Sonic Rainboom! The Story Structure

In the video we reviewed, Kurt Vonnegut discusses the common ways that stories are structured. I used his ideas and applied them to an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (don’t laugh! these aren’t your average ponies!) entitled “Sonic Rainboom.”

In this episode, Rainbow Dash, a blue Pegasus, practices for a contest called “The Best Young Flyers Competition.” The winner of this contest gets the chance to spend the day with the Wonderbolts, the greatest team of flyers in all of Equestria (also Rainbow’s idols) The central problem of the episode arises when Dash figures out that she can’t perform the legendary Sonic Rainboom, and she believes that she’s going to blow it at the competition. In the end, after a major minor inconvenience, she does eventually perform the technique and meet her childhood heroes.

I chose to start off Rainbow Dash’s story arch a little above the “average protagonist line” because Dash is a gifted pegasus who’s speed is nearly incomparably to any other flyer, which gives her character a small advantage. When she discovers that she cant do the Sonic Rainboom her position on the timeline goes down and continues to decrease until her friends arrive to cheer her on, which causes it to go back up slightly. Now here’s where the 2nd conflict arises; Rainbow’s friend, Rarity (a preppy fashionista,) is so busy admiring her newly acquired wings, that she completely forgets about Rainbow Dash’s nervousness. This new conflict reduces Rainbow Dash’s confidence once again, and even more as the episode progresses and Rarity gains more of the other ponies’ attention. Finally, Dash hits her lowest point when Rarity decides to enter the competition herself  to show off. (Some friend she is!) Miraculously, Rainbow’s luck changes when Rarity’s wings melt in the sunlight and she begins to fall to her doom! How does this boost Rainbow up on the timeline? Well this is the exact catastrophic incident that Dash needed to give her the wing-power to perform the Sonic Rainboom. After this incident, she wins the competition AND gets to meet the Wonderbolts, which propels her story to OFF SCALE HAPPINESS!

This episode is one of my favorites of the series and I encourage others to watch it! Sure, in most of the episodes there’s usually a happy ending for the mane main cast, but it’s not about the ending. It’s about the journey traveled to get there!

Side Note: This series is not just for girls anymore. There is a huge group consisting of millions of fans called Bronies, men ages 15-30 who enjoy the series. Not kidding! There’s even a Brony Club at UMW!

Respect Your Ancestors! Appreciating Past DS106ers

I went through a good number of past DS106 “Best Projects” and analyzed how they changed a simple story into a digital story using creative tools to aid them. I really enjoyed how the students used these tools to their advantage to create marvelous works of art. These creations have now broadened my previous understanding of what a “digital story” is by introducing new styles of storytelling, such as mashups and remixes.

Although I enjoyed all of the projects, the one project that really stuck out to me was Kiersten’s Toy Story Mashup. After growing up with Disney, especially Toy Story, this trailer really stuck my nostalgic buttons. I love how she created the trailer using not just one of the movies, but from using all 3 of them to bring together the themes. By doing this, she creates a link from the beginning of Andy’s childhood to when he grows up and goes to college.  This not only represents Andy’s progression through life, but it also represents the children in the audience who grew up watching Andy and his toys come to life. In 2010, when Toy Story 3 came out, I noticed that when I went to see it in theaters that the majority of the audience was older high school seniors rather than young children. By the end of the movie when Andy generously gives his childhood toys away, the individuals in the theater who were the most swamped with tears was this same age group. The theater remained in tears long after the movie had ended. Could this be because these individuals grew up with Andy and they just happened to be going to college at the same time as he was?

Toy Story had united many individuals that day, despite the fact that none of them knew each other. Kiersten’s mashup was successful because it told a story much deeper than what was being portrayed on the screen; how time flies by faster than we think and things that seem like just yesterday can

What the heck is Digital Storytelling?

At first I used to associate “storytelling” with just cracking open Little Red Riding Hood and reading it to a group of people. But now, after completing my Writing Through Media and Electronic Literature courses during my time at UMW, I can see that the term storytelling can mean much more than that. I believe storytelling is defined as any method used to convey a message to an audience. This is not solely limited to linear content such as a hardcover book that reads from left to right, but it can also include pictures, music, or even verbal discourse.

Now that we know that storytelling is not just about reading miles of sentences on a page, what could Digital Storytelling mean? I myself wouldn’t consider reading an ebook on a tablet digital storytelling, despite the fact that it’s stationed on a digital medium. Instead, I believe it is combining images, text, and other non-linear elements to narrate a story. Digital stories can include interactive content as well as visual effects to liven the presentation. Using this method, each person’s story becomes more personalized. Digital stories could also be conveyed through artgames, which use video game controls to keep the reader (player) engaged. This works well with those that are visual/kinesthetic learners (such as myself) who would rather play the story than read it. A good example of this sort of game is called One Chance where you literally have one chance to set things right.

