Author Archive

T-Pose Fundamentals


Interviewer: “So do you have any weird traditions in the animation department?”

Informant: “Yeah so we always have jokes about people in T-Pose. So T-Pose is the default position of…a…rig. Yeah it’s…the most plain uh zeroed out position any 3D model or rig is in. Um some people have started telling horror stories about people in T-Pose. Uh we would be working in…uh…the 2D lab and horror stories would start spreading about…you know you’re sitting in a lab alone. You’re working on your in-betweens for Eric’s class when suddenly… the lights go out. You don’t know what’s going on but all of a sudden…for a while it was something about Waluigi, the Mario character. A tposing Waluigi clips through the wall…and starts coming towards you. What do you do? And it suddenly becomes this Choose Your Own Adventure story…so it always starts the exact same of like…lights go out,a Tposing someone, sometimes it was our professors, sometimes it was heads of the department of the School of Cinematic Arts. Sometimes it was our friends. But they would always be in T-Pose and not move and just move their like…like move their body position. They would always stay in T-Pose and then move towards you. And it becomes this like Choose Your Own Adventure thing and so we called them T-Pose Hypotheticals. It was…what do you do? I mean they got like pretty ridiculous. One time there was one where it was like…okay…you are a spy during the cold war and you’re…in the…in Russia like like in the arctic and suddenly you look in a cabin and you see two tposing polar bears. They clip through the walls and start coming after you. What do you do? And that’s the Animation Tposing Hypotheticals.”

Interviewer: “That was amazing. Has that been going on before your like… year?”

Informant: “No I think our year started it because it was just us bored in the kitchen. I think Efren was the one who really ran with them but like…yeah Efren was the most creative with them and…I mean it’s even become like we started getting memes like someone posted like a picture of like a bunch of people doing yoga in the park. But they were all in T-Pose so we started joking how it ‘sounds like a Hypothetical’. Yeah.”


T-Pose Fundamentals are a series of folk jokes or folk stories that are told throughout the Animation department. As far as we know, the tradition is one that started with the current sophomores of the animation department. It’s not known who began the tradition, but Efren is well known for performing it. Overall, it’s a form of entertainment for the animation students.

Rituals, festivals, holidays



Interviewer: “Do you have any interesting or weird family traditions?”

Informant: “We have some like recipe insert that we’ll always make. Like we’ll typically make uh… gumbo on New Years and every month our family will try to meet up for family days just cuz everybody…there’s a lot of us and the family tree is kinda confusing so they just keep everyone on the same trend and have like monthly meetups where everyone is there. They’ll say ‘Oh let’s meet up at my grandparent’s house’ and then ‘okay great’. That’s the most of it. There’s…yeah that’s pretty much it.”

Interviewer: “Is it a special type of gumbo?”

Informant: “Well the tricky part is I don’t actually know what’s in the gumbo. My grandma’s the only one that knows the recipe and we’ve tried to get her to tell us and she’ll stand there and make it with us but she won’t like let us write it down or anything so…I guess so yeah. It’s a special pot of gumbo.”

Interviewer: “Okay…what is gumbo exactly?”

Informant: “Gumbo is…it’s a southern dish that’s sorta like a soup and so the thing that makes gumbo unique is you throw in a whole bunch of different like ingredients. You’ll put in shrimp, you’ll put in sausage,chicken,crab. Pretty much any meat that you got. It’s kinda like how the tradition started back in slavery where you like made soup out of whatever sort of meat you had and since then they were like ‘ah this is actually pretty good. Let’s keep doing this now that we can like pick what meat we get’. They kinda started picking and choosing what goes in there and so…in our pot we do shrimp, and crab, and some chicken, sausage. I think that’s it? Yeah that’s in there.

Interviewer: “And how long has the gumbo tradition been going on?”

