“Joy: It’s Terrifying” Story Critique

As I have been exploring the complexity of grief, I have been asking myself, “How is grief integrated so one can have a “normal” life again?” My increasing curiosity around grief’s transformation into happier feelings such as joy led me to an Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) production of Oprah interviewing Dr. Brene Brown, an expert in the field of emotions. In the interview, Joy: It’s Terrifying, I was surprised to find Dr. Brown say, “Joy is the most terrifying feeling humans face.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKV0BWSPfOw)

I will be critiquing this OWN story based upon three traits from the Lankshear and Knobel’s Appendix: Some popular everyday remix practices.

  1. Having something to say that appeals to others
  2. May include writing contextualizing notes to known and unknown readers about the story
  3. Identifying how to convey a lot of meaning in a limited amount of space and time

Having something to say that appeals to others

I believe OWN’s production of Brown’s message is one that not only interests people, but might open people eyes to their potential patterns. Joy: It’s Terrifying explains that once we experience joy, then fear immediately sets in. It may make a person ask, “When will the joy will be taken away?” The fear of the loss of joy never really lets people enjoy a happy state.

Luckily, Brown offers an antidote to the fear of joy and vulnerability. It is authentic gratitude. Only those who allow themselves to be truly grateful for cherished moments are able to evade fear. These are people she identifies as “whole-hearted” people that live their lives to the fullest no matter what emotion they are feeling.

May include writing contextualizing notes to known and unknown readers about the story

Oprah does a great of job of contextualizing key points of Brown’s books. She begins with succinctly explaining Brown’s ultimate life goal: to be whole-hearted. Oprah explains for all levels of audience members that whole-hearted people have found their way to whole-heartedness through a cultivation of gratitude and joy.

Oprah and Brown thoroughly explained the concept of foreboding joy. It took repetition and several examples to fully drive home this point. Brown says, “When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding.” She further elaborates that joy makes us feel incredibly vulnerable, so we dress rehearse tragedy in order to beat vulnerability to the punch. We would rather imagine a tragedy than feel vulnerable.

Identifying how to convey a lot of meaning in a limited amount of space and time

Joy: It’s Terrifying was able to explain foreboding joy, relate it back to the audience, and offer a solution to the audience in just over five minutes. This is attributed to Oprah’s phenomenal interviewing skills, Brene’s concise delivery of her knowledge, and OWN’s seamless production of the interview. I feel like this interview gave me invaluable tools for a happier life tools, awareness of foreboding joy and to combat fear of joy within a very short time span.


Dr. Brene© Brown on Joy: It’s Terrifying | Super Soul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKV0BWSPfOw

Week 4 Reflection: This was a tough week

Joshua Wade Smith Faceplant, http://www.hamiltoniangallery.com/artists/joshua-wade-smith/
(Photo Credit: Joshua Wade Smith)

What can I say? I had a rough time getting all my assignments completed this week and I feel like my quality was lacking. Of course, last week I said I was finding my groove, so I might have jinxed myself. I commented on my classmate, Alicia Hill’s tweet, “As I read New Literacies, I keep thinking, ‘Man I’m so far behind the game!'” I had a very Pollyanna response in that moment, saying, “Remember Maguma’s humble beginning? I think because you’re putting yourself out there and trying, you’re ahead of the curve.” Then I read another classmate, Kirk Lunsford’s response to our New Literacies text. He eludes to how Maguma has a passion to really learn new applications and master his art of fanfiction. Kirk then says, “But what about people or students that don’t have a deep passion to dive in and participate in read-write social practices? There can be fear of failure, lack of ability to be creative, and lack of skills necessary to engage in the social practices of remixes.” My Pollyanna demeanor faded and I really thought about my read-write social practices.

I am feeling like I do not have the mastery of Photoshop, iMovie, Camtasia that I desire. Let alone the time it to takes to deepen my understanding of these programs within this course’s timeline. My classmates are creating some really innovative DS106 Daily Creations and Weekly Assignments. Through them I can see where my technical skills lie and it entices me to improve.

Another issue  I am struggling with is my focal theme of grief. I question whether I should be writing my stories with a grieving audience in mind. Should I just keep going deeper and deeper into exploring my own grief? Should I try to show a change from grief into life after grief? It feels like a delicate line of exploring grief, but not wallowing in it. As well as intriguing the audience without depressing them. I trust I will find clarity in the next couple weeks.

Here is what I accomplished in Week 4.

