millennials and their memes

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thst*2450 blog

“Starter Pack” memes are an intricate meme style given the numerous references that are used in a single image, yet in most cases, the viewer will know exactly what type of person the starter pack meme is referring to and will likely have encountered this stereotypical person in their own lives. In a way, the starter pack meme acts as a way to make fun of and draw attention to the frustrating people we often come across in the 21st-century world.

I created this self-aware meme within a series as gifts for my roommates. I made each of us our own starter pack, poking fun at our neuroses and our ridiculous taste in food, films, social media, music and more. Because these memes are supposed to be relatable, I created these with my roommates in mind, and thus my starter pack reflects my identity within the scope of my living situation here in Guelph. It was a completely different experience to curate my own starter pack than it was to create three others for my roommates. I do wonder what the experience would have been had one of my roommates decided to make me my starter pack- would I have felt as though it accurately summed up my identity? Would they have added something that I had never noticed about myself? How would it have been different if my mom created my starter pack? What about if Mark created it?

The production of memes is something that is rarely discussed, but in my opinion, borders on basic graphic design. You don’t have to have any technical design skill to create a meme, but the amount of actual internet hunting that is involved in order to find all of your individual images, all while keeping them sorted in folders (I have close to 90 images from these four starter packs) requires patience. That same patience is called into play when it comes time to actually build the meme, just in sizing, layering, and organizing all of the images in a visually pleasing way. The time and effort put into a meme is an invisible labour, and millennials blindly share and consume memes without thinking twice about the real person who created that relatable content. Perhaps that is how the meme economy functions- meme-makers have to understand that their creation is no longer theirs the moment that they let it loose on the internet. Perhaps the good that the meme will do is more gratifying than the credit for their labour. Often, starter packs will have the creator’s Twitter handle hidden amongst the collage, a new type of artist’s signature.

Most of the content in the starter pack is straightforward. I am constantly juicing or making kombucha, I mainly eat kale, quinoa, or spaghetti. I work for Mark on Privacy Stories, I think Kanye West’s famous video was an artistic masterpiece. Boyhood (film) changed my life, Jaden Smith is a genius, and I always fall asleep on the couch.  I drive a little blue Kia and think a lot about meat consumption in relation to feminism. I need examples for every hypothetical situation, and am petty over Facebook chat. I smoke tobacco, am anxious about the future, and worship Miley Cyrus.

I incorporated many other memes into my meme starter pack, creating a meta sort of meme-within-a-meme complex. The Futurama Fry / Not Sure If… meme presents itself as both my skeptical tendencies and my major, English, as well as hinting at my habit of overthinking. The Kim Kardashian Dropping Hints meme reveals that my star sign is Aquarius and as well as that one of the key aspects of the Aquarius experience is that they have problems with emoting. I also added the gooey, drippy MEME QUEEN label because, after all, I am a meme queen.

 

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gameography

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thst*2450 blog

My first game was a Happy Apple. Made by Fisher Price, the Happy Apple was reportedly all I needed. Pop baby me on a blanket on the floor with Happy Apple, and viola! Happy Apple=Happy Baby.

But Happy Apple only could hold me off for so long. I wanted more. As a toddler, I played in my very own tiny plastic kitchen with all my assorted plastic foods. I specifically remember a set that had velcro and allowed you to build your own sandwiches.

I’m not sure if I actually liked Beanie Babies, or if it was more of the fact that it was the 90’s and they were all the rage. Regardless, I had a collection, and they became another sort of world for me to escape to.

I was a lonely (only) child.

Once my fine motor skills could handle it, Pick-Up-Sticks was always my mother’s favourite. Cold Turkey, a game of the 90’s, was always mine.

There were the ‘girly’ games: Sky Dancers, Polly Pockets (the ORIGINAL), and MyScene Dolls, but nothing spoke to me like the Furby. Finally, something technological but soft, the Furby gave me a maternal instinct for the first time. I never actually owned my own Furby, but maybe that’s what made it so special to me. I would borrow my friends for sleepovers. The same goes for the Tamagotchis. I couldn’t commit to motherhood, not even fake digital motherhood, for that matter.

Mall Madness, the first ~computerized board game~ was fascinating to me. It was some of the simplest technology out there but again was very female-oriented. ECOSAURUS, a game that my Grandmother had on her ancient computer (no internet connection needed) was the first computer game I played all the way to the end. I even beat my big cousin Raph’s high score. I got the CD-ROM Game of Life in a cereal box and played it so much that it eventually stopped working. Before the ninth grade, when the internet arrived for me, I would often just play on Microsoft Paint into the early hours of the morning. I played Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 so much that I would close my eyes at night and still see the crowds of tiny people queued up for my ride.

