“HELP! Alan and Martha are Missing in Minecraft !!” by aforgrave, on Flickr
Our two Camp Magic Macguffin co-coordinators, Alan (@cogdog) and Martha (@mburtis), have gone missing in Minecraft. News is sketchy at this point, but it would appear that they vanished at or near the surface to a “ZoneStone Mine” at the border between our world and that of Minecraft, during a series of explosions at or about 19:20 EDT on July 30th. If you have not yet seen it, you may wish to view the news video feed embedded at the bottom of this post. (Caution: May upset some viewers.)
We are marshalling support for our colleagues at this moment. If you can provide assistance of any kind, please add your information to this form.
We are all hoping for the safe and soon return of our beloved friends.
The following news feed provides further details surrounding the disappearance of Alan and Martha. (Again, some images may be disturbing.)
We will be using the tag #106lostinminecraft in aid of the search proceedings.
12:03 PM July 31st Update: Close viewing of this artifact seems to reveal a number of “loops” in the video feed, frequently accompanied by an out-of-sync audio commentary. In the simplest explanation, it may be that our colleagues were somehow spirited away PRIOR to the apparent explosion, and their likenesses remained visible due to the re-played images. In a more chilling, yet possible explanation, Alan and Martha may have been caught within some kind of “Moebius effect,” often implicated within looping or repeating instances of time.
The Moebius Reflux Wave majestically sweeping over and returning Earth home. by Stamp
With visions of screaming drill sergeants and mean, sand-kickers going medieval all over everyone’s case, I decided the best thing to do was to play along and do my best to meet the challenge, and encourage others to do the same. Alan’s Charles Atlas comic taunt was sufficient to prompt a similar Charles Atlas response.
I was out of town during most of the intervening days, but with pretty much everything I needed in my backpack (with the exception of my USB mic, which was with me in my wheelie bag), the bits and pieces necessary to keep pace were close enough at hand. Tethering to my phone let me post from my non-internet enabled location.
I’ve already written about this one in “Tornado, Revisited,” but here again is the “drawing,” and then my subsequently animated GIF-version of the drawing process.
“Tornado” by aforgrave, on Flickr
Tornado: TDC185 (animated GIF)
Day Two: July 12th: tdc186: Make a photo of an outdoor scene free of any human artifacts.
My little holiday get-away had me hanging out on the south shore of the St. Lawrence river in Québec near Rivière-du-Loup, and walks along the beach during low tide were part of my daily practice. While collections of a variety of items, including “sea glass” and other human artifacts were of interest (a couple great stories to come over the next day or so), there were also wonderful opportunities to get images of nature, undisturbed.
“Nature’s Artifacts” by aforgrave, on Flickr
I snapped this image using my new 50mm lens, and later marvelled at the wonderful detail captured in this pic. Check it out in a larger form. On Monday, while in Ottawa (and dropping by the Rideau Centre Apple Store) I took a moment to view this image on a new MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Wow. Amazing.
Day Three: July 13th: tdc187: Make a video of what is playing on channel 106 on your cable? (or make it up).
This one was a natural “make it yourself” opportunity, since there was neither Internet nor Cable (and thus no Channel 106) where I was staying during the week. Although I sorted out an idea (based on a photograph I took on the beach), plotted an outline, gathered the footage, wrote a narration, and started to translate it, there wasn’t time on Friday to complete everything (a short film, entitled “Sur la plage”), and so what I edited together (while on the bus to Montreal on Saturday), wound up being a channel-surfing excerpt entitled “Les Escaliers” — a portion (and actually, only the final paragraph of the thirteen-paragraph narration) of the concept. Good thing my time was limited. The short film would have been waaaaaaaaaaay to much for The Daily Create. As it was, this took hours.
Kudos to Spencer (@robertssw87) for the channel surf inspiration. I switched it up with a bit of a rationalization behind the meaning of the “ds” for Channel ds106 on cable. And waiting for the “static” file to download over my tethered connection while on the bus heading towards Montréal was worth it in the end.
Day Four: July 14th: tdc188: Make an annoying 30 second pre-recorded telemarketing call.
