Make it a-MAZE-ing: a Prisoner106 adventure

Like Bill, I opted to try out the maze design assignment.  After reading the assignment details, I knew I wanted to do something with the Village map.

Map of the Village.  Also available in colour.

Map of the Village. Also available in colour.

I printed out a couple of copies thinking I might hand draw a maze.  That could still happen.  We’ll see.  The option of doing something by hand appeals, but the carrying out the idea is never as easy as the idea itself seems.  But that’s also the case for digital work.

I looked around online for some maze generators.  The first result lead me to a defunct maze generator.  I wondered if there was a way to create a maze in GIMP, so I asked The General the Internet.  Turns out, GIMP has a maze filter.

Finding the maze filter

Finding the maze filter

Lucky day!

Of course making this maze wasn’t as easy as slapping a maze layer on top of an image and calling it a day.

This is what I did:

1.  I opened a new GIMP project and imported my map image.  I then went to Filters > Render > Pattern > Maze

2,  You’ll then have the option to play around with some settings.

Settings for the maze filter in GIMP

Settings for the maze filter in GIMP

Note:  A small pixel width and height is hard on the eyes.

Once the maze was generated, I could no longer see the Village map.  Apparently the maze filter overwrites any active layers.  I figured I could use some transparency tools to see both the maze and the map.  I once again consulted The General and found this handy GIMP tutorial on layer masks.

I followed the steps in the tutorial and came out with these:

See.  The maze is hard on the eyes

First iteration.  See. The maze is hard on the eyes

Second iteration.

Second iteration.  Worse than the first?

I’m very meh about the results truth be told, but I did enjoy using the masks, which should come in handy in the future. I’m shipping this project even though it’s underwhelming.

If I find I’m need some meditative exercise, I may just pull out a pen and get to work on a hand drawn maze.



Spoiler Alert: A story in four icons

Here’s a four icon telling of “It’s Your Funeral.”

"It's Your Funeral" in four icons

“It’s Your Funeral” in four icons (scroll down for credits)

In this episode, we learn a few things:

(1) No. 6 is very active.

(2) Kosho looks AWESOME!  This is exercise I fully support.

(3) No. 6 demonstrates some really human characteristics in this episode.  He seems almost vulnerable, no?  He buys sweets for the woman who blew through all of her work credits.  He wants to help the blonde by reasoning with her watchmaker father.

Sure, sure.  He says that he wants to prevent the unimaginable punishment torture that will befall the Community, but is that really the only motivator?

No. 6 sure does seem to empathize with No. 2 this time around.

Double No. 2s

Is No. 6 starting to relate to his fellow Community members?

Other great things from this episode:

(1) The rad pink jackets:

Pink jackets. A change.

(2)  The stylish smoking jacket and hipster glasses:

Quite the fashionista

Quite the fashionista

The images are from The Noun Project.

                                                                   woman – Simon Child   .   bomb – Edward Boatman   .   medallion – Creative Stall   .   helicopter Pham Thi Dieu Linh

Campy camp posters: A Prisoner106 project

I never went to summer camp.  I didn’t have friends that went to summer camp.  For a while I thought summer camp was just something that existed in tween/YA books to move the plot along.  Parents were out of the picture.  Kids were left to sort out their own problems and/or engage in hijinx and adventure.  Camp was a macguffin of sorts.

Look at ALL the summer camp posters!

Look at ALL the summer camp posters!

Enter the best summer camp of all:  Camp Magic MacGuffin.

Camp Magic MacGuffin closed with the the end of summer 2012.  The facilities have seen better days.

But a tribute poster was still in order.

Camp Magic Macguffin poster

Camp Magic MacGuffin poster

I borrowed a couple of images from the Camp Magic MacGuffin site including the header and the “visit the camp store” logo.  I just erased “store” so that it says “Visit the camp.”

Visit the camp store I used GIMP for this poster.  The Magic MacGuffin header is a layer.  I merged the cabin with the “Visit the camp” text so the two were easier to reposition.

Camp poster in progress

Camp poster in progress

I also found some campy and hippie fonts to use.

