Category Archives: Headless13

Headless ’13 – The End

DJ-Headless-V1Without an instructor how would we know when to stop? When would we see “The End”?  Thanks to Mariana Funes for realizing that the UMW Fall semester ended on Friday, December 13th, 2013, the DS106 Headless ’13 course was given an end date. #DS106 is #4Life, but the Fall 2013 DS106 “headless” experience came to as close to an official close as a headless course can on 12/13/13.

The final project specs asked Headless ’13 DS106 participants to produce a story around a character that explores at least three of the media forms we’ve investigated this semester: visual/design, audio, video, web, remix/mashup, with the idea of creating a narrative arc for a character that is played out in the products of ds106 Assignments, and woven together with context and writing as a standalone blog post.


As per the DS106 culture (The ‘DS’ stands for Digital Subversives, right?), we went rogue and our final project turned out to be a collaborative creation of a GIFaChrome Camera which included a website, blog posts , “employee” profiles that included links to DS106 projects they created during the semester, prototype images, and a live product launch on DS106 Radio. For me it provided an opportunity to showcase the work done by all of us. Mariana captured what she could in her Storify Collection.  And this whirlwind adventure culminated my own intense 6 month learning curve in digital storytelling on the web. In less than two weeks my part in our final project had me practicing and honing my skills with everything I’d learned – and then some. Fortunately, I had a week’s vacation that I needed to use or lose.  I used it!

A few examples:

I’ve been trying to finish and post my wrap-up comments for the course for over two months now, without success.  If it ever gets done it’s entitled ‘GIFaChrome – A DS106 Practicum’.  This “abstract” of that post is really being written so that I can publish my fun little animated GIF at the top of this post, DS106 Headless ’13 – The End.

Making the GIF:

Using Photoshop CS5 I used the selection tool to copy and cut out the DS106 foam letters, which were individually placed into seperate layers.  I then used the clone, band-aid, and blur tools to cover up the holes left behind and make the back one continuous layer.  The additional text, Headless ’13 and The End, used the Stencil font which I’ve found is pretty close to the font used on the DS106 site.  With the animation feature in the full version of Photoshop it was easy to add the letters and text without the need to merge layers.  This allowed me to play around with a couple of different scenarios before I settled on the version posted above.  The final touch was to add drop shadow layering effects to the letters and text.  Increasing the distance for the text lines made them stand out even more- giving the GIF a bit of a 3D look.

T-8 GIFaChrome Product Launch – Show us you’re headless

The count down is on.  The remaining DS106 Headless ’13 participants are rallying for the final project – A product launch for the GIFaChrome camera to be held on Friday, December 13, 2013 – Wondering what we’re talking about? What the heck is a GIFaChrome Camera? Check out the Storify below to watch the meme unfold.


Headless Rockylou invites you to have fun!

We are inviting everyone to participate in whatever way they would like and have the time and energy to do.  There are several small tasks that can be completed to make it easier for those of us with more time and energy who will be carrying the heavy load of pulling all of this together into something coherent.  As we count down to the product launch I’ll be sending out a daily contribution suggestions.

Today’s contribution suggestion is to add a link to your blog and the headless image you created at the beginning of the course, with a name we can attach.

Enter your information here:

Why are we doing this?

Those remaining active in the DS106 Headless ’13 open online course  have a couple of intentions for this final project.

* Do a live radio show on Friday 13th at 8.00pm GMT to launch our GIFAChrome Camera and to reflect on our Headless 13 experience.

* Create a collaborative story in the form of a website about our GIFAChrome Camera that incorporates as much of what we have created during this Headless 13 as we can – a final project assignment that we do together rather than individually. We’ve set up a couple of Google Docs to gauge interest and assist in the organization process.

GIFAChrome Camera GIFs Cory Doctorow

Professional photographer Jonathan Worth has put out an invitation for anyone to take his photos of Cory Doctorow, activist for liberalizing copyright laws and proponent for Creative Commons, and remix them in anyway you like. They will then choose from the best remixes and share any profits with their co-creators.

A series of photographs taken by Jonathan Worth of author Cory Doctorow are now available for you to remix, regenerate, and to make new art, especially in light of the themes and topics of his books. Your challenge is to make something new out of the photos.

This is a new experiment in public art, and a new way of thinking about digital media. Who could be a better figure than an author who releases all of his published works under creative commons license with an open invitation to remix?

This opportunity was presented to the DS106 participants for Remix/Mashup weeks, as well as turned into an assignment MashupAssignments1020. The process of creating these new images evolved through three versions and resulted in the creation by Rockylou Productions and a host of other co-creators as documented by Mariana Funes of the first GIFAChrome Camera with accompanying GIFAChrome DS106 Film.


Cory Doctorow GIFAChrome DS106 GIFStrip for Jonathan Worth post-photo remix invitation was co-created at Rockylou Productions.

