Alchemy Easy as 1.2.3

A Journey into Digital Alchemy

A Letter to my Alchemist

Devorah Migdelit,

Your name means “bee”. A bee is fast moving and impossible to stop. It is determined and strong. The bee harvests the sweetness from one flower and spreads it to all others, just like you. Communicating through you gave me a different kind of voice. It was easier to speak with a stronger set of lungs. I appreciated your letter regarding my activism on social media. It’s one of the few things I do well. I appreciated this entire course. It was pretty amazing.

This course gave me the opportunity to design projects I never would have been able to before. I loved working on my morning sound project.

But I think the Pepsi parody assignment was the most fun. My boyfriend and I were at Penn State for a tailgate and we had a few drinks so it was the perfect time to fake fight on camera! I’ve always loved editing video and audio but I haven’t been able to in years, so this was so much fun!

The most challenging aspect of the course, honestly, was the DDA aspect. I took it as an obligation and not something to have fun with. I became very easily overwhelmed and eventually stopped doing them. I am honestly disappointed in myself because I obsessed over the simplest aspect of the course and made it too difficult to maintain.

Future alchemists need to know that this course is challenging, interesting, and rewarding. It’s a lot of work but you just need to pace yourselves. This is something I had difficulty with. As Mia and Alan knew, I was dealing with a lot this semester. About a year ago, I was diagnosed with alopecia and my hair didn’t stop falling out for the entire year. My hair only recently started growing back because I lowered my stress levels. Future alchemists need to manage their life and work load. Quite frankly, everyone should.

The most meaningful interaction I had in this class was on the bus ride to Puerto Vallarta. Our president has horrible things to say about their country but they had the nicest things to say about us! They were so careful and didn’t want to offend us when most people would have just been rude to them.

I learned the best tactic from this course, hypothesis. I use hypothesis to annotate online research so I don’t have to print it out and waste paper. I am currently writing a 15 page paper and I am using hypothesis to annotate several pieces of research. It is insanely helpful!

This course was amazing and it was the most rewarding thing I have done at school. I learned so much about myself and was able to speak through you, Devorah. I have never been more grateful.





It’s interesting after watching the Pepsi commercial that I am actually noticing the conflicts in our daily lives more. My thought is…


What, instead of Pepsi, can actually help the conflicts the world has. I would like to say acceptance, patience, tolerance, love, and kindness. But I can’t hand someone a can of kindness although it would probably be delicious.

The world needs a code word. Or an object. My boyfriend and I have a code word when we both need to just chill out and stop and remember what’s really important. We don’t use it frequently but sometimes when he’s had a long day and I’ve had a long day, we will end up in a huge argument over something as stupid as where to go for dinner. But I mean like holy shit they’re about the break up…that kind of argument. And then as soon as one of us realizes how dumb it is, they say the word and we both stop, take a breath, kiss and move on. It’s a wake up call like snap out of it.

I know how ridiculous I sound. The world can’t have a code word. But wouldn’t it be nice if it could?

The commercial has made me more aware of things in life that need “Pepsi”. That magical item that stops the world and says hey, don’t be dumb.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

End rant.

I used to be an Audio Production Major

Yep! You heard it here first, folks. I, Brooke Melissa Levine, was once an aspiring Audio Engineer. I even won a scholarship for it. I know, it’s crazy.

So, anyway, when we were talking about this assignment in class, I was very excited to get started!

If anyone is reading this, I would like to do a little activity. Please listen to the clip. Each sound describes an activity I do in my day. As you’re listening, write down what you think my day looks like. Then, when you’re done, go t0 the description below and see if you were right! No peeking!




Okay, so here’s everything you need to know about my audio!

-Morning Sounds: Obviously, the alarm, the morning music, and the rooster mean I wake up. Aways a good thing!

-Dog Barking: Again, pretty obvious. I have a dog. His name is Chutzpah. In the morning, I let him outside so he can ya know…do his business. Then I put him in his little area and I’m on my way.

-Driving Sounds: I drive a lot. School, work, and boyfriend are all 50 miles away so I drive an average of 100 miles a day. Oh yeah, that’s a lot of oil changes.