While many of my TDC items early in the week were influenced by my visit to the beach, this one wasn’t. This attempts to include some of the more annoying aspects of recorded messages which I get — most notably a continually received message that always starts in the middle of the message loop. I’ve also incorporated the content from a regular spam text/email notification that my Android phone number (don’t have one, likely never will), was randomly selected as a winner for a free MacBook Air w/2 TB drive (out of stock). I know you can’t get 2 TB notebook HDs yet, and pretty certain you can’t get 2 TB SSDs yet either.
Day Five: July 15th: tdc189: Philosophy series; Tell us about “Technology You Can’t Live Without.”
By the time the prompt for this Create had been posted, I had arrived in Montreal. My initial inclination was to choose from between the iPhone (likely contender), iPad, MacBook, or Sony NEX-5 camera, technologies I enjoy using on a daily basis. But that’s not what I wound up choosing, as Karen (@KarenJan ) was quick to notice:
I’d been spending some time working on learning to make my first cinematic animated GIFs (still working, but a post coming soon), and had been thinking a lot about my once-most-favourite movie, Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner (it lasted as the fav for almost 20 years, and is likely now my second most favourite, supplanted in the early 2000s by Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.) When I first saw Blade Runner, I was living in Toronto (now the most populous city in Canada, fifth-most in North America). At the time, the incessant rain in the film, together with the ongoing images of decaying buildings, made me ponder the question, “Where would I (along with the millions of other folks in Toronto) go to get water,” if suddenly one day I turned the tap, and nothing came out? And this was before the modern commoditization of (un-sparkled) bottled water. It wasn’t too many minutes after reading the prompt that I had my “technology I can’t live without.”
Walking around the city of Montréal that day, in an incredible heat, and climbing all the way up the switchback paths to the summit of Mount Royale served to provide wonderful grist for my iPhone video camera. As it turned out, the heat the next day in Ottawa only served up additional images, and so this little Daily Create turned into a bit of a mega project. The spoken commentary at 2:00 minutes was done in one take — I edited it a bit with Audacity to remove a couple “ums” and some slightly-too-long “thinking gaps,” and then layered it back over the original video for that segment back in iMovie.
Having this TDC lens in front of my eyes for the day was a prime example of how The Daily Create can really jump start your creativity. Despite the time spent on this one, I really enjoyed putting this together. The free water handed out by the Vitamin Water folks was pure serendipity (wonderful shirt!), and the contrast provided by the vending machines at the summit of Mount Royale — and that long red hose watering the flowers, presumably pumped all the way up from the river level in the city far below — were moments of pure “found example” joy. The non-functioning “dry” fountain at the end was a great closer to punctuate the message. And the title of ‘s song from Jamendo is just another wonderful little bit to make this work.
Day Six: July 16th: tdc190: Flip the decibels. Make a loud sound soft, or a soft sound loud.
By the time this one arrived, I was back home. And a bit tired. And certainly hot. So it wasn’t much of a stretch to join up Brahms’ Lullaby (I went with an anonymous MIDI version to avoid the potential of hurting anyone’s feelings with the manglement) and the fan, duking it out for the loudest influence on the pending sleeper. Clearly, the sleeper (me) won out in the end.
Day Seven: July 17th: tdc191: Illustrate attraction in a photograph today.
The reality of the pending Seven-Day-Challenge Mashup hit this morning, and I toyed with the idea of returning to the tdc189 “Technology I Can’t Live Without” iPhone “attraction” as a means of tying the week’s work together, as a chunk of it was facilitated by the phone. I also spent some time grabbing some video from Minecraft — scenes of how the critters there are attracted to wheat (it’s fun to run in circles and have a mass of chickens chase you), and how pairs of animals will be suddenly attracted to one another (and make a little baby animal) when you feed each of them a sheaf of wheat. But then I found myself shooting pics of coins attached to the magnets in my pdo iPhone case. And as I moved around the room seeking some better light, I suddenly found the inspiration in shadows and location to create something more than just a photo of some coins stuck to my phone.
“Celebrate ‘The Daily Create’ poster” by aforgrave, on Flickr
If you’re not yet following The Daily Create, the assignments are posted daily at 10 AM Eastern Time. Check out The Daily Create online and follow @DS106TDC on Twitter.
