Such Sweet Sorrow

December 16th, 2010

Not much time to post tonight– the eyelids just won’t win the fight. But there is this. The view as we pulled away. You know what they say about parting.

DSC_1289

Site Link

December 14th, 2010

My digital storytelling project is now live. I’ll have a more in-depth blog about it and my process soon.

Back Home to do… Laundry

December 14th, 2010

Before I begin this post I want to say one thing, to make it very clear from the outset. I hate doing laundry. It is the most tedious and aggravating job I have ever done. Possibly what I hate most about it is that it never ends. One you think you have everything washed and put away; the process of organizing, washing, folding and putting away begins again. So when I return home for Winter Break and my Dad tells me to do the laundry it is as if I have been sentenced to Purgatory. However, I really have no choice in the matter and have to spend the day doing the laundry for my entire family. So here is a post about what a typical day doing laundry is like.

9 AM: Now we don’t have a small family, there are 5 of us. As it happens, my 2 brother go through a ridiculous amount of clothing. (No wonder my mother is sick of doing their laundry) There have been repeated attempts to get them to do their own laundry in the past, but to no avail. This is actually another reason why I can’t stand doing my families laundry, BECAUSE I ALREADY DO MY OWN LAUNDRY! So really, I find it unfair that I have to do their laundry too. But yes. Middle-sized family actually amounts to lots of clothes.

9:30 AM: I do attempt to organize the clothes ahead of time, (Dark, Colors, and Light) to make it easier on myself. However I still feel swamped by the sheer amount of clothing that can be fit into that tiny room. Also my dog doesn’t make organizing any easier because she seems to be on a mission to undo everything that I have done. Why? Because of her blasted Tennis Ball. I am sure it appeared in many photos.

11:45 AM: I am 3 loads in and still have yet to see anything of my own laundry. Because of this I am doing everything I can to speed up the process. I just put a load of sweaters in; technically I should change the setting to Heavy. However that takes 58 minutes to wash. So instead I change it to Normal. Now we are at a reasonable 48 minutes.

12:00 PM: So many socks! Now when I am folding things, I admit I do have some problem differentiating clothes between my brothers and father. However, I usually take style into consideration and that does most of the sorting for me. Except for the one area where it really doesn’t apply… that would be socks. More often than not, I am left confused wondering which pair belongs to whom. Because they are all the same style, and size. Most of the time I just guess. Nobody has complained so far.

1:00 PM: Also, my dog seems to think that running in circles around me and messing up the laundry will make me play with her. She doesn’t realize I just get angry, because I have to refold all of those clothes.

2:00 PM: There comes that point while doing laundry that you realize that you are over halfway done! This is happening to me now. However, I also just realized that I spent the last 4 ½ hours doing laundry, so I am not as happy as I could be.

2:15 PM: Next load isn’t done for another 30 Minutes… that means nap time….

2:45 PM: After I fold this load I declare myself done. I can get to the other 2 loads another day…. I am exhausted.

I don’t really know what the point is, to be ranting about laundry. But I am sure that there are other fellow laundry haters like me out there too. So you can relate. It is obviously a necessity, but sometimes I feel like it can be made a bit easier on people. Really the only reason why I agree to do laundry when I come home for the holidays is because I know that it is normally my Mom doing all the laundry. I am sure she gets sick of it to, so to make it easier on her I consent to do laundry. And if anyone actually enjoys doing laundry, kudos to them! Care to do mine?

The Last One

December 14th, 2010

Well. This is it.

We move out tomorrow. Like all of our things.

As in there are no random bottles of shampoo for me to squeeze by with. No 21 years worth of toiletries stowed haphazardly in corners or cabinets or drawers. No towels even. Just barely any toilet paper left.

And we aren’t going to the store to buy more.

(at least not to bring back here.)

There are no pictures on the walls for the track lighting Dad installed to illuminate. There are just boxes. I get that they’re leaving.