And as part of the “rules” of the remix challenge, everything we create must be licensed under a creative commons license too. (Notice the CC license logo on the strip?) So no worry about patent infringement or licensing fees. Everyone is welcome to use this work and remix it for themselves. I’ve even included templates at the end of the post that you can download to make your own GIFAChrome image.

Another wonderful side of collaboration and co-creation is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Others are there to support the evolution of the project at hand.  While I’m covering the process below, Mariana brilliantly captured the contributors and expanded on the philosophical issues that can arise.

=> Check out the Storify collection of tweets and commentary from co-inventor Mariana Funes:  “The Birth of an idea.”

This week I have been following and participating in DS106 Remix weeks. As usual, there have been unexpected surprises and reflections. I expected to learn the difference between a remix and a mashup, but never expected to change my mind about what it means to own an idea. – Mariana Funes


The Manufacturing Process of a GIFAChrome GIFStrip

After perusing the photos of Doctorow, and the remixes already submitted, my creativity kicked into high gear. I happily discovered  two versions of the Doctorow head shot that could be turned into a GIF. [Head shot 1  and Head shot 2] How about making one of my GIF strips? [DJ BIrthday Dance GIFStrip] Yep… I found two more images from Jonathan of Cory working at his computer that could work. [Working 1 and Working 2]. The third would be the shot of him sitting in his chair in front of the bookcase.


Using Photoshop CS5, each GIF was made in its own Photoshop file.  Then the three image composites were combined into one larger canvas strip with one above the other as shown below.


Each GIF and/or image is stacked one atop the other to create an image strip.

I then placed a film strip template on top of everything.  DJ BIrthday Dance GIFStrip will walk you through the process. With the first draft finished, I alerted the DS106 community on Twitter and our DS106 Google+ Community, asking for feedback to improve the image. This was after all to be a collaborative project.

There were comments from several that the head shot image was a favorite. So I turned it into a single GIFAChrome image.



Cory Doctorow GIFAChrome DS106 Image created from original images by Jonathan Worth


Adjusting the colored image:

I wasn’t happy with the final panel as colored, I learned how to use layer filters in Photoshop, thanks to a post by Alan Levine, and was able to apply hue/contrast and brightness adjustments to a single layer. I was pleased that it didn’t take me too long to approximate the color scheme of the first two panels.

Redesigning the film strip template:

Jonathan had joked about his disappointment with the rebate  He was evidently accustomed to 120 film. What the heck was he talking about?

I had to do a Wikipedia search to find out what a film “rebate” was (the stuff along the sides of the images that give the image number and film type) and that the film template I was using was for 35mm film. 120 film doesn’t have those little sprocket holes on the sides. [Learn more about the differences]  I certainly wasn’t expecting a lesson on photographic film types for this assignment. But you never know what rabbit hole the DS106 Matrix will take you down.

I went back to Worth’s photos and found a collage of contact sheets that I used as examples to build the new frame template. The font used on the Kodak strip turned out to be pretty close to Century Gothic. That was easy. Alan Levine joining in the Twitter banter, suggested a DS106 film would be appropriate.

I had toyed with many names for my new invention. RockylouChrome was definitely out. It was clunky. Finally the light bulb turned on and GIFAChrome DS106 film was born.The GIFAChrome DS106 100 film obviously had to have a camera to be used in. With version two of the GIFStrip a new-to-the-world GIFAChrome camera was invented.

I was also watching and listening to the viewers of these new images, and several were concerned with the middle frame not “GIFfing”, and wondered if there was something wrong with the strip.

Back to the photoshop for…



Alan Levine GIFAChrome DS106 3D Wigglegram

What to do…. What to do…. What I considered an artistic statement by keeping the middle frame still was confusing to others, So I put my artistic ego aside and turned the middle frame into a 3D Wigglegram GIF.  A technique I acquired this summer creating Rockin’ The Rocks in 3D. And with Alan Levine as my subject matter while completing this project.


I very carefully extracted Cory sitting in his comfy leather chair from the bookshelf background with the quick selection tool. I then had to use the clone tool and spot healing brush to rebuild some of the bookshelf and applied a blur filter to the entire background. This helps Cory’s image stand out even more. There were then three frames of Doctorow, each off-set slightly- roducing the GIFAChrome single image below.


Cory Doctorow GIFAChrome DS106 3D Wigglegram

The 3D wigglegram GIF looks better if it “wiggles” faster than the other GIFs I was using.  To create this effect I made 12 animation frames for the entire GIF sequence at 0.06 seconds in duration.  The top and bottom frames remained stationary for 6 frames each (a total of 0.24 sec) while the center frame rapidly oscillated at the 0.06 frame rate.

Cory Doctorow GIFAChrome DS106 GIF Strip- DOWNLOAD at  100ppi GIF  or  300ppi GIF

We were requested to save our files in the high resolution of the original images. At 3000ppi this resulted in a final Photoshop file of a whopping 1.4GB. Ouch! That’s huge. It’s amazing that my computer didn’t crash- just slowed down during processing. I was able to finally reduce the file size to “only” 670MB by deleting and merging some unnecessary layer.s  If you’re interested you can download the whole thing here. All were created in Photoshop CS5.


