All posts by jamescassar

Short Blog Post #3 (Flarf): Yr Basketball Flood (Head Fits Already)

…you could’ve taken a pen
yeah, regret it.
i hear the author intended a champion
employees clad in Holly, Michigan
might slip in a Pilgrim and looking to Google
I go to THE extra threat.

I go to find something along now.
Nothing gets done around you.
I was an envelope sitting on the definitions in my life.
First hour’s courtesy of childhood.

Deal with a tube of toothpaste onto the floor.
oh you wanna fight about it
Is it customary to round up
the fact that I can make it
a slice of being a cheap bastard
Because I’m either at work or in a HUGE SALE today.

Still examining my existence
probably on accident.


I used that app that takes your Facebook statuses and combines them into new ones to work out each line of this poem. I didn’t use the whole status combination for each line, just bits that I found either oddly interesting or needlessly overwrought. The title of this post was every song I was listening to on Spotify that had four or more words in their titles. I used the fourth word of each song’s title until I felt like I wasn’t making any sense. It’s kind of funny I actually had to deliberately remind myself to spew nonsense.

Tim Guthrie’s 10:01 – Art Imitating Life (Second Longer Blog Essay)

10:01 began as an ambitious print text by Lance Olsen that explored the thoughts and inner demons of a variety of characters attending a movie in an AMC theater in the Mall of America one afternoon. An excerpt provided by Olsen’s website delivers much of the novel’s intentions: a cataloging of external and internal reactions to various stimuli and memories unfolding ten minutes and one second before the feature presentation begins.

I assume 10:01 conjures up high degrees of visual content even without its hypermedia version. The descriptions embedded carefully in Olsen’s meticulous prose beg to be dissected and supplemented by the reader’s imagination. In the linked excerpt (which serves as the novel’s start), moviegoer Kate Frazey enters the theater with the same attitude as the words that introduce her, remaining in control of her physical being (seated comfortably in “row three, seat nine”) and surveying emotional and mental states as astutely as the narrator (with her employment of a “crane shot” that scans her fellow moviegoers for neuroses and nuances).

Tim Guthrie’s hypermedia version of 10:01 allows those that interact with it to assume the roles played by both Kate and the narrator. The hypermedia experience relies on an all-encompassing, highly malleable experience that complements the sense of narrative omniscience quite well. Once the e-literature finishing cycling through its introduction, a substantial epigraph that collects quotes that marry intimate human experience with the detached nature of film, an experience begins that attempts to write human interaction and thought processes with as much tension and explosion as characters in a screenplay, with the user as the all-knowing “audience” from above.

This isn’t a novel technique by any means, but that speaks more about the text itself than the technology that encapsulates it, which offers a more unique, customizable experience.

Continue reading Tim Guthrie’s 10:01 – Art Imitating Life (Second Longer Blog Essay)

Blog Post #3: H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds

The venerable group that’s taking on H.G. Wells’ science-fiction masterpiece War of the Worlds is none other than myself (jamescassar), Eric (ericweitzner), Ally (allyouellette), and Yura (yurakim). Our project will be available over at (eventually).

Check out our collection of texts, both visual and digital, after the jump!
Continue reading Blog Post #3: H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds

Blog Post #2: RoSE (Research-Oriented Social Environment)

RoSE exists primarily to fulfill the expectations set by its full name, the Research-oriented Social Environment. It’s structured as a “comprehensive” (although I understand that time constraints may have caused the creators to skimp or abandon certain entries) library of literary and scientific personalities. Entries for new historical figures can be added or revised at will, much like a looser form of Wikipedia, and these individual pages are then supplemented by materials that attest to a specific person’s authorial career. For example, one of the more complete pages, William Shakespeare’s, includes a near-complete bibliography of his works, as well as hierarchical “map” that shows his connections to his contemporaries and his followers. These auxiliary resources, as well as the basic library of pages, comprise the “research-oriented” agenda of the project.


Pages, not surprisingly, seem to mirror the early design philosophy of “social environment” Facebook. However, RoSE’s communal aspect comes from its structure as a scholarly wiki, a type of site where a group of dedicated users can generate and edit content with ease, although this particular wiki’s disregard to quality control (not every page has a great deal of robustness) and uniform distribution of content (some pages just have names assigned to them) hampers its effectiveness a bit.

In short, RoSE aims to create a central hub for information about notable historical icons by linking the sharing of related documents and knowledge to a tight-knit, scholarly community.

Because of its distinctive nature as a “network” of information, associated people, and other related data, RoSE just seems like a glorified, specialized library system (with far less content) However, the ambition of RoSE is to transcend the intentions of the original print resources that are both included and reflected upon in a nearly-limitless digital setting. The “research-oriented” sector of this tool allows for easy access to a myriad of articles and secondary sources about the selected writer or figure, and the “social environment” allows for an open, consistent dialogue about the strong selection of documents and legacies that RoSE has to offer, which could greatly impact the effectiveness of research endeavors.


However, because of its central focus as a thorough research tool, its appeal to a broader audience seems to be at stake. In fact, I found myself bored with the site a few minutes in, which is either a reflection of the lack of substantial information on most of the “profiles” I visited, or the fact that I was viewing the digital project as both a casual reader and as a scholar.

The sheer scope and breadth of RoSE as a project seems to be too heavy-handed for a project in our class, however I could see projects which implement RoSE’s more visual components, such as a visualization of a work or author’s impact on the larger world. I’ve included a screenshot of William Shakespeare’s below due to its relative completeness, but this might be adapted in our classroom to be less overwhelming and, as evident through the different mathematical configurations of the chart, sharply less technical.


Blog Post #1: “Segregation” vs. “Integration”

I set out to make an observation about the relationship between the terms “segregation” and “integration” to draw a conclusion tying in closely with the civil rights movement. To supplement my light “research,” I perused the OED for a definition/year of usage that seemed to best fit the context of race relations that were contested so hotly during the civil rights battles in the United States.

In 1903, “segregation” was first used to denote “the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or institution” whereas in 1940, “integration” began to signify “the bringing into equal membership of a common society those groups or persons previously discriminated against on racial or cultural grounds.”

From a historical standpoint, these dates make sense. 1903 marked the turn of the century, a time of rapid change which, at least in America, grappled with relationships between African-Americans and white people in a disheveled post-Reconstruction nation. In 1940, America found itself closing up the wounds of an economic depression only to be shaken awake by the booms of world war a year later. This sudden shift in agenda rallied together all citizens, regardless of skin color, for a common cause, even if it seemed to only foster a short-lived period of harmony, judging by postwar American suburban conflict.

However, when looking at the Ngram Viewer, a different version of history presents itself. It seems the intersection between the two opposing words occurs at 1920 — a time before both the Great Depression and the tumult felt through the world via World War II. In fact, the Roaring Twenties were a time of financial excess, government corruption, and Fitzgeraldian decadence — so perhaps the upswing on the usage of “integration” tackled its disambiguative properties as a word to describe the economic conglomeration of assets? This is one of the shortcomings of viewing things through this graph: numbers don’t equal tangible causal relationships.

Furthermore, Google Books probably pulls from academic sources from all over the world to consolidate its database into large indexes of data. To draw jingoistic conclusions that favor an Americanized portrayal of word usage ignores a large chunk of the literate, scholarly population. Although in landmark instances a useful tool for visualizing the historical context of the English language’s changes and revisions, the Ngram Viewer doesn’t work well with words that have multiple meanings.