Tie And Jeans

Archive for the tag “ds106”

Gif Flashback

from the excellent The Tick vs Arthur’s Bank Account

full episode

Shark GIFing for ds106

jim groom posted a GIF of Henry Winkler’s infamous/iconic shark jump this morning.



I can’t imagine a world where media-saturated Bava had missed the origins of this trope.  And if that’s really the case, then maybe he missed the Arrested Development sequel as well.


I'm off to Burger King


I’ve really been enjoying this process.  Alan suggested that I detail the Photoshop steps for GIFing (simple, but often hard to find), so I tried to live record a tutorial video as I made this one.


[youtube http://youtu.be/t2SAw68GjL0]


The other voice Annika.  She waved at the computer a lot.



I just happened to be here.

I mentioned it yesterday and couldn’t sleep last night for thoughts of GIFing Hal Hartley’s Trust.  This was easier in Schizopolis in many ways, because Hartleys films are already focused on faces and moments.  But, oh… the faces, the moments.  In the kitchen this morning, in between coffee and rinsing a quart of hair gel off of Annika, I watched the last 3 minutes of the film and bawled.  Schizopolis was our Saturday night party film, the “OMG you have to see this!” film, even though most people passed out or lost interest before the dentist-transmigration.

Trust came on after that, and always ended in tears.  My conscious (but always denied) attempt to live in the stilted Hartley language was certainly a contributor to many of friendship disintegrating fights in college.  It’s an old film – almost as old now as The Conversation was when I first saw Trust in 1998.

Even as the fashion ages into comedy, there emotional core will shift and grow with you.  Here’s my attempt to do some meager justice to this in a handful of frame grabs.

The lines and music under that last GIF add everything.

“Why have you done this?”

“Done what?”

“Put up wth me like this.”

“Somebody had to.”

“But why you?”

“I just happened to be here.”

That’s pop song strength – lines that can grow with you from bleak reflection on relationships into a tear-wrenching reflection on the arbitrary unconditional love of parenthood.  They just happened to be there, and I needed them.

I Believe So Strongly in #ds106

For a few years, I’ve watched the explosion of amazing film-clip GIFs take over the web. Even as the #ds106 crew churned out fantastic artifacts in class after class, I consistently viewed that as a consumer.  Clearly it involves a lot of aestetic judgment and technical skill.  It belongs in the “complicated with Photoshop” bucket, aka the “Not for me!” pile.

WRONG!  Make art!

So while I know that my craftsmanship is weak, at least I can step it up on a curatorial level.  These are all from one of my favorite films, Soderbergh’s cinematic throat clearing excercise Schizopolis!

I believe so strongly in mayonaise

“I believe so strongly in mayonaise.”

That last GIF is cut from an amazing sequence where Soderbergy runs through a dozen hideous faces in a bathroom mirror, and then snaps back into normalcy in a split second when someone else walks into the restroom.

The other cult gem of my DVD/VHS collection is John Greyson’s Zero Patience.  Sadly, most of my immediate thoughts for GIFs involve incidental or pupet nudity.  I’m living with a holistic public identity, but I recognize the benefits of keeping the bathouse barbershop trio out of my google results.

Oh, and while I’m at it, have a little Fred Rogers.

Veggie Juice and Feedback Loops

This post is about living an integrated life, confident that my ideas and interests will loop around.

I’m not sure I believe in nutrients.

I’d love to say that I had some highbrow Pollan-esque justification for this, a rejection of overhyped pop nutrition science, but really I think it’s just cause I’m a curmudgeon. Nutrients? Micro-nutrient? Colloids? Humbug.

My unbelief is roughly equivalent to the unbelief of collegiate agnostics. The problem seems huge and complicated, significant enough to transform how someone lives their life, but nuanced enough that no evidence can exist without scores of footnotes and caveats. Worse yet, the people who are trying hardest to sway you can be real jerks about it.