Storytelling isn’t the same as it was 100 years ago. We now have computers, video cameras, and digital tools to help make our stories more than just words on a page. Every person is different, so wouldn’t it make sense to tell our own stories in a way that is unique?

The End of Bootcamp: Finally…A chance to take a breather….

I did it, fellow recruits….I survived Bootcamp! Sure I felt like I was going to lose an eye after being attacked by a flock of wild WordPress crows, but they were no match for my semi-automatic CSS rifles! The intense 4 mile runs over GIF Hill provided a challenge, but I successfully ran the course and even helped my other comrades on their feet if they happened to fall into a few mud pits. Teamwork makes the team work! Speaking of my comrades, I now have a much better understanding of who some of them are; even some that were too shy the first week to speak up finally began showing their faces! Two weeks of the DS106 army’s obstacle courses have now been completed, and now it’s smoother sailing from here

Now to tell you a bit about how I designed my website. Since I’d already created a domain last semester and learned how to create subdomains with it, the first task of linking my DS106 blog to my main Miss Amber May site was a breeze. The challenge, however, was when I couldn’t find the same theme I used for my main domain (Atmosphere 2010) and I ended up having to work with whatever theme was the closest to it. In order to make the theme seem similar to the parent site, I altered some of the theme’s CSS to change the color of the hyperlinks. I was also successfully able to create a forwarding address to my school email, which is much more formal sounding than my other addresses. This address can be found on the contact page of my main website. The title of my site is called DS106: Miss Amber May’s Blog, yet on the course blog, it is only seen as “DS106.” I figured out that it is only shown like this because the blog doesn’t show the tagline of the site. I didn’t want to include “Miss Amber May” again in the title because there is already an image in the header that conveys the same message. Last semester, when I first began customizing my website, I learned that Akismet is a lifesaver! Before I added it to my plug-ins, I’d began getting spam message after spam message, and by the end of that first week, I’d had at least 85 messages from random bots wanting me to buy their products! USE AKISMET! Although my blog may look finished, it is in no way finalized. I plan to continuously add entries to it, add more plug-ins if needed, and change the overall look in the future depending on if my personality changes (which it most likely will!)

The assignments for this week were a bit tougher than last week, but nothing to lose my head over…yet. I decided to knock out the GIF first (the same day it was issued) so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it throughout the week. The image is called “The Django Stare” and I got the idea from watching Django: Unchained with a friend of mine last weekend. I outlined how I created this image in Photoshop on a separate blog post earlier this week.


The 3 Daily Creates I made this week were Sunday’s (Create a Pun), Tuesday’s (Favorite Monologue Minus the 3rd Word), and Thursday’s (Photo of Breakfast Beverage).

For Sunday (“Punday”), I thought of a silly pun introducing a few works of Vincent Van Gogh seen below. I got this idea randomly as I was drinking my Beverage of Champions (see last Create entry below.)

For Tuesday’s assignment, I recited my favorite monologue from the movie Angels in America and removed every third word in the statement. During this scene, Belize explains to Louis how he hates the way America works and how society is forced to succumb to big businesses and those with higher social statuses.

“You know _ your problem _, Louis? Your _ is that _ are so _ of piping _ crap that _ mention of _ name draws _. Up in _ air, just _ that angel, _ far off _ earth to _ out the _. Louis and _Big Ideas. _ Ideas are _ you love.”__” is what _ loves. Well _ hate America, _. I hate _country. It’s _ big ideas, _ stories, and _ dying, and _like you._ cracker who _ the national _ knew what _ was doing. _ set the _”free” to _ note so _nobody can _ it. That _ deliberate. Nothing _ earth sounds _ like freedom _ me.You _ with me _ room 1013 _ at the _, I’ll show _ America. Terminal, _, and mean. I _ in America, _, that’s hard _, I don’t _ to love _. You do _. Everybody’s got _ love something.”

The last Create I made was a photo called “Breakfast Beverage of Champions,” which is a picture of my favorite beverage…water. Okay, so maybe it isn’t my favorite, but since it’s all I can afford at the moment, then it’s the best drink on the planet!

This week was busy, but in the end I came out on top with a successful website that accurately reflects my personality, three sensational daily creates, and a GIF that could stop a varmint in its tracks! Bootcamp was tough, but I’m tougher! Bring it on, next week!!


The Django Stare


This was a clip from the trailer of the movie “Django Unchained.” (LOVED this movie!) I created this GIF by downloading the trailer from Youtube and singling out this section by trimming it in Quicktime. I then went to Photoshop, imported the clip into layers, and adjusted the amount of time it took between layers (0.05 seconds). Finally I saved it as a .gif by going to File–>Save for Web and Devices–>Save.