And just for fun:  some Magic MacGuffin counselors meet The Prisoner:

Magic MacGuffin meets the Prisoner

Magic MacGuffin meets the Prisoner

Magic MacGuffin meets The Prisoner

Magic MacGuffin meets The Prisoner

Camp Poster assignment – 3 stars




GIFable moments from The Prisoner

It’s way past curfew and for some reason the sleepy time music isn’t playing in my bungalow.  The lights are a little dim too.  Perhaps this is a consequence for not earning all of my work credits last week.

Might as well make some GIFs.

Machine Readable - from "The General" (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Machine Readable – from “The General” (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Peek-a-book -- from "The General" (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Peek-a-book — from “The General” (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Personal Milk Pourer -- from "The General" (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Personal Milk Pourer — from “The General” (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Creepy Professor  -- from "The General" (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Creepy Professor — from “The General” (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Seesaw -- from "The General" (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

Seesaw — from “The General” (episode 6 of The Prisoner)

And one more:

From "The General", epsiode 6 of The Prisoner

From “The General”, epsiode 6 of The Prisoner

Adventures in Audio: Prisoner106 weekly summary (week 2)

Geoff recently observed that The Prisoner would’ve been an excellent radio drama.  I read his post after I watched (or listened) to a few episodes while doing inventory in the library.  One would, of course, miss the bold, visual aesthetics of the show: the horizontal stripes, the popping colors, the capes and umbrellas, the arches, the bubbles, the theme park-esque Village signage.  1967 was a beautiful time to be alive apparently.

Check mate

The audio is just as compelling.  What I notice most is the creation of tension through music and different effects.

Here are a few of my favorite sonic moments in The Prisoner:

“Pop! Goes the Weasel” is usually a cheerful tune, but in episode one (“The Arrival”), it’s used after No. 6 has a good freak out about his new surroundings and just as he meets No. 2 for the first time.  There’s an interesting dichotomy between the nursery rhyme/popular 1850s dance song and something-is-not-right nature of The Village.

“For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” is used in a similar way.  Typically the tune is a jovial ditty, but in The Prisoner, the song is used as a soundtrack to No. 6’s election win.  The jazzy song takes a creepy turn as No. 6 (the new No. 2?) settles into the green-domed building on top of the hill.

I also found the scene below (from “Free for All”) to be powerful.  From the chaos of the boat chase to the beeping light fixture, a suspenseful scene is set with music, sound effects, and disorienting dialogue.


Things I did last week:

I did a lousy job of tracking points and completing all of the required assignments, and I’m ok with that.

I told a very short story with sound effects from FreeSound.

Reading this audio assignment and this audio assignment inspired me to do this audio project (also short).

I also FINALLY did my Village message.

Better late than never, I say!








GIFable Memories

I was gone for a while.  I can’t say where I went.  I can’t say for how long I was gone.  I can only say that there was no Internet.  Luckily I had files on my computer, so I was able to make some animated GIFs.  It’s important to keep the mind busy.

I recommend following this handy tutorial for making an animated GIF with MPEG Streamclip.  It’s very important to save this page to your computer in case you are unable to communicate with the outside world.  Pro tips.

Oscilloscope from "The Prisoner" (episode 1)

Oscilloscope from “The Prisoner” (episode 1)

No trust.

No trust.

Subtle no6 -- this didn't turn out quite like I expected, but oh well.

Subtle no6 — this didn’t turn out quite like I expected, but oh well.


It’s hard to write a witty title when you know nothing about The Prisoner

Summer vacation is almost here, and I’ve got plans.  Big plans.  Some of those plans involve working a little bit–tending to stuff in the library and co-teaching some Scratch/Makey Makey camps with Carolyn.  A lot of those plans include kicking around the city with my 5-year-old son.

But I also need some DS106 in my life.  My GIMP/PhotoShop skills are rusty, and I still have that typography poster to finish.

Turns out another season of DS106 is on the horizon.  This time it’s centered around The Prisoner (not this Prisoner).  I haven’t seen or heard of either Prisoner.

It looks like a place called The Village figures prominently in the show.  It’s funny, but a place called The Village here in Richmond figured prominently in my life when I moved to RVA in 2006.  The Village was one of my favorite places to visit before I became a responsible adult in 2009.  It was full of artists and writers and riff raff and misfits.  The Vesuvio of the east, perhaps?  Sometimes there are nostalgic conversations about the Richmond of the 80s and 90s on the Richmond Counterculture Facebook page.

the old Village

The Old Village (before my time). The Village now lives at 1001 W. Grace St. (across the street from the original location).