Informant: “Uhh years…and I don’t really know but they used to live in Louisiana before they moved out here and so our grandparents made it and I’m not sure who made it before them but it’s been a long way going. I don’t know if the recipe has changed much over the year but I know they’ve been cooking it forever.”

Interviewer: “And does your grandmother intend to pass it on eventually?”

Informant: “Uh…I mean eventually. I don’t think she wants to per say because she kinda likes the idea of having something to do. Like ‘it’s my pot of gumbo and I want to make it’ and every now and then we’ll try to have her explain bits and parts of it to us and…like my mom kinda knows it but she doesn’t really like cooking that much so we’re trying to get my sister to learn it since she’s kinda like the cook of the house. Otherwise…I’m not much of a cook so…I’m just trying to remember the basics of it so in case I’m like ‘shoot I need to make a pot of gumbo’, I can figure it out.”

Interviewer: “How much do you know about how to make it?”

Informant: “Hmm I know like the basics and I know the end game, and I know the stuff that goes in. It’s more like the amounts she puts in and the stuff to make the broth that’s the tricky part. I don’t know cuz it’s still a soup so I know the meat and stuff but I don’t know what parts you need for the broth and how long to cook it and that kinda stuff yet.”


The informant’s family gathers together monthly. However, during New Years gatherings they all eat gumbo cooked by his grandmother. This gumbo is a special recipe that only she knows and hasn’t completely told to anyone else yet. It’s likely that later on, the informant’s sister will learn the recipe in order to uphold the tradition. I would like to try the gumbo myself. It sounds delicious.

Folk Beliefs

Zodiac Signs


Informant: “What do you want to know about astrology?”

Interviewer: “Let’s start with what is it.”

Informant:”Well…everyone is born under like a star sign…and also a moon sign and a rising sign butt that’s mostly- people typically focus on your star sign which is your zodiac sign. There’s a general belief that it’s like, it influences what your personality is gonna be like and like it can inform you on how to make decisions and stuff. Personally, I think astrology is all kinds of bullshit. And it doesn’t actually influence people but I really like astrology because you can just kinda make up shit and say it with a tone of authority. And that’s really good. So that’s my- that’s what it is to me.”

Interviewer: “When did you start to get into astrology?”

Informant: “I don’t know, I feel like I’ve always sorta been into like the dumb like ‘what’s your personality type’ thing so like…I don’t know I guess it’s always been in like my periphery. I just have fun with it.

Interviewer: “What would your zodiac sign be?”

Informant: “It’s Libra”

Interviewer: “And what does that mean?”

Informant: “Libra is the only…it’s the only zodiac sign not represented by an animate object. It is the scales and it’s sort of about balance and justice. Someone…like it’s typically someone who rationalizes things, and thinks through their actions and tries to find a middle ground in situations. It’s an air sign which tend to be more like…kinda disconnected and carefree and stuff. Uh….it’s from late September to late October-early October. That’s Libra.”

Interviewer: “And do you feel like that reflects you?”

Informant: “Mmm yeah I like Libra. I’m happy with it.”

Interviewer: “So there’s many different sites that can tell you your horoscope and stuff. Are they usually the same or are they different?”

Informant: “Um there tends to be common threads especially with like…I feel like there’s some zodiac signs that like sorta have more like… well-known associations like Geminis are like- everyone’s like oh that’s the two-faced sign so that tends to be pretty consistent and like…Generally speaking it’s the same for most signs like if you look up like…oh…like Cancer is like kinda like emotional and wears their heart on their sleeve and that sort of thing but like there’s some variation but they more or less follow the same metric. That being said, they’re like all kept sorta vague and that’s why people can associate with them so easily. It’s like ‘ah this person likes to have fun’ and everyone’s like ‘I like to have fun! That’s me!’ so yeah. Everyone does, that’s not a defining personality trait but that’s how they kinda get you to be like ‘ah yes I identify with this’.”

Interviewer: “What is something that you know about astrology that most people don’t?”

Informant: “Um…………..”