GIFAChrome Templates are in the .png format so you can easily insert your own GIF images within a transparent center frame.


GIFAChrome DS106 GIFStrip template DOWNLOAD


GIFAChrome DS106 Single Frame Template DOWNLOAD

Riffs Sprouting Up Overnight



UPDATE 12/06/13: Check it out we were featured on the GIFaChrome Connects blog.

Another fun aspect of DS106 being an open online course that attracts global participation is that you can go to bed at night (usually way past a healthy bedtime because you just “had” to finish one more thing on that project) and wake up in the morning to find a comment on your posted work, or better yet that someone(s) have delightfully riffed on your creation. DS106 Never Sleeps! Such was the case with my DJ at Stonehenge photo I originally created for ds106 daily create tdc669.

From Wikipedia: A flash mob (or flashmob)[1] is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression.[2][3][4] Flash mobs are organized via telecommunicationssocial media, or viral emails.[5][6][7][8][9]

Here’s what the ds106 flash mob created between 11/11/13 to 12/06/13:

  1. A giant DJ is spotted at Stonehenge.
  2. Mushrooms sprout up overnight.
  3. It’s all a dream reflected in Alice’s looking glass as shown by Cathleen Nardi.
  4. It gets curiouser and curiouser when a patch of spinning mushrooms and the  Cheshire Cat show up.
  5. Over night another patch of mushrooms spring up and smoke is seen gently rising from within.
  6. Colin dog is spotted lurking in the trees holding his stick ready for play.
  7. Alan Levine’s radioactive caterpillar notices the smoke rising among the mushrooms and crawls on back to see if his buddy is hanging out there.
  8. Cathleen Nardi notices a rabbit hole appearing in a flash in the bottom left corner with a pair of ears just poking out.
  9. Rochelle Lockridge coaxes the little white rabbit out of his hole.
  10. The story is captured with the new GIFaKidChrome imager in development over at the GIFaChrome labs.

You can witness the evolution of the composite image right here as it unfolds. I plan on updating this blog entry if it morphs further.  And links are provided to the posts so you can follow the comments and story line as it develops.  (Suggestion: By subscribing to comments on this post you can get the latest updates directly.)

Note: All of the image GIFs and layered .psd files are attached below so anyone can join in the fun. Most current Photoshop file can be downloaded here

Original Photos and evolution of our ds106 flashmob collaboration:


Photo 1: Stonehenge – Feb 2010 photo taken by Rockylou

25. Pull Train

Photo 2: DJ opening toy train for his 2nd birthday (Aug 2013)

Nov 9, 2013 @7:57pm Minnesota, USA or 9:37am Hawaii or Nov 10 @12:37am Scotland

Photo 1 + Photo 2 + Rockylou’s sense of humor+ Photoshop CS5 => DJ at Stonehenge for ds106 daily create tdc669: “Take a photo of something very small and make it look big.”



1st Composite: DJ reportedly “eats” left hand side of mushroom and grows huge (DS106 Google+ Community post  )

Some little blonde girl gave DJ a mushroom while visiting Stonehenge. He took a bite of the lefthand side before we had a chance to stop him. This is the result.  No need to worry though. He took another bite on the right hand side and was back to normal by the time we returned to the tour bus.

Let The Riffing Begin!

Nov 11, 2013 @12:14pm (6:14pm Scotland, 8:14am Hawaii )


Riff 1: John Johnston discovers mushrooms sprouting up at Stonehenge and posts to DS106 Google+ Community

Nov 11, 2013 @1:52pm (9:52am Hawaii)


Riff 2: Cathleen Nardi reports that it was all in Alice’s mind and posts photo to DS106 Google+ Community

Nov 11, 2013 @11:38pm (Minnesota, USA)

It gets curiouser and curiouser with the addition of spinning mushrooms and a Cheshire Cat.


Riff 3: Rockylou riffs on the evolving creation by adding spinning mushrooms and a Cheshire Cat to enhance the Alice in Wonderland story line. Posted to ds106 Google+ Community

Downloadable Spinning Mushrooms + Cheshire Cat Photoshop CS5 .psd

Downloadable Spinning Mushroom .psd


Downloadable Cheshire Cat .psd


Cheshire Cat GIF

Nov 11, 2013 @12:34pm (6:34pm England)

Mariana Funes shares this beautiful GIF  in a post to ds106 Google+ Community wondering how it was made.


Nov 12, 2013 @7:05am (Minnesota, USA)

Rockylou reports more mushrooms sprouted up over night and smoke is seen wafting up from behind. Observations posted to ds106 Google+ Community.


Riff 4: Who could be hiding smoking their Hooka Pipe back there amongst the new patch of mushrooms?

Cropped Smoke GIF


Downloadable Cropped Smoke .psd file

Nov 14, 2013 3:07pm (9:07pm, England)

Mariana captures Colin lurking in the trees, wondering what the cat is grinning at and is that girl going to throw him a stick or not.