The Sims was where gaming became ‘real’ to me. I had the first edition for the computer, and since there’s no way to “win” per se, I could literally play forever. I would make my friends and all our crushes and build us a custom mansion, or make all my enemies and burn their house to the ground. I got the second edition when it came out and for my birthday one of my friends made me a huge binder of all the different cheat codes. Then, I was able to make anything happen- instant friends, lovers, pregnancies, happiness, plague, whatever I wanted- the sims in the game were in my hands.

Truth or Dare becomes a thing. I always picked truth, my friends always picked dare, and the only thing I could ever think of was to make them lick the wall of the room they were in. No joke. They had to lick so many walls. 

I got my pink coral Nintendo DS and a puppy on my (11th?) birthday. Okay, so it wasn’t a real puppy, but a virtual one. My mother was much more understanding about a virtual dog than a real one. Besides, Nintendogs were super cute and you only ever had to pick up their virtual poop. And they brought you presents. Do real dogs bring you presents? I didn’t think so.

Super Mario Brothers was the second game I got for my DS, and the first ever video game I played all the way through.

I was also doing quite a bit of child acting around this time. I was cast as a Munchkin in The Dark Side of the Rainbow, which is essentially a mashup of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon mashed up with The Wizard of Oz. The next year I was cast as one of the schoolchildren in a production of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I don’t know why there was so much Pink Floyd in Sarnia at the time.

Then, BOOM. I get the internet. Finally, FINALLY, this glorious day has come. I honestly think holding me back from the internet as a child made me that much more addicted as an adult. Piczo, Dailybooth and Myspace were my go-to’s. If anyone from the class actually reads this, they probably won’t recognize those names because ALL OF THEM are now gone, lost in the abyss of the web. I mean, except Myspace, but that shits a MESS.

MSN Messenger was honestly a very important part of my teenage development. I remember making a new hotmail for the first day of grade nine, and giving it out to cute boys I met on the first day. I still remember the feeling I would get when my crush signed into MSN, when your heart skips a little bit. I miss the days of screen names and those ridiculous emoticons that predated emojis. And emo song lyrics as your personal message so people know you’re ~super deep and stuff~. I remember when Facebook Chat launched and people started to switch, and my friends questioned why I wouldn’t want everything in one place.

But MSN, too, is dead.

Never Have I Ever, the Truth or Dare drinking game of high school, was the best because at the time I liked to act like a ~total slut~. I know that comment sounds slut-shamey, but hear me out- I mostly was just the person who without fail had “done the most” or “gone all the way” and wanted to know who else was in that boat with me.  Honestly, a fun game, regardless of the eventual sexual end it takes. Plus, it was guaranteed to teach you something about someone, and get you wasted at the same time.

King’s Cup was big in first year and I knew all the rules by heart and would fight anyone who tried to tell me differently. It’s one of those chill games that you can play while chatting and hanging out. I seem to always end up drinking the cup at the end, the dark swamp water that is usually at least one part too-sweet-cooler and two parts beer. Once I got the cup and drank it and it legitimately tasted like a chai tea latte. I made everyone at the party pass it around.

As for now, sometimes I practice yoga and meditation. My social media usage has boiled down to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. A year ago, I played through Sword and Sorcery, which was gorgeous visually and has a beautiful storyline. I currently play Abyssruim, an app where you grow coral and fish in a soothing, relaxing gameplay.

sour cherries

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thst*2450 blog

A photo essay meant to remix the realities and romanticization of young adult road trip culture. Photos from Summer 2015, on my trip through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Okanagan Valley, to Vancouver.

Sunset chaser

Photos (c) Sadie Mallon

Sunset chaser (1)

Beauty!

examining miley cyrus and her dead petz ep

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music review

i wrote a short piece on miley cyrus’ new album (which is a fantastic piece of art) for The Ontarion, u of guelph’s independent student newspaper! needless to say i am stupidly, hopelessly in love with this album already, and hope you can put up with my blubbering about it…