But me? I don’t guess I very well grasp the idea of never fumbling through that red door with groceries or kicking off my shoes in that very convenient corner in the foyer. I’m laying in my bedroom, the same one from all those years– the twin bed, the tree house bed, this bed; the grey walls, the pepto-bismol striped wallpaper, the fresh coat of teal paint. My Dad used to climb the little pink steps to the top of the house he built me to kiss me goodnight. Mom would say prayers with me, asking God that I might wake up “happy! in the mornin’.” Emily read Precious Moments stories to me or kept me company when we watched a few too many detective shows. Luke and Stephanie used this as their office when they lived here for a year as newlyweds.

I get that the things are going.

But no amount of before and after pictures from over the years prepares me for what I know to be true: this is the last night.

Maybe it’s supposed to feel this way for a reason. Like the inability to wrap my mind around the situation is a safeguard. It won’t really seem like my last night here until I’m spending my first night away for good. And by then it’s past. A rip the bandaid sort of thing. Tomorrow night looking back this might feel a momentous night. But tonight feels like any other.

So I’ll go to sleep tonight like it is any other– thankful for the many nights past. For the 21 years of waking up in this home, if not happy, then healthy.

And on this, the last one, I look forward to the first.

Google Street View

December 11th, 2010

Google Street View

Farewell

December 10th, 2010

If I had to choose which assignment I liked the best I would have to say the Halloween Story. Making that movie was a blast and I think we came out with a great product. I liked to hear how it made people laugh and still serves its educational purpose. The assignment I did not like as much was the reading in the beginning, because I feel like we jumped into the deep stuff without learning much. I liked doing the film in six frames because it challenged me to put a crazy story like Zoolander into 6 frames. I also really liked doing the mash up, because mine turned out so much different than everyone else’s. When you asked us to do a mash up I immediately thought music and decided that’s what I was going to do but as I saw people posting mostly videos from one movie and speech from another I was skeptical, but I stuck with it and I like the tune that I ended up with.

These fifteen weeks have been great, I feel like I haven’t done my part though. I started off well with my digital story making posts on Photoshopping, but after a few, I could not think of what to do a tutorial on. I only had limited knowledge about Photoshop and I think it showed in my lack of posts at the end. Also, my other courses decided to bombard me with work at the end of the semester for some reason which did not help my blog. I feel bad that I slacked off in the end because I got behind on the assignments and they kept coming, then I did less work on my Photoshopping. I feel like I did not do the class the justice it deserves, but being less formally structured than all the others somehow it got put on the back burner. At the end when I was about caught up on assignments, my computer decided to format itself and start anew…great. If I were to make suggestions on this class I would say that you should hold people to their digital stories more, and make them post at least once a week. I think if I knew that my grade would drop every post I did not do, I would make more of an effort to do them. I’m not saying that my grade won’t drop because I did not do some posts, but you did not express it as much. I would also suggest that the syllabus be longer and more detailed. I would also suggest a few less assignments or at least let them choose let’s say 8 or 10 out of the 12 you will assign. That way people will be able to take one off when they may have a lot of work in their other classes.

Regrets

I feel like I did my part in this class, but only just getting by. I did not go beyond what I had to do with my blog. It may be because blogging isn’t my thing or because I ran out of ideas. Either way looking back I should have done more and put more time into my blog. I also regret that my computer formatted itself because it made me look like I was slacking more on my blog than I really was.  I feel like I did not show you how on point of a student I can be and I will be looking to sign up for some of the other classes you teach in the future.

Course Reflection

December 10th, 2010

In the weeks since registration for the spring 2011 term, I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve heard say they are taking digital storytelling, are on a waiting list or wish they had signed up to take the class.

Hearing about it so much makes me wish DS106 were part of a two-course sequence, because after 15 weeks, I only want more. I’ve never been in a college class that encourages students to think so creatively about developing content and gives such freedom to create a digital identity. In my reflection paper for my literary journal class, I said the phrase “you’ll get out of it what you put into it” is an appropriate why to put that class in context, and I think the same applies to Digital Storytelling. Yes, the workload was heavy, but you warned us about that on day one.