I can see Colin coming out of the back trees to scare that grinning cat.  I was thinking about using  this and adding it to it 🙂


Riff #5: Colin dog lurking in the shadows joins the fun with Mariana’s  post to ds106 Google+ community

Nov 14, 2013 @11:15pm ( Nov 15 @5:15am England)

Rockylou couldn’t stand seeing the rogue white background flashing through on the spinning mushrooms and fixed it while creating a new clean .psd file adding Colin dog as its own layer.


Riff #5 edit: Rockylou cleaned up the spinning mushroom GIF and created new .psd file with individual layers in comment to Google+ Community

Screencast tutorial on adding Colin to the Photoshop file as a single layer.

Colin Dog original photo by Alan Levine

Transparent .png of Colin



Nov 15, 2013 11:00am.

Alan Levine’s “radioactive” turquoise caterpillar joins in.  He’s last seen crawling up towards the mushroom patch in the back to check out if his buddy is back there.

Download the Photoshop .psd file here.


Nov 20, 2013

Cathleen Nardi adds the rabbit hole we last talked about.

Alice in Wonderland with Rabbit Hole


Dec 06, 2013

In participation with the DS106 GIFaChrome final project Rochelle Lockridge adds a white rabbit popping out of the hole and turns it into a GIFaKidChrome image.



The DS106 Matrix

 “Do you want to know what IT is?….Unfortunately, no one can be told what DS106 is.  You have to see it for yourself.” – Morpheus from The Matrix

I’ve been working this week in Headless ’13 ds106 learning how to read movies.  The initial part of the week 10 assignment to analyze a scene from a movie will be posted soon.  I had decided on using the lobby shoot out scene from The Matrix.  A portion of the assignment asked us…

To get practice in basic video sequencing, locate at least two smaller portions within these clips that demonstrate the points you made in your analysis above.  We want you to put these scenes together in a short montage, sequencing them together so that you get some basic experience with video editing.

MatrixRemixThumbRemixing of video and other digital media is a skill I’m familiar with already.  [See Talky Tina – Sweet as Tupelo Honey].  So I modified the assignment to give me a bit more of a challenge.  I remixed the clips to create a montage/trailer for the DS106 course experience rather than demonstrating the points made in my video clip analysis.  I tried to find a DS106 video assignment or mashup assignment for something like this, but didn’t see one.  Did I miss it?  If not, I think I’ll create one for us.  I created one for us: VideoAssignments1232

Production Notes

I downloaded 3 clips from The Matrix with the Firefox add-on Video Downloader.

I was drawn to snippets of the dialogue that I felt I could string together to have them talking about the chaos we experience and the perplexing situation we have trying to tell someone else what DS106 is all about.

For my video editing software I used Adobe Premiere Elements 12.  Making the clip transitions cleanly from one to the other took a bit of fiddling around by shortening and lengthening the clips so that I didn’t have massive jumps between shots that looked out of place.  At about 20 sec in there’s one cut that didn’t quite work right.  The rest I’m pretty satisfied with. I really had a chance to see and understand how the cuts from one character to another or one scene to another are made as I put this together.

The audio went pretty smoothly.  There were two spots where I wanted to dub in “DS106” – one with Neo and one for Morpheus.  It helped that my voice at the moment is pretty low due to a cold, but I’m not really satisfied with the quality of the dubbing job.  I opted to let it go since I didn’t want to work that hard to make it “perfect”.  I know I could’ve taken the audio into GarageBand and played around with effects and stuff,  but it was good enough this time around.  Personally I think it’s funnier that it stands out as being dubbed anyway.

The DS106 logo overlay onto the elevator was created with the addition of a .png formatted still image onto a new layer above the video track. Reducing the opacity down to 70% made it look more realistic. Finding the location to place the logo was the hardest part. I had to look for a somewhat logical spot in the video that had a stationary image for at least 5 seconds.  Above the elevator worked fine.  The logo had to be resized initially, but no zooming or tracking was required.  Both a white and a black version of the logo are attached below for others to download and use in their projects.

Source Videos:

DS106 Logos in .png format for download

They’ll have a transparent background.



Spinning Yarns for DS106 Radio

 “There’s so much that happens in life.  Little stories, big stories. Things that were no story and all the sudden you realize the significance of it.  And that there really is a story there. But at the time you don’t know it.  And for a long time you don’t know there’s a story. Until something clicks, and you tie that event together with something else that makes it a story. And that’s the beauty of life. You just go from one story to another.”  – Seth’s Mom, Karen


Spinning Round - the JunioRS

The JunioRS Radio Show Poster: Created by Seth Goodman

It was a real joy to collaborate with John Johnston in Glasgow, Scottland (@JohnJohnston Twitter) and Seth Goodman in Arizona (@GoodmanSeth Twitter)  to create our  DS106 Headless ’13 course radio show, Spinning Round, for Advanced Audio weeks 7 & 8 –  with live DS106 radio premieres on Oct 22nd for the US time zone folks and Oct 24th for our European contingent.


