Alex + Ada

 

I’ve recently gotten into this new graphic novel series, Alex & Ada. This series is set in a futuristic world where androids (artificial intelligence) have been tweaked to pass for human beings. Because of a historical battle prior, all androids are made to wear a tattoo-like mark on their wrist and must show it at all times, to be recognized.

 

Alex, a recently single young man who is still battling emotions from his prior relationship, is birthday-gifted a humanoid android, state of the art, by his grandmother. His grandmother currently uses the companionship of her android that she feels it’s a great idea. Alex, who is very hesitant at first to keep his new companion, because of prior history with androids going rogue and killing humans; after a hard thought, he decides upon keeping her and calling her Ada.

 

Ada, at first wants to please Alex in any way. It frustrates Alex when Ada is unsure and is unable to think for herself. Alex finds an underground group that can hack Ada’s mind and agrees to start the process of Ada being sentient. It’s a long winded process and has huge side effects, which are still being worked with. After the hack is done, Ada seems to have her own thoughts. Alex is aware of all the trouble he can get in with the authorities but Alex wants to give Ada a chance to be a normal being, than just a household item.  One can say that in terms of social learning theory, Baron-Cohen’s Model of Theory of Mind, discussing visual attraction, human’s first learn like a robot. As we grow older, we adapt a more sophisticated way of learning by implementing gaze following, mixed with didactic gestures, different aspects of spatial abilities and other extensions of specific learning.  In a symbolic sense, Ada is going through the stages of humanoid thought/social learning. It is interesting when Alex makes her all the food he knows how to, she eats it all and likes everything but oranges.

 

Ada is continuing to learn, which it seems exciting to even me, the reader. I’m curious on how she interprets her new emotions and how she evaluates her thought patterns. 

Advertisements

The lone female wolf (Bitten)

I ran across the TV series, based on novel series, Bitten (on scyfy), which is a primarily about the world of werewolves. The show is about new aged werewolves that can change into wolves at any time, their changes can happen when they choose to unlike majority of wolf lore – changing only during the full moon. In this werewolf world, women are not able to be werewolves because they aren’t strong enough during the changes and usually die after being infected; except for Elena Michaels, who is the only known female wolf.

Elena grew up an orphan and when scratched and deliberately infected with the werewolf contact, she became a part of the Danvers wolf family. Little by little her history is revealed throughout the series. In one of the latest episodes, another female who the paramour to a mutt wolf (one that doesn’t belong to a pack), she tries so hard to convince him to turn her. He is in dismay since he really loves her but, he doesn’t want to infect her because he is sure it will kill her. Although the pack and mutt wolves are aware that Elena is a wolf, for them she is special and it is unknown why she is able to be a she-wolf and survives her changes. Interesting enough, Elena is a strong she-wolf and is able to smell and sense things in a longer range than the males in her pack. Each wolf has dynamic skills and heightened senses but it appears that her senses are hyper sensitive. It is perceived that this is possible because of her resilience in changing forms and again, being the only female wolf known.

There are a few things that tickle my curiosity, if Elena were to mate with another wolf; would that make her offspring a wolf? Is she able to have human children while she changes back and forth?  More interestingly, what makes her special to be the only she-wolf? Have there been other she-wolves that we may learn about later on?

While Elena’s backstory unravels, we learn that she has dealt with many psychological obstacles. Obviously she is a strong person mentally and with being a wolf, physically as well. I feel that because she has endured so many disheartening and tough situations, it has made her a very strong person and increased her ability of dealing with pain – whether it is physical or mental. In being, maybe this is the reason she is able to be the lone she-wolf. She has been battling with adversities all her life so to her, pain and adversity is second nature to her which makes her a great candidate to continue to handle her wolf changes so eloquently, although these wolves scream in pain whilst changing. In this werewolf world, is it the woman who is infallible mentally – on one note, being so strong of a female you can be a wolf and the ability to do so, makes your senses so heightened – even better than male werewolves! It is a great idea that women are strong and if capable of undergoing adversities, making them rock solid, able to adapt and have heightened senses of the world. 