Seven-Day-Challenge Wrap Up (and beyond)
Given that these items represent the individual The Daily Create elements for Alan’s Seven-Day-Challenge — the next task will be to complete a mash-up of items from the past seven days into some form of narrative, the final stage in completing the Seven Day Daily Create Challenge (and Mashup Thereof).
That, and continuing towards my self-challenged #21daychallenge. As of tdc191, I’m on the 11th consecutive TDC.
Who else is looking to extend their Seven-Day-Challenge towards a consistent daily habit? It’s fun! Unleash your creativity!
On Wednesday, @cogdog issued a seven-day-challenge for The Daily Create, and the prompt for Day One (June 11th), was TDC185: Draw a Tornado. Given that my drawing tools at hand were somewhat limited, I elected to “draw” the requisite tornado using a stylus on my iPhone, and used a photo from the day as my background and ink source. This is the original photo, taken using the Pano app on the phone.
Original PANO photograph (before Tornado)
To introduce the tornado, I used the clone tool within the iRetouch app, borrowing sections of the existing clouds for paint, trying to introduce swirls (not too successful with that), and saving my work periodically. When it was done, I posted it to Flickr and tagged it with the required tdc185 so it would be added to the assignment page along with the others.
@DoremiGirl was a bit taken aback by what I had “drawn,” …
… but I’m comfortable with the artistic license offered by these sorts of daily challenges. Although am keen to continue to develop my actual drawing skills (for real, with paper and pencils), this was the result for the day.
It wasn’t until I was offloading my photos from the last two days that I came across the successive “saves” of the process, and realized that they might collectively make a nice animated GIF. As it would turn out, Photoshop CS6 has a Timeline feature where an Animation feature stood in CS3, so it took me a few minutes to get that sorted out (good learning!). I added in some hand-made “in-between” frames, and here is the result. (Sorry if it doesn’t represent the proper stages of formation of a tornado — these actually represent the stages I took in drawing this tornado!!
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.
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.StartingNOW.
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
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?)
I was pleased to be able to sort out the various tools without turning to documentation — although I didn’t sort out how to effect a pan from one channel to the other (left to right, in this instance). This will have to be a challenge for the next task. I also missed a simple way of naming the tracks to allow for their easy identification (although the waveforms do develop an identity after you’ve listened to them a few times). However, I did enjoy being able to toggle the interface for each track down to a very slim profile, as that made it easier to align two tracks that didn’t lie adjacent to one another in the stack. Cutting sections from one track was intuitive, and pasting sections into a newly created track worked just as expected.
While most were edited into the story pretty much in sequence, I did a fair amount of adjustments to the levels of each at various points using the envelope tool, and spent some time blending the Simulation of NASA (rocket) launch clip and the 20061105Furnace clip to get the rocket whine and engine launch. Each of the other three files was clipped, separated into sections, and in some instances (the fly) used multiple times to support the story.
The Andy Griffith Theme Song was sourced at: TelevisionTunes, with the intent of bracketing the story with an audio intro and outtro.
How would you like to have the support of six seven classic authors sitting at your table, collaborating with you as you compose your next great piece of writing?
My friend and colleague Doug Peterson has a new blog post waiting every morning at 5:01 am, and this morning’s post prompted me to immediately launch the web browser on my iPad to test out his latest find on the web, Google’s demo Masters Edition. Shortly thereafter, I was sitting at my computer, running a screen capture as I pounded out the opening lines to my next great epic.
Now granted, I didn’t give The Masters a lot to work with. And I would assume that in their day they needed editing for context and syntax in their writing, too — in this instance, their contributions didn’t necessarily always get the gist spot on. Perhaps I was expecting that their additions would automatically improve the quality of the writing piece, and rather, need to see them more as collaborators, merely contributing suggestions. It must be up to us as the writer to make the final call.
Here is my tentative text, augmented with colour to highlight each author’s initial contribution. You will note that a couple of extra lines were added by Poe and Shakespeare after the video capture was stopped. Clearly, those two weren’t paying attention at the time.
It was a gloomy and stormy night. Snoopy comfortably esconced huddled over his typewriter. That dratted Black Baron was up to no good again.
