Feb 042013

Today in examining the worm bin I saw more mold than worms.  It was difficult to discern the progress of the worm bin when more than mildly disgusted by the odor, especially with sight of green slime and white puffs.  However, I can’t complain – the bin does seem to be making dirt from food scraps.   The two slices of pineapple pizza I put in with curious enthusiasm earlier this week were only recognizable by the crusts poking out, the rest had disintegrated into pasty chunks under the coffee and bedding material.  The lint and hairball experiments were less successful over a week – they are better destined for large compost piles.   Or, perhaps worms are naturally reclusive and don’t much like being poked around.  The three I saw seemed in good health to my inexperienced gaze.  However, if the moldy problem persists, I’m going to trash the moldy farm and start over by sorting out the worms.  In some brief research, I found that my issue is probably lack of aeration and the insertion of starchy, not vegetable-based, food.  I should have left them alone in their bedding the first week – I could be killing them with enthusiasm.  Only coffee grounds and paper from now on, with the occasional vegetable.

Chapter 1. EncounterThis week I reimagined Daily Create.   I hope you enjoy the first installment of CAPYBARA&Bird,  created in the light of musing on the nature of storytelling.  It’s incredibly thrilling to finally, bravely embark on my first comic endeavor.  I’ve investigated and immersed myself in comics and graphic novels intensively for the past year, after a general interest in them for a decade.  In a blog for The Graphic Novel, I talk about my strongest inspirations.

This week was the advent of comment groups.  I started the week on-the-ball, following Twitter last Sunday night after finishing my previous weekly summary blog, to the point where I read the Week 3 article before the https://twitter.com/ampersanddragon/status/295772870825623552 groups were posted.  As soon as they were available, I jumped on the Flow and found my group mates.  https://twitter.com/ampersanddragon/status/295789563543179264.    But from Monday-Thurs I was swamped with homework and the overwhelming need for sleep – 1900 is a little early for a nocturnal girl, but it happened after work on Monday.  Probably doesn’t have anything to do with the fact I got max 6 hours/night in the past week, and no recharge over the weekend due to roommates and mandatory meetings.  Ugh.  Enough with reasons that ride the fine line of excuse.  I didn’t comment on my comment group members’ blogs this week, and especially not by the soft Wednesday deadline.  Each post on storytelling I read was intriguing, but I found none meaty enough to converse with in a comment.  I felt rude when trying to phrase a comment on how I would enjoy discussing an idea if only it were better explained, so I abstained.  I abstained again when the most weighty response I had to a bland post was pointing out a mediocre illogical spelling-check word replacement.  However unenthusiastic about commenting, I did reply substantially to comments on my blog and made rigorous improvements to the design and navigation of this website thanks to Cragghia.  Now the front page will have small blurbs of all my blog posts, with weekly summary posts grouped together on the right.  I even learned a little html shenanigans to make it so that I could have embedded flickr images that link to YouTube videos (by changing the href redirect)  I also made the CAPYBARA&bird images not redirect to their own page and not flickr.  It took several hours to fiddle with the layout, but I’m very proud of the result.

Some less exciting, but equally visually stimulating results are those from my Five Cards experiments.  Saying this may make me a stodgy art major, but I feel that creating engaging stories takes some craft and labor lacking in these Dada-style methods.  Perhaps I am merely a masochistic creator, taking pride in details well thought-out, and elegantly presented.  A different example of poor planning I found in the in[SPIRE] gallery,  where multiple stories presented themselves suddenly with blue dead ends following an initial intriguing hook.  I didn’t find an example that led to its intended fruition that illuminated the nature of digital storytelling, but it did reinforce the importance of checking hyperlink functionality.

Vonnegut was a tough nut to crack.  Immediately prior to watching his video, I’d watched this Ted talk on women in stories.

It made me really keen to examine stories in detail.  I realized that my life doesn’t pass the Bechdel test from day to day.  Not that it’s reasonable or realistic to measure life and movies by the same standard, but it was interesting to notice.  But this and the Vonnegut analysis have a striking similarity: three lines creating a generalized story analysis.  Both have value – Vonnegut shows the general contour of a story, and Bechdel can be a red flag for an inaccurate or inappropriate representation of women – but both have limited scope.  The Vonnegut analysis does not allow for the subtlety of longer stories and the Beschdel test has the potential for false positives.

For illustration of Vonnegut I analyzed Beauty and the Beast  the result was a more wiggly graph than any of Vonnegut’s, but it  similarities to the poor girl dancing with the prince diagram.  Though I was loath to, I endeavored to leave out as many details as possible in my account – while refraining from naming any names, as Vonnegut did.

G                                                            *
|                                                            *
|                                                          *
|                        ****                        *
|                      *      *                      *
|                   *          *                    *
***          *               *                *
|    *        *                  *             *
|     *     *                    *           *
|       ***                      *        *
|                                    *     *
I                                      **

My favorite example of digital storytelling is The Wormworld Saga.  It’s an incredibly long (pun intended) internet-based graphic novel.  It’s not complete yet, Daniel Lieske is only on milestone 2 of chapter 5, but it promises to be an epic coming-of-age tale for a young boy in a magical world.

So far I’m having an absolute blast in ds106.  I shamelessly self-promote my awesome website and find excuses to bring up this incredible online-class-about-the-internet in conversation.  I’m finding confidence in writing that I lacked in all the writing-intensive classes I’ve taken.  I was frustrated this week because the weeks outline didn’t make it evident that the professor was expecting numerous small blog posts referred to and summarized in the week’s summary.  Over the week I’d developed a draft post of the weekly summary with sections for each medium experiment, but upon evaluating it against the requirements Friday evening, I realized I had my weekend’s work cut out for me reorganizing it into disparate posts and rewriting the summary.  With the ideas separated, they also needed more individual development.  I also spent some of my time redesigning the website.  This is my latest-evening blog post yet, but I’m also very proud of the progress made this week.


 February 4, 2013  Posted by on February 4, 2013 Week in Review  Add comments

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