DS106 on the couch

Month: August 2013 (page 1 of 3)

How many daily creates did we celebrate this week?

Riddle me this:

My first is in sawfly but not in flyway

My second is in sensitivity but not in seventy

My third is in extort but not in retort

My fourth is in achy but not in cay

My fifth is in resuscitation but not in nonresistance

My sixth is in crossness but not in soccer

My seventh is in disconcert but not in intercessor

My eighth is in intoner but not in intention

My ninth is in cassette but not in cast

My tenth is in medicine but not in imminence

and if you can’t solve the riddle, may be a poem will help:

Many happy returns Daily Create ride into the mouth of freedom, the thousand creates…and beyond!

A vast Circle of invisible friends

In my random clicking journeys as I relax at the end of the day, I found a nugget. 

Borges says that the task of art is to transform the day to day into the artefact of the artist – words, images, whatever. He believes that it is our duty as artists to do this and the the task is endless, we never rest. 

As a writer I was touched by the conclusion of this video clip most of all:

The life of a writer, is a lonely one. You think you are alone, and as the years go by, if the stars are on your side, you may discover that you are at the center of a vast circle of invisible friends whom you will never get to know but who love you. And that is an immense reward.

As we continually receive things from the external world, artists need to transform these into the symbols of their craft. If people like what we produce we may wake up one day in that vast circle of invisible friends. 

I cried when watching it remembering the country of my birth and hearing his advise to young writers – don’t ever read a book you don’t enjoy, it is no good to you, the writer or the book. 

A video clip to return to each time we want our faith in our craft to be restored. 

Thanks to Open Culture for starting me on this clicking journey. 

You can read the full quote about Borges view of the task of art here.

And I keep this link for a rainy day when I don’t want to make art but learn about art from a master. It is nuggets like these that make this web of our such a work of art in itself. Things that may have been lost forever, preserved and accessible. What a gift. 

Of kitchen monsters, the making of Talky Tina and making impressions

First things first, let me introduce you to a monster from my deep unconscious. It emerged this week on a request from the Gods of the Daily Create to ‘build a monster out of items in your kitchen and post of photo of it.’ Well, may I introduce Jobytopus:


He came alive to terrorise all potatoes in the kitchen and to allow me to photograph him in flagrante delicto with my new Camera+ App which I saw a dog use and hence have assumed it must be good – if it is good enough for the dog, it is good enough for a budding photographer who never wanted to be a photographer. Why not? I believe that it encourages living life for an audience rather than engage in the moment. But that is a story for another time. I am challenging my assumption on DS106 Headless 13 so I have started to build a Flickr photo stream – who would have thought it? Not this Headless Shrink, for sure. 

He came to be created because I received my little Joby tripod for taking photos with my smartphone that morning. As soon as I saw the request for a kitchen monster I took him into the kitchen and started to create it. It took 5 minutes and it is the thing that has given me the most pleasure so far. It was like being a kid again. It resonated with something that Roger Hughes said in the video we were asked to watch this week:

Children have the kind of direct sensuous and complex relationship with the world around them [and] this is the lost paradise that art wants to give back to us as adults not as children.

It felt like I connected with the lost paradise of art as I created my monster. Of course, there is not telling about the quality of the output but Martha Burtis told us this week to:

Reflect critically about your own creations over the 6 months.

I love my Jobytopus and I will reflect critically on it over the next 6 months. meantime I chose to use it again on the next Daily create I chose to do this week. The task was to edit an existing video clip to include an unexpected object in the story. 

I had heard about Onetruemedia  from other DS106ers and although it was late in the day, I decided to give it a go. I felt it would count as an existing video as the site offers ready made video templates to drop your stuff into. How much fin was that to make? Well, I was on EST now. What is EST? Let’s ask Talky Tina:

It IS a timezone. It is a very cherished timezone for some ds106radio people and it is called the Eternal Sleepless Timezone

I get the feeling I am going to be on EST a lot in the next 6 months. How much fun can a person have whilst learning? The biggest challenge has been to stop creating and start reflecting. But critically reflecting on what we make, learning to evaluate the quality of what we produce as well as the fun quotient is an integral part of the DS106 process. It will be hard, it is very easy to get into making without reflecting. 