Suddenly, Woodstock as well as his tiny little yellow friends appeared, flittering around the dog house, attempting to cheer Snoopy up.
Under the canopy of darkness, it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage, the triplane of the nemesis of all good. “What shall I do presently?” imagined Snoopy, as he lowered his goggles and wrapped his scarf tightly around his neck. “This wilt be the undoing of me and my tiny little feathered friends!”
As the shining eye of heaven rose, and Snoopy’s Sopwith Camel rose into the sky and headed into battle, the birds began to issue forth their morning war cry, and the day was good. I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat. … Let not sloth dim your horrors new-begot.
Tally and My Assessment of the Contributions
I’ve indicated below my take on the contributions (how many of their suggestions “might work” out of the total number of suggestions offered).
• Nietzsche 0/0 no contributions • Shakespeare 1/4 I kind of like “shining eye of heaven” in place of “sun” • Dostoyevsky 0/0 no contributions • Dickinson 0/0 no contributions • Dickens 0/1 totally out of context, man! • Poe 2/7 points for effort, Edgar! Not sure about that cat comment though.
While I don’t know that I would select any of Poe’s suggestions specifically, at least, “gloomy,” “as well as,” “presently,” and “imagined” kind of fit into the flow. So half a point each. But changing the Red Baron to the Black Baron is right out.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give Shultz a nod: • Shultz Great characters, that dog house setting is a little sparse.
So. This initial attempt results in a question. Would a longer engagement with the Google Docs: Masters Edition result in improved product? (Maybe a bit more engagement on my part might help?) Perhaps the act of contemplating the suggestions of others is the intent — whether their suggestions themselves are incorporated, or rather simply serve as springboards, and create pause for reflection. Would I press on with more formal narrative writing, looking to see improvement from this tool? Or is it more of an amusement?
Perhaps you can give it a whirl and offer your own thoughts?
Now that we’re into audio week, it was hard to pass up the Mainstreamed Chipmunkd’ Audio Assignment 494. After hearing Jolie’s “You Can Call Me Al-vin” last night, I just had to try it myself. While I found the Genesis classic “Carpet Crawlers” mighty wonderful at any speed, I decided to up-chipmunk The Chipmunks’ recent version of LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem.
I spent a bit of time working around with the settings in the djay app, by algoriddim. The interface is wonderful for mixing and playing with your recordings. Somehow, I wasn’t able to get the sound effects working last night (too tired to search the documentation), but I had lots of fun with the looping effect.
In looking for a film to fit into the I Can Read Movies assignment, I decided would start by repurposing my initial Monkey House vector graphic and work with Terry Gilliam’s 1995 film, 12 Monkeys. Like Gilliam’s 1985 film, Brazil, the film is set in a dystopian future, but also introduces the wrinkle of time travel. Visually stunning and mind-bending, the film is worth viewing if you haven’t seen it.
I decided to work at extending my skills using Illustrator by trying to recreate the graphics template from the original book series. While that was easily doable, the further task of “aging” the book put a bit of a crimp in my timeline. I tried following the Photoshop tutorial by MOME, but struggled to get the right textures, and so, in the interests of time, I sought out some aged paper textures on the Internet, and eventually settled on Old_Scroll_Texture_II_by_Isthar_art, going back to Illustrator to get a partial effect. Unfortunately, of necessity, the layering put the effect under the text, so the text and images on the cover don’t really look aged to match the paper. However, as I was getting ready to post this, I decided to go back and try the tutorial once more, and managed to figure it out in Photoshop. Maybe I was sleepy the first time!
So here are two versions. First the Illustrator-only version, and second, the fiddled-with brushes-in-Photoshop version.
“I Can Read Movies: 12 Monkeys” by aforgrave, on Flickr
“I Can Read Movies: 12 Monkeys” by aforgrave, on Flickr
However, in doing a bit of research into the movie, I came across an amazing antecedent for the film, discovering that Gilliam’s film was actually a re-make/re-imaging of a quirky black and white still-motion sci-fi film from 1962 by Chris Marker, entitled La Jetée.
Searching online revealed a section of the film. Check it out.