Do We Compute?

Human-Computer Interaction, HCI, is the idea that technologies such as computer design and software & etc., have a synergistic relationship with social sciences, specifically psychology, helping scientists understand human behaviors with the interaction with technological tools. John M. Carroll (1997) explains that “psychology is a science of design” where the engineering behind software development has significantly increased over a few years tremendously because of what humans feel what is needed to help increase daily activities, and of course leisure. How many of us use social networking sites and even blogs such as this one to interact with another? Well the interaction is constantly being in question to see what is most valuable as well as what is able to be improved based on user friendly methods as well as what people feel they want and need in their technological tools whether it be a phone or website.

 

Exploring thoughts, so a person wants to create a website. Why is the website made? It’s because someone feels that there is a need for it as well as it being useful in any way to other human beings. Social sciences record ideas as such as the context of behavior and experience, melded with the interaction between the person and the technological tool whether a website or even a simple one-touch click button (which is very common in many shopping websites). Why would such a thing exist – because there is a larger need, we are aware that people want quicker ways to buy things, maybe even persuade impulse buyers to buy more things. Living in a country where it is as simple as turning on your device and having one click to buy something (because you already set up an account) and it is delivered to you in a few days, maybe even the same day! We see this as a motivation to create more technological tools such as these because of human interaction. People’s behavior are changing due to the technology at hand as well as technology is being created and produced based on consumption by the mass.

 

Here come the thoughts on science fiction (because this blog would not be called psyficology, lol). Science fiction has many ideas on technology and one of the many huge ideas, is the notion that human beings will use so much of technology to the point that it becomes a part of us. Whether you call the symbiotic relationship cyborg or android technology, it seems that technology is growing rapidly due to the use of it, the interaction between people, how technology makes our lives easier by being able to attain things, including knowledge at a higher speed than before (which is constantly being upgraded). With the high usage, it impacts our behavior and society may seem already a cyborg entity. How many things do you do a day that includes technology? How many items have you purchased using sites, as well as how many ideas have you searched to attain this new knowledge, not to mention utilizing social networks to keep in contact with friends or even using it as a pastime? Yes, it seems tech is such an imperative tool to us in everyday aspects. Psychology and science (real and fiction) both deduce the reasons why and how we use tech as well as how tech impacts the mass. There’s a constant whirlwind of new ideas of tech (like Google glass) that will impact human behavior. Is it a positive or negative change, what are your ideas?

Haven’s Troubles with the troubles

 Haven, the ScyFy series that eludes that people in a small town have a secret. The citizens of Haven deal with a phenomenon called “the Troubles”, which one can compare superpowers, in a sense. A person’s troubles are different from one another. Also, a person said trouble carries from one generation to the other so, if your grandparent had a trouble, you would have a predisposition to have the same trouble.  Troubles are active when a relative who has the trouble, dies. The new generation of the trouble now contracts these abilities. Over the series, the audience is introduced more rules that each trouble has a counter trouble i.e., someone with a loudness ability would be counteracted with another Haven native’s ability to mute others.

The troubles affect people so much that Haven always tries to encapsulate the issues. Not all Haven’s natives have troubles therefore; some people feel the troubles are folklore. The troubles are intense and may cause harm and even lead to death in some cases, which is why it is very important that the troubles are maintained. People don’t know the origin of the troubles and the town has their own secret organizations that try to understand troubles better as well as try and cure others. This can also be contributed by the brothers that own the Herald, Haven’s news source, who are very aware of the troubles and creates stories to cover up issues that someone’s trouble may cause, especially when it does affect many in the town. Audrey Parker, who is drawn to Haven, is immune to these troubles. She helps Nate, the town sheriff, contain the troubles as well as try to help the Haven native with the trouble, try to understand his/her family issue (which is also considered a curse by some).  Also, Duke, a Haven native who returns as well, his trouble is activated and he learns that when the blood of a trouble person touches him, he becomes immensely strong and has the ability to kill them and with that, kill their trouble forever. 

