Things that are never accurate

1. A tutor’s expectation of how many hours you will put into their class

2. How long a guy tells you his penis is

3. The number of chips you anticipate you’ll eat

4. How drunk you think you are

Self Stripe

Today I learnt the term “self-stripe”. It describes a suit that is very faintly striped. It differs from a pin-stripe in that it is a subtle stripe in the fabric. A pin-stripe often looks like it has been added to the material, rather than a naturally occurring pattern in the material.




I was interested (/horrified) to learn that Al-Qaeda operates as a scale-free network, and existswithout a centre. In removing this hierarchical system, the risk of the group falling like jenga when one vital piece is removed, is minimized. It was a little confronting to hear Adrian say we needed to learn from terrorism, and that the army system had changed to mirror the distributed network layout. But it is smart thinking. It allows each member to have more agency and perform as an independent cell, essentially “freeing” people from the command and control model. Apart the stability and longevity of this structure, I feel like there must also be psychological repercussions; positive ones. In removing the stereotypical hierarchy of an organisation, each member is made to feel valued, like a cog in the system rather than a lower-rung worker. I feel like this redistribution of power must both keep egos in check, and curb any desire for mutiny. It would just be more reassuring if we’d come up with this system instead of the terrorists…


A visualisation of the Al-Qaeda network

Mo’ Mothey Mo’ Problems

I just got betrayed by a moth.


That’s right. A motherfucking punkass moth.


Last week this moth entered my life, swooping its way into my living room like a jet of Black Death, wings carving through the air and doing death laps in our lampshade. I am deathly afraid of moths (the fact that I have used the word “death” three times in the last 27 words should indicate this). I squealed like a girl (which I feel is permissible given the circumstances) and ducked under the doona. Yet even this crafty survival defence did not fool it. It lunged again at me, I could basically hear the flap of its gigantic wings, as if Dumbo himself were in the room. I tuck-rolled out of there with the agility of Bear Grylls and counted myself lucky (and refused to enter said room for several days).


Tonight, I was reflecting on Moth. Had I been too harsh on Moth? Unwilling to accept difference in my own home? I climbed the stairs to my room, with a look of pensiveness that would put Nietzsche to shame, wondering whether man (Tess) and moth (Moth) could ever put their differences aside when BAM BAM I’LL BE DAMNED IF IT ISN’T MOTHERFUCKING PUNKASS MOTH. It was a dog move, an attack from above when I was without stable footing on the stairs. Luckily, I parkoured my way through the balusters, over the bannister and into my room. Sweat dripping from my glistening torso, muscles aching, heart pounding, I slumped against the door, refusing to give in to the inevitable onset of PTSD. I had other thing to do, I had to move on with my life, I had to write my blog. But before I blog, a glass of water. I snuck out of the room, moth senses tingling. I ensured the parameters (the door) were secure (was shut). It was a successful mission; both moth-free and hydrating.


Although I was jonesing to do my blog, gagging for it, brimming with passion and lofty ideas, I had to put off my most highly-prized hobby once again. I have work tomorrow, and to ensure the whole operation is a success, the day’s outfit must be laid out beforehand so I can slip into it Wallace and Gromit style. I ventured out onto the landing and retrieved my black leather singlet (it’s classy, not Village People, I promise). As I shut the door safely behind me, feeling the soft leather between my fingers, straightening it so it was hanger-ready, a black object fell from its innards. A coin, I hoped. A big ball of fluff, I prayed. A filthy, blackened tissue, I pleaded. But no. It was Moth.


He had kept still on the journey in, perfectly camouflaging himself against the black material, laying lay as I carried him into my room, as if he were some kind of high maintenance prince and I a lowly manservant, delivering him to his abode. The worst part of this was fearing my blog post would never get done. I could see where the twat had flown, a dark little cranny between two bags. I exited the room, again parkouring my way throughout the house. Flinging open doors, desperately rifling through our laundry cupboard, bustling through the crowded streets of Shanghai and knocking over old people in search of my trusty Mortein. Once located, I did that cool one-handed-gun twirl thing and placed it into my holster, bounding up the stairs and ready to pound this moth.


I grabbed a Converse in my free hand as an impromptu fencing device, lunging at the bags, ready to parry the crafty moth. Nothing. Moth had relocated. I dropped the Mortein, choosing to prod my way through the room. Nothing. Cunning moth bastard. Then, when I was about to throw down my shoe in defeat, I see the foot-long moth crouching on my valance, eating small children and doing heroin and posting spoilers of Breaking Bad on Facebook – seriously, this guy was a piece of work. I crouched beside the tyrant, my Chuck poised strategically, adrenaline coursing through my veins, and just as I calculated my move one last time, Moth scurried under the bed.


It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed at moments like this.


But we live and we learn and we turn the lights off in the room and turn on all the other lights in the house and hope to coax out the moth and weep silently into our laps. I had hesitated, and now the villain was loose. Wreaking havoc on the old socks and belly button fluff that have a peaceful existence under my bed. Hatred boiled up inside me, loathing hardened my heart and my desire to blog drove me onwards. I grabbed a hold of my sneaker and my Mortein, ready for one last battle. Slyly lifting the valance, I doused the underside of the bed in the deadly juice, “MORTEIN MEET MOTH, YOU MOTHERFUCKER!” I squealed. I took both hands and violently shook the bed “SHOW YOURSELF, YOU SPINELESS TURD” I bellowed. It was then, it what in the 11th hour (quite literally, have you seen how long this blog post is?) that I saw the metre-long moth, escaping his fate (or so he though) and resuming his position on the valance. I hesitated before. Innocent people died. Blog posts were postponed. How much trauma can one room see? Without a second thought, I struck down upon thee Moth with great vengeance and furious anger. Guts flew (all over my essay, one last asshole move from old mate Moth), dusty wing shit powdered the floor, and Moth was destroyed.




