Archive for the ‘thoughts’ 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?)


Create with The Great

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Snoopy - It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

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?

The Greats + 1

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?

By the way, while a search on Google resulted in multiple instances of Shultz’s image of Snoopy typing “It was a dark and stormy night,” these two images both came from a post titled “11 Great Writing Tips and Overcoming Writers’ Block.FWIW.

If you are interested in seeing the real time authoring, I’ll be posting it to the Youtube.

Bending Time

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
"Rift in the Space-Time Continuum ... Convenient". by aforgrave, on Flickr

"Rift in the Space-Time Continuum … Convenient". by aforgrave, on Flickr

“Making night time work,
A convenient answer,
Bending the space-time.”

FlickrHaiku, TwHaiku, InstagramHaiku

I came across this solution, while seeking answers.
While still not the long-promised DayDoubler**, it’s nonetheless a start.
– At the Petro-Can, 10:10 pm.  June 11th, 2012.

I would have seen a mock ad for **DayDoubler sometime in the mid-90s, posted on a bulletin board outside the technicians’ work room at our DSB. (The room later served as our training lab, our PD library, and the home to our original web and email servers.) At the time, Connectrix marketed a variety of software solutions that served to attempt to extend memory (RAM Doubler) and storage (Disk Doubler) so that the computers of the day could do more with less than they actually needed.

The fictional Day Doubler never materialized. LOL.

Searching the web this evening discovered this text:

DayDoubler is a new product from Connectrix that gives you those extra hours in each day that we’ve been asking for. Using sophisticated time mapping and compression techniques to double the number of hours in the day, DayDoubler gives you access to 48 hours each day. With the shareware hack MaxDay, you can easily stretch your day to 60, 72, or even 96 hours! Connectrix warns that at the higher numbers DayDoubler becomes less stable and that you run the risk of a temporal crash in which everything from the beginning of time to the present would come crashing down around you, sucking you into a black hole.

Should this occur, be sure to reboot with the shift key down.

Source: Nov. 21, 1994: Brady Johnson,
TidBITS: DayDoubler.


A few years later, a colleague would regularly compliment me by wishing he had two of me. At one particularly important juncture, he wished he had three.

Over the years, I have also tried to find the companion product Clone Yourself, to no avail.