Virtual Museums

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I am in a bit of a toss-up about virtual museums. I don’t know if I like them or not. Virtual Museums are very convenient because they can be visited without leaving the house, or traveling far away to get to them. Sure they are convenient but the experience is completely lacking. A virtual museum is nowhere near close to the personal experience of actually visiting a museum.

The virtual museum I checked out was the Smithsonian. I chose the Smithsonian because I have actually been to it a few years back. I wanted to see if the virtual museum was anywhere close to the real experience. It was better than I was expecting because it had all of the exhibits available to look at. It even had close up high-resolution photos that made it seem like I was personally looking at the exhibit.

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Even with all of the exhibits available it was no where close to the real experience. especially when it came to the dinosaur exhibit. looking at a thirty foot T-Rex skeleton in real life does not compare to one on a computer screen. Where I get tossed up in whether I like them or not, is when it comes to museums that are out of the country and very far away. A virtual museum of those museums is great because they are not easy or cheap to get to in person. having a virtual museum of those museums is nice because a person can visit the museum virtually and save a great deal of time and money. they will not necessarily have the same experience as they would in person but at least they have seen the contents inside.

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The Seattle Art Museum

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I really enjoyed my visit to the SAM. The last time I went was when I was really little.  It was really nice to refresh my memory of it. I definitely enjoyed it more now.

There is something about the SAM that makes me feel as if I am in a completely different place. When I was in there it felt like I was not in downtown Seattle. I really liked that feeling of isolation.

When I first got there it was really slow, there was almost nobody in the museum. Since no one was around I really was able to take in the atmosphere. The feeling of the SAM is really warm and inviting, especially with the rich colors on the wall and the stunning hardwood flooring. Aside from the floor and the colors of the walls the lighting was just perfect. The rooms with the abstract bright artwork were lit brighter and the room with the less bright art were more dim. The lighting really created an individual atmosphere and ambience in each room.

My favorite part of the SAM’s atmosphere is the acoustics. The high ceilings really make the rooms feel warm especially when I heard the people walking around on the hardwood floor. Each footstep filled the room. The room that really made me say wow was the room with the 30 foot ceiling and the huge abstract art. Being an audio student the first thing I noticed in that room was the spectacular acoustics and not the huge abstract art. When I walked in the first thing I did was looked at how high the ceiling was, then I began snapping and listening to the sound of the room. After I was fully amused by the room I then payed more attention to the art.

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The other room I enjoyed was the room with the American paintings. It was really warm and inviting, and I really appreciated the lighting.

Kindred- Science Fiction & Time travel

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Kindred by Octavia Butler is considered to be a science fiction but surprisingly there is not a whole lot of science fiction in the book. Really the only part that falls under this category is the time travel aspect of the plot. Even with the time travel it seems that this novel should be classified more of an adventure novel.

I think it is really clever how butler incorporates very minimal science fiction in Kindred. She introduces the reader to the time travel element right from the start but as the story continues, the time travel becomes less and less. Each time Dana travels back to the past she is there longer. Eventually the time travel is not the focus, the plot and story of the past is the focus.

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What is interesting is that the majority of the story takes place in the past so naturally the readers  are not thinking about time travel when they read about the past. That is why when the time travel comes back into the story it is very refreshing. Reading page after page about slavery and the past seems to suck the reader into the past more and more, but then butler slams the reader again with time travel aspect, ultimately refreshing the entire story.

With the minimal amount of science fiction in this story, it somehow works. Even though the majority of the book is in the past, the first initial time travel gets hooked in the readers head. They read about the past but in the back of their mind they know it is not the present.

Time Travel in My Perspective

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Thinking about time travel is a really interesting topic. At some point in time everyone has that moment where they wish they could travel back in time, or possibly travel ahead in time. It has happened to me on many occasions.

When I think of myself in Dana’s position I can imagine many things that would “call” me into a time travel. Out of all of the ideas in my head, the thing I would want to call me back would be when I am thinking to myself ,”I wish I had done that differently from the start.” On many instances I find myself thinking and in a way regretting why I did something the way I did. For example a bad project or a few too many mistakes on a paper, resulting in a bad score. Or even a conversation that should have been thought about before it was said. To me that is what I would want to “call” me.

It would a second chance at something that did not go the way I had planned. So let me make up a scenario. So it is week 10 in the quarter, I have two choices, study for a huge final or go to a party with friends. I decide to skip studying for the final and go out with friends. On the day of the final I have not a clue on what the answers are, resulting in me failing the final and the class. So then at that point I am wishing I had gone back in time a week earlier and studied. Well if that was my “call” I would magically disappear and I would be back in time a week earlier so I could study for my final and pass the class. That in my mind would be a really great aspect of time travel.

Another thing that I was thinking of was time travel in to the future. The best example of this would be going to the dentist. I have never met anyone who enjoys going to the god awful dentist. How awesome would it be to just skip the whole entire event? Well I would love it.