Cool, eh? If there isn’t already a ds106 video assignment focusing on telling a narrative like this using using still images, there should be. This film produces a wonderful result. It’s reminiscent of the missing sections of Frank Capra’s 1937 Lost Horizon that have been replaced with existing promotion stills (to accompany the remaining audio track). It’s an eerie effect. And quite dramatic. It creates an interesting space for you to fill in some gaps on your own. Maybe I’ll aim for something like that when we get to video…
Now, as an add-in bonus, while searching for existing images for 12 Monkeys, I found this:
Brad Pitt from 12 Monkeys as an animated GIF (not mine!)
I’ve been looking for a film to explore the cinematic animated GIF assignment, Say It Like Peanut Butter. Perhaps I’ll take a further look into 12 Monkeys…
And, if that weren’t sufficient monkey-related input for summer reflection, my copy of our Camp Magic MacGuffin Monkey House name inspiration arrived recently in the mail.
“Summer Reading for Monkeys” by aforgrave, on Flickr
Wow. The design assignment opportunity this week at Camp Magic MacGuffin has offered a gazillion ideas — I have a major list I could chip away at — and making the time to get to get to them has been a fun challenge. The Postcards from Magical Places Design Assigment 363 was a blast!
I’ve had this shot of the camp centre for a while now, and liked the idea of riffing on the ds106 “Make Some Art!” battle-cry by substituting the word “Craft” — both as a nod to the creativity evoked by Minecraft, and also the care that the word “craft” seems to embody. So as an invitation to non-campers who might receive the postcard from CMM, that seemed to be a good caption for the card.
“Postcard from Camp Magic MacGuffin (Front)” by aforgrave, on Flickr
Having spent all that time returning transparency (pixel by pixel) to the two block images so that I could use them to “build a tree” for the Monkey Social invitation, I repurposed them to create the two main words in the postcard title. The 3D nature of the lettering suits the Minecraft theme. While I’m not as happy with the text for “some” as I might be, in some ways it is reminiscent of some post card text I’ve seen that really doesn’t mesh with the image beneath. So on that note, it’s staying. All the bits on the front were assembled in Fireworks in a .PNG, and then flattened to .JPG to post to the web.
“Postcard from Camp Magic Maguffin (Back)” by aforgrave, on Flickr
I had a lot of fun working on the back of the card, which had me editing the CMM logo in Photoshop to remove the colours to produce the postmark outline, creating the border of the stamp, and editing the scanned handwriting (again, more removing pixels to get a nice transparency over the existing postcard back). It seems like every time I need to make something transparent, I need to google how to do it. There must be better ways.
The stamp was especially fun to do. I’m going to do a series of stamps — I have a good number of screen captures of CMM in Minecraft, and a stamp series seems like a nice way to collect them. Given the designation bestowed to the “camp pet” in the week four assignment video, I figured it was best to start the series with that image. Gotta keep him happy.
“CMM Stamp#1 ‘Nobody Bava Head’ “by aforgrave, on Flickr
Were there more space on the postcard, it would be nice for a weekly letter home. As it was, so much has happened this past week, there really isn’t room to even begin.
So the Slide Guy took a bit of a visit to the MineCraft incarnation of Camp Magic MacGuffin this week, looking for appropriate places to practice his sliding skills.
He was captured trying out the stairs at the Bunk Five Archery Range …
“SlideGuy at CMM Archery Stairs” by aforgrave, on Flickr
… checking out the Bava lava at the camp centre, …
“SlideGuy at CMM Bava Lava” by aforgrave, on Flickr
and giving a good ol’ head-first go at the Fall Out The World Fun Ride.
“SlideGuy at CMM Fall Out The World Fun Ride by aforgrave, on Flickr
As it would turn out, however, he seemed to spend the most time at the Waterslide over at CampX. Here is Slide Guy enjoying the waterside. Over and over!
SlideGuy at CMM Camp X Waterslide
UPDATE: I took a close look at all of the Slide Guy images to see if anyone had done the waterslide — and somehow missed Martha’s. When I saw the work of Noise Professor Maybe Next Time D’Arcy and Tim Wins, I decided to go with an animated GIF. So clearly Slide Guy was on that waterside during the day, AND still at sunset. Or maybe at sunset, and STILL the next day. At any rate, he must love sliding.