Interviewer: “If there is anything.”

Informant: “Oh there’s some stuff. Well I know my moon and rising signs too. Your moon sign…well the way it’s supposed to go is your sun sign, star sign, and zodiac sign, are all like the same thing. That’s like the main general one. And I think…I might not be remembering this corre- I can’t remember correctly at all but moon sign is like um…I can’t even remember how it’s determined. That one’s like more along the lines of the time you were born and it’s supposed to be like this is supposed to be your…like your inner personality that doesn’t really show on the outside. And I think rising is what people…Sun is what you project your personality is. Moon is what you are kinda more like internally and rising is what other people perceive you as? If I’m remembering correctly. That’s the…that’s the beans.”

Interviewer: “Okay cool. At some point during the last few years did the dates for the zodiac signs change?”

Informant: “Yeah well they tried to…they tried to insert like um a 13th one. I can’t remember it starts with an ‘O’. It’s like the snake catcher or something. Not sure exactly but it’s a guy with snakes. It’s not Orion, he’s the hunter. And I think…I can’t remember exactly the reason why…but I think the reason they tried to do this was that it was included in some cultures’ zodiacs but not others. And they were like actually…fuck that so as far as I know, most people- like they just tried to stick in this 13th one and then everyone just kinda said ‘actually no thanks. We don’t want that one’. So as far as I know nobody uses that 13 star Zodiac system anymore.”


I interviewed the informant about Zodiac Signs. The gist of what we discussed is that there are 12 star signs, aka zodiac signs or sun signs, and your sign is determined by what part of the year you’re born. These signs assign certain the person certain personality traits. There are many different sites that tell you about your zodiac sign, but they tend to say similar things and say them vaguely enough that people can identify them easily. There are also moon signs and rising signs which represent different aspects of your personality and are determined differently. At some point the zodiac signs changed to include a thirteenth sign, known as Ophiuchus. However, people ignored this so it was reverted back to the 12 month format again.depositphotos_30344761-stock-illustration-set-of-astrological-zodiac-symbols

Tales /märchen

The Kojiki


Interviewer: “So I’ve been told that you read something called the Kojiki. What is that?”

Informant: “Uh, it’s the first collection of Japanese myths, collected by …the…uh…one of the first government systems of Japan.”

Interviewer: “And how much of it did you read?”

Informant: “A decent portion. There’s kinda a lot of myths. Um…you don’t need to read it. They’re told somewhat chronologically um…but there’s dispute whether some myths come from different parts of Japan that were readapted to serve um…the main – the center of Japan like the Yamato region better. Um… so some of the myths are disputed in how they actually fit in the story but…um… I’ve read a decent number of them. There’s a couple of- there’s a lot of the Kojiki that just tells about the emperors in order and a lot of it get repetitive. They go somewhere, they conquer some new people and onto the next emperor.”

Interviewer: “Are the stories in the Kojiki realistic or are they more…fantastical?”

Informant: “Um…they get more and more realistic…as you go on. Um… it seems the idea is it starts with the most powerful beings and as they die off, more and more of the stories are about more humanesque characters if not humans themselves. SO it goes from being about like the gods Izanagi, Izanami, and their children to eventually being about the human emperors of Japan. It has fantastical elements but they seem to be more allegories of potentially real history. There’s a group of people described as the tsuchigomu- tsuchigomo, which are supposedly earth spiders which don’t actually exist as far as I’m aware of. I don’t think there’s spider people living in the earth but…it’s possible that it’s an allegory for an actual clan, like a group- or like a tribe that used to live in Japan. They probably lived in one of the more mountainous regions that was uh subjugated by one of the emperors.”

Interviewer: “When did you read the Kojiki?”

Informant: “I read it for…uh…a general ed course here describing-or talking about Japanese folklore and how it relates to older and then more contemporary Japanese works of fiction. So…um…uh older novels like the Goddess Chronicle um…and newer books, older movies uh…Tales of Moonlight and Rain is an older movie that draws a lot on Mythology and up til recently, movies like Paprika and Pampoco and um…much of Ghibli films.”