-Bueller: Most mornings, I have class. My classes aren’t actually as boring as Ben Stein’s class but school at 8 am is exhausting no matter what.

-Driving  Sounds: Then I’m back in my car and on my way to work.

-May I help you?: That’s a sound clip from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I don’t work in the food industry but I work in retail. Worse: I work with pregnant women. HELLO HORMONES! So, I am constantly arguing with customers. Super fun!

-Driving Sounds: Back on the road!

-Rush Hour Traffic: I commute from Livingston to Howell at 6pm. That takes about an hour and a half.

-Hercules, He could go all the way, Home Sweet Home: Driving home in rush hour traffic in NJ on the Parkway is a battle. I need as much motivation as I can get in order to make it Home Sweet Home!

-Be Our Guest: Arriving home to a meal is about the most magical thing in the world.

-20 Minutes Later, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing: Pop Pop Fizz Fizz Oh! What a relief it is! I scarf down my dinner because I’m so hungry and then spend a few minutes questioning what the hell I’m doing with my life.

-I’m Tired, So Long: I’m in the car at 6:30 am and home by 7:30 pm. I’m fricken tired!

-This concludes our broadcast day!: Goodnight Y’all! This chick is going to sleep!


**As of right now, I cannot figure out how to upload my sounds to the YWP site. If I can’t figure it out by tonight, I will ask how during class.




Spring Break…”Fo Eva”

If any of you saw the absolute failure of a film “Spring Breakers” starring James Franco, then you get the reference I’m making with the title of this blog post. A few weeks back, I wrote a post called Catch Up where I caught up on what I had missed the week before and let you all in on the insanity of my life. Well, here we are again.

First of all, let me say that I appreciate the opportunity to relax. I am currently enjoying the tropical climate of Livingston, NJ where I am sipping on a Shoprite brand water bottle, and basking in the chandeliers that hang above the desk at which I sit, soaking up the electromagnetic rays from the lightbulbs in the store. Yep, this is my Spring Break. It is only Thursday and since Spring Break officially commenced for me this past Friday, I have worked a staggering 42 hours.


As some of you may know, I have an hour commute to work so let’s do some math. If Brooke works 6 days, has an hour commute, and drives to work and back every day, how many hours did she drive? That’s right folks, I have driven 12 hours since Spring Break began. That means that I have dedicated an entire day to driving in the past six days. Want more math? Here you go: If Brooke lives 50 miles away from her job, how many miles has she driven in the past 6 days? 600 miles. That’s how many. Now here’s the bonus question: when does Brooke need to spend a fortune on new back breaks? Yesterday. Woohoo!

Anyway, I shouldn’t complain. It’s easy for us to complain. We’re broke, we’re in college, we eat like crap, we’re stressed, but hey, we have air in our lungs and a roof over our head. Now, that’s something to smile about right?

I spent a lot of time reflecting on our bus trip. I really was so moved by the students in Puerto Vallarta. “The first borders are our minds.” I mean, wow. How moving was that statement? But, what really got me was their consideration for us. I mean, let’s really analyze this. Maybe they know that NJ is a blue state and maybe they don’t but regardless, they were so thoughtful with what they said. They were asked what they assume about NJ and about America. AND THEY HAD NOTHING BAD TO SAY ABOUT US!!!!!!

Ask anyone on the street what they assume about Mexico and be prepared to hear hateful things and ignorant statements. These students refused to offend us. Even when asked what they thought Americans thought about them, they were very respectful and made it perfectly clear that they knew not everyone felt that way. The Mexican people have been labeled as lazy, criminals, and more recently, “bad hombres”. The students we spoke with were educated, and poised. In fact when asked how the perception of Mexican people by the US made them feel, they were at a loss for words. Doctor Zamora helped them to describe the feeling and I can’t remember exactly what was said but I believe it was along the lines of hurtful or painful.

