site, that site is aware of it. Also, they ensure that the sites you visit and advertisements you see are tailored best to suit you. They make webpages as personally prescribed as they can be. I see it as really just a highly advanced way of advertising. How is it any different to billboard posters, ads on the tv and ads in magazines? Fashion magazines like Vogue advertise luxury goods from brands like Gucci, Dolce & Gabana and Calvin Klein. Vogue knows their audience and these brands know that their target audience IS this audience. How is it any different to what cookies do on the internet?

And anyway, advertising is MEANT to be manipulative. They want you to buy their good or service, so of course they are going to use colours, your information and whatever else they can to achieve this.

Some may feel uncomfortable about this and that’s fine. I just really don’t see the problem with technology using my data to make my internet experience as personalised as possible. Perhaps, it’s even a good thing? What do you think?

3 Neorealist Inspired Films That I Love

So, recently I’ve been learning all about film in one of my modules at UL. In particular, we’ve been learning about different film movements. You know, things like French New Wave, Cine Quinqui and the one I find most appealing, Neorealism. This movement began in Italy around the 1940s and we can still see elements of it in films today.

If you’re not familiar with it click on the link http://filmtheory.org/italian-neo-realism/ or simply listen to my less informed explanation! Basically, Neorealist films try to reflect reality. They try to present themselves as, as real as possible. Aspects like the use of long shots, amateur actors/actresses, street settings, poverty/lower-class struggles and black & white colourising combine to bring us Neorealism. Discussing all of these aspects in class, I experienced a flood of films flashing before my eyes. I realised I had seen tonnes of movies clearly inspired by this revolutionary movement. So, here are just a few of my all time favourites. I hope you love them just as much as I do.

Taxi Driver (1976)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGXjtLYw8Qg

Scorsese’s Taxi Driver is a neorealist masterpiece. Travis Bickle despises living among the “scum” of New York city. And can you blame him? Taxi drivers witness people in all sorts of states. Just think of the last night you went out with your friends. What do you think your taxi driver thought of your(s) screaming along to the radio at the top of your lungs? Yeah. Probably not the greatest impression.

Anyway, Travis detests his job and suffers from loneliness and an isolation that leads to a climactic burst of extreme violence. The movie, like Neorealist films, is set mostly in city streets, stars a (former) amateur actor (Robert De Niro) and gives us a taste of NYC’s seedy underbelly. So if you want a glimpse into this world of prostitutes, adulterers, drug abusers and criminals, look no further than Scorsese’s 1976 Taxi Driver. You will not be disappointed!

Frances Ha (2012)

https://steidl.de/Books/Frances-Ha-A-Noah-Baumbach-Picture-1415252629.html

(Yes, I know, I’ve jumped a few decades) Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha is a delightful nod to the Italian Neorealist movement. Frances, a young woman living in NYC struggles to find her place in the world. At the time of it’s release Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver were not the stars that they are now considered. Many of the faces in the film are quite unrecognisable, as many of the actors were then amateur. One undeniable Neorealist element is the film’s intentional use of black & white colourisation. If that doesn’t illustrate Baumbach’s Neorealist vision for the film, I don’t know what does.

Frances, whose best friend has left her to live with her boyfriend, must live out he lease in an apartment she can no longer afford. Throughout the film she struggles with unemployment, paying rent and a lack of social skills. She has a tendency toward awkward and clumsy conversation which makes it difficult for her to relate and get long with others. One could argue Frances suffers from a similar loneliness to Travis Bickle. All of these aspects of Frances’ life make finding her place in the world a tremendous, yet relatable struggle.

Roma (2018)

https://variety.com/2018/film/news/netflix-alfonso-cuaron-roma-600-locations-1203084706/

Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma is a beautiful piece of Neorealist film making. Cuaron himself, is depicted in the film as one of the minor characters. It is set in the ’70’s when he was about the age of ten. Rather than the film being your run of the mill “coming-of-age” story, Cuaron choses to tell the story of Cloe, the domestic maid and child minder who lived with him and his affluent family in the Roma district of Mexico city.