The informant talks about the Kojiki, a Japanese text that contains many folk stories and some history of Japan. It contains stories that sound like your typical myths and more realistic stories as well. Some of the more fictional sounding stories likely have roots in real events. The folklore of Japan has also found its way into a lot of Japan’s media. This includes movies such as Spirited Away. I’m very interested in reading the Kojiki as I find Japanese folklore to be a very interesting topic.

Rituals, festivals, holidays

Boxing Day


Informant: “And then my third one (tradition), my favorite, which is also Chrsitmas…uh and many many years ago my father gave his mother, for Christmas, a book about Ed Gein, the serial killer. And he gave it to her cuz he was a Wisconsin based serial killer and they all lived in Wisconsin. Um and the book was a biography and there were pictures of his house that some of the-that some crime investigator had taken. There were pictures of…if you don’t know, Ed Gein is the serial killer who Hannibal Lector is based off of. There are a lot of famous pop culture serial cultures based off of him because he makes…furniture and clothing and stuff out of his humans, out of his victims. So he has like human skin lampshades and stuff uh… and there are pictures in the book of human corpses just strung up. Uh and severed heads and stuff. [Inaudible]…more like a big cow carcass. Yeah um…he got caught and that’s why they have pictures but there was a book about him and my dad gave it to his mother for Christmas and she thought it was absolutely revolting…and hated it so…the next year, sheee squirted a little bit of ketchup on it, to look like blood, and gave it back to him. Uh…now the ketchup is dried so it’s just kinda like a… a long brownish stain on the book but every year a new person gets the book. And there’s been repeats because it’s been so many years but every year a person gets a book as a surprise and people have tried to trick them by wrapping it in a small package that’s wrapped in a bigger box so they don’t know it’s the book. Uh but there are some rules that go with this tradition. One, you’re not allowed to get it until you’re 18…cuz there’re dead bodies in it. Though I actually got it earlier than 18 years old and my sister was very upset because she was older than me and she hadn’t gotten it yet. But she got it last year so it’s nice. Um…and then the other rule is that you cannot give it to our Aunt Mary or potentially anyone in her family because she claims that if she ever gets it, she will just throw it away, thus ending the tradition and we don’t want that. So she does not get it and yeah it’s it’s it’s fun. It’s fun to see who gets it and taking care of it and I was very honored to get it because it really felt like it was kinda my true real initiation into the Wierzbicki Family. It made me feel like part of the family.”


In the Wierzbicki family, there’s a tradition of giving and receiving an Ed Gein biographical book. It started when the informant’s father gifted the book to his mother. Disgusted by the book, she gifted it back to him with fake blood splotches the next Christmas. Thus began the tradition of regifting the book every Christmas. However, the book can’t be gifted to minors or the informant’s Aunt Mary. Despite this, the informant received the book before turning 18. This seems like a fun and harmless tradition. It’s interesting to see how one small event like giving a present can blossom into such a big family tradition.MV5BMWVkNDhjOTMtZDdhMC00YzAwLWEzZTAtODhmZGRhMzZkY2IwL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDU5NDcxNw@@._V1_

Rituals, festivals, holidays

The Ed Gein Book


Informant: “The second tradition…uh…is eating Chinese food on Boxing day. And so…I think the tradition started several years ago…when…we didn’t…so there was some- I was young so I don’t remember very well- there was some dinner fiasco…on Boxing Day and everyone decided to get- to eat out…or to order in, more specifically. But because it was Boxing Day a lot of restaurants were closed. And it’s possible that this was Christmas Eve too. I’m not entirely sure but the tradition now is on Boxing Day.”

Interviewer: “And when is Boxing Day?”