[SPOILER] In season 3, we learn that Audrey may be the cause of the troubles! When she tries to enter the barn, seen in season 2; she tries to keep her memories as well as try to put an end to the troubles. She learns, after surviving the barns demise, that she is a counterpart to the other creator of the troubles in Haven. She is even taught that she is the person who has given troubles and basically ruined people’s lives, considering the intensity of the effects as well as being taught on how to create new troubles onto someone. Audrey struggles with the notion that she is a good person yet, learning about her past as the “trouble maker” upsets her on such a deep level. When Audrey is even introduced to actually having to place a new trouble onto someone, she is apprehensive because she fears that she may enjoy causing this harm and still wants to maintain her moral and good persona. It’s a quite common idea to have inner conflicts within one self, the ultimate question of being a good vs. bad person.

Quick thoughts on fear inducing media

Fear is a resonating emotion. We can agree that cinematography has inventive ways of inducing fear whether it be a ghoulish background sound, light refraction methods or visual “scary” monsters, etc. How peculiar of a creature humans are that knowing that their heart rate amongst other bodily functions are affected during fear induced settings yet, horror/gore movies and television are amongst the highest watched entertainment. Shows like Walking Dead, which depicts an apocalyptic earth taken over by zombies and American Horror Story, which a more common idea of what we know as being scary, is based on a mixture of demons, witches, death, spirits and much more, depending on what season of AHS.

When an individual watches horror media, the visual art itself is inducing fear. In the first few seconds of watching American Horror Story (AHS), the visuals and background noises/theme song alone will already increase flight-like behavior in the brain to most. So many types of scary media bombard our societies. Fear is such an ambiguous feeling modern psychology and science try to tackle, but with human emotions, it is a complicated Rubik’s cube of ideas when trying to break down a feeling. These mixed emotions of fear, can be carried into fictional media. [I just want to point out that I’m focusing on scary television like AHS because reality is scary enough and that is a whole other creature in trying to understand and cope with].

 

What is it about fear that we connect with it? Think about times that you may have watched a scary movie before bed and ended up having nightmares. What connections do our brains have with our emotions and unconscious thoughts? I love watching horror media and sometimes, when it’s an interesting concept, the idea resonates with me for a few days. When I first started watching Walking Dead I was really impressed because it’s not atypical zombie apocalyptic show. To me, WD makes a great build up of characters and shows how society works whether building groups, committing crimes, and most importantly – survival. The way AHS resonates is in a completely different format. WD seems more realistic to me rather AHS seems like monsters that I grew up reading and watching on TV. Both are great cinematography examples in this genre but AHS formulates these superstitious dreams and thoughts about spirits taking over the body, kind of like watching the Exorcism when I was much younger. Although, I am quite aware that most of these ideas are complete fiction, apparently my unconscious thoughts runs wild with dreams of how my close friends and I would solve situations just as those shown in the episodes. Interestingly, knowing that I have a few unsettling thoughts, why do we collectively continue to watch it? Why does horror speak to audience on a completely different level that anything else? We are aware that it increases our senses, you ever watch something scary involving creaking sounds and such and then look around the room more attentively? Why do shows like WD and AHS keep us thinking about the scenarios seen?

Because it’s great entertainment!  

 

Tarr relations and archetypes (Defiance)

In the newest scyfy series, Defiance, one of the many prominent families is the Tarr’s. Datak, the father is married to Stahma, the mother and has one son, Alak. Each of these individuals is completely different from each other, especially how love and care for another. Each relationship is complicated and some more manipulated than others.

 

        Datak is a politician. He tries to bring his people what they need, as his family and the people of Defiance however, fear the leader of the Castithan. Datak dresses the part of the political leader but runs an underground gang with other Castithans who smuggle drugs, weapons, hold underground fights and other illegal activities. One can say he is Defiance’s gang leader and controls the ins and outs of the people.  He has contacts everywhere and seems to know things about everyone, whether they belong in the Cathithan species or not.