Why is it so difficult to understand that Mexicans are not lazy, Jews are not cheap, Muslims are not terrorists, African Americans are not criminals, Whites are not trash, Asians are not bad drivers…the list goes on and on! It is simple: PEOPLE can be lazy, cheap, terrorists, criminals, trashy, bad drivers. Because PEOPLE are PEOPLE. And PEOPLE are not defined by the few bad apples in their race. If someone is an asshole, guess what: they’re just an asshole! If someone is cheap and they happen to be wearing a star of David around their neck, guess what, and get ready because this is going to shock you: THAT PERSON HAPPENS TO BE CHEAP AND THEY HAPPEN TO BE JEWISH BECAUSE ANYONE CAN BE CHEAP AND ANYONE CAN BE BORN JEWISH!!!! We are confusing labels with defining characteristics and we need to stop.

Look at me. I am pretty privileged. (I’m not bragging) I’m white, not bad looking, not overweight, my daddy’s a lawyer, mommy’s a teacher and I live in suburbia with my gorgeous sisters and my purebred dog. But what people don’t know is that I was born in a WASP town as 1 of 5 Jews and was taunted for it for years. I love being Jewish but growing up as a minority wasn’t easy. People threw pennies at me, called me a Kike. I even had one of my friend’s fathers kick me out of her birthday party because I was Jewish. I walked by the kitchen on my way to the bathroom and heard her father say, “I don’t care if everyone in the class had to be invited, get that Jew out of my house.” My mom had to come get me and my father was never told because if he knew, he’d be in jail.

Now, it’s 2017. I love being Jewish. I mean I love it. #jewswag But, there was a time when I had to hide it for my safety. It’s not that big of a deal, honestly, but there’s this Arabic market in Paterson, NJ and they have the best food. My boyfriend, who is Israeli and has an accent, and I stopped there on the way home one day and I happened to be wearing my star of David necklace. I was walking into a store when my boyfriend pulled me to the side and tucked it into my shirt. He put on his best American accent and whispered that I had to do all of the talking because people would know he’s Israeli. What? This is AMERICA! No one cares there you’re from here right? I have money. That’s all a shop owner cares about right? Wrong.

I walked into the shop and saw dozens of Palestinian flags hanging on the wall. Still, I felt safe. I did not judge because I had no reason to judge. Then, I walked into a back room because I saw beautiful Hamsas hanging on the wall. To my left, hung an Israeli flag on the wall with red paint spattered across it, meant to be blood. My heart hurt. I was not angry and I was not scared. I was simply hurt.

The difference between my experience and the experience of an African American girl living in Arkansas, is that no one working in that store knew that they were supposed to hate me. I was a white girl with a quiet boyfriend buying some middle eastern food with her necklace tucked in and that was it. I should not have to hide who I am out of fear but I am able to if I need to. I am privileged. The black girl in Arkansas, which is a hotspot for the KKK, shows her minority status on her skin and for that, she is a better person and she is stronger than I will ever be and I pray for the day where regardless of what we look like, we can simply walk the streets of our state feeling safe.

I don’t think I’ll ever see that day, and that makes me mad because I want to have faith. But the students from Puerto Vallarta showed me that maybe that day isn’t as far away as I originally thought.

I usually have to think about what I’m going to write before I write it but this just flowed out of me! I loved our bus ride to Puerto Vallarta! Thank you for the opportunity 🙂

Chaos? Order? What Do you MEME?

I actually love memes. Like, I use them very frequently. In face, I will see someone make a face and come up with a meme caption in my head. I really love memes. But anyway, we did an exercise in class that put us in order from chaotic to orderly. This was great because it made me feel better that other people are also not totally on track so I felt ever so slightly less dysfunctional. I was smack dab in the middle and more towards the chaotic. I feel like I get it, there’s just a lot to do and I find myself falling behind easily.

In class, we made gifs and memes. Have I told you guys I love memes? Well, I do.

My favorite meme is the one with Kermit the frog drinking iced tea. kermit.jpg

Yep, this is literally my favorite meme of all time.

I love that this course is socially relevant. Memes are a big part of how we communicate and it’s nice to be able to create Gifs and Memes from Educational recourses.

Sounds, Sounds, Everywhere a Sound

Week 5: Can you hear me now?

Not a lot of people know this, but before I was an Education major, I spent five years studying audio production and I was actually pretty good about it. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here but…beep beep.