Informant : “I think it’s the day after Christmas. But uh…so allthe places- a lot of restaurants closed and so we had to look far and wide for a restaurant and there was a Chinese restaurant that was open. So we just decided to order…a Chinese feast in. And so now the tradition is to eat Chinese takeout on Boxing Day cuz…the joke is that it comes in boxes. Chinese takeout comes in boxes so…it’s kind of a joke and it’s a fun tradition. It’s a lot of you know….it’s good Chinese food.”ED GEIN_AMERICA'S MOST BIZARRE MURDERER 1


There is a tradition in the Wierzbicki family of getting Chinese Food on Boxing Day. It started when some event happened(unknown to the informant) that spoiled the dinner for that day (Or possibly Christmas Eve). They then ended up going to a Chinese restaurant since that was once of the few places open that day. Now, every year on boxing day the family eats Chinese food. This tradition is one that isn’t just specific to the Wierzbickis. A similar event happens in A Christmas Story where the family’s food is eaten by dogs so they start eating Chinese food for Christmas dinner instead.

Rituals, festivals, holidays

Wedding Cakes and Swords


Interviewer: “My question for you would be um…do you have any traditions that happen within your family that are unique to your family?

Informant: “Unique to my family? Yeah…um…so there are three. The first one is fairly new. It’s cutting one’s wedding cake with a sword. And the sword doesn’t really matter I think because it’s really new. But uh….my…I found out about it when my…older cousin did it at her wedding. Uh and they did it because they were looking, her and her fiancé Ethan. Her name is Kay and her husband’s name is Ethan.They were looking through her parents’ wedding photos and they saw that there was a picture of them cutting the cake with a sword! Of course…they thought, ‘that’s weird! What’s happening there?’ Uh…turns out that there was just a sword at the wedding and one of the relatives said ‘Hey wouldn’t it be funny if we cut the sword—we cut the cake with the sword?’ I think the sword was hung on the wall or something um…but it’s just it’s something they did and they got a picture so of course, Ethan jumped on that opportunity and said ‘I…wanna do that’ so sure enough they…they ended up cutting their wedding cake with a sword as well. And…although it’s only happened twice so far I very much plan on cutting my wedding cake with a sword because that sounds awesome and cool.”


There is a tradition starting in the Wierzbicki family of cutting wedding cakes with sword. There are currently two recorded instances of this happening. The informant first heard of this after witnessing her cousin’s wedding. Just seeing this happen has inspired her to do the same in the future when she gets married. I think it’s an interesting tradition and one that I think will be adopted fairly easily.

Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Litchfield Biker Gang


Interviewer: “You’re from Litchfield?”

Informant: “Yes.”

Interviewer: “Is that a small town or a big town?”

Informant: “Small town 8000 but between two cities that I think are 50(000) or 80000, respectively.”

Interviewer: “Are there any stories with Litchfield?”

Informant: “Um…(laughs) so okay so I don’t…so there’s not really…there’s a rope swing which is creepy but…and I’m sure that had I frequented it more, I would have found some more creepy lore there but I never really did go there. Um…but…so there really isn’t a ton of specific lore. I know the town is almost 300 years old so there’s a lot of like local history. Um…there’s like a graveyard. That kind of thing. So it’s a very uh…there are spooky places in it. But what got me laughing was…there is… and this isn’t necessarily lore as it is objectively factually true but I will continue, I will tell my kids about this. Um…there’s this group of children…we called them the LBK: Litchfield Biker Krew with a ‘k’. Because they’re basically a bunch of um… I think I was in high school when we sorta like designated them but they’re about like just this pack of like 8th graders…like not even like super big but like it was a pack of like 8th graders or something who would just bike around, be punks, smoke cigarettes. And like…yeah it was just so funny because they thought they were such badasses but we’re just like ‘heh look at those kids biking like…around and just thinking that they’re badass’. So it’s like…it’s sorta just this think like ‘oh lol that’s Litchfield Biker Crew’ like everyone sorta knew about that and it was sorta like a rich topic to explore in terms of just like…jokes and things.”


