Jan 272013
 

My pet fish died from cold this week.  In need of a secondary outlet of affection (a pet, after a boyfriend),  I have built a worm farm.  It is of modest size and material – a shoebox, several cereal boxes, weatherproof tape, and a plastic bag coalesced with relative ease into a secure shelter.  Two small pizza boxes and leftover crusts (all 5cm scraps) moistened and topped with a heavy sprinkling of coffee grounds creates the dirty landscape that serves as food and home.  35 ounces of red worms and dirt introduced to this coffee-scented environment filled the gap in my soul vacated by Alizarin Prime.  Pink pointed ends quested blindly, smooth coils undulated, expanding and stretching while a small packet of worms explored their new world.  It filled me with simple, child-like joy.

“You do realize you are giggling over a box of trash filled with barely-sentient living intestines?” a friend asked me today.   I shrugged, and extolled the virtues of the organic compost I will harvest in 3-4 months.  I have always wanted to compost – to prevent food scraps that can become healthy soil from being added to a landfill.  I don’t want a landfill in my backyard,  and I don’t want a landfill in someone else’s.  I like solutions that one can take pride in.  Vermicomposting is one of the solutions I’m investigating.  It prevents food waste from being transported again to a non-functional destination, and in doing so, makes healthy organic soil that can then be used for safely growing herbs or vegetables without harmful chemicals.

Another first for today: I have uploaded a drawing video with authentic drawing scritchy-scratch sound!  I had attempted on the earlier drawing of the week to record, but the sound recording failed.

This time, I again used my Macguyvered mic – a set of iPhone talk/listen headphones’ microphone taped to the business end of the pen of the graphic tablet.  The tether makes pen maneuvering a bit more complicated, but it’s much easier to find than before.  I’m not completely happy with the sound quality, but I am happy that I was able to record sound and line it up properly.

iMovie is pretty clumsy, I want to find an alternative.  It saves huge files on my computer unnecessarily – I don’t do much clipping or editing – I just need simple audio and video adjustments: cropping, alignment, volume.  QuickTime still served well as a free program for screen-capture, but it makes HUGE files.  I used Audacity for recording the audio.  I also figured out a nifty trick for lining up the two in editing: start screen-capture before audio recording!  It shows exactly where to line things up, but iMovie was a little annoying with clipping the two consistently, instead of misaligning the audio, so I had to export the project before trimming it or speeding it up so that the audio would stay stuck.  It was an annoying, time-consuming experiment, but I did some reading for another class while iMovie incapacitated my computer.

I did a great deal of my blog appearance customization last week, as I’ve had some experience with WordPress from UMWBlogs.  However, making the welcome page different but related to my ds106 page was a challenge.  I previously had all my new social media accounts featured as tiles at ds106, so I moved most of that to the welcome page and featured my YouTube playlist and blog content instead.  I think the welcome page still needs some design tweaking to be intriguing, but I’m not sure what direction I should go with it yet.   Suffusion is definitely the most nifty (and profanity-inducing) theme.  Utterly customizable, but not intuitively organized in offering those options.  I’m looking forward to organizing my site better once I have more content and know what needs organizing.

This week I got widgety!  And plugged-in.  Either Akismet or Jetpack created a WordPress.com account with my e-mail, which is impossible to delete.  Especially annoying considering I already had a WordPress.com account from having a Gravatar (apparently).  I finally got it all working with the site, though.  Most of the Jetpack widgets don’t seem very useful, but I’ve seen the Gravatar Hovercards on other sites and was happy to enable those.  It’s always cool to get some idea of the perspective from which a person is writing, by how they identify themselves.   It’s awesome to be able to craft my own online identity. My favorite part so far: custom e-mail.  I set up an actual account (not an e-mail forwarding address) because I don’t like being beholden to the big G.  I must have a big G account to use Hangout and the Tube, and I’ve had that account for 10 years, maybe.  But still… remembering when the G was just a box of internet curiosity, and looking at how huge it is now gives me the shivers.  The extra-coolest thing about making an e-mail was the ability to create e-mail aliases.  Now I can give any spam-worthy website that requires an e-mail to sign up or make coupons or whatever an alias that will send its mail to my account.  So feel free to spam flibberflabber2@ampersanddragon.net.  I can delete it if I don’t like the junk I get from it without changing the name of my actual email!

On the subject of cool and odd, here is my GIF:

Talk to the hand... it talks back.

Talk to the hand… it talks back.

I realized only after finishing it and showing it to a 3rd party who hasn’t seen the movie LO,  that the content of this scene isn’t very clear.  This is Justin, who is being spoken to by Justin’s hand.  I really can’t describe this incredible movie.  It’s a horror movie that isn’t (too) scary, it’s a comedy that doesn’t make you laugh (unless you feel sick at the same time), it’s a demon movie that’s non-satanic.  I love the quality of stage-play that it exudes.  It’s minimal, but incredible – totally available on Netflix, and if you don’t have access to that – it’s your own first world problem.  I thought about re-making this Gif so it would be understandable to people who hadn’t seen the movie, but I didn’t have the heart after showing all my friends who have, and watching them ROFL as it repeated again and again.

Boot camp has kicked my butt, but I’m thrilled to come back for more. I love challenging myself and learning about new ways of making.  The more media I know, the better I can combine them creatively!

 Posted by on January 27, 2013  Add comments

  2 Responses to “From Shoebox to Zoobox! Vermicomposting and Week Two Wrap-up!”

  1. No way, Alice, You are kicking Bootcamp’s butt- he called my last night crying and sniveling about how badly you trounced his sorry butt.

    I cannot say how much it pleases me to see you right off the bat going beyond the assignments and writing of your interests. I love your stories and framing of your new worm farm. I wont tell anyone and I am sure the housing authorities dont bother reading blogs. Maybe we will have future stories of worms. And the way you are experimenting with drawing is very cool to read about.

    One way to sync the audio is to have a codeword you say when like you do something like make an x in the corner, so you can tie the audio track to the visual point where it should start. As far as the iMovie files size, you cannot escape big files with video. FOL. But what I often do is discard the iMovie project and imported media after I publish to Youtube or make a video. If I think I will never want to re-edit the video. Or try and get a cheap hard drive and offload stuff.

    I can[t stop looking at that hand- and not because it is so huge, it is just addictive.

    Bootcamp just texted me, now we needs a psychiatrist. Nice work

  2. That hand is disgusting and amazing at the same time! Nice caption too.
    Sorry about your fish, and good luck with the worms.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your amusing posts.

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