Category: dailycreate

Map of today

Today’s #ds106 daily create was:

Draw your path on a map. Stop being a slave to GPS trackers! Get out a real map (or even a digitized on), find yourself, and show us where you traveled today.

I really don’t want to put any information about my daily whereabouts on a map, unless it’s just my work–that information is public. But anything that reveals where I live, or what parts of town I tend to frequent…I’d rather that not be readily available online, for safety reasons.

So instead I drew a kind of emotional map of today, on a background of mountains and water because that’s what I’m surrounded by here in Vancouver. The mountains go right down into the water. Sea-to-sky they call it here. And this background seemed to fit the shape of the movement of my moods today.

Map of today

Today was difficult. I spent a good deal of time last night looking at the news about the attack on Bastille Day in Nice, and today I started off this morning still feeling awful and outraged. At a certain point I just crumpled in a heap in my office, unable to do any work. For some reason this particular attack hit me hard. Maybe it was because it had been a family holiday with kids–something I and my family do all the time. Maybe it was just on top of everything else in the past few months. I don’t know, but I really couldn’t take it. There were brief moments of despair in there.

Then I started doing some connections/collaborations with people in #clmooc, and I started to feel better. Something about joining with others to create something gave me a renewed sense of hope and I was able to face the day. That’s something I’ve experienced many times in ds106, and I thought it might work for this otherwise very difficult day. It did.

Here’s a blog post about how connecting and making things helped me through.

So when it came time to think about a map of today, an emotional map was the first thing that came to mind…

And I’ve been playing around with actual pencil and paper drawing lately, just because I’ve mostly been doing so much digitally that I wanted a change for a little bit. And I want to get better at drawing. I keep thinking “I can’t draw,” and though that, like so much of what I thought I “couldn’t” do before #ds106, is bullshit, it’s also true that I’ll only get better with practice. Here’s some practice.

Not quite #ds106

Not Quite #DS106

 

DS106 Daily Create for June 2, 2016: You look for a representation of DS106 in the world, and you find something close, but not quite it. Find something like that. (You had one ds106 job!).

I went for a walk yesterday while thinking about what to do for this daily create, and came across the following sign:Private road

That’s when it hit me: there are many, many things I love about #ds106:

  • the amazing people in the community!
  • the amazing learning opportunities that I’ve had that allow me to create art
  • the amazing people in the community that helped me to get over my fear that I wasn’t any good at art
  • the laughs, the supportive comments, the fun…yeah, you get it…the people!

And it is all possible because DS106 is an open course. People who are not officially registered in it can still see what’s going on with those who are, can see what they create, can engage with them and with those who are not officially registered and are doing it as “open” participants. I have learned so much and met so many wonderful people (many of whom I haven’t actually met in person but feel like I have), and this would not have been possible if it hadn’t been available to “open traffic.”

So I decided to create an image that says: you can get close, but not quite it if it’s not open.

My original image was pretty wise-ass, substituting “BS” for “DS” (as in, you know, bull****).


But I thought, well, sometimes it might be important to run a ds106-like course but keep it closed, only for registrants (and I thought of someone I know who did just that). And I decided I was being too nasty with my “BS,” b/c such a course wouldn’t really be “B.S.”

So I changed it to more like “close but not quite” as DS105. Almost there.

 

The process

I did this in GIMP. That’s what I first learned on in ds106, and it’s still my first love. I have access to photoshop now through my job, but I haven’t taken the time to work with it. And I can still do all I want (so far!) in GIMP.