All eyes were on Miley Cyrus when she hosted the 2015 MTV Video Music awards on Sat., Aug. 30. Overall, the provocative pop princess remained pretty tame throughout the show (one nip slip and a ton of drug references aside) and sparked a much-needed conversation about cultural appropriation and tone policing. But I’m not here to talk about the hot mess that was the VMA’s—I’m here to talk about the surprise (not to mention totally free) album that Cyrus dropped as the show ended.
Titled Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, the 23-track-EP is a trippy experimental mix done in collaboration with Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne. Dead Petz feels like a descent into Cyrus and Coyne’s drug-fueled dreamscape, and though it is shaky at times, it’s an incredibly honest album. Though most of the 23 tracks lack radio playability, they show a new, raw side of Cyrus (who is listed as a writer on every single track). Think hippie protest meets an inordinate amount of synth and reverb, and you have Dead Petz. It’s weird, it’s wonderful, and it’s the beginning of another questionable yet intriguing Miley Cyrus era.
At first play, Dead Petz sounds a bit like a lost psychedelic demo tape: choppy, incomplete and downright confusing at times. I didn’t realize until after my first time through that I was listening too hard for the hit ballad or catchy pop jingle, and that they weren’t here. Instead, the supposed single is a track called “Dooo it” which has Cyrus “feeling like she is one with the universe” and questioning why we do the things we do. It’s a weird, catchy protest anthem infused with a trap sounding background, lots of chanting, and Cyrus reminding us, once again, that she “doesn’t give a f***”. It’s quite unlike anything going on in music right now, that’s for sure. The explicit beat may never climb the billboard charts, but it’s still worth a listen.
With Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz we also see Cyrus stretching her assured voice into new territory. With “Fweaky” and “Bang Me Box”, two sexually-charged, occasionally Lana Del Rey-esque sounding tracks, Cyrus plays up the sex kitten appeal in a confident and seemingly effortless style. “Pablow the Blowfish” and “The Floyd Song (Sunrise)” are about Cyrus’ dead dog and blowfish (respectively) and probably convey more emotion than any love song on the radio. She weeps openly in both tracks, which makes sense as to why she named the album in memoir of her friends. “BB Talk” is as close to sugary pop that we get, which is mostly a monologue about PDA with quality lines such as “Look, I like when you send me, you know, the, the queen emoji, but when I send back the monkey, you know, the one with the hands over the eyes, that means that s***’s just getting a little too weird for me.” If you’re looking for the super trippy stuff, check out “Slab of Butter” (featuring Sarah Barthel of Phantogram) and “Milky Milky Milk” for your fill of Flaming Lips-esque weirdness. Special mentions to “Space Boots,” “1 Sun,” and “Lighter,” three of the most solid songs on the album. Not to mention the other twelve songs, all of which can be found at http://mileycyrusandherdeadpetz.com/.
I have to applaud Miley for making an album that was on her own terms and in her own words. Besides, if you made an album that was, at its core, all about you, would everyone understand it? Probably not.

but is it art: a photozine

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personal / zine

second year is over and i can’t even believe it. after lots of long nights fuelled by coffee and tears, here i am, finished. it’s unsettling to think that i’m already halfway done my degree, so i’m not going to discuss it.

instead: this semester i took my first full credit course, a philosophy of art field course, which immersed me into a world of underground artists as well as making me question what art really is. today i’m sharing my final project for the course, a semester long effort of questioning and deconstructing, compacted into a neat little online zine. i’m very happy with the way it turned out, and i hope you enjoy it too!

you can view it as a flipbook here:
https://cdns.snacktools.net/flipsnack/embed_https.html?hash=fdnazf0f1&wmode=window&bgcolor=EEEEEE&t=1429453675

yours,

meg.

evergreen zine: hazy minds & opalescent imagery

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personal

so, i’ve been meaning to share this project of mine for awhile. evergreen zine is a creation of mine, that was intended to be a digital zine (although i did print one copy). it’s an exploration of my poetry dating back to a couple of years ago, so none of it’s really relevant, but i look at it as an exploration of my past.

i made it after… a life changing experience a couple months back, and now i’m sharing it with you!

enjoy!! (and also click each page to have hq/zoomable images)

yours,

meg.

image-0001 zine pg 2-page-0 zine pg 3-page-0  zine pg 5-page-0 zine pg 6-page-0 zine pg 7-page-0 zine pg 8-page-0 zine pg 9-page-0 zine page 10-page-0 zine pg 11-page-0 image-0001 (1)

on turning twenty

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rambling

so it appears that somehow i made it out of my teen years alive.

twenty, so far, has been hard and heavy. my birthday was on reading week, so after going to montreal to visit sadie, then swinging home to sarnia for a few days, i was exhausted. i still am exhausted. i’ve only been twenty for twelve days, and it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions and nostalgia for my past, for my teen years, my youth, or whatever.

because as everyone knows, high school was both the best and worst of times. i had an overall glittery and wonderful time in high school, but i can also remember sitting in my third period media class, tears dripping down my face, wanting to not exist for awhile. i’m still having that crisis, i guess, but it just manifests itself in different ways. like today, when ribs by lorde came on during my bus ride home, and my heart hurt for the past.

