My First App: Cursive Coach

Finished creating my first app!

Here are the Xcode files:

Here are some screen shots:


This week is a whirlwind of conferences. I will be presenting on a panel about Penn State’s response to the Sandusky scandal at MICA (Wednesday) and at NAEA‘s National Conference (Friday)! Here’s one of the slides I made for my presentation on the Blue Out. (If you’re confused, check out the knowyourmeme page.)


One of my classes this semester (Design Studio) focuses on learning particular technologies. I recently finished the Arduino section and wanted to share it!

Arduino is a small computer (an open-source single-board microcontroller) that works with flexible, easy-to-use, and inexpensive hardware and software. It is intended to be used by artists, designers, and hobbyists to create interactive objects or environments.

My Project

After completing introductory exercises that controlled LED lights, I became interested in using the Arduino to regulate sounds. I found a few tutorials online that used different accessories to make noise through the microcontroller, particularly one that used a potentiometer to regulate pitch. While I really liked this idea, I thought the design and code I found online was far too complicated for such a simple task. Using other project tutorials (controlling the speed of a LED light, coding a song through a speaker), I pared down the original coding to match a simpler layout. The final result included a small Piezo speaker attached directly to the Arduino board and a potentiometer connected to the computer through a breadboard.

Controlling a Light with a Potentiometer

Light/Potentiometer Code

Coding a Musical Tune

Musical Code

Controlling a Tone with a Potentiometer

Original Tone Adjustment Code

My Code

Simple Tone Adjustment with Potentiometer

// set pin numbers:
const int speakerPin = 11; // the number of the Piezo speaker

const int sensorPin = 2; // the number of the potentiometer
// variables will change:

int sensorValue = 0; // the value read from the pot

int noteValue = 0; // gets converted to a “note”

void setup() {

pinMode(speakerPin, OUTPUT); // set the speaker’s pin for output

void loop(){

sensorValue = analogRead(sensorPin); // get the pot’s value

noteValue = ((((1024 – sensorValue) / 1024.0) * 959) + 956); // convert

digitalWrite(speakerPin, HIGH);


digitalWrite(speakerPin, LOW);



Poster Exhibition Research Abstract

The Penn State Graduate Research Poster Exhibition is coming up, and I’ve just finished (and submitted) my abstract! I would love any feedback or pointers.

Highlights of the origins, interpretations, and influences of the Penn State Blue Out are analyzed by the graduate student co-founder and organizer to provide unequivocal access to a moment of effective grassroots activism. The Blue Out was the first and largest public response to the 2011 Sandusky molestation scandal at the Pennsylvania State University. Earlier in the year, fans were asked to wear white to the November 12 football game. This tradition, called a “White Out,” was intended to intimidate the opposing team. Students and community members began to support a “Blue Out” after Laura March discovered that blue was the nationally recognized color of child abuse prevention and proposed a change. The event provided a platform to distribute educational materials on child abuse, to collect funds for related charities, and to showcase creative expressions of solidarity with abuse victims and survivors. Only six days passed between the event’s inception and fruition.

Background information regarding the sexual abuse allegations is detailed and the researcher’s personal connection with the football program, school, and community is clarified. A vacuum of university communication immediately following the breaking news is questioned, particularly as it further sustained a culture of silence. Out of this officially mandated silence, the Blue Out emerged as a proactive response to the scandal. The campaign’s goals are then considered and evaluated.

As a community-wide event, the Blue Out demonstrated how positive social action can be fostered at the intersection of art education and instructional systems. Researching the visual culture and multimodal discourse that surrounded the event reveals how meaning is generated and disseminated within the context of digital communication. Visual culture theory enables the interpretation of the visual images, objects, events, and other cultural productions that were appropriated and reimagined by the Penn State community as a result of the Blue Out. Multimodal discourse analysis assesses the meanings generated through different media that promoted or criticized the event, such as digital photograph manipulation, blog posts, and social media commentary. Further examination of the social media response to the allegations questions the methods used by official outlets and the impact of censorship on public dialog. Other events influenced by the Blue Out are then examined, including a fundraising walk and the launch of a national children’s protection center at the university.