  1. Upload original image and add “DS105” to the top, inside the red circle. I searched for a font on dafont.com that looked somewhat like the DS106 logo, but it was okay if it didn’t really fit b/c, well, this was not quite it! I used “Plane Crash.”
  2. Use “clone” tool to erase the “Road” under “Private.” This image worked really well for this sort of thing, because there was so much white space I could use to clone.
  3. Find a font that looks pretty close to the font used for “Private” and add “Course” where “Road” was. Here I started by just looking through the fonts I already have installed. Font Book on the Mac lets you easily flip through them and see what they look like, so I just did the tedious thing of going through a bunch of fonts and seeing what matched more or less. The Consolas font did well.
  4. Adjust the colour of the new text “Course” to match the colour of “Private.”
  5. Adding the “Registrants” instead of “Residents,” and “Open” instead of “Traffic” at the very bottom were a bit trickier. I wanted to move the original text so that it fit better on the sign with the new text (when I tried to add “Registrants” in the place of “Residents” it didn’t fit in the space well without moving “only”).
    1. Duplicate the sign image so you have two (as per the screen shot below)Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.20.56 PM
    2. Use clone tool on both the first and second sign images to erase the words you don’t want: here, I erased “residents” and “through” on both images, because those were the words I was going to replace.
    3. Add “alpha channel” to sign image second from the bottom–this means that if you cut anything out of it, the space where you cut will be transparent and it will show through to the layer underneath.
    4. Add text to original image (not the copy of it on the bottom of the stack)–“Registrants” and “Open.” I used the Consolas font for this too, even though it didn’t quite fit as well for this section of the sign as for the section above it, but it’s pretty close.
    5. Move this text you’ve just created to where you want it.
    6. Select around the original text you want to move, on the layer just above the last layer (here, “only” and “no”) and use Edit -> Cut, then paste and it will give you a floating text layer that you can move around. Move the word where you want, and it’s fine because where it was just shows through as transparent to the white space on the image at the bottom, where the clone tool erased the original word. See the screen shot below, which is hiding the image on the bottom of the stack to show the transparency where I moved “only” and “no.”
    7. Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.27.46 PMAdjust the colour of the new words to match the originals as best you can.
  6. The much easier way to do the “registrants” and “open” words would have been to just clone out the whole of “residents only” and “no through” and re-type them in the new font and move them around from there. But of course, I only thought about that after I thought: hey, I know how to preserve as much of the original as possible and just move it. I think the effect would have been just as good to just add new text there rather than trying to keep some of the original and move it.

 

I like how this one turned out, and it was fun and pretty easy to do!

Where is Shakespeare’s head?

Vader-ShakespeareSkull-dailycreate-April2016
This image is on Flickr, here

 

The #ds106 daily create for April 23, 2016: It’s Shakespeare’s birthday! “Scientists have scanned Shakespeare’s grave and determined that his head is likely missing! Your mission – show us where Shakespeare’s head is!”

When I saw this daily create I immediately thought of an old #GIFfight from 2013, which used this Vader image. Then I used that image for another daily create in December 2013.

This Vader pose just reminded me of those old iconic images of Hamlet saying “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well ….”

I followed pretty much the same process as described in this blog post, including doing a transformation of the skull so it looked more like it was facing Vader.

Skull image is from here: www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=50580&

Taking my giant cat West

The ds106 daily create for February 19, 2016 was:

But I decided in the end to just use one cat (less work to cut one out of its background than two). I thought I might have to put the cat in the back of a pickup truck with the back door up, so I thought the one of Marco standing up would be better because more of him would be out of the truck bed.

I first tried to put him into this truck:

From pixabay.com, public domain
From pixabay.com, public domain

But when I made him into a giant cat, and put him high enough in the truck behind the back gate so you could see he was a cat, there wasn’t enough room for his head.

Then I found this image on Flickr:

SAAB 99 pickup truck, Flickr photo by John Lloyd, licensed CC BY 2.0
SAAB 99 pickup truck, Flickr photo by John Lloyd, licensed CC BY 2.0

Perfect–I wouldn’t have to put him inside the truck back door, which would require cutting the door out of the image and putting it on a new layer, on top of the cat!

Process steps (using GIMP)

  1. I opened both images (truck and cat) as layers.
  2. Then I used control-click (right-click) on the cat layer and chose “add alpha channel,” which allows it to be transparent if you erase part of it.
  3. Time for the eraser tool on the cat layer:

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 8.54.57 PM

4. After working with the eraser in smaller increments, I ended up with this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 9.30.26 PM

 

I just wasn’t really thrilled with the result. For one thing, it looked like he was listing to the side a bit.

5. I then went to Layer on the top menu and chose Transform -> arbitrary rotation and rotated him a bit so he wasn’t listing so much. But it still looked weird.

6. He needs a cat bed or a pillow, I thought. Otherwise it just looks like he’s sitting strangely on that truck. I found a picture of a pillow on Pixabay. I did the same as in step 2 to add an alpha channel to the pillow layer, and used the eraser tool to get rid of the white background.

7. But the pillow was sitting at a weird angle; it looked like it wasn’t really sitting flat on the truck. This time I used the perspective tool on the left menu of GIMP and moved the layer around with different perspectives until it looked better.

8. I then cleaned up the edges of the cat a bit more. I realized that if you make the eraser tool Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 10.10.14 PMbigger, using the brush that looks like the one with a square around it on the right, it will give you softer edges on your erasing around the image (rather than using a smaller brush, which gives harder edges).

 

And so, the finished product:

GiantCatGoingWest

 

 

Amazing how he can manage to stay on through all the bumps in the road!

 

Captioning Frederic Remington

I had hoped to participate in the Western-themed #ds106 this term, and what with teaching a little less than usual I thought I’d have time. Not. Too many grant applications, research, award applications, and lots and lots of committee work. Alas.