I had a major assignment due for a college professor years ago that involved adding sound to a muted scene and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in school. A lot of people forget about room sounds. There is a natural sound to every atmosphere which must be added to a movie scene or it will sound fake. Many people are not aware that Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds did not contain any natural bird sounds. Every thrilling squawk in that movie was engineered in a studio.

So anyway, back to this exercise. I set my alarm for two minutes and closed my eyes and here’s what I heard:

-My dog breathing: My dog is about 10 now so he’s old. He breathes heavily when he naps and the noise fills the foyer in the front of my house. It’s basically an amphitheater.

-Wind: It’s particularly windy today and I have a fireplace so it’s extremely audible.

-Room sounds: Rooms sounds are everywhere. They are simply the natural aura of noise that surround you wherever you are.

-Creak of the floor upstairs: Probably from the wind since I’m home alone.

-My dog’s nails on the tile: When my dog naps, he moves around a lot. His nails hit the tile so we always know when he’s rolling over.

-Airplane flying overhead.

My own breathing: It’s amazing that this was the last sound I realized I was hearing. Once I heard it, I was extremely aware of it. In fact, it was almost silent but once I realized it was present, it was the loudest sound I heard.


After I completed this exercise, I listened to the clip from Good Will Hunting. These were the sounds I heard:


-People talking, laughing

-Cars driving

-Dogs barking

-Bike wheel sounds

I assumed it was set in a park and I was correct. Now, I have seen the movie before but it was very long ago and I honestly did not remember this scene.

Ah Netprov…what a Magical thing

During week 4 of class, we had a lot of fun. First, we did a Netprov exercise. Basically, we all stood up and watched the screen in front of us which showed almost like a slide show of pictures. When the first picture appeared, the first person started off a story, something they thought would make sense with the picture. As the pictures changed, so did the story. Once the first picture was replaced by the next, it was the next person’s turn to continue the story. When we were done, the whole class wanted to do it again. If there wasn’t so much to do, we probably would have continued the entire class.

What we did at the end of class was my favorite. We participated in a Twitter chat about magic! No, not Harry Potter! #mugglelivesmatter During our break, we walked around campus and found an object that we thought could possess magical powers! My group and I chose a bottle of multi surface cleaner! We decided that if the bottle were to be squeezed, a Genie would pop out and grant three wishes! If only that were true! Each group posted their picture to the twitter chat and the rest of the class was able to guess what would happen with the specific object and what magical powers it would possess.

I think it’s amazing that in a world where everything is black or white, yes or no, right or wrong, we’re still able to have imagination. I remember as a kid, I would leave my dolls and stuffed animals in a “comfortable” position when I left for school. After all, they had to stay like that all day! Why not let them be comfy! Well, clearly, we’re all still children at heart if we are still able to animate the inanimate.

Week 4: Catch Up

For those of you who don’t know me, I would love to share a little something about myself. I am a busy busy bee! In fact, I have both an English name (Brooke) and a Hebrew name, which is Devorah. In Hebrew, Devorah means bumble bee so it is only fit that I should have a hectic schedule and a great love for honey!

So, here’s an inside look into my life. I work full time and usually pull at least a 40 hour work week. In addition to this, I take 5 classes and maintain a 3.9 GPA. Oh and you know that adorable boyfriend I talked about? He lives an hour away too. And school, work, and boyfriend are all at least 30 minutes away from each other. (BTW if someone is reading this and saying “oh please I do way more than that”, please talk to me I would love to pick your brain cause I’m dying over here)

So why am I blogging about this? During week 3, I had 2 papers due in addition to my other assignments and only 1 day off to do all of it. For this reason, my alchemy blog was awful. It wasn’t even a blog! I literally posted a link to my Flickr story and said something like I loved doing this bla bla bla check it out. Come on….horrible. Everyone needs a catch up every one in a while so I’m blogging mine.