Here’s one of my favorite images to dissect through the lens of Visual Culture theory:

Semester Wrap Up

Now that was one busy semester. I took far too many classes, started working at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, and organized the Blue Out. Here’s a collection of my favorite press on the Blue Out:

Deadspin Blog (my personal favorite): 
TMZ Interview (starts at 27:10):
WPSU Interview:
CDT article:
Collegian article:
ESPN Sports Center:

Here’s some more about the money we raised for Prevent Child Abuse, PA:
Penn State Live:
Onward State:

And here I am accepting that novelty check:

Now looking forward to a much needed break!

Pictures from Traveling to Minnesota

I took a bunch of cellphone pictures on my travels up to Minnesota. For the next three weeks, I will be taking an immersion course on the Ojibwe. I will also try and tweet (real time) about what I’m up to, visit to view. Enjoy!

Nice prices at a fishermen’s truck stop just over the boarder from Ohio (in Michigan)

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge (the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere)

Mackinac Bridge

Welcome to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

New friends inside the St. Ignace Truck Stop Restaurant, where we ate dinner on Sunday night.

Bottom right: advertisement for their “fresh pasties”

My sleep accommodations at a Hotel in the Upper Peninsula

Next to those sleep accommodations…

Lake Superior view from this morning

Public Pedagogy of Everyday Objects & Spaces Encounter: Table Talk

Karen’s Table 2

I am drawn to Karen’s Table 2. I would name it my Florida Sunshine Breakfast Table–my grandmother used to call orange juice we drank every morning at her house “Florida Sunshine.” Its round structure and funky graphics make it a fun table suitable for casual breakfasts.

My family eats most of its meals together around our round kitchen table. Unlike many of my peers, I grew up with the expectation that we would all eat together around 6pm and could not leave unless we were excused. We still even abide by the same seating arrangements claimed decades ago. One major (and traumatic shift) notwithstanding, my mother sits closest to the cooking area, my father next to her looking out the window, my brother next to dad, and me with my back against the window. My father used to sit in front of the window, but he moved to my original seat after having chemotherapy in the mid 1990s. It’s much easier to get in-and-out of, and farthest away from the cold window.

The first time I brought a boyfriend home for dinner, he sat in my brother’s traditional seat. A stern “That is MY seat” from my older (and much taller) brother scared the pants off of him and has been fodder for jokes for years.

Every family moment, big and small, was discussed around our dinner table. For me, it was a sounding area for advice regarding school dances, report cards, college applications and more. I believe the circular format of my kitchen table made it easier to discuss topics and listen to everyone’s opinion.

To me, having a place at the table means one’s position within a group is valued. I prefer the dynamics of a round table, as it doesn’t have the hierarchy inherent in a table with a “head” seat. Tables are created in many different shapes and styles and provide diverse functions. As seen in our readings, a Japanese tea ceremony table may be seen as a bench by Westerners. A banquet table in a fancy dining room provides a much different dinner setting than a kitchen island with stools.

My old Cetaphil face wash

Metaphorically, tables could be thought of as a theatrical stage. It provides a setting for events to occur: group meals, party food presentations, market transactions. The stage, along with the presentation of objects on it, is crafted through creative choices. Different stages yield to different experiences.

Thinking about a different kind of table–a dressing table– I looked up 2 face wash products: Cetaphil and Mychelle. A few months ago I flipped out over my skin, thinking that I was allergic to something in Cetaphil that made my skin extra dry (sulfates). I went to a local natural grocery store and was told that the Mychelle Honeydew Cleanser would be much better for me.

The face wash I’m currently using

I looked up these two products through Good Guide and Skin Deep and saw that while Mychelle has a lower hazard score (1 vs. 3), Cetaphil’s Health/Society/Environment rating is much better (7.4 vs. 6.3). It’s interesting that Mychelle is marketed as a natural, organic product but does not have highly rated working conditions. I hope that companies do not forget ethical treatment of human beings while striving for ecological beneficence.