Recently I decided to take Pascal’s Wager on nutrition and buy a juicer. Pollan says it we can’t be sure the multivitamins are actually beneficial but demographically it make sense to be a person who takes multivitamins. I’m putting juicing in the same category. Even without micro-phyto-nutrients and minerals, I don’t see a lot of downside to replacing a cereal/toast/chorizo breakfast with 2 pounds of spinach or kale or cucumbers or celery.

I handeled this like nerds do. Read a gadget review, watched juicing videos for 3 days, watched the juicing infomercial of the moment, and bought a juicer. I subjected my G+ friends to the inevitable barrage of “what’s Andrew juicing today” pictures.

And then I made a math video.

Any questions?

My life is a constant cycle of new fascinations, and I’m not under any delusion that the subjects I find interesting are intrinsically interesting to students. But when there’s a knotty problem that I can’t shake from my head, I’ve learned that there’s probably something that can refine into perplexity.

My job as an educator is to use what fascinates me to share and teach a framework for viewing a fascinating world.

Kids don’t care about veggie juice, although there’s a pretty universal reaction to watching me pour a glass of it. Hopefully that moment of strangeness can build a window into the perplexing interplay of cost, time, and (sigh) nutrients.


Melissa has been making me reflect on the power of names, especially habitual names, to silently shape the world we make and live in. As a result, I stalled out on some random web-form at the “occupation” blank.

Educator sounds daft. This month, I’m going with learner-in-residence which is equally daft, but as the double bonus of sounding pretentious enough to fully derail a conversation.

What’s the difference? Since it’s interview season, I’ll look at it through the lens of the obligatory sample lesson. On a teacher interview, you prepare a lesson for a unknown batch of students, covering Subject X for N minutes. So, you know, good luck. Build something that can build some connection between yourself and the students, show that you can coax responses and engagement out of them, demonstrate your content knowledge and lesson planning skills, handle the classroom space, please the admin or faculty observing in the back…

What I’m saying is, this is a bad system.

Like a lot of traditional assessments, we’re observing how individuals perform an elaborate ritual, and hope that it somehow reflects the traits and behaviors we think are central to teaching.

Here’s the instructions for a learner-in-residence sample lesson.

“Bring the materials you need to spend a few hours working on one of your current passions or interests. You’ll have a space in the common area, where students and other learns will be working on some of their current interests. Since most stations have AC power, let us know if you need a sink as well.”

Some poor candidates will show up with material that clearly doesn’t interest them; a pile of impressive looking props that they poke around like peas on a dinner plate. Others bring a beloved project, but vanish completely into it and never look up, never connect with the people around them.

Strong candidates will haul in a well lived-in mess, plenty of frayed notebooks and well loved tools. They’ll be able to focus on their tasks, even in this strange space. But when students swing by their table, they’ll share openly, speaking with enthusiasm and clarity about what they’re working on, how they came to love it, and why it keeps them coming back.

Impressive candidates will do all that, and still take time to wander through the other tables, starting up small conversations with a students about their projects, their practice, their learning.

This might not be teaching at all. But at least here the traits being observed are precisely those that would make someone a positive addition to the community.

Makers? How can making be a class?

I’m still not sure if it’s a great class, but it’s certainly a standout hour of my day. Here’s today’s class compressed into about 2 minutes. Yes, I cheated and used audio to elicit an emotional response. I also captured spontaneous student emotion and cuteness.

Projects being worked on in the video include:
Sparkfun TriColor LED Breakout
First Arduino sketches
Testing power supplies
mini fume extractor using 120mm case fan
3 digit 7-segment display counter from the Make: Electronics text
An APC-esque noise maker using two 555s and a pair of transistors
parts shopping for ELWrire glasses, binary clocks, and others

As an unexpected benefit, I learned far more than I expected about my class by watching the timelapse three times. J-, who is seemingly sedentary through most of the class, is actually deeply engrossed in inventory and setting up the soldering for his MintyPOV. A-, who moves around far more, is clearly hopping from one conversation to the next, wandering off when the person he’s talking to gets involved with some tools and stops answering back. That boy needs a new project.

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