        Datak’s wife, Stahma who is regal and beautiful, she comes from a wealthy background. Although Stahma is used to the finer things in life, she makes do with living in Defiance and making her home a in the style of a palace. Datak, to others seem to have the power in the relationship. But, truly it is Stahma that pushes all the right buttons in the right places, as if she was playing a crafty game of chess with the inhabitants of Defiance. Stahma, although she is aware that Datak goes to NeedWant, the Defiance brothel; Stahma sticks by her husband and makes it her quest to keep him in power. She is quite manipulative and thoughtful, unlike Datak who is rigid and impulsive. Stahma looks at the bigger picture to ensure that their family stays on top. She continues to do so when her only child, Alak, who falls in love with Christie McCawley – a human who they have a family rival with – explains to Datak that by Alak marrying Christie, their families will bond and their grandchildren will own the mines that the McCawley, a rich human family own.

            Alak loves Christie, not because she comes from a wealthy family but because he truly cares for her.  These two are not bounded by species, but love one another and try to understand each other’s cultures. Alak, at his bachelor party, refuses Casthitan ritual of sleeping with an escort because he wants to be only with Christie. Alak even fights with his friends, fellow Casthitans who also make fun of the fact that he weds a human and that she may never please him like their own species. Christie’s family is upset and doesn’t want her to wed their rival family because of Datak’s sketchy ways and are aware that Datak has tried to rule the mines, where the humans work, for a long time (because of the value and the opportunity of getting precious stones and such). Despite adversities on both ends of Alak and Christie’s families, they wed. Christie even wears the head piece that Stahma brought from their planet, the one she wore on her own wedding. Stahma treats Christie like as if she gained a daughter but Stahma’s feelings aren’t true, since she is glad that Alak and Christie’s bond will make their family more powerful in Defiance.

            While Alak and Christie’s relationship is based on love, Datak and Stahma are based on a need for one another. Datak needs Stahma to stay in power, with her intelligent ways of manipulation. Stahma needs Datak because she wants to have a luxurious life, and overlooks the flaws in their relationship. Stahma, too, has been unfaithful to Datak and has an affair with Kenya, the owner of NeedWant and explains it’s her first ever-interspecies relationship. Stahma confides in Kenya that she doesn’t feel love the way humans do from Datak but cares about him because he killed her first marital prospect. Stahma says that Datak came from a poor family and her father did not accept their marriage and Stahma didn’t care because she thought that any man that would kill for her would be the best husband for her. Stahma takes pride in that her husband would kill for her but also is afraid of him because he has many men in his gang and can hurt her, which she also explains to Kenya to never talk about their affair in fear that Datak may hurt her severely.

 

             If you were to use Jung’s archetypes; Datak embodies “the shadow”, since he has a dark and gritty sense of self. Stahma although at first would seem as “the great mother”, exudes “the shapeshifter”, since she morphs herself to make people trust her in order for her to get what she wants. Alak would be considered a “hero”, since he cares about Christie and thinks that maybe their wedding will help their families’ feud. Christie would be more so of “the caregiver” since she loves Alak a lot and wants him and his family to accept her, trying to learn their customs and language. 

I just wanted to share this video about micro-aggression, multiculturalism and awareness of ethnic/group culture biases.

As a colored female from an immigrant family, I find it quite common that others in the United States state I speak english well, when English is my native language, as well as my parentage. These psychologists briefly speak about this.

What are some micro-aggressions have you been exposed to/experiences?

Vamp-Geeks & Vamp-Gods, featuring Fairy Godfathers

After watching the latest True Blood episode, “The Sun”, I have a lot to take in. The social media universe is battling itself, discussing the weird scenes of Eric geeking it up versus Bill contorting a human woman’s body whilst sucking all her blood through her mouth, in an effortless stream. Intriguingly, there is a new character that is introduced to us, Sookie and Jason’s Fairy Godfather who has been watching over their bloodline for generations, protecting their fae blood.