Assignment: Make a personal connection to one of the tables, name the table (and designate its page number). At your blog entry 2 introduce yourself to the others in your group with a story that relates to your chosen table by responding to one or more prompts. Use Good Guide & Skin Deep to learn about the social, environmental, and health performance of household objects in your home. Share one discovery. 

New Semester, New Blog

We’ve been asked to create a new blog for my A Ed 813 class, but I’d like to share the posts on my “home” blog as well. The class is focused on “Inquiry into the public pedagogy of contemporary visual culture for relevancy to museum and K-12 art education contexts.”

I had a tough time coming up with a public sphere of influence that would compare to the examples already posted (a mall, sports stadiums, DVDs, suburbia). One idea that kept returning to my thoughts was Times Square. I believe the myriad meanings associated with the area can provide a rich discourse on the subject of human-built environments. 

Times Square image from Wikipedia
Like many young adults from suburbia, I dreamed of “getting out of Dodge” and making it big in New York City after school. Two months after graduation in 2007, I moved to the Upper-Upper East Side of Manhattan and got a job working as a web designer near the Flatiron building. Before I lived in New York, I saw Times Square as a glamorous beacon of the metropolis, pulsing with the electric heartbeat of the city. 

My opinion changed for the worse after living in Manhattan for a few months.
I began to see the dazzling ads displayed on billboards as gaudy representations of a city fueled by consumerism to the detriment of compassionate human relationships. It is well known that no self-respecting native New Yorker would choose to spend time in Times Square. The irony of this can be seen in the massive Target advertisements perched on multiple building in the area for more than 7 years before a branch opened in Manhattan

The media has had a defining hand in shaping the area and its experience. It’s named after the New York Times building (the founder of which asked the city to rename the vicinity after moving in). Theater and other (seedier) entertainments flourish(ed) in Times Square; it’s home to Broadway, after all. Even the neon lights and advertisements that sprout like weeks from surrounding buildings are popular tourist photo backdrops. The crushing crowds stream in from all sides, eager to take pictures and experience the area. 

But what does the area have to actually experience? Avant-garde theater no longer exists, after being pushed out by revivals of popular performances guaranteed to make money instead of sparking controversy. Nor do any commercial establishments exist that cannot be found in a suburban mall—FAO Schwartz is now a Toys R Us, and the only Red Lobster and Applebees in the city are located on 42nd Street. 

bell hooks stressed the importance of space as defining the activities and people that inhabit it in Black Vernacular: Architecture as Cultural Practice. Perhaps Times Square is meant to be a shrine to consumerism with oversized ads serving as icons of capitalism.

Me (left) in Time Square with a friend in 2007
To me, Times Square represents a simulacrum of city life. It is an area that defines New York, yet it is meant to shape visitor perceptions to enjoy a cleaned-up, Disney-fied city where everything is for sale. It is a marketer’s dream, where tourists pay to take pictures next to advertisements. But who am I to look down upon this? After all, I too have the requisite Times Square photo—this was taken with a friend my first week in the city. I’m on the left, wearing glasses.

For more information its history and on what others think of Times Square, check out the following links:

Works cited
hooks, b. (1995). Black Vernacular: Architecture as cultural practice. In Art on my mind: Visual politics (145-151). New York: The New Press.

Introduce self by locating and describing a public sphere of influence in the human-built environment (e.g., mall, Internet site, television show, listserv, news broadcast, advertisement, artwork, built-environment).

Oh Academia

Calvin: I used to hate writing assignments, but now I enjoy them. I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog! Want to see my book report?
Hobbes: (Reading Calvin’s paper) “The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological Imperatives in Dick and Jane: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender modes.”
Calvin: Academia, here I come!

The fall semester is already half done, but I really ought to post what I’ve been working on through my Art Ed blog. Let me know if you have any difficulties reading the posts.

Research Concept Map
Go here for the full-size version: