Archive for the ‘CampMagicMacGuffin’ Category


Explore your Inner Creativity: The Daily Create

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Towards the end of 2009, a number of friends on Twitter proclaimed their intent to participate in a project 365 photography adventure, and I decided to rekindle my interest in photography by playing along.  Supported in part by @duncan‘s TheDailyShoot, I managed to get into the daily habit of making time for photography, and sharing a photo a day to my account on Flickr. By the end of 2010, I was pleased, not only with the collection of photographs I had accumulated, but with a number of other incidental results:

  • a significantly improved understanding of my camera (primarily pocket-cam, a Canon Digital Elph Powershot 1000, at the time);
  • an improved eye for composition and techniques related to photography;
  • an appreciation for the work and shared community of other photographers;
  • a wonderful collection of images reflecting memories and experiences from throughout the year;
  • a serendipitous engagement with writing, as descriptions of photos sometimes turned  into mini-essays, commentaries, and juxtapositions of thoughts.;
  • and, perhaps most importantly, an understanding that a conscious effort, applied on a daily basis, was easily capable of instilling a new daily habit, whether it be photography or any other kind of endeavour. A technique that could be transferred, to other areas, be they intentionally creative, or otherwise.

My enjoyment of the 2010/365 project led me to continue on into 2011/365. Armed now with a self-bestowed boxing-day present, a Sony NEX-5 DSLR (actually, an EVIL or MILC camera, the choice after conversations with @digitalnative and several months investigation), I continued taking photographs, using the new Sony, the older Canon, and the ever-present iPhone to capture daily events and thedailyshoot photo challenges.

However, In August 2011, things got particularly busy (numerous trips, photo outings, and other things), my laptop hard drive became filled to capacity (Aperture and even the OS ground to a slow crawl as space for page swaps became virtually(pun) non-existent), and my habit faltered. September brought the return to school (numerous variables there) and October saw the end of thedailyshoot (after 690 prompts, it folded on October 6th, 2011), and by that time, the habit was upset. Despite a couple of attempted jump-starts (drives to visit the Muse Tree, for example, and the arrival of a new 2012/366 self-challenge), the daily practice of shooting and posting a photo to flickr had been disrupted.

(Perhaps, I should also acknowledge to myself, in hindsight, that I had become engaged in the fall of 2011 with a new regular (though not daily) practice of broadcasting on #ds106radio …)

At any rate, very shortly after January 1st, 2012, @timmmmyboy tweeted out a few test posts related to something new, TheDailyCreate, which would provide a daily prompt, not always for photography, but also for audio, video, and other sorts of creative inspirations. After providing a few test posts, I saw the value in this new prompt source, and decided to try it out.

The Daily Create

Skipping forward over February – June, we arrive at July 11th, and what do I see but a challenge from the @cogdog , somewhat uninspired by the recent summer engagement in TheDailyCreate (yes, folks are on summer holidays, relaxing, BUT you still need to nurture that daily creative habit, folks — and to that I can attest!), and so he presents a seven-day challenge. Do the daily create for the next seven days. Starting today. Starting NOW.

Daily Create Seven-Day-Challenge on CogDogBlog

CogDog’s Charles Atlas remix “Seven-Day-Challenge”

Now, a couple years back, I employed a “follow 30 people for 30 days” mantra when introducing new folks to Twitter, as a way of helping folks “see, over time” how the social media service could be supportive of their work as educators. And if I recall correctly, research somewhere has indicated a “23-day” adoption period during which a daily application of a routine will result in the forming of a new habit.

So I’m going to prematurely suggest that once you meet Alan’s seven day challenge, you repeat it, twice more. I figure 21 days ought to be close enough to 23 days for you to get the gist. And at that point, why stop?

One caveat. You may find yourself pushed to complete some of TheDailyCreate challenges. I would suggest that if you struggle with one of them, go back in the Archives and complete another one from that same category and post it, with its respective tag, instead. While I’ve not employed that strategy yet, I’m going to deploy it starting today.

In response to Alan’s visual seven day challenge, I reply:

"Twenty-One Days to a Creative Habit" by aforgrave, on Flickr

“Twenty-One Days to a Creative Habit” by aforgrave, on Flickr

Get your create on! Get it on on a daily basis. The Daily Create can get you started.

BTW, two days ago, I replaced the hard drive again in my laptop. I’m currently starting out the summer with a glorious 620 GB of free space on my drive. Yesterday, I managed 200 photos on my Sony, and when the battery ran out, I took another 108 on my iPhone. Both batteries are now recharged. And I just “created” that cartoon.  Time to draw a Tornado. (There are currently seven posted. Will you ad yours today? Now?)


DS106 Week 4 – Design: A Sansing Sprint

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Inspired by my Slaughterhouse IV bunkmate Chad Sansing, I composed a Design Assignment Sprint. I spent a lot of time in tinkering in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, which always leaves me wishing I could do more than I actually … Continue reading

Molecules, Beans and Web2.0 Storytelling (AKA Week 2)

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

(Disclaimer: I’m fully aware that I’m not directly addressing the assignment. However, the beauty of being an “open” student is that I don’t have to worry about demonstrating my direction following skills.)

Vonnegut describes stories as we understand stories:  2 dimensional – 2 axes and 1 plane;  points plotted. The story moves forward. This is a book.