As a student I tried to approach assignments with the mindset that because of the heavy workload, I was picking up skills that would not only help me create a better final project, but also be useful in my future career field. In hindsight, none of the assignments actually felt like “an assignment” to me and I think that’s because with each of them, we were allowed to explore what interested us rather than being told specifically how to approach the task. You always gave suggestions to get us thinking, but made it clear we could go beyond these.

With some classes I think it’s easy to approach an assignment with an attitude of “How quickly can I get this done?” or “Why are we even doing this?” and I never associated those outlooks with DS106 because of the way the course is largely focused on the students’ process of creating, sharing and discussing content that is significant to them.

The assignments, projects and tools I enjoyed most were the ones I knew little about prior to taking the class, but craved to have more experience with in their use. I think knowing how to use tools like Audacity and work with video will help me a lot in the field I hope to pursue in the future. It was always helpful when you went over the tools in class and had us experiment with the tools in groups first. I know the both might be sacrificed to an extent in the online course, but there are ways I think that can be substituted, especially through the use of video tutorials. I know someone suggested filming the sessions of the class that meets, but honestly, that would probably make me drop the online course. I wouldn’t want to watch a 75-minute video of a regular class each week if I signed up for an online course. I’d be more interested in shorter video tutorials or screencasts walking me through a specific tool. For example, I think a screencast (or even just a post of screenshots) guiding us through switching to new webhosts at the end of the semster would have been helpful. Obviously meeting with you was a huge help, which I appreciate, but as I tried it on my own prior to meeting I had trouble following the directions and knowing where to go, click and download within cPanel.

To echo what was said in class last week, I agree a schedule of assignments would have been helpful early in the semester in addition to the syllabus, even if it were just as simple as “Week 1-Daily Shoot, Week 2-Uninteresting Audio Story, Week 3-El Mashup…” so we would have maybe known what to expect timing-wise in relation to assignments in other courses.

I really appreciated the feedback you gave all of us in our blogs and individual meetings. Honestly, I’ve never had a professor who gave the level of feedback to every student that you gave to each DS106er, and I think this is one reason why the class is such a hit. Your enthusiasm about our blogs and the course content was contagious. It was always great to receive feedback and your highlighting of classmates posts and projects always sparked my interest to explore their content more or reflect on it differently that I might have on a first reading. I know you’ve said you want to highlight individual work more next semester, which I think is great.

One area where I could have improved was in commenting. In the beginning of the semester, I was doing well with keeping up with posts and responding to their work. However, as my assignment load increased in school and work, I didn’t budget enough time in my schedule for commenting. I was visiting the site frequently and reading the majority of posts (skimming others), but my mouse didn’t always meet the comment link in the last few weeks.

Overall, I consider my experience in the class was a positive one, because I enjoy assignments that challenge me to be creative. What’s nice about ds106 is that because of it’s digital nature, the class gives students exposure to several different types of tools that at first might seem unconnected, but can really all be incorporated into one piece (like our final digital storytelling projects). The Daily Shoot Project…El Mashup…Uninteresting Audio Story…the tools associated with these are different-photography, video, audio-but each can become one component of a larger project on the web. This is something I was trying to do with my own digital story.

The Final Project was my favorite project, because for me, it gave me the opportunity to do something I love and incorporated so many of the tools we were introduced to in smaller assignments. Given such freedom to pursue and present a topic of my choice also was motivating. I constantly asked myself, “How can this story be told digitally-what tools does the digital environment provide that I might not be able to use elsewhere?” and from blogging about it to the final project itself, I think my digital project shows I put a lot of time and thought into sharing the Swope’s story.