It all started with John’s description of a theme he wanted to explore that intrigued me so I added my name to his radio show group.

Thinking of stories with little narrative, without conclusions, that put a picture in your mind. Perhaps stories from your family, your people with little detail… Perhaps some other idea.

With the use of a shared Google Doc we started brainstorming our ideas.  All of us were well aware and expected the final product to be something different than what we started with, and it was.  Although the original theme of using story snippets to put a picture in your mind, and exploring whether stories needed a beginning, middle and end remained.  There was also this unique concept we threw into the mix of exploring, for lack of a better phrase, an Audio GIF:  A repeating audio phrase that highlighted the essence of a piece.

During our first Skype call we brainstormed more, throwing around ideas of a room full of voices where one voice or story would come to the forefront then fade away as another faded in.  I could see how this might work, but wasn’t clear how it would actually unfold.  I knew if I had some raw material to work with something would emerge. We each uploaded a few files to our shared dropbox, and even though we hadn’t decided on how to divvy up the workload, or even what we were going to do yet, I took a stab at editing the pieces together using GarageBand ’09.  I thought it would give us a good place to start when we had our next call.

The background music came about because John had listened to my first live DS106 Radio broadcast and had commented that he couldn’t get RnA’s (Rochelle and Amber Lockridge) rendition of “Comes A Time” out of his head.  Although we didn’t realize it at the time, it lent itself well to our Audio GIF experiment.  Not only is it being sung, but our speaking voices are layered in as well. Additionally, since I had recorded and engineered the original song I had the individual tracks available to mix and match if wanted. By underlaying only the guitar on certain segments I was able to reinforce the importance of one section over another.



John & Gran

Upon listening it was obvious that each of us was coming at this in a different way.  Seth had interviewed his mother about family stories, John shared glimpses of stories, and I had told two stories about my daughter as if I were telling them to my grandson.  This presented a creative challenge.  John’s segments were short, I could use them as is. Mine were also relatively short. Seth’s interview, however, was about 15 minutes long, (See media player below to listen to the full length interview.) and we were shooting for the entire piece to be 15 minutes.



Karen and Miryom

Seth’s Mom & sister Miryom

I wasn’t certain how I would tackle the editing of Seth’s interview with his mom. I could go through it minute by minute and add notes for each segment, then with my analytical mind pick out which parts I wanted to work with. But I didn’t find that process very appealing right then. I opted instead to lift out the parts that I felt attracted to – no rhyme or reason to it. If I liked it, I split that section out and copied it to another layer. I don’t know why I was attracted to one segment over another. I just was. When I finished I was left with about 5 minutes of the interview that I thought I might like to use. Then I started pulling it together. Mind you, I hadn’t checked any of this out with John or Seth. I just thought I’d play around with stuff and see what happened.

There comes a time when memory fades.  The backdrop gets blurred. Are we remembering or recalling our own retelling?  Or perhaps our stories are simplifying, clarifying or crystallizing around an image.  – John Johnston


Jenny & The Christmas Tree

I began grouping the segments together to have a “logical” flow to the piece.  As I worked an arc of a story began to emerge. Much the same as what happened during my Bygone Backyard Photo Safari.   The music flowed in and out easily, and segments magically aligned (with minimal tweaking) to have logical ending points as the song ended. The “process”  continued to be very intuitive.  But the amount of work I put into “playing around” was way more than I had expected to put into a rough draft.  I can’t tell you how relieved I was when John & Seth were pleased with my “draft”. It was a go!


We had some audio quality issues which had to be addressed such as different audio recording quality, volume levels, etc.  We hadn’t expected to use these initial files.  We were basically throwing things at the wall initially to see what would stick.  And now most of it was sticking.  The interview with Seth’s mother would have to be used as is.  We couldn’t redo that.  So when I needed to add more volume I simply doubled the tracks.  It worked fine.  For John’s pieces we really did need to have them re-recorded with more volume.  We ran into a snag there as he had a newer version of GarageBand (11 vs 9) and I wasn’t able to open his files.  After beating my head against a wall thinking there was something wrong with the drop box and my access, I finally just broke down and paid the $15 for the upgrade and everything was “fixed” immediately.



GarageBand ’09 Screenshot for Obruni Sound Effect Story

My skill as a sound engineer, mixing and mastering, are continuing to develop.  I’m quite familiar with layering and adjusting the volume levels and placement of sounds on the timeline, etc.  My post on the Obruni Arrives in Africa Sound Effect Story is a good example.  This one, however, presented an unexpected challenge that required more “futzing” around than usual.  I expect that most people will be listening to our show on their computer or mobile device. So relying on the quality of sound from mixing while simply listening through good quality headphones would be insufficient.

I needed to adjust the EQ and effects to optimize the audio experience across several platforms:  Computer, computer speakers, headphones, tiny cheap radio speakers, iPhone/iPod.  Adjusting the volume of the music soundtrack was especially tricky. On one set of speakers I could hear it just fine, another it was too low.

I also added a new tool to my sound engineering arsenal, Ozone 5.  A professional sound mastering software package that I picked up following a GarageBand sound editing class at my local Guitar Center.    While this optimization process was very time consuming. It was well worth it in the end. When I myself enjoy listening or viewing one of my projects over and over again, I know I’ve got something there.

I can tell you…. after all of the work I didn’t like having to reduce the quality to save it as 128K.  It about broke my heart, but those are the sacrifices one still has to make so that the piece can stream over the internet and download more easily.

I hope you enjoy listening to our show as much as we enjoyed creating it.

(Note: If you felt your audio experience was less than optimal listening to us spin our tales, try another listening mode. I’d even recommend you doing that anyway so you can hear for yourself what a difference it makes. Someday I hope to learn how to make these adjustments with learned skills instead of with trial and error.)


UPDATE: 10/26/13 addition of pre & post show live discussion on DS106 Radio 10/22/13 US premiere

DJ’s Radio Bumper


  • +  John Johnston Commercial
  •     Pre Show Discussion: Alan Levine, Christina Hendricks, Seth Goodman
  •     Spinning Round Radio Show (14min)
  •     Post Show Discussion
  •     Full Conversation with Seth's Mom (15min)
  •     Comes A Time Sound Track
  •     Comes A Time: Guitar Only



Bygone Backyard Photo Safari

Rochelle Graduation, May 1990

June 1990: Ready to move into a new home.

I went out this morning to capture images in my backyard during a time of day I knew would avail interesting shadows and lighting for a DS106 Photo Safari.  What I didn’t expect was that through the process of my editing and choosing the photos, a story of my life as the mother of two now grown daughters, and the ex-wife of a gardener would reveal itself.  The images tell of a time well past: A child’s swing set neglected and overgrown with weeds and trees, a prolific garden abandoned and no longer tended to, a bleached antler reminding me of the 9 foot electrified fence my ex-husband erected to provide a barrier to free meals for the herd of deer traveling through our backyard, discarded odds and ends left behind when a family dissolved. While this phase of family life has past, a new chapter has begun as an over-joyed “Nana” of a vivacious two-year old grandson. And who knows what stories my backyard will tell 10 years from now.



All photos were taken with my iPhone using the Camera+ app.  It is a powerful app that can do a lot if you know what you’re doing, which I don’t yet.  I experimented with setting the white balance and selecting a focus zone.  Neither of which proved to be successful.  I think it’s time to read and watch some tutorials.  Next, I uploaded the photos to my desktop with the Photo Transfer app.  I love this little app.  I can very easily upload and download photos and videos over WiFi or bluetooth to any of my Apple devices or even my PC.

Fallen Fence

Fallen Fence – Photo too cluttered.

I had taken almost 90 photos, and challenged myself to get it down to 5. With a quick look at the images I could see most of them weren’t all that great.  The lighting was bad.  The images were cluttered and/or blurry. Some just weren’t interesting at all. I then opened them up in Photoshop Elements 12 for a closer look and to do a little photo editing if needed.


Mossy Log Shadows- interesting to look at, but no story


As I worked I noticed a set of photos emerging with single objects dominating the image.  I also had some very interesting natural environment shots with neat shadows and lighting, but they didn’t tell a story.  They were just nice to look at like this one of a mossy log that had been used to frame the sand box under the swing set.  I’m pleased with the results of reducing my photo safari down to the best seven photos with the single object focus, and leaving out the nature only shots.

Writing the intro paragraph was an additional unexpected challenge.  In my head it sounded simple to put my thoughts down on paper, but that wasn’t the case. I struggled for quite awhile as to what and how I would share the memories and stories embedded in the photos.

Finally, I used the WordPress Slideshow plugin to add them to my blog post.  Then by editing the HTML code in the text view the borders and shadow effect of the final two images were created.  Learn how here.

Me In Week 3 – Telling Stories

Weekly Summary Checklist

Here’s a run-down of what I accomplished in DS106 Headless 13 Week 3 – Digital Storytelling.

First Things First:

Rockylou_HeadlessWhat is a story? What is storytelling? What is digital storytelling? Wanting to understand and become a better digital storyteller is what attracted me to DS106 in the first place, so I’ve been doing some serious pondering all week.

In my professional life as a strategic business/technology analyst at 3M I am often presented with a great deal of data and information that needs to be communicated to a variety of audiences with different levels of interest and familiarity with the subject matter.  Sharing the raw data, as it were, would almost certainly be a waste of time for everyone.  It’s my job to “COMMUNICATE” that information, not just gather it and spit it back out again.