But I did do today’s Western-themed #ds106 Daily Create: caption a Frederic Remington painting. The instructions were to “add a caption to the painting to bring the west into the modern age. Make it funny (yet stay respectful).” Well, not sure I brought it into the modern age, but I did try for the rest of those instructions.

Remington-YouDidntJustDrinkThat

The original is “Miners Prospecting,” public domain on Wikimedia Commons.

The one with the pan just looked so guilty…

 

I used GIMP to add the text to the image. I didn’t have any fonts that looked Western-y enough, so I went to dafont.com and downloaded “Duality.” I felt like it mixed oldish-looking with a kind of sense of joking fun.

Every time I do this I forget how to add fonts to my computer so GIMP can use them. Fortunately, there’s the internet. This page was helpful.

The hardest part was picking a colour for the text that made it stand out and be readable, and yet didn’t just sort of fade into the picture as if it were part of it. The yellowish colour worked best, as it fit the aesthetic of the image better than like blue or something, yet also clearly looks added on (which was the idea!).

Spaghetti (?) Westerns

Both images from pixabay.com
Both images from pixabay.com

 

The ds106 daily create for Jan. 4, 2016, was to do some research on Spaghetti Westerns. I relished this encouragement to do so because, well, the whole idea has never made sense to me. What does pasta have to do with Westerns? And why specifically spaghetti?

I realize that by saying all this I admit I know nothing about Spaghetti Westerns, which is certainly true. I know next to nothing about Westerns at all. The genre has just never really appealed to me, even though I grew up in what is technically the “West.” Small town Idaho had its share of cowboys and cowgirls, and rodeos were big. But that’s really not the same thing now, is it? We had sheriffs and saloons, but things were mighty tame by the time I was born out there in the wilds of small town Idaho.

I don’t know…something about the aesthetic, or about the over-the-top masculinity and violence, about the sexism…it just has all not been attractive to me.

So I am taking it on as a challenge to find something I like in Westerns, by joining #western106 this term, an open, online #ds106 that was supposed to be taking place with Alan Levine at KSU, but that didn’t have enough students (what were they thinking?). So it’s up to use open online participants to corral the wagons.

And as a start, I’m learning a bit about Spaghetti Westerns.


 

The daily create site suggested we look at the TV Tropes entry for Spaghetti Westerns. And there is where I discovered the connection:

  • “A sub-genre of the Western films, so called because they were produced by Italian studios (and tended to feature quite a bit of gore).”

Ah, okay, like tomato sauce. I had no idea that the Italians were into the Western genre. Shows you how little I know about Westerns at all.

I found out more from an Introduction on the Spaghetti Westerns database:

  • “The name ‘spaghetti western’ originally was a depreciative term, given by foreign critics to these films because they thought they were inferior to American westerns.”
  • “In the eighties the reputation of the genre grew and today the term is no longer used disparagingly, although some Italians still prefer to call the films western all’italiana (westerns Italian style). In Japan they are called Macaroni westerns, in Germany Italowestern.”

So spaghetti westerns are macaroni westerns too. The pastas multiply! And if that weren’t enough, some Westerns that focused on political topics having to do with Mexican revolutions were, according to the same site, known as “Zapata Westerns,” but sometimes as “Tortilla Westerns.”

I can’t help but wonder what Canadian-made Westerns might be called. Somehow “Maple Syrup Western” just doesn’t have an authentic ring to it.

I also learned from that same site that A Fistful of Dollars (1964) is a remake of a Kurosawa film called Yojimbo (1961), and Wikipedia tells me that Yojimbo was heavily influenced by “the 1942 film noir classic The Glass Key, an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett‘s 1931 novel.” I haven’t heard of any of these except the 1964 Western, and now I’m interested to follow this particular thread (perhaps mainly because, well, I just really like film noir).

From A Beginners Guide to Spaghetti Westerns, I learned that

  • “Initially, the Spaghetti Western protagonist was a loner/outcast in the Eastwood mold — not a traditional John Wayne-style “good guy” in a white hat, but a morally flexible type, more unpredictable and cynical.”

Okay, that sounds intriguing to me. I can get on board with that to some degree, though I’ll have to deal with the sexism and unnecessary violence somehow.

Also, the genre changed later with the political films (late 60s), according to the same site:

  • “The lone hero was out; collectivist themes were in. Many took as their historical basis the border battles between Mexico and the United States (leading to their occasional branding as “Zapata Westerns”).”

Since I haven’t seen these, I can’t comment on whether or not they have racist or xenophobic overtones (that will have to wait until I see one or two).

A number of sites said that one thing that makes Spaghetti Westerns stand out in part because they were much more violent than other Westerns, apparently. And when I learned that Tarantino was a fan of spaghetti westerns, well, after this, I wasn’t surprised. I haven’t seen Django Unchained, but now, at least, after reading all this, I understand the reference to Django (1966).