Aside from Eric’s effort of his disguise, his analogy of the crane was pretty interesting. Eric’s character has changed. He was first ruthless, selfish and obsessed with Sookie. Now he seems to be much more warm, although his eyes are cold, he looks out for Sookie, Pam and his sister, Nora. Eric is now the protective, father like figure that the women in his life can rely on. He tries to push Pam away but Nora reminds her that she is a huge part of Eric’s life and the reason he is tough with her is to continue to protect her as much as he possibly can. Eric also gives Sookie back her house and she revokes his invite, which he calmly accepted. Nora accepts all the changes within her brother and also brings out the overprotective brother side of him. Eric shows that he is revered as a demon to the world but is compassionate and there is much more depth to him. It is quite common for males to behave in such manner, appear to be without fear and dominant but, warm and loving when females they care about are in danger, which is congruent with the psychological theory of ambivalent sexism, where Eric is the example of protective paternalism and Nora and Pam are examples of complementary gender differentiation, since they also guard and defend Eric.

Gender roles are blurred with Bill’s situation. He is now part of Lillith, by drinking her blood, seemingly inherits her knowledge and guidance; which reminds me of self-affirmation theory, which sums up how a person perceives themselves based on their actions, which would affirm who they are (to the self). For example, Bill drinks the blood of a Vampire God, he now has supernatural powers like draining all the blood of a human without moving, he can completely control her body, sucking every single droplet of blood in her veins while comfortably sitting in his arm chair. Bill feels he is a Vampire God like creature, but we are not sure exactly what he is, even Lillith explains to him that he is not a God but others will see and treat him that way, the way Lillith is worshipped. When others feel that you are a certain way, in this case, a Vampire God, Bill may see himself this way, from the reflection of others around him, which reaffirms his first thought of him being a Vamp God. Self-affirmation, like any theory has it’s blunders and we can also keep in mind that bias is quite common. Yet, in this case, we are discussing a fictional character.

Niall is Sookie and Jason’s fairy godfather. He says that he has watched over their bloodline for generations and convinces Jason that he is in fact their fairy grandfather and is in town to help Sookie defeat Warlow. Niall meets with Sookie and teaches her how to manifest her light and helps her concentrate on utilizing her fairy light. Niall is very similar to Eric in that he is another example of protective paternalism.

The season has just begun and there are new characters introduced, old characters that are reinvented that are trying to understand themselves, then those who are trying to protect their loved ones but staying strong to try and show they have control of their surroundings. With the new law passing in Bon Temps, Vampires have no rights, not forgetting Bill’s premonition of the Vampire apocalypse while being guided by Lillith… sit back and watch the upcoming mayhem.

Hemlock Grove’s Werewolf Transformation: Peter’s True Nature

There is plenty of buzz about the netflix original series, Hemlock Grove. It is quite an interesting series. At first I thought it might be a teen series about werewolves, since we’ve seen the many atypical “Vampire Diaries” type of shows lately, but Hemlock Grove took me by surprise. In the second episode, the out-casted gypsy, Peter Rumancek, transforms into a werewolf. From all the werewolf transformation scenes, this one eloquently stuck with me. Peter screams in pain while his flesh rips apart, his spine arches in the reverse direction and more eerily, his eyeballs protrude to the point it violently rips out of his sockets, leaving a hairy wild beast of a wolf.

One can speculate that the transformation symbolizes how animalistic a being is and that the werewolf is a different being that the human, where graphically shown the human body is completely morphed into a wolf.  When Peter transforms due to the full moon (which aligns with folklore regarding werewolves), he knows the transformation will begin and makes sure that he is in a safe area, away from others. He is not cautious about him transforming but more anxious that he may hurt someone around him. He explains that the wolf, although he can hear humans speak to him, the hunger for flesh is quite mind-numbing and that it takes a long time to master not killing all living animals in his vicinity.

Does the wolf signify Peter’s deep urges to kill and eat raw flesh? Does his transformation signify that Peter is actually ashamed of his true nature, he does rip his skin off and his entire body rearranges its skeletal structure… could it be that the wolf is a complete different entity and as Freudians discuss as the “Id”. In this case, Peter the human is the ego and continually battles with his Id, where he feels that others are unable to understand his true nature and keeps as an outcast.