I am paid to be a curator of information AND a storyteller. It is the story I create and tell that is based upon that data and information that is the key. Even the media I use to tell the story has an impact on the effectiveness of communicating the information. With a global asynchronous audience I can’t rely on personally sharing the story in real-time with a live person in attendance who is engaged in the moment, that can ask questions, get clarification, etc. Mastering the art of DIGITAL storytelling is a must for me. Read my complete blog entry Whatsa’ Story! for more. And here’s a cute tappable digital story from Nathalie using the Tapestry app I learned about in our DS106 Google+ Community. (If you see a great big blank space below, refresh your screen and try again. Embedding the Tapestry stories is buggy.)

And from one of my 3M-DS106 Salon Members: “Storytelling Used in Poaching Talent (3M-DS106 Repost)” shares how storytelling can be used in a number of ways, from sharing experiences, showing a vision, an escape from the real world or even poach top talent from another company.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Shape of Stories:

StoryShape_WormsCrawlIn_EditI chose a favorite childhood song that my mother taught us to sing as part of her master plan to keep us kids from fighting, “The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out”.

“Did you ever think when a hearse went by, that you might be the next to die. They wrap you up in a big white sheet. They bury you down about six feet deep.  The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out. The ants play pinochle on your snout. Your liver turns to a slimy green. And puss comes out like whipping cream. Your eyes pop out your teeth decay. And this is the end of a perfect day.”


Vonnegut’s video was entertaining as well as informative, and I could easily understand how to apply his theory of common graph-able shapes to stories. But mine didn’t quite fit until I had looked at the infographic created by Maya Eilam and discovered the “From Bad to Worse” story shape.

Here’s the video I made for a past daily create TDC577 singing through this sorrowful story shape.

Daily Creates:

tdc611 An Interesting high contrast B&W image of an easily overlooked object:


tdc613 Photo representing TDC idea of regular exercises of creativity.  The write-up for this photo included a blog post on the The Chemistry of Creativity: Riding The Dopamine Wave

Riding the DS106 Dopamine Wave

tdc614 an Alien Inspirational Greeting Card

Alien Inspirational Greeting Card

I love the surprises and inspirations I find by following other DS106 blogs and accounts. For the alien greeting card daily create, Bill Smith’s image inspired me to rif-a-GIF.

DS106 Hijacking. View Oiginal Image Here

Shared from rockylou22 using Embeddlr



tdc615 Idea of Clarity


As a bonus daily create from week two, tdc607 –  the movie trailer for my website, was finally completed with A Trailer for Two.

Telling a Story in Photos:

Creating my Five Card Flickr Story ,”Five Card Poetry – My Story” wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I was way too literal at first. I started by reading the directions and figured this was going to be a piece of cake- just pick out 5 photos and tell a story ‘about’ them. (ALERT: “about”) I tried a few hands, picked some images that seemed to follow a theme, but none of them told a story…..

Oh… that was different than what I was thinking. They were continuing to flesh out their stories in a poetic rather than a prose format. The photos were telling the story, not me telling a story ABOUT the photos.  Back to the drawing board. This time I got out of my literal mind and engaged my heart and soul to sense what was here. Then the story revealed itself.

I crave community. Do I need to be flashy and bright to be seen? Do I need my words set in stone to be valid? Is it okay to have fun and learn along the way? With heart, body, and soul my story can be shared.

Participating in DS106- It’s not just ME!

Participating in DS106 continues to be a rich learning experience.  As I am facilitating a concurrent version, the 3M-DS106 Salon at my professional workplace, it permeates all areas of my life.  I have found my direct interactions through blogging, commenting, reading, and sharing with other DS106 participants to be more valuable than the lectures or texts shared with us.  This was unexpected. I had wanted to learn about digital storytelling and thought I just needed to get access to the “professionals” out there who could define it for me.  I was mistaken.  Don’t get me wrong. The videos, graphics, texts, etc are helpful, but I learned the most simply reading other DS106ers explain and illustrate their definitions for what a digital story is. Here’s a list of those I could link back to.

3M-DS106 Salon

And sometimes I am totally surprised and delighted with what I find when I pop in to leave a silly comment like when I witnessed a touching father-son interaction in Bill Smith’s post,  Art Making

Website Always Under Construction


I’m always working to improve the experience of visiting my blog – for my guests and me personally.  This week I…


  • Added the Flag Counter and Revolver Maps widgets after seeing it on Ary Aranguiz’s blog, All The World Is A MOOC.
  • Continue to debug my comments interface.  I’ve really appreciated people letting me know they are having problems when trying to leave a comment.  I need to know about stuff like that so I can fix it.  Thanks!

Sorrowful Story Shape

Link to Worms Crawl In Video

DS106 Headless 13 Week 3 was all about the basics of digital storytelling. Part of our assignment was to watch a video of Kurt Vonnegut humorously illustrating his rejected master’s thesis in anthropology that showed how the journey of a story’s main character can be graphed to reveal the story’s shape.

Maya Eilam created an infographic that illustrates these story shapes beautifully with examples we can relate to like: The Twilight ZoneJane Eyre, and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

I was glad to see that she had a few more story shapes than what Vonnegut had shown in the short video segment since the story I wanted to use didn’t seem to fit.