Here are the pictures I had to work with:


This is what I wrote:

(1)”Daddy! Daddy!”, my daughter yells to me. She wants to sit behind the wheel of my new car. The engine is off. It’s in the driveway. What’s the harm? I lift her up and she giggles. I blow a raspberry on the exposed part of her belly. She laughs more. I place my daughter down on the drivers seat. She scootches herself up to the dashboard and peers out the window. “Look at me daddy! I’m a big girl!”
(2) I think to myself this won’t last forever. Her innocence and her constant love and admiration for me. Wow. Some day she’ll really be behind the wheel of a car. Will she still draw me pictures at school? Like the one I have hanging in my office.
(3) Will she still want to untangle the Christmas lights with me every year? Or will she tire of our daddy daughter traditions?
(4) Will she still have that same creative mind that I love so much? Like during our family vacation to the grand canyon when she found a pile of rocks. Her mother told her not to play with them but she didn’t see rocks. She saw art. She spelled out her initials. N. N. I have such a smart little girl.
(5) “Daddy I’m a big girl!” She yells again. I lift her out of the car and place her back on her feet. “Yes you are princess”, I say as I notice she’s about to step in a puddle in the drive way. I lift her up and over it. “But you’ll always be my baby.”

After I posted this, Alan pointed out that I lacked a response and he was so right! There were a few questions he asked and I would like to take the time, now, to answer them.

  1. Did I have the little girl in mind from the start? – I write best when I’m writing narratives, so I chose pictures with concrete images. Like the little girl, and the Christmas lights. The picture with the initials kind of stumped me. They looked like rocks but they looked like desert rocks, not rocks that you would find in your backyard. I immediately thought Grand Canyon.
  2. What helped me weave the story together? – It was mainly that I had been given good pictures but also the narrative capability. I saw a little girl, a picture, Christmas lights, initials, and some body of water. The image of a little girl in the driver’s seat has always worked in car commercials. You know when the dad throws the keys to a toddler but when they catch it, they’re 17 and ready to get their license. That helped me come up with the idea of a father day dreaming when his daughter says, “I’m a big girl now.”
  3. What is the story behind the story? – Well, my father has always told me that no matter what, I will always be his baby. As a little girl, I would say, but dad what about when I’m 25? And he would say you will still be my baby. And I would respond with, okay but what about when I’m 50? No matter how ridiculously high the number got, the answer was always the same. I will always be his baby.

Now, in the spirit of catching up, I would also like to respond to the Finding Magic activity we did in class. It was so fun. I’ve come to love our Twitter Chats. I think they are actually so fun and entertaining but also effective. My favorite part is when someone types a joke and then waits in silence because 3 seconds later, the whole class is laughing. This exercise was really cool for me because I’ve always wondered like…what if Toy Story was real? What if our toys had other capabilities? Or remember the movie, the brave little toaster? The toaster and the vacuum and the desk lamp all have these capabilities that no one would have ever though of! This exercise we did in class kind of brought that to life for me and I loved it!

I also slacked off with DDA last week. To make up for it, I have posted 4 this week! Hopefully, everyone has a chance to check them out. Thanks for tuning into my rant people! Have an amazing week 🙂

DDA 38 Your Ornamental Soul

My boyfriend and I have been together for four years. When we first met, I had just decided to drop out of school and he had just found out that he was accepted into a study abroad program in Prague, Czech Republic. We met in November, 2012. Not only did he travel to Israel for a month in December, but when he came back, he was in the US for two weeks before he spent four months in Prague and didn’t come home until that May. Everyone said we were crazy. We had only been together for about a month and he was leaving for four months! What were we thinking? Well, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done but we stayed together. Through the power of Skype and Facebook, we kept in touch and made the long distance thing work. Finally, he was home and I was the happiest I have ever been. Having him home was the best present but to top it all off, he brought me a beautiful piece of jewelry that will forever be my favorite.


The necklace is simple. It’s a teardrop shape and made of Czech crystal. For those of you who don’t know, an ideal crystal has every atom in a perfect, repeating pattern. However, most crystals have small defects that interrupt the pattern, making it less than ideal. Now, I’m no expert but this crystal looks pretty damn perfect to me. Just like most crystal, my boyfriend and I didn’t follow the usual pattern. He didn’t spend weeks “wooing” me and then ask me to be his girlfriend. Not only did he not have the money, but he didn’t have the time. We were official within four days of knowing each other and then spent almost half a year apart. Our first real date was celebrating having dated for six months. But just like the crystal, our relationship is perfect and unique.

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