A place to indulge an affliction

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Final Project Summary

For the past seven weeks, I’ve struggled with a topic to storify for my final project. My ideas have ranged from randomly simple (Gorillapod) to bewildering (DMV) to complex (Medicaid). Still, when I’ve tried to flush each of these out, nothing was sticking. During weeks 6 and 7, a topic idea started to germinate. I don’t know what triggered it (perhaps a story on NPR? Or, an episode of The Amazing Race?), but the phrase “melting pot” kept popping in my head. As a first-generation immigrant to the U.S., I have not been comfortable with the phrase to describe an end goal for the immigration story. I understand the importance of integrating and assimilating, but I feel it is a disservice to everyone if each of us lost our identity and melted into one indistinguishable blob. I used to prefer the term “salad bowl” over “melting pot,” because each ingredient in a salad retains its own identity, but together they make for a delicious meal. Now I prefer the term “sangria pitcher,” not only because sangria is similar to a salad where each ingredient retains its uniqueness but also because “sangria” is a term derived from “sangre” meaning blood. No matter how different each of us are, we bleed the same. It makes a melting pot of whatever ingredients sound flat, doesn’t it?
So, where am I going with this and what does multiculturalism have to do with my final project? I storified my sangria recipe to serve as a metaphor for how I see multiculturalism. I personified d the strawberry, the main staple ingredient in my recipe, to act as the central character in the story. I named it Strauss Behre. I humanized a strawberry by adding eyes and a nose using bits of a blueberry. I also personified a navel orange and a yellow mango by adding eyes, ears, and a mouth using grapes.

O. Range, Strauss Behre, and Manny Go

O. Range, Strauss Behre, and Manny Go

Strauss Behre

Strauss Behre

Strauss Behre’s story follows him from his farm origins to his last adventure at Assateague Island National Seashore. The story spine of Strauss Behre’s story is as follows:
Once upon a time, there was a berry named Straus Behre. Every day, he lived on a farm, basked in the sunshine, and enjoyed the soil. Until one day, he was picked along with other mature berries. Because of that, he was able to leave the farm, go to a different location, and meet other fruit. Because of that, Strauss became an ingredient in sangria, a portable drink. Because of that, Strauss was taken to a beach camping event. And because of that, Strauss met his demise at the teeth of a wild Assateague pony.

I used Windows Live Movie Maker to create a video of Strauss Behre’s story. I downloaded two videos from YouTube to follow a strawberry’s lifecycle. One video showed the phases a strawberry went through from planting to packing. I split this video to insert a timelapse video of a potted strawberry plan growing. I also created four short videos of me cutting the fruit, marinating it in brandy, and talking about the portability of the libations. However, I only kept the video narration on one of them. I eliminated the audio on the three other videos. I added a newer version of the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” as the soundtrack to the video. I found it appropriate and befitting an adventure/journey story. I found that with Windows Live Movie Maker, I can also split an audio track like I can to a video clip. Below is the screenshot of this work:
WLMM_Sangria Story

I designed the sangria recipe using some of the design elements previously discussed. I used Comic Sans for the font, to convey informality and funb. For the graphic, I used one of the photos I took of the sangria pitcher at a friend’s party. I recolored it using Photoshop, so that only the contents of the pitcher are in color. Below is the screenshot of this effort: Photoshop

I have thoroughly enjoyed myself in this course; the assignments were interesting and challenging, and more importantly, gave me the opportunity to be creative.


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From Soil to Sand: A Sangria Recipe Story

This is the journey of Strauss Behre, from soil to sand:

Strauss Behre

Strauss Behre

Strauss Behre grew up on a farm, surrounded by other berries just like him. In their early years,  after the flower stage, they were all green , but as they matured, they turned red. Strauss enjoyed being out in the sun with other berries. He liked the feel of the soil and the occasional refreshing rain.

One day, when he reached the age of maturity, he was picked. Strauss was very excited; he had yearned to get out of the farm, see other places, meet other fruit, and this was his chance! Everyone in his berry community looked forward to this rite of passage. What Strauss did not expect, however, was that the journey would involve certain discomforts. This included being tossed in a box, the box being stacked, then the box being emptied onto a moving belt, and Strauss being washed along with other berries.  Up to this time, the only washing he got was when it rained! Strauss did not like that at all! It made him quite dizzy and the time in the box made him miss the sunshine.  To add to the indignity, Strauss was picked up and scrutinized, then tossed into another box. He was then packed into a much smaller box, which was stacked along with other boxes in a crate. Luckily for him, there were other berries in the small box with him, so he did not feel alone and the trip was pleasant.  The crates went on a long road trip, but because Strauss ‘s box was neatly stacked with other boxes, Strauss could not see anything throughout the journey.