TDC 1 My friend on the beach
Story Critique 1 The Microscopic Structure of Dried Human Tears
Weekly Assignment Promotional Meetup Poster: Finding Joy in Times of Grief & Loss
L&K Response Rate That API’s Purpose
Peer Story Critique 1 Tale of Momentum and Inertia
Peer Story Critique 2 Titanic 2: Jack’s Alive!?
L&K Peer Responses 1 New Literacies Review (Ch. 4) – Mash-ups and Remixes
L&K Peer Responses 2 Ed Reform Remix: A Response to Lankshear & Knobel Ch 4
TDC 2 Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

happy 4th napkin
This napkin doodle was inspired by the DS106 daily create (tdc1273) and the 4th of July holiday weekend. I got to see the fireworks hosted by the city of Englewood.  It was such a great time to catch up with friends and do some serious people watching. As I reveled in the fireworks’ awe-inspiring beauty, I realized just how lucky I am. I live in a wonderful place, have wonderful friends and family, and have my health. Here’s to remembering that life is good!

Promotional Meetup Poster: Finding Joy in Times of Grief & Loss

meetup flyer
As a function of this weeks design assignment, I maximized on an opportunity to create a dual-purpose promotional poster. There were a couple other assignments that I really wanted to create, but practicality won that battle. On one hand, I had a fun design assignment to complete for my CU Denver Storytelling class and on the other hand, the Althea Center, where I host the Meetup group, requested promotional flyers for members. Sometimes in a crunch, things just work out.

I recently started a Meetup group named Finding Joy in Times of Grief and Loss, which I have heard members describe as a sophomore experience to a traditional grief group. The meetup has attracted people who are grieving yet understand that both joy and grief can coexist. My first group had eight attendees from all walks of life, with differing stories of loss, and who all wanted to move on in their lives in a healthy way. I love this group and hope its growth will help those who would benefit from such a community.

This promotional poster was created in a flyer template of Microsoft Word. I altered the color scheme to match my existing Meetup page’s branding. Then I inserted content from my Meetup group and made sure to answer the who, what, when, where, and why of the group. Lastly, I made the overall product aesthetically pleasing through tweaking the layout and proportions.  I hope I accomplished the goal of drawing an onlooker’s eye to the poster.

New Literacies’ Chapter 4 Review: Rate That API’s Purpose

This week in my Digital Storytelling class at CU Denver, I learned about the power and efficiency of merging two or more application interfaces (APIs) to create a serviceware mashup. According to Lanshear and Knobel’s book, New Literacies “Mashups create innovative and useful—purposeful—process tools out of existing tools, to which they add value by enabling them, in combination, to do what could not previously be done. This is a form of customizing and tailoring existing resources to meet niched purposes, perhaps most commonly understood at present by reference to the emergence of apps for mobile phones and tablets” (107).
In order to form better understanding of mashups, Lankshear and Knobel suggested locating, researching, and forming a rating system for several API mashups at ProgrammableWeb.com.

Rating an API was challenging because this is a completely new subject to me. I did not want to inaccurately judge an API due to my lack of knowledge of the original software. Therefore, I decided to research what makes a good API and select a single quality that I could rate confidently.

Nathan Segal, author of What Makes a Good API says, “A good API is easy to learn, easy to use, easily scalable, purposeful, and easy to maintain and upgrade.” He also wrote, “It should be easy to explain what your API does in a few words. If not, you’ll need to simplify the idea” (HTMLGoodies.com). The quality of ease of explanation stood out to me and I ran with it.

My “explanation of purpose” numerical rating system is based on a scale of 0-5. An API that does not explain its purpose on ProgrammableWeb.com in a few words, scores a 0, while one that explains its purpose concisely earns a 5. The APIs that I will explore and rate were located on ProgrammableWeb.com under “Most Recent” in the API Directory. They include Google Classroom, Delivery.com, and Handwriting.io.

Google Classroom

  • API Explanation: “The goal is to integrate students’ accounts and domains into education applications that include courses, aliases, invitations, students, teachers, and user entities” (ProgrammableWeb.com).
  • Purpose: An education based program used to integrate students’ accounts and foster collaboration.
  • Motivation: Developers may have wanted to aid teachers in their classroom management and educational value.
  • Users: Teachers and students.
  • Added Value: It seems like a combination of Google Docs, Mail, and Calendar created specifically for education.
  • Personal Use: I would absolutely use it if I taught or trained in a group.
  • Explanation of Purpose Rating: 5—The purpose is very clear.


  • API Explanation: “Delivery.com provides a database of restaurants, fast food establishments, dry cleaners, and liquor stores that provide delivery options. Users can search locally for places that provide delivery, place an order, and pay online” (ProgrammableWeb.com).
  • Purpose: An eCommerce based program that can have most anything delivered to your doorstep.
  • Motivation: Financial promise for venders signing up to be listed under this service.
  • Users: Anyone who is busy, tired, and/or not apt to leave the house.
  • Added Value: This service doesn’t currently exist on such a wide scale.
  • Personal Use: I might use this in a pinch.
  • Explanation of Purpose Rating: 4—The explanation is a little wordy, but its purpose is clear.