 

So after all of this I am more intrigued about Spaghetti Westerns, and will find myself some time to watch a couple (after I’ve finished a lecture on Apocalypse Now that I have to give for a class next week!).

 

#prisoner106 Week 3 summary

It’s an hour before our week 3 summary is due, I’m tired, and I didn’t do everything I was supposed to do this week. I wonder if they’ll turn off the electricity to my bungalow? Only allow me as much food as my meager credit units for this week can buy? Send me back to the hospital?

During my visit to the hospital last week I woke up and discovered some strange blue stripes on my legs. This week I found, on my phone, another strange image, this time even more disturbing:

IMG_1465 (1)

I’m rather concerned, to say the least. And what could those letters mean? Why are there three F’s and only one B?

Despite this disturbing discovery, I did manage to do a few things this week:

Daily Creates

I made a poster for the Public Domain Review (daily create 1282, for July 13, 2015). After posting it as CC BY, I thought: silly me, why not post it CC0, which you can do on Flickr now? So I did.

Don't wait for your beard

And I made an image with “magical light” (daily create 1283, for July 14, 2015)

Ghostly lights

Prisoner photo safari

One of the visual assignments we were to do this week was a photo safari. Here are the photos I took while walking around The Village.

I got a little sneaky with a couple of these, and where it said “City of Vancouver” I changed it to “City of Village” or just, “The Village.” That was fun, but it’s kind of subtle (except on one where it’s pretty big).

 

Animating #Prisoner106

Though I plan to make more, so far I’ve done one animated gif of The Prisoner.

 

Now, it’s lights out in my bungalow. Will they come back on tomorrow?

 

Poem 84, for a rainy Friday

IMG_1192The daily create for March 20, 2015, was to write a poem about a rainy day. It’s really pouring here in Vancouver, so this was perfect for us. I asked my 7-year-old son to help me write a poem. He came up with the ideas and some of the lines; I turned some of his ideas into rhymes. Here is the result.

Oh, and as we were trying to rhyme something with rain, he was being silly and said “the number 84.” After we chuckled about that, we decided to put the number 84 into the poem. He said we should call it poem 84.

———————————————-

I don’t like rainy days
in so many ways:
they’re cold, they’re wet,
and they make me fret.

I’m like a cat, I hate water
rain’s too cold, I like it hotter.

I wish there was dry rain.

 

 

 


New Year’s message (TDC 1089)

MessageInBottle-tdc1089-Jan2015

ds106 daily create for January 1, 2015: “If you could write a New Year message in a bottle what would it say?”

I did this with GIMP, starting with a background for which attribution is given below. Then I used Chancery Cursive font and made it a bit “dirty” by using a paintbrush with a grunge pattern and kind of dabbed lighter colours on the words.

This is something I need to tell myself over and over, not just on New Year’s Day! It is pretty powerful to think about what, when I’m old(er) and grey(er), I will wish I had done more of. It’s not that I don’t like my job–I love it. But I really shouldn’t let it take up as much time as I do.

Paper background:

Aged Paper Texture, flickr photo shared by Essence of a Dream, licensed CC BY 2.0.

 

Changing your past (TDC 1021)

The DS106 Daily Create for October 25: “A free pass to change your past. Today you get a free pass to go back and change anything in your past. What did you change and why?”

Here’s my entry…


 

 

See, I know that ten years from now I’ll say: Damn, I should have spent more time with my son and less time on work. I know I’ll say that; I can hear it already. I’m practically saying it now. He’s seven, and the next ten years are going to be crucial to our future relationship. And yet, I work 9-11 hours per day, 5 days a week, and another 5-8 hours per day on most weekends. At least, during the 26 weeks of the year that I’m teaching at my university job. (Anyone, anyone who thinks that university professors all have it easy because they only teach a few hours a day should just take a look at my schedule. And not only mine.)

So I know that in the future, I’ll wish I had changed the past that is now the present.

So why don’t I just take this advice now and keep myself from having to say this ten years from now (or even today)?

What I’d like to change in my past is whatever the hell it is that keeps me from taking this advice. Whatever it is that drives me to work longer than is probably necessary, to prep for classes and mark essays. Whatever makes me stay up to all hours of the night doing teaching, research, and service work. Whatever won’t let me say “no” to that next really interesting project that honestly, will push me over the edge.

But the thing is, I don’t know what that thing is.

But if I had the chance to change it, I’d probably do so, even though it means that my career wouldn’t be where it is now, most likely. But what am I gonna really think is important when I’m old(er) and grey(er)? Pretty obvious answer: my family. Duh.