I “Don’t Swing It Like I Used To”
For those that have experienced it, homework after twenty-one is very different from the late-night, Redbull-fueled rushes of younger days. Ninety percent of my work for #ds106 was done between the hours of ten o’clock PM and four o’clock AM this week. As it stands, I already function on caffeine and cheap sugar, but this first week of assignments has maxed-out my capability to stay conscious. My wife, Meg, has been very supportive of my effort to participate in the class, but I feel like I need to change my work schedule to accommodate instead of trying to do both at full speed. I was worried when I read Dr. Polack’s fair warning, and I now understand what she meant about this class being hard to pull-off while doing a full-time job. My cat has been enjoying the extra late-night cuddles on the couch while I work on assignments, but Meg is beginning to miss my evening company.
Creativity, Served Daily
Any given week of summer, my imagination is usually engaged in designing walls, laying-out plumbing, or scheming electrical circuits. Refocusing my off-season brain to digital story telling was rough, but the Daily Creates helped to ease the adjustment. The first Daily Create I worked on was Monday’s cypher problem. I instantly recognized the given message as letters and symbols represented by their hex values from the ascii table, so decoding was a breeze. My cipher was similar but involved translation by a multi-letter key dependent on letter position in the input string. Tuesday’s picture-puzzle served as a good warm-up for my computer-art skills. I had never heard of Bitmoji until I began the Daily Create for Thursday; seeing that many cartoon-me’s on one screen was amusing. The Daily Creates were enjoyable and often quick, yielding rewarding products that encouraged me during this first week.
I cannot wait for the next photoblitz. While taking that many photos in such quick succession didn’t leave much room for “getting the perfect shot,” the exercise in finding a “pretty-good shot” in a short amount of time for each prompt forced me to think more creatively about what pictures I needed to take. Combined with the provided photo tips, the blitz was an excellent learning experience.
The pet makeover assignment was a joy to work on. My cat, Dina, would make the best master if our world was like the one described in my post.
World Building, a Real Task
Two hundred and fifty-six pixels may fit in an area smaller than my fingernail, but they can tell stories to fill an imagination. I am most proud of my response to the pixel-painting assignment for the creativity involved in imagining the world and the choice I made in telling the story.
My Cinderfella picture was mechanically the simplest task I completed all week; clicking individual pixels is not the most difficult task. Designing the picture was more involved, with much color-changing and squinting to find the best pixel combinations. I felt like the pixel painter at times, zoomed all-the-way in and spilling my thoughts onto the canvas one pixel at a time.
By far though, the most difficult part of that assignment was imagining the story that the picture would finally tell. Meg gave me the inspiration for the story: reverse gender Cinderalla, espionage, a rock that creates permanent blue stains, and a pair gloves to hide the stains instead of glass slippers. I started drawing the picture, imagining the plot of the story as I went: Peter waiting for the evening to take his illuminum sample from the mine, Margery organizing a special company picnic with hopes of catching the spy, and the moment she recognizes Peter’s glove as the same one that covered the hand of the man that saved her from falling down a mine-shaft after she pursued him during his escape from the vault–all these scenes danced though my mind as I pushed myself to find the meaning in those little square dots.
In the end, I chose not to write one scene for the text accompanying my picture. While I wanted to share the plot and background with my readers, I wanted them to take the picture and imagine the rest for themselves. Even though I have not envisioned what the daily life of a typical Zethustran miner looks like, I know that it is hard and that miners are not always looked upon with respect. In the story, the stepfamily treats Peter poorly, in large part because of the profession they forced him into. The well-dressed man insinuates that Peter’s life is only valuable if Peter becomes a spy. These plot elements contribute to the notion that miners are considered a lower class. There are many other interpretations of Cinderella-stories, like The Lunar Chronicles series, that take readers beyond the original tale and captivate imaginations. My interpretation is but a coloring book, structured and waiting for others give it their own choice of colors.
The Road Ahead
I bought a wide-angle-and macro-lens kit for my iPhone; the kit works far better than I thought it would. The wide-angle makes a great difference, and I am looking forward to snapping more pictures with it. Also, I hope to go walking in the woods next week to find nature shots; the woods are plentiful at my place and have lots of wildlife, so the venture should have a good chance of success.