We witness the progression of Cloe’s unintentional pregnancy while she remains working for the family. The every-day events of Cloe’s life grant us occasional glimpses into the political turmoil occurring in Mexico city at the time. For the most part it seems Cloe’s lives a life in direct parallel to such ongoings, however, there are times when this is not the case. We experience minute fragments of events which directly collide with Cloe’s life. One scene, of this nature is particularly poignant, but of course I do not want to ruin it for you if you have not seen it. This aspect of the film gives it an authentic Neorealist feel.

Furthermore, Cuaron purposely chose amateur actors. In fact, Yalitza Aparicio, who plays Cloe had never performed in anything prior to the film.

Like Frances Ha, the film is intentionally black & white, illustrating Cuaron’s Neorealist vision. Roma‘s composition is incredible, consisting of exquisite long shots that can not be missed. For an in-depth analysis of the film, look no further than this -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkBTNJNbh60. For you history buffs click here http://time.com/5478382/roma-movie-mexican-history/ for a more informed look at the events that took place in the ’70s when Roma was set.

Good vs Evil in “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”

If you haven’t read this novella please do! It may seem old and boring but trust me it’s worth the read. Or if you’re feeling lazy simply click this link to get a great synopsis of the story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2slb1_zDGU.

Anyway, it’s about a doctor who invents a potion that transforms him into a completely new man. Under the guise of this alternative appearance the doctor can, and does, live out his utmost desires without consequence.

The doctor, when he transforms into Mr Hyde, can not help but act out one of the most heinous crimes; murder. Mr Hyde commits a horrific murder of a local politician, beating him to death against the pavement on a foggy London night.

This may sound like a tale of pointless science fiction, but the true meaning of this story goes much deeper. It shows us that there is both good and bad in everyone. Not everything is always black and white, but mostly grey. The novella illustrates how anonymity has such a tremendous power over our actions. Just think if you could do anything you wanted, without anyone knowing it was you, without any consequences. Would you?

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde forces us to dig deep into our conscience, bringing questions of morality to the fore. Who knows what you may or may not find out about yourself, perhaps you’ll be left wondering who you really are. The story ultimately leaves us pondering whether or not ‘morality’ exists or whether it is a mere construct of society, contrived to enforce good behaviour and an obedient public that align and abide, so-as-to ‘save face’ and not bring disgrace to their name. Well, what would you do if no one was watching?

What is a Bildungsroman novel?

In university I study Victorian Literature. As part of this module I had to read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. As many of you may already know, this novel follows the life of Jane Eyre from early childhood to adulthood. This is what’s known as a Bildungsroman. The term was invented by philosopher Karl Morgenstern. A Bildungsroman focuses on the upbringing and formative year’s of a particular person with huge significance placed on how that person’s character develops.

Jane Eyre is the ideal example of this. As readers, we are taken on a journey through Jane’s life.

1.We see her as a young girl, passionate, hotheaded and enraged by her cousin John and cruel Aunt in Gateshead.

2. We witness her develops a sense of self-control and restraint through the strict discipline enforced at Lowood charity school.

3.We join her as she pursues a career as a governess for a young girl at Thornfield Hall where she falls passionately in love with the master of the house, Mr. Rochester.

4. We observe as her independence grows and knowledge broadens while lodging at Moor House. Simply put, we see Jane develop into a woman who has learned to balance her passionate nature with self-reservation and conscience.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
/To_Kill_a_Mockingbird

After reading and absorbing all of this, I began to wonder about the influence this type of novel has had on the literary world. We see Bildungsroman as a frame for countless numbers of stories these days. However, instead of referring to them as Bildungsroman, we use the contemporary term “coming-of-age“. One could argue “coming-of-age” stories are the evolutionary result of the Bildungsroman genre. Just think of books like To Kill a Mocking Bird, Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower to name a few.