To help me with this process, I have started an experiment. A private but open reflection space on Google sites. Let’s face it, who can ever find a Google site? I might as well be writing on parchment. I plan to do my weekly summaries there and use it as my rehearsal space. I need that. 

Here is the video I made on Onetruemedia. 

I had an exchange with Talky (as I now affectionately call her) on the Twitter and asked to be paid a bucket of heads for the video!


The least said about bucket of heads metaphors to learn about digital presence and storytelling the better. I did get a screenshot of the heads from another photo and then took the opportunity to pretty it up (sic?) in Gimp before sending to Talky. My evaluation is that it does not look too bad for a quick edit – but I know nothing yet about how to get photos to look right for different media. I just mess around and see if I like the result and this is not exactly Masters level.

I end this post with my final insight for this week. Animated gifs don’t have to be funny, one can create thoughtful gifs as well. I experimented with my first #thoughtgif earlier this week. I liked the concept so I decided to apply it to another daily create from this week. It asked us to make an impression: take a picture of an indentation. I made this:


As soon as I saw the daily create I thought about the footprints of Hua Chi and wanted to do something with that for this daily create. I also wanted to learn how to make animated gif from film without having to look at a tutorial. I wanted to run solo and get one done. I succeeded. I was not able to add the text I wanted on Gimp (I still struggle with layers – I wanted to add a top layer with text and who knows how to do that in Gimp). I am nothing if not determined when I get something in my headless head, and I wanted the text. I remembered that Google Plus allows you to add text to animated gifs when you upload. So, I added the text, downloaded it my computer again and then uploaded it again to Tumblr. 

And this is only half way through the week, and just scratching the surface of all I am learning. I was annoyed at stepping out of daily creating to reflect today – but even this was a good reminder for me as an educator of how hard it is to stop and reflect when you want to keep acting in the world. My students struggle with pressing pause and today I had a reminder of why.

And suck it Tumblr – I found out how to get my posts to look like I want and embed my media where I want. I am not going to need to meet you up the stairs with Talky during the next 6 months. After that, I will go back to my WordPress blog because your editor truly sucks.

I watched this film a few days ago and it made a real impact on me. From the trailer:

Paris, 2020.
A beautiful couple, a city over-saturated by holograms and digital stream.
A polaroid camera.
Tomorrow will never be the same. 

An electromagnetic storm wipes out all our data, worldwide. The only thing he has left is an old polaroid she took before he left him for spending too much time on social media. 

I put this together with a quote from Alone Together by Sherry Turkle:
We are not in a position to let the virtual take us away from our stewardship of nature, the nature that doesn’t go away with a power outage.
The moment captured in this image has been running in my head for days so I thought I would do some giffing. I did not want it to loop forever, but to stop and give the sense of it all breaking up when it ended. However, it looks like this will not work with Tumblr so I slowed it down a little and looped it forever.
Followed Michael’s tutorial again, and experimented with a few more settings in GIMP. I did want the glass smashing to make more of an impact. I need to play with it more.
However, I want to end with Alan Levine’s comment on watching the movie:
Hard to empathize with a digital dude who did not make local backups of media 😉

Update: I am submitting this gif as an assignment for the assignment ‘saying it like peanut butter’. I did it a few days ago, it was one of the first gifs I made properly (i.e not with an automated tool) and it was inspired by a film that moved me. 


I always think that my favourite things are things others already know about (get on that couch headless shrink), yet I know from experience that this ain’t necessarily so! This is one of the best use of story for a dry (some might say dead boring) subject – copyright law. 


Emotions invented by the internet! Quite aside from the anthropomorphising, this is interesting to this headless shrink. My observation is that there are no positive emotions in the infographic. It made me think of the book Alone Together we read in Book Club 106 recently. We look for a sense of satisfaction and are left feeling a mixture of isolation and despair instead. Food for thought.