I spent a lot of time on Grace Street going to see shows at the Nanci Raygun (which became the Bagel Czar which became Strange Matter).  Many conversations were had in the booths of The Village before and after shows and on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

So here’s to a summer of DS106.  #4life.

The VIllage

The Village.  Animated.

Now the tutorial for anyone who may need it:

1.  I found a picture of The Village through a Google image search.  It was a static image of course.

2.  In order to animate it in some way, I figured I needed some contrast, so I opened the image in GIMP and painted the neon sign a darker red so that it would resemble a neon sign turned off.

Painting the neon Village sign

Painting the neon Village sign

The sign is dimmed

The sign is dimmed

3.  I then found this nice tutorial that explained how to turn .jpgs into an animated GIF in PhotoShop, because as I previously stated, my PhotoShop/GIMP skills are rusty.

4.  Then I had the wonderful GIF posted three photos above that closely matched what I was imagining.

It’s nice when it turns out that way.

* Also, I’m rereading this post the next day, and it sounds totally incoherent.  That’s because I was writing it while watching the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie with my son, which means there was a lot of, “Hey mom, look at this!” followed by somersaults on the sofa and kicks in the air.

A #networkedcourse

The summer of 2012 was transformational.  The summer Olympics were held in London, England.  The US witnessed one of the hottest summers on record.  The Curiosity Rover landed on Mars.  Carley Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was the official summer anthem.  And campers everywhere flocked to Camp Magic Macguffin for a summer of hijinx, mystery, and animated GIFs.

DS106 was my first exposure to a networked course.  It was a class that demanded participation in the community through a host of creative assignments, tweeting, blogging, reading/comments on the blogs of others, and animated GIFs, animated GIFs, animated GIFs!

Dr. Amy Nelson lead a workshop called Networking Your Hybrid Humanities Course on the last day of AltFest.  Several of Dr. Nelson’s classes are hybrid classes.  Students meet face-to-face, but they also spend time analyzing and interacting with primary sources.  The syllabus for the fall 2014 Russian History course emphasizes the role of the student in defining the class….


“Much  of  this  work  will  take  place  in  a  networked  learning  environment,  which  will  use blogging,  Twitter,  and  other  learning
technologies  to  construct,  elaborate  and  refine  the  contours  and content  of  the  course.”


And the goals for blogging…


The  blogging assignments  are  intended  to  leverage  the  freely accessible  resources  of  the World  Wide  Web as well as the digitized collections  of  the  Virginia  Tech  libraries  in  order  to:
o Develop  your  skills  in  historical  analysis
o Develop  your  skills  identifying,  using  and  citing  historical  sources
o Develop  understanding  of  the  key  developments  and  dynamics  of  Soviet History


Nelson commented that she worried students would have nothing to say in the classroom if they took their took their discussions online via blog posts and comments.  However, that wasn’t the case.  Classroom discussions were so rich that one student wished they had notes of the dialogue taking place.  Thanks to Google Docs and student volunteers, archived class notes were born.
The comments on students’ blogs feed into the class mother blog so conversations are easily followed.  Students and readers don’t have to go to each individual blog to see what’s discussed.
Screenshot of comments on the mother blog

Screenshot of comments on the mother blog

Sometimes a class can have over 30 students, which means over 30 blogs, which means over 30 posts to read and leave comments.  Nelson has an editorial board in place to help with comments.  This team also selects the posts that appear in the coveted Editor’s Choice spot.  Students on the editorial board also contribute to the body of knowledge the class creates over the semester.  You can read a couple of examples here and here

The Editor's Choice slider

The Editor’s Choice slider

Selections for the slider are posted (in a perfect world) every Wednesday during a semester.  Nelson said she notices an uptick in traffic on Wednesday afternoons.  Students check out the mother blog to see what posts have been chosen for the week.

Dr. Nelson builds courses that are engaging and participatory.  She and her students leverage the best the web has to offer.  They make use of open educational resources.  They share their analysis and thinking in the open through their blogs and comments.

You can find links to student blogs, blog post guidelines, mother blogs, archived class notes, and more on this Google Doc.