14.Comics on the Internet

While I am finishing my undergraduate at the UO, I stumbled upon a class called comparative comics (the UO now offers a full major in comic book study). One of our studies in this class was to look at post-colonialism in the forms of comics (think Hergé’s TinTin and Joe Sacco’s Palestine). We also had to relate the comics we read with our own personal connection. Honestly, I don’t read many comics, but what I do read is mostly online.

tintin Sacco's Palestine

Comics are usually books consisting of colored or black and white panels, some forms of speech, and usually a caption here or there. Online, the game changes. Comics on the internet (aka webcomics) can range from your regular style of physical comics or it can be so much more. It also allows those who would shy away from buying comics in person for risk of looking uncool, to partake (though this notion has been changing recently). Take a look at Tiny Kitten Teeth, Doctor Cat, or VG Cats; both are widely different in terms of context and art, yet they offer a same sense of style in terms of structure.

Homestuck

My favorite comic in the entire world is an online comic written by Andrew Hussie entitled Homestuck. No I’m not going to tell you about Homestuck other than it is about a whole bunch of time shenanigans with aliens and post-apocalyptic earth children and you should give it a read. The end.

Homestuck panel

The webcomic itself still isn’t done, but it’s not what Homestuck is about that makes it fascinatingly brilliant, but how it is made and used. Homestuck is comprised of multiple pages (6239 pages so far) that usually consist of a one page picture or gif and some text describing either what is going on in the panel or speech of characters talking. Than there are pages that Hussie has incorporated with original music, flash videos, and short interactive games (don’t click if you don’t want to spoil the comic). One of the videos from the comic was actually hosted offsite on Newgrounds and when released, the amount of traffic from comic fans crashed the Newgrounds’ site. It also raised over 2 millions dollars on Kickstarter for a video game version of the comic.This webcomic implements everything that is original content-music and art-from still panels to interactive flash videos. It utilizes the internet and is the first to do it well (though arguably Argon Zark! was the first).

argon zark

Webcomics have been around since 1985, they’re not new. But with the way the internet is being shaped and re-thought about, the medium is slowly being reformed. Typical webcomics are your normal print comics but available online, but now artists are utilizing technology’s tools to re-imagine the comic online. This also means a broader and wider range of audience who can now read comics from all over the world. Furthermore the availability of comics now means more diversity of what is out there. From the young to the old, comics just got a little bit more trendy.

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10.Urban Gardening: Putting the Sustainable back into Community

Full GardenGardening is a passion of mine. Unfortunately living in an apartment doesn’t really permit for a whole lot. But I do have a small balcony that I have turned into my potted plant paradise.
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Most of the plants I grow are edible. Strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and herbs, litter my balcony among the catnip and flowers that reside in my balcony garden. It’s something I love to do in my down time as a relaxing sort of hobby. It yields my very own delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs that I use in my cooking. Plus, there is something very rewarding about eating the food that you grew-and talk about organic.

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Sustainable gardens have been around forever. I got into it because of my grandmother and others are quickly following this popular trend. Urban gardens have recently become a popular trend in the U.S.

Fruit Activists

In Del Aire, Ca. fruit activists, Fallen Fruit, has planted the state’s first public fruit park. The group grew the trees as part of an art movement and a way to provide accessible fresh fruit for locals.

In Fort Wayne, Ind. a local charitable organization-A Better Fort-is helping the community by planting fresh produce in downtown Fort Wayne. Their goal is to teach the community how to plant and harvest urban gardens, a sustainable effort. Their idea is to grow urban gardens to help flourish the community and help put a stop to poverty, hunger, and provide healthier food.

In Seattle, Wa. Beacon Food Forest dreams of creating an urban edible forest located in Seattle’s Jefferson Park. “A Food Forest is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible tress, shrubs, perennials, and annuals.” Their goal “is to design, plant and grow and edible urban forest garden that inspires our community to gather together, grow our own food, and rehabilitate [the] local ecosystem.” (Beacon Food Forest)
Beacon Food Forest1 Beacon Food Forest2 Beacon Food Forest3

Urban sustainable gardens are amazing. Not only does it help flourish a community, it also teaches younger generations how to live sustainably and keep gardening alive. It provides public access to healthy food and keeps alive the notion of community. While this is something I can see happening easily in small towns, I question whether or not this gardening subculture can take on big towns or cities-that’s why I commend the Beacon Food Forrest and their efforts. The real question though is the impact this can have for the future and whether or not people care enough to keep it going.

8. Dove, Branding the Correct Way

DFW Logo - Narrow bodyI’ve always been brand loyal to Dove, not only for their products but also for the way they have set themselves up. Dove’s campaign for real beauty is amazing. They have focused on advertising real women and even set up a social mission for their brand. “Dove® is committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential—but we need your help.”

In 2004, Dove started the campaign for real beauty. They talked globally with hundreds of women and decided that the definition for true beauty needed to be widened. The commercial-Evolution was produced, showing the transformation of a woman into a model and the unrealistic expectations that are on models (it was shown in 2006).