Alexander’s Web 2.0 storytelling suggests 4 dimensionality (3d plus shattering the 4th wall)–2 axes and 4 planes. The story has a center and connecting items of significance that take on new significance based on the relation/connection with each other. (Think molecule and valences.  Think nucleus, protons, electrons, interconnected and balanced by a complex tension.  Although perhaps more accurate in terms of how our minds STORE information, the molecule model is less able to make meaning for us. (Perhaps the very purpose of story.)  IRL we make meaning of events that –though occurring on a linear temporal plane–are stored in a 2-axes- 4-plane space and which are then re- linearized and often wholly reconfigured in order to make sense of those events.  This is hard work.  (In some cases, the work of a lifetime.)  Traditional stories, to some extent, do the work for us. Engaging with a Web 2.0 story that is fully embracing the possibilities of the medium/media might demand a level of cognitive commitment that most people don’t have time for.  Think about it:

Opening scene where “reader” encounters character A and character B sifting through the wreckage of character A’s home. Any home in its wrecked state looks mostly like trash: slabs of broken drywall, clothing tangled around pipes and chair legs. Photographs and other standard plot driving items are interspersed along with less obvious items like a can of French cut green beans that looks like it’s “fresh” from the grocery store shelf.

Every bean (character, quality, object) suggests a possible path for the story, many of which may/will/must connect with others in manifold ways.

We’re programmed as readers to read from page one to the end.  Our breaks are clearly marked off via periods, paragraphs, and chapters.  There is comfort in this. (To experience reading without this comfort, try Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Autumn of the Patriarch.)

Perhaps Web 2.0 storytelling will change our programming and allow us to let go of the compulsion (with our fiction and our lives) to possess, consume and understand everything, which at its best is an exercise in futility, at its worst is a sure path to madness, and at its average is a trip to the pharmacy for some mediocre though useful drugs.

Recap of Daily Creates:

TDC141 Connection

TDC146 Destruction

TDC147 Rocks/Water/Clouds

My Own Macguffin: the Michael Wesch video

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Merriam-Webster Definition of MACGUFFIN: an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance

I finally had some time to get into the swing of Camp so I thought I’d start by watching the Michael Wesch video. It started out a little strangely, I could see Martha Burtis but not hear her. I clicked round a bit and eventually saw a man who was introducing the presentation. While listening to him I organized a document to take some notes. I was happily watching and wrote a quote from the introduction “We know we are going someplace but we are just not quite sure where or how.”

When I went back in the video to confirm the speaker’s name and title, MBurtis was back. I clicked around in the video and she was everywhere! No matter where I found her, if I let her run, it eventually went back to the introduction regardless of the timestamp.  At 14 minutes: MBurtis and then intro; at 7min: MBurtis and then intro; at 40min: MBurtis and then intro. What’s up with that?

So where did that take me? Certainly around in circles! The same thing happened in other browsers. Do I need to watch the whole thing from the beginning to get the content? From other’s blog posts it seems that they have watched the video… Is there a hidden message in all of this for me? Is it a Digi-Ouija???

I went back to find our definition of digi-ouija – it made an elegant comparison to a macguffin but couldn’t remember who suggested this Bunk name or find the reference in my Twitter feed. In the amount of time that I have now spent trying to understand what was going on and explain it, I could have gone back to the beginning of the video and watched the whole thing!

As someone said at the beginning of the video,

“We know we are going someplace but we are just not quite sure where or how.”

That pretty much sums up my ds106 experience thus far!

First Day at Camp Magic Macguffin

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

When my parents first sent me away to summer camp I was less than impressed. I cried for two weeks beforehand but even my 13 year-old antics made no difference. I was still sent – and I really can’t blame my parents, I needed to get away from some of my friends at the time! I didn’t send a single letter home in the two weeks that I was away – my poor parents had no idea what to expect when they picked me up and, I suspect, feared the worst. Luckily, I loved it and returned for at least 10 more summers! I am hoping to send more letters “home” from Camp Magic Macguffin this summer.

I have just caught up on this week’s Daily Creates that deal with photos. Videos should be an upcoming cabin activity!

These critters have nightly pool parties in our pond and are often available for a photo-op. This photo was taken with a borrowed htc One phone – its not nearly as clear as my iPhone pictures.


I know that I was supposed to trace my face but all my attempts were really pathetic so I resorted to using the sketch effect in the free photo editing app Be Funky.


Finally, here’s my representation of the moon photo. Funny how all cameras have flashes but I find pictures taken without a flash are much better. I’m hoping that the snow effect looks like stars or space debris!


Adventures in TDC136 (AKA what i’ll do to keep my face off camera)

Friday, May 25th, 2012

The video below, despite it’s unimpressiveness, was a feat of strength due to the multitude of obstacles overcome in its making.  You might even say the creation of this “legend” was/is/will always be legendary.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating.

The truth:

1. I tried MPEG Stream (after reading about it on CogDog’s blog) to no avail…used the beta version to download from YouTube.

2. I tried YouCam to screen record YouTube and bring into MPEG Stream…to no avail.

3. I tried remotely accessing Camtasia on my work desktop…to some avail.  I could record remotely but for some reason it didn’t detect an audio device.

4. This left me having to make my own soundtrack, which entailed a jungle wav, a tarzan wav, and a lion wav.

In addition to all this finagling, I used photoshop to make the opening image.

I uploaded the video at a 11pm and went to bed feeling triumphant if tired.