  • API Explanation: “The Handwriting.io REST API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Handwriting.io with other applications” (ProgrammableWeb.com).
  • Purpose: A writing based program that makes it easier for other apps to use and promote Handwriting.io.
  • Motivation: Developers probably wanted to get this API into the hands of more people, thus making it easier for other applications to use it.
  • Users: Anyone interested in handwriting.
  • Added Value: Other applications can benefit from being able to partner with Handwriting.io.
  • Personal Use: I’m not sure when I would ever use this.
  • Explanation of Purpose Rating: 5—The explanation is very clear.

While there are a million ways to rate these APIs, I chose one single quality. Even rating APIs on their ease of explanation was harder than I thought because I did not take into consideration such qualities as smart coding, scalability, and users’ ease in learning and use. If the above APIs were scored on different characteristics, their ratings would more than likely change to reflect other strengths and weaknesses.

I am curious what criteria others might have chosen for rating these APIs. Please leave a comment and share you insights.

“The Microscopic Structure of Dried Human Tears” Story Critique

For my Digital Storytelling class at CU Denver I chose the focal theme of grief. The variety of emotions entrenched in grief and that are born of grief led me to critique The Microscopic Structure of Dried Human Tears by Joseph Stromberg.

The Microscopic Structure of Dried Human Tears, explains and evaluates a fascinating set images of human tears produced under different emotions ranging from joyful reunions, to loss, and even onion-induced tears by photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher. She collected and photographed more than 100 tear samples from both herself and volunteers. The variety of results were astonishing.

I will be critiquing this story by Joseph Stromberg based upon three traits from the Lankshear and Knobel’s Appendix: Some popular everyday remix practices.

  1. Expressing a journalistic identity—having something to say that appeals to others
  2. Expressing an identity as an artist—being able to write
  3. Developing artistic skills—developing a personal “style” that is nonetheless in keeping with the original texts/images

Expressing a journalistic identity—having something to say that appeals to others

Most often tears indicate sadness, which is why this article caught my eye. As I read more of Stromberg’s work, I realized all the emotions captured in Fisher’s photographs were feelings I have experienced. I also learned that each tear carries its own unique story. Stromberg’s expression of his journalist identity appealed to my humanity and appreciation for the complexity of our design.

Expressing an identity as an artist—being able to write

Stromberg eloquently weaves together the science behind emotions. He remixes the photographed images into a story that begins with creating context around Fisher’s identity. After Stromberg explains Fisher’s artistic portfolio and how her idea of the pictures emerged, he writes about the science behind the images. Stromberg elaborates on the tear samples, the scanning electron microscope, different types of tears, and hormones in the tears. The story culminates on patterns that emerged and how they reflected the larger world. Stromberg absolutely expresses his identity as an excellent writer.

Developing artistic skills—developing a personal “style” that is nonetheless in keeping with the original texts/images

In this story, Stromberg showcases his artistry as a journalist by digging up interesting facts about Fisher’s original vision and images. He quotes her beautiful analogy of tears as being, “aerial views of emotion terrain.” He further quotes her insight that, “it’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.”

My friend on the beach

better photo 2
I tried to capture my friend’s scarf blowing in the breeze as we enjoyed the beach, but to no avail. This DS106 Daily Create challenge was the perfect opportunity to remix the photo as a drawing. I’m not sure the drawing does the moment justice, but it was fun to create.

Week 3 Reflection: Finding My Groove

I found my groove this week through enthusiasm for this course and maximizing on my productivity. My positivity stemmed from the guidance of the weekly screencast. I gleaned how to create better critiques, format my blog posts for a wider audience, and dive deeper into my viewpoint and experience. In my story critique, I sought out stories that interested me more, while supporting my focal theme. Both stories, My Mushroom Burial Suit and The Power of Vulnerability, embellish upon my focal theme of grief.
I began to format my critiques in a more user-friendly way: expecting the outside world to engage with my viewpoint. Coeio, the makers of the Mushroom Burial Suits favorited my critique. Having been anti-Twitter prior to this course, I am surprised by my delight. Perhaps I have found Twitter’s niche in my world.

It feels like this week really began to click for me. I truly appreciate the design of this course and love its immersion component. I responded to one of my peer’s New Literacies responses saying that I hope to design such a well-thought-out course one day.

I feel like I am studying with the great educators of my time.

Here is my week’s work:

TDC 1 From Where I Stand
Story Critique 1 My Mushroom Death Suit
Story Critique 2 Power of Vulnerability
Weekly Assignment The Grief Wheel
L&K Response Chapter 3: Leverage in Web 2.0 Business Models
Peer Story Critique 1 23 Feelings in Dance
Peer Story Critique 2 My Kid Would Never Bully…Or Would They?
L&K Peer Responses 1 New Ethos & Social Learning
L&K Peer Responses 2 Out with the Old, In with the “Old New”??
TDC 2 GNA Birthday Wish
hip hop movement

(Photo Credit: http://www.foroswebgratis.com/fotos/7/7/2/2/3//1067525b-boys2.JPG)