but i guess that’s the human condition- we always are dying to get to the weekend, to the summer, through the next year, but then we want it all back. it always seems so much simpler when you look back, doesn’t it?

though i’m nostalgic for the past, i’m really freakin’ thankful for everyone who’s in my life now. it’s been a long time since real negativity has come my way, and i’m so happy that i’m surrounded by so many wonderful human beings. thank you, all of you. i wouldn’t be writing this without your unconditional luv and support.

anyway, i’m hoping to be out of this crisis and back on the map after this weekend. i’ve been neglecting schoolwork, blogging, extracurriculars, stitching, eating properly… yeah. i’m a mess. i know.

thanks for sticking around.

yours,

meg.

“Our vaginas are angry, and they need to talk”: The Vagina Monologues send a powerful message

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Uncategorized

here’s a thing i wrote for The Ontarion, u of guelph’s campus newspaper! four of my best friends were involved in the show, and i had way too much proud mother instinct to stop myself from blubbering over their wonderfulness!


Written by Eve Ensler in 1996, The Vagina Monologues is a powerful script created from interviews Ensler conducted with 200 women from all walks of life. These interviews, which asked questions about sex, relationships, and violence against women, were adapted into dramatic monologues that are still being performed on campuses all over North America today. The Vagina Monologues is meant to both celebrate vaginas and femininity, and call for action addressing gender-based violence – Guelph’s performance did not disappoint.

Friday night’s performance featured a pre-show gala, complete with gender and sex based resources, a silent auction, and plenty of good food and music. The cast and crew were in attendance, giving them a moment to relax and greet their friends before their opening night. Soon enough, it was show time, and the cast disappeared, leaving the crowd to fill the theatre.

The first act of the night was a reading done by Zoey Ross, a fellow writer for The Ontarion. He opened the show with a reading of his piece “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” an article he wrote on love and consent in our Jan. 15 issue. After this and some general introductions, V-day debuted a mostly-Guelph student-written play, which put the entire cast onstage for a funeral. One by one, they stood and read a monologue, many of which had been written by the actors themselves. Entitled “Burying Shame,” the show was very eloquently written. We heard stories from both men and women of how gender-based violence has affected them and their loved ones. It was incredibly moving, and as the last actor exited the stage, I found myself wanting more. Luckily, after an intermission, the cast was back with even more empowering monologues.

The Vagina Monologues had the audience laughing, crying, and wanting to crush the patriarchy. We heard monologues from a 72-year-old woman (Rachel Estok), “Down there? I haven’t been down there since 1953,” all the way down to a six-year-old girl (Emily Vance) who was sure her vagina smelled like snowflakes.

Hearing these pieces from the perspectives of women from all over the world was a learning experience for many of us in the audience. It should be noted that Ariel Slack’s performance of “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” was on-point, from her lingerie to her demonstration of multiple orgasms. The Vagina Monologues closed with a call to action, to the audience and to the world, crying out for revolution. Informative, entertaining, and empowering, the show not only brought attention to sexual violence, but donated 100 per cent of the proceeds raised over the three weekend shows to three beneficiaries: Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, The Wellness Education Centre, and the Aboriginal Resource Centre.

so, this is a thing.

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personal / rambling

i’ve been putting off writing this first post for awhile now. i guess today’s the day.

so, first & foremost, if you’re reading this, welcome!! i’m new to this whole blogging thing, but i figured if i ever want to be a ‘real’ writer, i should start doing real writer things. like running a blog… and getting my life in order… baby steps.

i’m sure that most people that are reading this already at least vaguely know who i am, but if for some reason you’ve found yourself here with no idea how, go ahead and click that plus at the top of the page. i spent SO FREAKING LONG figuring out how to get this to work, and am v pleased with how it turned out. here, you can read a blurb about who i am, get linked to my many other social media websites & even check out the books i’m currently reading thanks to goodreads.

i’m not sure what this blog will turn out to be. i recently created evergreen zine, which is an exploration of my own poetry with lots of dreamy imagery, which i will be sharing soon. sometimes i make playlists, which you can find on my 8tracks. i plan to write some feminist pieces to post at some point, and i’ll be posting any writing i do for The Ontarion. first and foremost, this blog is a journal for myself, about myself, but i hope, with your support, it will grow in many ways!

since i can’t think of anything else to write, i’ll end this by saying sorry for the boring first post, babes! i promise it will only get better from here on out!

yours, meg.