The challenge that sometimes occurs is getting the file size down to a certain number of MB; if the number is too high, it wont upload anywhere! Mine was originally 3.4 MB, but I turned it down to 1.5MB by changing the size and reducing the amount of colors. (You can adjust all these settings after you go to “Save for Web and Devices”)

You Might Want to Keep Your Receipt: Discovering Personal Information Online

Your Life
Ah…that dreadful time of year where you have to buy all of your expensive textbooks for classes. At the end of the year, you end up either stuck with them or selling them for prices that are much less than what you spent on them. However, there are those, such as myself, who take a wiser approach by renting their books from reliable websites like Chegg or College Book Renter and returning them when classes are over. This is not only a cheaper method, but it is also a way to not end up with a pesky stack of books at the end of the semester. However, there is always a few risks with this procedure, such as not getting the books on time, damaging them to the point where they cant be returned, having to re-rent them if their due date is before the semester ends, or worst of all, accidentally leaving personal information inside the book when you return it.

When I arrived back at my apartment, I sat down, cracked open my newly rented textbook, and began studying. A few pages later, a folded piece of paper fell out into my lap. I nosily opened it and realized that it was a receipt containing the name and address of the previous renter. I disregarded this revealing item and continued reading. As I read, my concentration was continuously being broken by thoughts of the receipt. Leaving a bookmark in a book is one thing, but leaving something private such as a full name and address?! Who KNOWS what could’ve happened if it had ended up in the wrong hands! I suddenly remembered one of my class assignments last semester was to Google the student sitting next to me to discover how much could be found about them online.  I looked at the receipt in the trash and thought, “I wonder how much I could learn about this person if I happened to be a threat to them…”  I put down the book, snatched the receipt out of the trashcan and opened Google.

It was now time to pretend to be a professional stalker, if such occupation exists. The experiment began with me typing in their full name. Within a flash of a second, dozens of websites that contained her name popped up! Her Facebook, Twitter, Youtube channel, and even her university blog that included her back story was now in front of me. This may not seem like anything significant, but I’d now discovered a new piece of information, her consistent username. If I were a genuine stalker (which I’m not!) I would utilize this username to find out every website she was active on. This was already getting scary because I’d found a good amount of information about her without even typing in where she lived yet. I hesitantly typed in her address, being afraid to see the results. In an instant, her home flashed on the screen, but that wasn’t all. Occupations, military records, past schools,  parents’ names and occupations, pets, sexual orientation, churches, family obituaries… I now felt extremely sorry for her–more so than when I first discovered her receipt–because she made this too easy for anyone to discover. I quickly shredded the piece of paper and tossed the scraps back into the trash.

I thought about sending her a message on Facebook telling her about the issue, but then I DEFINITELY would’ve seemed like a creeper. I just hope she doesn’t make this mistake again, or things could get dangerous for her. Just goes to show that sometimes all it takes is just knowing the first 2 numbers of a combination to open the locker.

The Begining: DS106


Welcome to my new blog,! Incase you didn’t know, my name is Amber May (I also go by my alias “Foxy Lee”.) I came into this course thinking it was going to be totally rad, and, after a week of doing some of the projects, so far I think I was right!

I can see why the first week is called “bootcamp.” There was a good amount of content to be learned and a lot of adjusting to the new way of teaching (I’d never taken an online course before.) But now that I’ve had this period to adjust and figure out the type of assignments I’d be performing, I can now start exploring the things I can do with this material! I was already a step forward in the game since I’d already created a website for my Writing Through Media class. All I had to do was create a new subdomain to house my new course work. One of the other initial assignments was to create a youtube page to upload the Daily Creates. Once again, I was ahead in the game because I’d had a youtube channel since 2008 that I would constantly update. I decided to use this channel rather than creating a new one so that the other students in the class could not only see my daily assignments, but they could also take a small look at my voiceover work if they were interested.

Speaking of the Daily Create, after my first few experiences with them, I feel that I’m gonna LOVE them! Remember “Show and Tell” from elementary school? I like to think of these assignments as just that in the sense that it’s a chance for me to share some of my interests and goals with the class. I had fun with the first video assignment, and I think it gave a little taste of the type of person I am, but I ended up making 2 errors. The first problem was that I forgot to introduce myself, and the second problem was that the instructions were to “fabricate a story,” which I didn’t do…woops…

This week wasn’t too bad of a bootcamp for me since I’d had 55% of the content already done. I think the one problem that I’m going to have to learn how to overcome this semester is the fact that I have trouble managing my time, and I end up stubbornly trying to do all the assignments at one time instead of staggering them throughout the week. (This usually results in me burning myself out.) As long as I maintain a positive attitude and listen carefully to the instructions, I’m sure I can pull through. BRING IT ON, DS106! Amber “Foxy” May is gonna give it her best shot this semester!