Bacon and numbers. My most loathed and most highly adored things come together at last.

I was checking out The Oracle of Bacon for an embarrassingly long time, trying to find some impressive degrees of separation. I tried cheating by entering the number of links I wanted, but it just said “I’m not giving you the answers that easily. Find them yourself”, which I guess is a fair call. Anna Wintour was 4 Bacon numbers from KB, which I was surprised by, but in hindsight makes sense because she isn’t an actress… My initial technique was to try old films, then obscure films, then short films, then short Australian films, then short Australian films with amateur actors, but even this got me no more than a 3!

Trying to work out my own Bacon number, I think I must be a 4. I directed and wrote a film with Nick Colla in it, and his connection to Bacon is below.


We only want you for your database

In the symposium Adrian retold another one of his famous anecdotes, this time coming to the conclusion that a database can be a company’s most valuable asset (giving the example of Coles/Myer). I thought this was a pretty accurate, going on my own knowledge and experience of the media industry. Many job descriptions in the field of PR (my primary field of interest) require candidates to bring a number of key contacts (i.e. their own personal database) to the job. In short, you are in part being hired for your ability to grow the company’s network and database. The PR company I currently work for has thousands of contacts in a master database, which we add to this daily. It requires constant maintenance but is worth its weight in gold. The database allows for a greater spread of our message, in turn growing support for our brand and increasing our credibility in the field. We often find websites like Medianet (an external contact database) prove to be invaluable. However, if we can employ people that are a “hub”, with many connections, this personal touch makes our database and the contacts in it even more valuable.

Narrative vs database

I found the Manovich reading a little confusing, particularly in his distinction between database and narrative. He begins by differentiating between databases and narrative, explaining that a shift towards the former has occurred in the age of new media. Even by the opening paragraphs I was feeling a little miffed. He used the CD-ROM and DVD titles as examples of databases and information storage units. Although I agree that yes, DVDs are used to store information, their primary feature (or key association most people have with them) is their ability to store a narrative, i.e. a film that is on DVD. I understand there is a difference between content and format, but this seemed like a strange example as a DVD in particular lends itself so clearly to narrative. I guess technically you could view each scene or shot as a separate piece of information that is being stored on the DVD, but it can only be watched in one order (even with scene selection we can only watch the film forwards). We need to access the information chronologically for the narrative to make sense, and the DVD only allows us to watch it chronologically – is this still a “database”? Later on, Manovich says DVDs and CD-ROMs privilege database, but I just don’t see how this is the case when often their whole existence is dependent on narrative. Sometimes I feel like he is just being controversial for the sake of it. For example, when he says “In the world of new media, the word “narrative” is often used as an all-inclusive term to cover up the fact that we have not yet developed a language to describe these new strange objects”, I feel like he is having a going at society, at the users of technology. It infers we are primitive when it comes to understanding narrative vs database, but in my mind he is overcomplicating the issue and creating a problem that doesn’t exist. If it is such a huge dilemma that I am “misusing” the word narrative (which has been around a hell of a lot longer than he has), maybe he needs to invent that new word himself!


Another example I thought of is the niki, which is a form of multimedia encyclopedia (which Manovich cites as an “obvious example” of the dominance of the database form). I found it interesting to note how many people prefer to make their niki entry a narrative rather than random pieces of information. The pages I have worked on have always involved a narrative element, does this mean I, and the rest of the networked media cohort, are atypical of the “new media age”? When describing narrative’s relationship to database, Manovich says it is but a method of accessing information, in the way one might file information numerically or chronologically. This made me think of Facebook, which is an information database. But without narrative, the information we are able to access doesn’t always amount to much. If I am doing a sneaky FB stalk and see a photo of the person with an awful haircut, it doesn’t mean a lot without context. But as soon as the narrative around it builds, say when it was done, why it was done, what the person’s reaction to it was, and whether or not it has been rectified or not, all allow me to make sense of the information. Without this narrative the photo is relatively useless, for all I know it could be photoshopped or a wig if I don’t know the narrative/context behind it. This brought me back to a symposium a few weeks back when Adrian said context was irrelevant. Bullshit!

Journey to the Centre of the Network

I was interested by the question posed in the Symposium, “Can a network have a centre, or do we all create our own centres?”, a continuation from the discussion last week. At the beginning of this subject, our class seemed to agree a network has no centre. The reading Galloway Protocol refers to this as a “distributed network”, which more closely resembles a web or mesh than something centrically focussed. But the more I think about it, the more I think there is a centre in a network. And yes, I also think we can create our own centres, as the experience of the network is subjective. What is at the centre of the network will be what matters most to you, and what you see as a pivotal point, perhaps an element that explains or ties everything else together.

In the networked media, I think the centre would generally be the networked media page, where Adrian provides feedback, observations, readings, questions, and some food for thought. As Adrian coordinates the course, is he automatically placed at the upper echelons of the hierarchy. As students, we need to check in on this page regularly. Not only as a point of reference and to gage what Adrian considers to be good work, but because it is specified that we must as part of our assessment. We are given marks for keeping up to date with the networked media blog, we get information about classes here, and it is also where the weeks’ readings are published – another essential element of the subject we need to interact with.

From a more subjective point of view, the centre of my networked media world is my own blog. Without my blog, Adrian’s would hold no meaning for me. I would have no incentive to check in on his page, do the readings or really interact with any of the other blogs. I think this is the same for everyone, your blog is automatically your centre, and the more time you invest in it, the more central it becomes. Similarly, the more time spent strengthening the centre of your network, the more effectively the whole network will function. Stronger links will be formed, tightening the networked media connection and enriching the subject content.