In fact, this type of story-telling has crossed over into mediums like television and cinema. Boyhood being a fantastic example, a movie literally filmed over 12 years of a young man’s life from the age of 6 to 18.

http://organiceyourlife.com/boyhood-movie/

So next time you’re watching a movie about a teenager growing up or reading a John Green book, take a second to appreciate it’s ancestry in the Bildungsroman. For someone else’s interpretation of Bildungsroman click here -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bpdzkPn5rc.

General Data Protection Rights; A Reflection

In one my New Media classes the new GDPR law was discussed by our lecturer. She discussed how the internet puts us all in vulnerable positions. we can be hacked, have viruses steal and release our personal information and even have someone watch us through our camera. there is way more personal information of ours out there these days, our search history and shopping history reveals so much about us.

My train of thought got me thinking about that show Black Mirror. In particular, the episode of Black Mirror called “Shut up and Dance”. The episode deals with issues involving a breach of data protection by an anonymous person/troll.

*SPOILER ALERT*

This troll finds out embarrassing and potentially life ruining information about a number of people, including a teenage boy, Kenny, by watching him through his laptop camera. Saving footage of Kenny watching pornography and using it to threaten the him. The troll(s) forces him to carry out ridiculous tasks under a severe time limit, which leads him to his encounter with another man, Hector, whose in his very situation. The whole episode raises awareness about how easy something like this could happens these days.

Kenny must team up with Hector carrying out the demands of the troll(s). We learn that Hector is being threatened by the troll(s) for hiring a prostitute. He is married with children so the release of this info would ruin his life. The two are forced to rob a bank, Kenny as the robber and Hector, the driver. The events climax with a fight to the death between Kenny and another man who is being trolled by the same person(s). At last, it is revealed that Kenny was not watching ordinary pornography online, but child pornography. Despite the fact that Kenny has done everything asked of him the troll releases the video of him regardless.

http://yourdarkreflection.blogspot.com/2017/11/black-mirror-season-3-episode-3-shut-up.html

The sympathy we had for Kenny vanishes and we are left contemplating the motives of the troll(s). Has this troll(s) found their own way to carry out justice and deal with the actions of immoral people? Is breaching someone’s right to privacy to do “good” morally correct? And is GDPR protecting these kind of people? Or is there any point penalising potential threats to society and unfaithful spouses or should it just be left alone? There is a chance that what Kenny does in his room may stay in his room and he may never act on his urges. And is the information age we live in bringing us one step closer to an Orwellian society?

For more on this terrific episodes check out this great vid -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfKpC1JDvH8

The effect of Censorship on Irish Culture.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/peter-papathanasiou/when-does-the-book-burning-begin_b_9370224.html

Today, in one of my classes for Irish literature the effects of the 1929 Censorship Act in Ireland were discussed. The act impacted on irelands writers and readership for generations. It prevented any books, prose or poetry that depicted controversial and impure scenes or dialogue from being sold in Ireland. Really any literature that addressed topics such sex/sexuality were seen as manifestations of evil that needed to be stopped.

The newly formed Irish government sought to control its people by preserving what it believed to be Irish culture. This preservation of Irish culture was truly a preservation of Irish-catholic culture. A culture that stressed the importance of morality, penalised sinners and punished those who did not align. A culture where church and state were beginning to form interlinking ties, which are still unravelling to this day.

As a result of this nonsecular government numerous Irish authors left the country to seek publication abroad. Without being able to make money at home, loosing their job over banned works and/or simply civil disobedience left them no other choice.

This discussion got me thinking about the effects this has had on my country, being that this age of censorship was only two generations ago. It’s clear to see that Irelands readership missed out on exposure to other cultures and most importantly their own culture.