So the informant talks about a group of bikers in his hometown, known as the Litchfield Biker Krew. The LBK, as they’re known are a group of 8th grade kids who would ride around on bikes and smoke. They were well known throughout the town. The informant plans to pass this story along to his own family one day, making him an active bearer of this legend.


The Giving Tree


Informant: “Okay um one more thing. Oh yeah my mom does this thing or did this thing which we don’t really do anymore but I’ll probably do once I have my own place. Um…like with my own kids. We did this thing called the Giving Tree or the Thankful Tree or whatever the hell but basically it was just like a big poster like ‘hey what are you thankful for?’ and we would get these leaves and we would trace them. Like we would trace them on the table and write a couple of things that we were thankful for. And then just put those up for like Thanksgiving season. Um and that would be like a sort of a…um that would be something we would do pretty consistently every Thanksgiving season.”


The informant tells me of one of his former Thanksgiving traditions, known as the Giving Tree. A big poster of a tree is hung up. The kids trace leaves and write what they’re thankful for on them. Then they hang the leaves up on the tree. The informant states that the tradition hasn’t been done in a long time. However, he still wants to continue the tradition when he has his own family. In the future he plans to be an active bearer of this tradition. I think it’s a nice tradition that’ll bring the family together and teach the kids what thanksgiving is all about.




Interviewer: “Where are you from?”

Informant: “Litchfield, New Hampshire”

Interviewer: “Okay can you tell me about your family traditions?”

Informant: “Um…yes I am…so I’m French, Polish, Irish, Lithuanian, Hungarian, and Italian but…the thing is…equal parts everything except for two parts Irish, umm just for context. But the thing is my family has only ever celebrated like…actively in my Polish and Irish side. Um…we tend to celebrate St.Patrick’s day pretty hardily. He have a lot of like traditions. We listen to a lot of traditional…like uh traditional Gaelic music. Um…bands like The Berry McNeals and so on so forth. We very much tend to listen to those types of music. And our Irish heritage just generally throughout something that we’re pretty proud of. Um…but in terms of actual traditions…we uh picked up a polish tradition called the Oplatek on Christmas Eve where um… there’s this… basically we don’t follow it strictly because the story behind it is a little bit more long form than we have time for. But um…essentially what would happen would be…a priest I believe would distribute loaves of bread…to…um…to each…to every house or something like that then like towards the start of the Christmas season I think. And then like they would break that load of bread like um…on Christmas Eve. As I understand it. Um…but the important part is the breaking of it on Christmas Eve and um…saying ‘This blessing may have health, wealth, and happiness in the golden crown of heaven.” Um saying that blessing over it then I believe it’s the oldest member starts…the head of household starts and then they pass to the left. Until everyone has a piece of bread. Then they all eat it and it’s like just a part of like a ceremonial kinda thing.”

Interviewer: “So it’s religious?”

Informant: “Yes but no. It’s um…it’s religious based but it’s culturally religious. It’s a culturally specific celebration of a religious thing. My family is Catholic and so um generally practices Catholic holidays. Even though I’m atheist, I still observe Catholic holidays with them just because at this point, it’s not anymore about the religion side of it so much as celebration with family and experiencing those celebrations together.”


The informant talks about a Christmas tradition in his family. In it, there is bread and on Christmas Eve, the eldest or head of household takes the bread, breaks it, and passes it to the left. Once everyone has bread in their possession, they bless it and then eat it. This tradition is a Polish tradition and has roots in Catholicism. However, I find it very interesting that it isn’t about Catholicism anymore. I asked the informant and he said that he still celebrates it even though he’s atheist. He claims that the tradition has lost it’s original meaning and is now more about spending time with family. It’s very similar to Christmas as a whole. It’s also slightly reminiscent of Folklorismus. More like Folkloristmas I guess.