Power corrupts, take a picture of something powerful.

is it okay to feel left out when you see others active on Twitter but they are not talking to you?

imageI too feel sad at times when I want company but have no friends or family around. Twitter is no different from the physical real. Sometimes those you know are busy doing something else that, in that moment, is more important to them than you are. The difference is that the nature of the technology is such that it can enhance feelings of loneliness as you can ‘see’ what those you know are doing. This would never be the case in the physical real. You do not get to see what those you know are doing when you are not with them. My advice as the headless shrink is to look at Twitter as if it were the physical real – get into the habit of not checking what others are doing unless they are sending resources for everyone. It is never good for loneliness to read other people’s private chats even the technology allow you to.

Killing 3 birds with one stone

So I have been dancing with Jim Groom in every room of my home.
Steady on. Strictly speaking I have been watching him dance on my laptop  in every room in my house. As a new recruit to the DS106 community and trying to limber up for Headless Ds106 about to start August 26, 2013. I have been splendidly failing at keeping up with the July challenge to do a daily create every day and with the August challenge to do an animated gif every day. Why? because I am learning to use new tools and they are hard!
So I had an idea for this post that should catch me up a little. This post will take care of 3 daily creates with one post!
For Daily create 585 we have to ‘share a recipe and a story of why it’s so special to you’.
So the recipe ingredients are included here.
What I do with the ingredients is put them all in a bowl and then wait till it forms into a lump which I throw in the oven for 45 minutes. That is it.
Why is it so special, then? It was the first thing I learnt to make when I was told by doctors that diabetes was around the corner. I was angry at first, I like to eat when I want and what I want. But as a result of the diagnosis a few years ago, I learnt to cook. I now make time to buy the right food, cook the right food, and love doing it. Over the last few weeks I have been worried about my dog’s health and so had been neglecting the kitchen and my own health. He is now full of beans (healthy) again and so when this daily create came out my bread was coming out of the oven smelling gorgeous.
I then had the idea to get Jim dancing in the photo I took of my bread coming out of the oven. I could make my first animated gif and take care of another of Talky Tina’s daily creates: Dancing Jim all over the world.
Easier said than done. I made several attempts over a number of days with different photo editors. Hours and hours watching Jim dancing and trying to get him inside the baking trays, over the bread, wishing I could make him explode like John Johnston’s Headless poster, all to now avail.  I ended up feeling like my little animation above.
But then my true friends came to my rescue on Google Plus DS106 space  I posted my failing gif, a couple of tutorials that had not helped me but made me feel stupid as they made it seem so easy!
I gave up and then started again. As Piers Ibbotson, the theatre director, said to me last week: I am utterly uninterested in the fact that my actors get it wrong, i just need them to do it again and again until it works. So I kept doing it again and again until (drum roll) it kind of worked,
And so we come the third daily create this post is covering: ‘Create an animated gif that Sandy Brown Jensen will respect’ 
I posted my Greedy Jim on Flickr and here is my comment to explain why I felt this gif counted for this Daily Create:
I hope you will respect this one as it has taken my over 10 days and several photo editors to get to a (reasonable) shape. I love gifs, but I never knew what it took to make them. Now I do I can only say: RESPECT to all who make them. And greedy Jim dancing around my kitchen is just funny, or isn’t it?
I know it is not great, the size is not quite right, and I had to remove one of the frames because I could not get it to line up. Sometimes it is not about the quality of the output but about what you learn getting there. I tried Fireworks, Photoshop and Gimp. I have settled on Gimp for the upcoming DS106 Headless 13 run.
I bought PIxelmator before I knew it was not good for animated gifs, it looks like a great editor. I wanted to find an editor that would give me a large view of each frame rather than have me squint into a small side window to see which frame I am working on, failed on that. Fireworks seems intuitive, but has to be paid for monthly now.
 Along the way: I cracked the Gimp, found a tutorial that makes it seem like it should take me under 2 minutes to add an animated gif to a background and a screencast that taught me about frames

And at the end of it all I felt like the minions in the gif above.

So what have I learnt? I can kill 3 birds with one stone and (drum roll again) check out the use of the clone tool in gimp in my last photo above! There were only two birds in the original.

Off to bed…have I signed up for no sleep during DS106? Having so much fun, but Tumblr is a bit sucky.

Update: I am leaving this post as is as an example of what the technology affords. It does not make it easy to create post with media place where you would want it. I have found a workaround for this – but it should not be about workarounds. 

Digital stories at a snapshot of time, help us see how small we are in the sea of big data. 


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