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Even better any event that was very unpleasant and painful, checkups, operations, shots, ect. I would also love to have a “call” when it came to these painful events. Life would be great. Another scenario, I have to get surgery in a week, the day of the operation arrives and bam I am in the future and the operation is done and over with. I would love the Dr.’s office if that was the case. I would never see them!

“Gender” & How It Relates to Kindred

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After reading the “Gender” section in Convergences, it really got me thinking much more about Kindred.  Octavia Butler does a superb job in relating gender into the story of Kindred. What really stands out is how spot on she is when it comes to gender discrimination. I did not notice it very much until I read about gender in Convergences.

What caught my attention the most is how the vibe of the writing changes drastically when Dana is in the present time, and when she goes back to the past. When Dana travels back in time the story goes from really tamed to really timid. Dana arrives in the past and right away she is no longer equal to everyone else. She has to be very cautious and avoid being spotted. Where in the present time she can come and go as she pleases.

Aside from the fact that she is traveling back to the days of slavery there is much more discrimination going on. What stood out to me was how she was treated by the patrol in The Fire section. She was treated like dirt. It was as if the man had no intention of taking her with him and so she could be sold. She was just a piece of meat to him, no value whatsoever.

So it got me thinking, what if dana was a guy in the story. If she was a guy she would have easily been tied up and sold in a slave auction. The reason be, was the gender discrimination back in those days. It seemed as if no slave owner would want to buy a female slave, they wanted the strong men that could work on their plantation. Whose to say that a woman could not do the same work? That is the point right there that brings in the gender discrimination.

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In The Fire section it is really made clear that the male slave is much more valuable than a female slave. Butler did a really great job in representing that in this section.

Octavia E. Butler

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First off let me say what a strange imagination Octavia Butler has. When I first started reading Kindred  I was really shocked how fast the story took off. I guess that is just the way books go, they have to draw you in someway or another. I was not prepared for this book at all. I did not know anything about the author, I did not read the back of the book, all I was going off of was my first impression of the cover.

As soon as I read about the part where Dana just vanished from the living room I had to stop and re-read the paragraph again. it through me such a curveball. One moment in time she was in a living room and then she wakes up on a riverside. It reminded me a lot of the movie Inception. 

Now after reading researching the author a bit I can prepare myself for what is to come in this book. Just reading some of the summaries of the famous books she has written made me curious. They all sound so crazy and interesting. I am not much for reading but something about Octavia Butler makes me want to read her books.

Aside from the interesting sounding stories, I was very impressed on how many awards she has received. I have never even heard of some of them. They must be the Grammys for authors and books.

It is too bad that she passed away, she probably had some more award-winning stories brewing up in her head. They might have even been stories the next generation and generation to follow would be reading in their class.

Convergneces “CyberSpace”

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What is Cyberspace? A better question is does cyberspace exist? People have been questioning cyberspace since the age of computer technology. They have wondered what cyberspace is and what is contained inside, as well as the capabilities of cyberspace. The real question is what is cyberspace?

I found this chapter to be really interesting. This concept of cyberspace is so foreign that it is hard to put words to it. It seemed that in the chapter many people looked at cyberspace as a common place, for instance an online web chat. They also said that cyberspace could be when people shop online and fill their virtual shopping carts.  What really stood out and caught my attention was the idea of virtual worlds. Something about that screams cyberspace in my mind.

I have never been much of a gamer I am more of an outside person, so it did not surprise me when I had not known about the virtual game Second Life. I always hear people around me talk about games where they can control what happens inside, but nothing like Second Life. Second Life is really interesting and is in a way a really great achievement. The game ultimately allows the person to virtually create the world of their dreams, without any limitations. That is absolutely crazy, in a good way.

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This in my mind seems like a virtual canvas, in which the imaginer can actually do or accomplish what they are thinking up in their head. This almost seems to good to be true. I thought it was really interesting how they did not apply any limitations to this virtual world. So if someone was imagining killing a innocent family, they virtually could do that in Second Life. That is a graphic example but it gets you to think about it. Besides the point of this new advanced virtual reality, the question that really got me thinking was the last page of the section, Where Will This All Lead?

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That is a scary question to me, I do not want to know the answer to that. One question that seems to jump around is “what will technology be like fifty years from now?” I have thought of it and I am sure almost everyone has at one point. Personally to me if technology stopped right now and nothing new was invented or redeveloped I would be happy. What more do people need, There is the internet, cars, smartphones, computers and a whole lot more.  This new age of technology people have created is really sparking up that scary question.

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The way I see it is there is going to be a point where something tangible cannot be any more technologically advanced? Is That is then going to cause people to technologically advance  less tangible items? Items such as virtual reality simulators like Second LifeThat might not be so bad, but how far will it go? Will the people reach a point where technology gets so advanced that they create a virtual world in which we enter cyberspace to go to work or to the gym? Are People going to live in a small cell in which they wake up in the morning and enter some  vortex into the cyber world? Will we make friends, go out on dates, and go to school in this cyber world? These are questions that cannot be answered. They are just the questions that come to my mind when I think about a future cyberspace. Like I said that is a scary question.