Fan Fiction

December 9th, 2010

The show I chose to write about is HBO’s series True Blood. Not only because I find it really interesting, but also because it is the only show I consistently keep up with. The show is about the struggle between vampires and humans, and I know what pops into a lot of people’s minds immediately…Twilight. All i can say to that is NO, not at all. This show is a better version of twilight. Yes there is love going on between a human female and a vampire but there is also a lot more going on. They have Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton who are in love, Bill is a vampire and Sookie is a human, or so she thought. In the first season there are a lot of twists in turns including Sookie’s grandmother being murdered, and the murderer ended up being Sookie’s coworker’s husband, who isn’t actually Cajun like he pretends to be. Another huge thing that boggles the mind is that Sookie can read the minds of humans but not vampires. This makes you wonder the entire first season what she could be. I put the trailer here so you can get a taste of season 1.

Season 1 Trailer

In season 2, a church group starts to train a group called “soldiers of the Sun”, in which they are going to try to use to kill off vampires. The most powerful vampire alive allows them to capture him to see what they wish to do, knowing he can escape at anytime. After puting an end to the group he decides that there is no reason for him to go on living, 2,000 years was enough. He stays on the roof of a building past sunrise and burns. There is also another powerful being that is introduced, a maenad. There isn’t a very clear explanation of what that is but vampires cannot hurt her. I don’t want to give away too many details but they eventually get rid of her.

Season 2 Trailer

Another reason why I like this show is for its amazing cliff hangers at the end of every episode. It leaves you wondering for a week “what the hell?”. In season 3 the fight between the humans and vampires gets really heated when one of the oldest and strongest vampires kills a news anchor on national television. This starts a huge uprise from the humans thinking that if one vampire is that crazy, then they all are. We also gain more insight into what Sookie is and that she may even have the power to stop the strongest vampire. Werewolves are also introduced into the story in season 3, and they are even used to do vampires bidding as long as they are given V. Vampire blood, called V, is a drug in the show that helps you heal and makes you stronger for a certain amount of time, so the werewolves trade their services for V.

Season 3 Trailer

Season 4 airs this summer and I can’t wait.

Exam Week: Day 4

December 9th, 2010


I am writing this post in a great mood! The reason? I am done! Yes I am also exhausted, mentally and physically, but I am done. And I am going to enjoy this moment because I come tomorrow I will begin to worry and fret about my grades. It is inevitable.

It is always a strange feeling being done with exams, you feel kind of relieved knowing that for at least the next month all that will be expected of you will be to eat massive amounts of food. Yes the holidays are looming, or the consumerist version of the holidays is. In some ways that almost destroys the actual tradition of each individual holiday. Although I expect I will write more on that later. Instead I will leave this post short and remind everyone to relax. Even if you have finals tomorrow, it is almost done.

And here are some pictures from this past week.  🙂

ds106 Mad Men (or women!)

December 9th, 2010

Image by D'Arcy Norman

nobody blogs like the bava. nobody!

So, if D’Arcy Norman isn’t already doing sick mashups featuring yours truly as the “Mad Men” poster–which is brilliant!—then Tom Woodward is laying down assignment after assignment already on his bionic blog—and I quote:

The Shining Animated Gif
Make an animated gif from your favorite/least favorite movie capturing the essence of a key scene. Make sure the movement is minimal but essential.

All I can say is—are you kidding me? I know who my masters are, and I’m ready to bow down before them already—how sick is this digital storytelling course going to be? Every minute I just get more and more fired up, this is truly what I’ve needed for a while, and now it’s coming together.

What’s more, Dave Cormier, George Siemens, Bonnie Stewart, and Alexander McAuley have produced some really compelling and succinct video explanations about what a MOOC is, what to expect, and how you can be a successful part of one. The later video really helps frame my thinking for the whole thing—and gives the course some essential guidelines to start designing around. I can’t thank them all enough. Again, Canadian edtech crew FTW! When is someone gonna give me a job in Canada? Preferably Vancouver ;)

And let me add to the title of my post the following qualification: