Meeting of the minds

The seniors in the DIY/Maker class spent the past week working on randomly selected DS106 assignments.  The students will present their assignments and some reflection on the process Monday and Tuesday.  Based on what I’ve seen this past week, I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say and what they’ve created.

I printed out 16 assignments on cards and had the students select an assignment in the spirit of the white elephant gift exchanges.  The students in my class are extremely nice.  No one wanted to take another person’s assignment.  There were two students who absolutely hated their first choice, and since I have no spine, I let them select another assignment.  One student selected Logos for the Zombie Apocalypse.  Another student picked How to _______.  Both asked me if it was ok if the hand drew the pieces for the assignments, and since I have no spine, I said yes.  That’s been rolling around in my head for a couple of days, and I’m interested in knowing why they didn’t want to use Photoshop or Gimp.

Since it’s pretty important to model what one asks of their students, and since I got all nostalgic by visiting the DS106 assignment bank again, I decided that I should something too.  So I did.

One of the students drew the Dancing Jim All Over the World assignment, but traded it in for something else when she discovered PhotoShop to be a little intimidating*.

Every now and again there’s a tweet, an article, a thread on a message board, a internet something that makes one stop and say, “…. the hell?”

That’s how I reacted to this tweet from Jim Groom.


It just seemed natural to dance Jim right into the UVA boardroom for this assignment.

Bava in the boardroom

Bava in the boardroom

Like most DS106 assignments, this one didn’t match my vision.  But that’s ok, because it’s still pretty rad.  Also like most DS106 assignments, this one took a lot longer than I had planned.  And that’s ok too.  A few Gimp and PhotoShop tutorials from the Interwebz assumed more knowledge than I had.  They were also several years old.  I some how ended up figuring things out myself with the help of a short, two-year old forum post (from something that I now cannot find) and the little PhotoShop knowledge that I acquired last summer.

Done.  For now.


* She did end up using PhotoShop for her other assignment.


Animated GIFs in the morning

Some mornings just call for an animated GIF.

Merle from the Walking Dead

Merle from the Walking Dead

This was from Sunday’s episode, “This Sorrowful Life.“  It’s a favorite scene.  Mainly because someone was clever enough to choose Motörhead as the soundtrack.

It’s Friday, you ain’t got no job…

I do have a job.  I have plenty to do too, but I’m starting to get that “all work and no play” feeling.

It’s been a while since I’ve done any Daily Creates though I have been peeking at them on a regular basis.  TDC282 popped up a few days ago, and I immediately added “find footage of Mitt Romney on phone” to my to-do list.  I also did a mental scan of the city.  I have no idea where one could find a pay phone.  Do they still exist?  What are the demographics of Maroon 5 fans?  Would said fans even know what that “Payphone” song is about?  Does Maroon 5 fans?

I finally got around to making and shipping the idea Friday night.  I “filmed” parts of it with my iPod Touch, and didn’t think to shoot horizontally.  Tsk tsk.

I borrowed the Mitt Romney footage from here.

So that was fun.  I’d like to see Mitt Romney as a DS106 open participant.  What would he do with Big Bird and binders?


Crazy random happenstance (or, “I was motivated by guilt”)

When the cat is away, the mouse will either clean the house, watch a movie, or read Photoshop tutorials and do DS106 assignments.  The husband is at the Chesapeake Central Library 2012 Monsterfest.

photo from the Chesapeake Central Library

I am bored to tears.

Last week at school I encountered a project that required the use of Photoshop.  I really have no excuse for not being completely comfortable with Photoshop and Gimp.  But since I hate to read instructions, I find myself fumbling through both programs when I’m called to use them.  Enough of that.  It’s time to get serious.  I settled in with Photoshop Essentials, and decided to rework the album cover assignment from Camp Magic Macguffin.

I’ve been thinking about Galeophobia’s album cover over the past week or so.  I used Befunky to create the photo effects.  I’ve been feeling totally guilty about that after reading a blog post by Alan Levine.

No one dishes out the guilt quite like Alan Levine (evidence below):

I read through a few of the basic tutorials about layers.  Photoshop layers make a lot more sense once you know how they work and what can be done with them.  Here’s the album cover for “More Than the Intelligence Quotient” by the band Robert Finch:

album cover for More than the intelligence quotient by the band Robert Finch

photo courtesy of Ingrid Eulenfan (Flickr)

I added a subtle diffused glow to the photo.  It was enough.  I think Ingrid Eulenfan‘s photo combined with the quote from Eugene S. Wilson.

It was crazy, random happenstance that the image and text fit together so well.

Stuff to work on: design (that font is awful and not placed well) and storytelling.

The shape of stories

I spent a little time this Friday evening thinking about Vonnegut’s theories on the shapes of stories.

I pulled Cormac McCarthy’s The Road off the shelf and plotted out the graph using some quotes from the book.  The Road was my first introduction to Cormac McCarthy.  I’ve read it through twice and picked it up often to read random passages every now and again.  Now that I’m a parent, I can’t read the book without feeling like someone has punched me in the gut over and over and over again, so I tend to stay away from it.

Since I feel like I know the book pretty well, I figured I’d map out the story’s shape.  Seeing as how it’s all post-apocalyptic and stuff, you can probably predict what the graph will look like.  Here’s a picture to help:

Figuring the shape of The Road

It’s really not a happy story.

I used a few short passages from the book to illustrate the lows and the lowers.  Here are the four passages I selected (from L to R):

“Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each than what had gone before.”

I’d say that suggests ill fortune, no?

“He looked down at the boy and when he looked back toward the road the first of them were already coming into view.”

Things get worse.  Novels, movies, comics, etc. suggest that the last thing you want to encounter in a post-apocalyptic world is other people.

“He got out a bowl of biscuits covered with a handtowel and a plate of butter…”

Food is found.  Things are looking up.

“They went on.  Treading the dead world like rats on a wheel.  The nights dead still and deader black.  So cold.”

Walking with no particular destination sounds pretty awful.  Enduring dark, cold nights knowing there’s a child to protect sounds awful still.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Road it’s about a boy and his father.  The two are on the road, heading south along the east coast in hopes of finding a place that hasn’t been decimated by an unnamed disaster.  Despite the bleakness, there is beautiful tenderness between the father and son.  The father, I think, has the same wants as any parent.  He wants the best for his kid.  He wants his kid to be safe.  This quote has stuck with me since I read the book back in 2006: “He knew only that the child was his warrant.  He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.”

Imagine the pressure if there are cannibals in the picture.

This conversation is being tape recorded

By the time Friday evening rolls around, I’m pretty useless.  Friday nights are good for a decent beer and maybe a movie.  Friday nights are also good for DS106.

I’ve spent the work week cataloging a slew of new books.  It’s boring, soul-killing work.  I did reward myself with some Makerbot time today though.  I printed a companion cube (today’s Makerbot daily print).

Daily print for 9/7/12

As it was printing, a group of upper school kids came in and checked out the Replicator as it was printing.

Kid A:  “What are you making?”

Me:  “A companion cube.”

Kid A:  “OH MY GOD!  ARE YOU SERIOUS?  I’VE GOT TO MAKE ME A COMPANION CUBE!  Hey, she’s making a companion cube!”

Or at least it went something like that anyway.  Unbridled enthusiasm–that’s what it was, and it’s what was needed at the end of a tedious week.

I also rewarded myself with some DS106 tonight.  I caught up on videos, thought about movie scenes that I could use for GIFing, popped in Clue, and settled in to read some DS106 blogs while keeping one eye on the screen.  I stumbled across a blog post by Kelsey Matthews.  She also GIFed a scene from Clue.  Talk about your plate of shrimp.

I decided to use the cut-away to Yvette in the billiard room with the tape recorder.  She’s recording Tim Curry’s explanation as to why the guests (Col. Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. Scarlett, etc. etc.) are being blackmailed by the party host.

In the billiard room with the tape recorder

It’s not as cool as I was thinking it would be, but that’s ok.  One day.  One day I’ll have something just as awesome and artful as this.

Yoda supports making

The boy is napping.  What to do with a couple of hours of quiet time?  Open up GIMP of course!  Rule #6 from the Kent/Cage 10 Rules for Students and Teachers is becoming a mantra of mine (especially the “there is no fail” part… That’s reassuring when I really eff something up).  I also think that, “There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.” sounds kind of Yoda-ish.  It’s very “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  I decided to whip up this silly motivational poster which is also kind of one-third of the troll quote assignment.  Kind of.  Sort of.  Maybe…

Yoda Makes

There is no win and no fail. There is only make.