When he was offloaded from the crate with the other berries, the tiny box he was in was placed on a shelf. From his vantage point, Strauss could see other fruits. Some were in boxes like his; others were free standing on other shelves. He would have wanted to socialize and get to know the other fruits, but they tended to keep to themselves and did not seem very social. Before long, his box was picked up by a female shopper and placed on a rolling card along with another box filled with pineapple slices and blueberries. The shopper also picked up a couple of mangos and a bag of grapes, as well as several glass bottles.  Along with the other fruit and berries, Strauss got a good washing after he was taken out of the box by the shopper. Unlike the washing he received immediately after he was picked, this washing was more thorough and Strauss felt he received more individualized attention.  After the washing, Strauss was laid on a cutting board and cut into three pieces. This did not bother him; instead, being in two other pieces allowed him to see more of his surroundings. He befriended two other fruits, a navel orange and a yellow mango, both of whom were twice as large as Strauss. Because of their size, the mango and the orange were cut in more pieces than Strauss was and to Strauss’s delight, his number of new friends quadrupled in no time.  After she finished cutting all the fruit up, the shopper divided the fruit pieces into a few quart-sized tupperware.  Along with pieces of the mango and orange, Strauss met a few grapes, blueberry and pineapple pieces in his container. Most everyone was friendly and excited for their new adventure. A couple of the blueberries, who were not cut because of their small size, kept to themselves.  As the fruit pieces, including Strauss were settling in, brandy was poured into their Tupperware.  It was unexpected but not unpleasant. Strauss noted that the liquid had a cherry taste to it. He vaguely wondered what a cherry piece might have thought of it, had there been any in the Tupperware.  Strauss and his fruit companions were marinated in the Tupperware  and refrigerated overnight.   The following morning, the Tupperware was transferred to a small cooler and was packed in with several of the bottles purchased by the shopper.  They went on a car ride.  A short time later, they arrived at their destination. Strauss could hear ocean waves and seagulls. When the cooler was offloaded and the Tupperware unpacked on a picnic table, Strauss could see (through a small window created by a blueberry and a pineapple piece) they were at a beach with white sand. There were several people around, busy chatting or setting up their tents.  Strauss had never been at a beach before and this was the first time he’d seen sand! It looked very different from the soil he grew up in.   In the far distance, Strauss could see a couple of ponies. Having grown up on a farm, ponies were nothing new to Strauss, but how come they were at a beach?  Strauss did not have much time to ponder this, as the contents of the Tupperware were emptied into a large pitcher, followed by an entire bottle of white wine and an orange liqueur and finished with cubes of ice.  Along with the other fruit, Strauss was then swirled around. Strauss was now infused not only with the cherry-flavored brandy but also with the dessert wine and the orange liqueur.  The content of the pitcher was poured into small plastic cups; each person holding a full cup seemed very pleased with the drink. Strauss was stuck to the bottom of the pitcher, so he did not get poured out yet. When the liquid in the pitcher became low, someone refilled the pitcher with another bottle of wine and sparkling cider this time, and once again, Strauss was swimming with the other fruit pieces inside the pitcher.  When the pitcher was half-empty, the people decided they would all take a dip in the ocean. They left their snacks as well as the pitcher on the picnic table.  Strauss was just about to settle down with the other fruit inside the half-empty pitcher to enjoy a few minutes of peace when tragedy struck.  Strauss saw a pony approach the picnic table and nose around the snacks abandoned by the campers.  The pony then took notice of the pitcher and sniffed it. Strauss marveled at how large the pony’s nostril seemed through the acrylic wall of the pitcher.  Then, Strauss’s world turned upside down as the pitcher tipped over  and the contents spilled on to the picnic table and down onto the sand.  “Aaah,” thought Strauss, “that’s what sand feels like,” right before he saw the pony’s tongue dart out to grab him. After that, darkness.

Below is my sangria recipe:
Carmel’s Sangria Recipe

As the slideshow below illustrates, sangria ingredients as easily portable:

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Storify this: Medicare and Medicaid

I realize as I am typing this storifying idea that this is going to be way over my head. However, the subject of Medicare and Medicaid  has been foremost in my mind for the past two months, due to a parent’s ongoing medical issues. Then this past week, there was an opportunity for me to be staffed on a Medicaid-related project. So, if I were to take this subject on for my final project, I would storify how to navigate the Medicare and Medicaid paperwork required to get the benefits.

In honor of today’s Easter holiday, below is a political cartoon (2010) created regarding health care costs. I found it using Google Image search for “medicare Medicaid cartoon.”medicare