The act wished to effect that the people of Ireland had not the incline or capability to dwell on, or contemplate thoughts about sex, sexuality or anything else deemed immoral. The censorship ignored these topics, burying them further down into the Irish psyche.

I believe this deprived our readers, resulting in consequent narrow worldview and a lack of emotional and intellectual satisfaction. It is no wonder that even in contemporary times these are subjects we still avoid talking about on a daily basis. In fact, no one can deny that mental illness is still taboo in this country.

Writers in any society serve a crucial cultural purpose. Their works shape our minds, ignite cultural change and reflect contemporary society. Local stories has the power to resonate with people, reassuring them and their thoughts by representing what it truly means to be a part of their culture. Without access to the works of national authors our readership suffered. We were failed by the government, who denied what it meant to be Irish and insisted on shaping a contrived and contorted image of our culture.

A terrific video about the thoughts on Irish censorship circulating at the time-> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCPxL5pZI9E.

https://cognitivelibertyuk.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/drug-prohibition-as-censorship/censorship-censored-government-logo-icon-sign-state-movie-film-book-drugs-policy-prohibition/

Companies, Copyright and Content Creators.

As part of my studies in New Media I am required to learn about Copyright and Trade Mark Laws. I came across one which really peaked my interest and in fact, made me a little concerned.

It came to my attention that content written by the employees of an organisation do not have any right to ownership of that content. The company claims full ownership. This seemed to me pretty unfair. I would like to think that whatever I wrote and/or came-up with was mine and I was credited fairly for the work, wouldn’t you? As a person who, one day, hopes to work as a writer for an internet media company, I began to look into this more and found relevant experiences of people whose interests directly clashed with this law in the workplace.

In the past couple of years stories about the inner workings of the company Buzzfeed have come out. Youtube Videos entitled Why I left Buzzfeed are being posted and receiving millions of views. These videos address issues former Buzzfeed employees encountered and wish to make clear to the public. The most popular video of this type is Safiya Nygaards, with an incredible 13.9 million views.

What happened her?

Safiya talks about how she created the series Lady-Like (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcOeS5aEIadAhKtJ9_VKAIw) with her friend while working at Buzzfeed and how little she was credited for it. Her name and the names of others involved were not attached to the videos. Some fans even believing she was just an actress for the company, rather than a writer and producer. She ultimately felt she was not being given any credit for her work and credited for work that wasn’t hers.

As-well as this, she was not allowed, by Buzzfeed, to respond to comments on her videos posted by fans. She moves on to speak about the murky hierarchy of the company, how it was filtered down to her that Buzzfeed wanted to alter the direction of her show. Not only was she not credited for this but now she had no control over its future. In reality, they owned it and could do what they wanted with it. She could exercise no intellectual copyrights to change this and was subject to the jurisdiction of the higher ups in Buzzfeed.

After watching her video and learning about her struggle, I felt like I needed to include it in this blog, seeing as I and many of my friends at university will be heading into careers where we too are subject to the control of the organisations that employ us. Even if this may not seem like an issue to you, it is so important to be aware of this and take it into consideration.

Of course, it is understandable that working for companies such as Buzzfeed is a huge opportunity for anyone, it gives their work immediate respectability and attention, which if they were to gain for themselves, would take years to obtain. As Safiya says in her video she is grateful to Buzzfeed. Her face is known because of the company and now that she has left it she has an already waiting fanbase.

In fact, her Youtube channel has over 7 million subscribers and her show, which of course, still belongs to Buzzfeed has just over 3 million. One could say Buzzfeed was a mere stepping stone toward greater success for this Youtuber personality. Check it out -> https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=safiya+nygaard

video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aiRY5EwqPA. image sources: https://www.marathi.tv/youtube-host/safiya-nygaard-wikipedia/ https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2016/10/06/buzzfeed-latest-high-profile-victim-of-ourmine-hackers/

Jasmine Eclipse

Writing, Marketing, Social Media.

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