After watching this video, write a new blog post and explain a story that you’re familiar with in terms of Vonnegut’s approach. Pick a movie, TV show, book, poem song, etc. The idea is to outline the shape of that story in a visual and descriptive form. Use some kind of media to do this, make it drawing or video or whatever you like. Be creative!

StoryShape_BoyInHoleAt first I was going to simply say that my story was a modified “Man In Hole”.

But lo-and-behold, my childhood song “The Worms Crawl In” will nicely fit into the “From Bad To Worse” story shape – starting off poorly then getting continually worse with no hope for improvement.  For an August DS106 daily create tdc577, my movie trailer for a favorite childhood song or nursery rhyme (embedded at the top of the post)  has me singing this song.

As you can clearly hear the poor soul my siblings and I would raise our voices to in song, under the guidance of our mother, was in bad shape and was only getting worse.

“Did you ever think when a hearse went by, that you might be the next to die. They wrap you up in a big white sheet. They bury you down about six feet deep.  The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out. The ants play pinochle on your snout. Your liver turns to a slimy green. And puss comes out like whipping cream. Your eyes pop out your teeth decay. And this is the end of a perfect day.”


There is one final uplifting phrase at the end “… and this is the end of a perfect day.”  But I think that was just an add-on by some well-meaning parent who needed to make the story shape into the more familiar things-all-work-out-in-the-end “Man In Hole”. WarmsCrawlIn

Come to think of it, there were quite a few stories and songs with the “From Bad To Worse” shape in my youth.  Hmmmmmm…. I wonder what Vonnegut’s anthropological lens would have to say about the culture I grew up in? 🙂

Tiptoeing thru HTML to Make Borders

Thanks to a recent post by John Johnston “Flicking a Five Card Story”  I brushed aside my anxiety, took the leap and dived into the HTML. Well, let’s be real… I just dipped my toes in the shallow end… but I did it. I created borders around all of my images in my 5 Card Flickr Story post,  5 Card Poetry – Sharing My Story YAY!!!!!!!

I’d been wanting to do this since my first WordPress based blog post.  It was very easy to do when I was programming my websites using RapidWeaver.  I just clicked on a picture formatting box, chose my style,  and it was all done for me.  That hasn’t been the case with this blog.  Maybe I just haven’t located the right WordPress widgets and plug-ins yet.  But I agree with John (and Alan Levine) that it is good to know how to work directly with the code.  What was it Alan said? “Code or Be Coded”. Let me show you what I did.  And then you can give it a try too.

I wanted to take this image I had taken in February 2010 outside a small cafe in Salisbury England, and give it a border and a shadow to produce a more finished 3D look.


By opening the text editor tab, I located the code that inserts this image into my post.

<a href=””><img class=”size-medium wp-image-2841 alignnone” alt=”EnglandRainChair” src=”×225.jpg” width=”300″ height=”225″ /></a>

What I needed to do was to add an extra bit of HTML code to add some STYLE to the image. I found a quick tutorial on-line on how to create borders around stuff at:

For a border around an image, you insert a style definition between the img and the src tags of the image code: <img style=”border:1px TYPE #HEX;” src=[etc. etc.]

  • TYPE refers to the border type (solid, double, dashed, dotted, outset, inset, groove, ridge).  You can see examples here.
  • #HEX is your color. I used this easy Hex Color Picker site to grab the code.

Then I opened John’s post so that I could view his source coding.  He did things a bit differently by doing something with the CSS code I think, but I haven’t touched that yet. I could still locate where he added the HTML code to create a shadow though.

#fivecards{height:320px;width:500px;} #fivecards p{text-align:center;; } #fivecards img{max-width:500px;max-height:300px;border:solid 1px;padding:10px;box-shadow: 5px 5px 2px #888888;margin:5px} #fivecards a{color:#000}

The final additional code I needed to insert within the text editing view was:

style=”border: 8px ridge #FC0356; box-shadow: 5px 5px 2px #888888;”

This told my blog post to format the picture with…

  • an 8px border around the image
  • formatted as a ridge
  • with a red color variation identified as #FC0356
  • Add a box-shadow (Link to explanation of box shadow properties.)
  • with offset dimensions 5px horizontal shadow, 5 px vertical shadow, and a 2px blur spread
  • with a greyish color identified as #888888

NOTE: It’s very important you get all of the quotation marks, commas, and semi-colons exactly right.

The final HTML code looks like this:

<img class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-2841″ style=”border: 8px ridge #FC0356; box-shadow: 5px 5px 2px #888888;” alt=”EnglandRainChair” src=”×225.jpg” width=”300″ height=”225″ />

Giving me this beautifully red bordered and shadowed image.


or alternately by changing the Hex color number to #6E6E6E I can produce a dark grey border.


If you are really ambitious and want to learn how to program with HTML and CSS I found this site helpful a few years back when I was just starting out.  Once I started “programming” with RapidWeaver I didn’t feel I had a need for it until now.