Sunday, May 29, 2011

1 Litre of Tears - The beginning

A couple years ago, my best friend was really hooked onto this Japanese drama called One Litre of Tears. It is based on a true story of a girl who dies from spinocerebellar degeneration, a disease that slowly removes your ability to control certain nerves - taking your ability to control your walking, speech, and everyday functions such as sports, chores, and work. As the name suggests, it has been designed to be a tearjerker for those watching it. Though I am sure that there is a story-based meaning behind the title.

Sawajiri Erika as Ikeuchi Aya, the protagonist of the story

After watching the first episode, it reminds me greatly of Myu no Anyo Papa ni Ageru, a drama about a father who has a similar disease that takes away his ability to control his nervous system. Of course, 1L of tears came out three years earlier, so the comparison should be the other way around.

My focus while watching this drama will be what narrative elements are involved in invoking tears from the audience. Based on the first episode, here are my thoughts:

  • Expected tragedy: we are aware that the protagonist dies, so we constantly expect negative outcomes from conflicts presented in the storyline.
  • Highly optimistic and young protagonist: She has hope and dreams prior to finding out about her disease. She is the star child among her family. She is young and should have a bright future ahead of her. The drama introduces her character pre-disease so that we can relate and grow to like her. Making her a really bright character also allows them to create a bigger change in mood and personality when the story progresses.
These two elements alone, add tension and expectations of bad events and character changes. I will create another post when I am in the middle of the series and when I am in the end.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cyborg Kitty

So a really big conference is just around the corner in Human Computer Interaction. To kick things off, a fellow grad student organized a Hack-a-thon (all day hacking marathon) for many of the conference attendees (including myself). One of the things I ended up making was a Cyborg Kitty which is what you would get if you mixed these three characters:

hello kittyDomokunMagnemite

You can make your own cyborg kitty with:

  • terracotta clay
  • 9V battery
  • 3V LED lights x 2
  • 3V resistor
  • Battery clip with 2 wires soldered on each positive and negative part.

You basically build the clay body around the 9V battery. Make the head with clay, leaving two tunnels for the eyes. Solder a negative and a positive end of each LED light to make them in series. Connect the remaining free negative end of the LED to the resistor. Place lights in the tunnels and complete the circuit by soldering the positive wire from the battery clip onto the negative part of the resistor and the negative wire of the battery clip to the positive end of the other LED. The clip acts as the neck connector. The longer your wires, the more headless and fun your kitty will be.

And here is my kitty. I have to hold the head in place or otherwise it would be dangling off (intentionally to add more oomph)

cyborg kitty