Yet, Peter does befriend Roman Godfrey, where he shows Roman his transformation. It seems as Peter, being very open to Roman, as if his wolf was his truth. Can it be suggested that Peter’s openness to Roman shows that Peter is cautious with his real state that only very few he is very truthful with? Does the werewolf signify Peter’s real state of mind where society (the society that has maimed him an gypsy outcast) is not controlling him; where human authority does not control that realm of his intelligence? Like an onion, Peter sheds layers of oppression and judgment and at the core of his transformation, is his pureness. I feel that the eyes ripping out of his sockets show that in order for Peter to be natural, he must shed his glossed over perception, that is used to blend in with his surroundings, in order to truly see with his eyes. The pain that he undergoes is the suppressed pain that he endures each time he is sought to conform; and the full moon is the time constraint he has bestow on himself so he doesn’t indulge. But, he allows himself to be all of wolf in the transformed state… his true nature. 

GAME OF THRONES SEASON 3!

Holy Mother of Dragons how great was this premiere?

Instead of being a typical spoiler alert, I want to discuss a few characters that I’m heavily fond of, which are not in any sort of order.

The mother of dragons, our great Khalisi, the silver haired Daenerys Targaryen is amongst one of my very favorites. It’s not because she has three dragon children or because she can not be harmed at all by fire (which reminds me too much of the Hindu mythological Sita), or because she is able to tame a wild heart like Drogos as well as the Dothraki people, actually it’s all of these reasons combined. At first she was introduced as a meek, naïve child that her brother would have sold a million times over to men, just to gain an army and wealth. She was able to marry Drogo, and tame his animalistic ways and love her to the moon and back. While she was pregnant with Drogo’s child, she was gaining more confidence and the natural inherited fire that grew within her in order for her to become the leader she is. I prefer to refer to her as Khalisi, who has traveled to a different part of the world, even though her husband passed and her child was murdered, she took it upon herself to continue to lead her people and her ultimate goal; sailing across the seas to take the throne with her dragon babies.

 

The younger daughter of the Stark Clan, Arya is such a delight. She is such a raw feministic character. Although she is taught to be a lady, she is everything but. She can hold her own and learns to sword fight. Arya seems to be very sensitive to her environment; she seems to be at the right places for the right reasons. She overheard the demise of her father when she quickly chose to flee. She was able to reinvent herself as a boy, adapt to many gruesome situations and people, even helping others and making friends with unlikely people. She reminds me of a cat – able to land on her feet in strenuous situations. I’m not sure where GOT is leading her story, but I do hope she is able to avenge her father’s death, get revenge for her and her sisters wolves and kill Joffrey.

 

I doubt I can ever mention GOT without thinking of Tyrion Lannister. Although it is easy to despise the ruthless, liar, sibling fucking clan, Tyrion, commonly known as the “Halfling” is one sensible character. He brings a lot of wit and morale to the Lannister Clan, where they are used to taking everything in their way and demolishing others without reasoning. Tyrion looks at the bigger picture and strikes deals with others in order to get himself out of tricky situations. He may not seem to care at first for others, but he seems to take care of all the trusted people beside him, even if it is monetary care.

 

I have a soft spot for Jon Snow, commonly known as the bastard. Jon undergoes mental adversities such as firstly being reminded every second that he is the bastard child of Stark, he is also sent to the wall to spend his days at the Night’s Watch, exiled from the family he grew to love. Jon encounters adventures at the wall. After having to prove himself to the rangers, being punished for picking up for Sam, he is told to go beyond the wall, where he gets lost and through many back and forth with the Northerners and seeing proof of the White Walkers, he is currently trying to gain the trust of the King in the True North. Jon seems to be another adaptive creature, similar to Arya; maybe it’s the Stark blood that breeds such courageous and cunning children but we can argue this point with Sansa!

 

What are some of your favorite characters? Who do you love to hate (most likely a Lannister)?  What would you like to see in this upcoming season?