Some of my favorite ads have been produced by Dove-such as the above, Onslaught. Not only does it convey a powerful message and promote an idea of change, it also is gorgeously produced both visually and graphically.

The current ad from Dove that has caught my eye is their Real Beauty Sketches. They get a sketch artist, who doesn’t see the women, to draw what a woman describes as herself and than a sketch of how a person sees the same woman. This ad goes along with their new campaign-The Dove Movement for Self-Esteem. They target to advertise to the next generation to teach them about real beauty and not what the media perceives as beauty.

Dove is amazing. They’re trying to change a huge problem that many women of all ages, from the young to the old, have either dealt with or are currently struggling. Branding is a journey. You have to shape your brand into something will perceive as real and personal-Dove is doing just that. I know from my own struggles of self-esteem and weight issues that I can relate to what Dove is trying. They have taken something that almost every woman has struggled with and is trying to change; and it’s about time!

5. Why My Job Doesn’t Suck

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No really, I do!

Work culture, it fluctuates from the serious to the casual, to the suit and tie to the answering calls in a cubicle. I work in the lucrative food service industry. Now, don’t go thinking flipping Burgers at Burger King or waitress/hostess at Olive Garden. No, I work for the University of Oregon as a “Food Service Worker 2;” no really that’s my job title. But what comes with an unglamorous job title, comes with some amazing perks and more creative freedom than you would probably believe.

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This is what I’m NOT doing.

The food service industry is generally looked down upon, a high-stress chef position, or seen as a high school job. Well, not only does my job create a tight knit community that acts like a family but, it also is a culture that thrives in it’s own social norms and rules. We have every walk of life that works there; from the old to the young, to the naturally weird or funny to the slightly anal retentive (everyone has one, you know who they are). But I find myself wondering at work sometimes, that many of the jokes that go on behind the “customer service with a smile” scene, if those jokes would be understood the same way (or if people would realize just how raunchy we are at work when we think others can’t here us)? I’m guessing no, because as an insider of this culture, I don’t need to explain how a simple task of flattening 50 chicken tenders gets turned into joke upon joke on what I’m really doing to the chicken (use your imagination, I know you can do it). But what comes with the culture also comes with, and very specifically in my department, a lot of creative freedom.
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I run the Deli case. I make sure that the case is stocked with everything from sandwiches to burritos to salads. But not only do I make sure everything is stocked, I help make the food (there is a special place in hell for me where I will forever be rolling breakfast burritos). I also have to make sure that we aren’t wasting a lot of food. So I have to get creative with leftover food; ‘mind you, we do compost or send food to Food For Lane County after four days. It’s wonderful when I get that, because I get complete creative freedom to do anything I want, and I have made some awesome menu items before (Chicken Buffalo Sandwiches, Pizza Bagels, Muffulettas, Seafood Salad-just a few to name). This is a HUGE reason why I am happy with my job.

The other reason why I seriously love my job is the tuition discount and free food. Sorry, I’m not trying to brag but man I probably wouldn’t have taken the job without these little perks; one perk that cuts my tuition down by 95% and the other saves me money on my groceries. My managers are also super awesome and work my schedule so I can keep taking classes. On top of all this, this is a real job, meaning I get paid vacation leave, sick pay, and union safety (it’s very hard to be fired). But what I can take mostly out of my job besides the innovative and awesome monetary perks, is the fact that I meet and work with some of the coolest people from all walks of life, all while gaining managerial skills. For me, that’s what I get the most out of my job.

So if you’re sitting here reading this thinking, man my job sucks, stop it. Look for the things that give you amazing opportunities for that step into something even better. Look to your coworkers for support and relief at your job. Look inside your own work culture to gain perspective and insight to who you are and where you really want to be and start working towards those goals. Or you could do what my coworkers do and try and make each other laugh, even if you’re having a bad day. Image

1. My Journey…

Hi, I’m Leslie! I’m an advertising major and senior at the UO. I’ll be graduating Fall term ’13 and while this is super exciting it is also very intimidating. Am I ready? Will I get a job in my projected field? What does my future hold? Will I be successful? Will I make it?
And so on…

I’m the type of person that likes to make plans and precautions. Not only am I a student at the UO but I am also a staff member. I work in Housing as a Food Service Worker 2; creating new menu items while supervising a small staff of students. It’s also a type of job that I can fall back on after I graduate (something I hope I will never have to do). BUT it has prolonged my college experience. If you must know I’m a 6th year senior.
Journey
College thus far has been an adventure. Much like the game “Journey,” it’s been more about the journey itself rather then reaching the end point. I’ve learned so much by taking classes that seemed interesting rather than classes I’ve needed just to graduate. From learning about subcultures to taking MANY writing classes, I feel that I have grown as a person and am ready for what life has to offer (not to sound too cheesy). While the journey has been a long one, I plan on using the knowledge and lessons learned while at the UO in my future plans.