Best Shots Photoset

This week I took a massive amount of photos, but only a few were great enough to save in my photo hall of fame. Ladies and Gentlemen! I give you my best shots of this week!

Mah Best Shahts!

Optical IllusionHow I See YouCrunchy,Shiny, and NewFlowerbed from an Ant's PerspectiveHuman Complexitiy at its Finest
Representation of Human Emotion

These 6 lucky photos proved themselves worthy of being in the spotlight, conquering all odds! The first shot was the visual assignment called Optical Illusion where I stood at a distance to smash my friend between my fingers! This photo just SCREAMS evil! The second image was a visual assignment that I created called How I See You where it shows how someone with glasses sees someone with and without their glasses. I got this inspiration when a friend on facebook thought my glasses had the power to look at people and mirror my true image of them. In the image is my best friend, Barbie, from middle school.The next piece of art is an assortment of delicious apples taken at Food Lion. This was for the Daily Create where we had to take a photo of something new and shiny. I don’t know about you, but I think fresh-picked apples are pretty shiny. Next is a photo of one of UMW’s flowerbeds…taken from an ant’s perspective during my photoblitz.At first I thought the shot was ruined because this lady got caught walking, but then I realized that she added a bit more student life to it. I have no clue who she was, but I’m glad she walked by. The second to last is a picture of the front of Trinkle Hall. This was also done during the photoblitz to represent Human Complexity. Finally, my favorite, is a picture of the James Farmer Memorial. The explination for why it is my favorite can be found HERE.

Let’s give a round of applause for the winners! They will be joined in the near future by any other distinguished individuals!

How to Color Splash Your Photos with GIMP

First open the image you want to edit in GIMP. (File>Open)

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In the Layers Dialogue Toolbox on the right side of the screen, right click the picture layer and click “Duplicate Layer.” (What this does is create a copy of the image so one copy can be grey and the other copy is colored.)
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Now that you have a copy of the image, to make one of the layers grey, go to the top of the screen and open the “Colors” menu, and click “Desaturate.”
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Pick one of the greyscale options and click Okay.

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You should now have 2 versions of your picture, a grey version and a colored version. Make sure the grey layer is on top of the colored layer in the Layers window on the right.

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Now go the “Layer” menu at the top of the page, “Transparency” and “Add Alpha Channel” (This makes an invisible layer for you to work with so when you erase the grey parts, it wont be white underneath)
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Boo-ya! You should now be able to erase the grey version of your picture to reveal the colored version underneath! Use the eraser tool in the toolbox on the left hand side.

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This week seemed so grey and rainy that I decided to hold off on my photoblizing project until the sun came out. Finally today was a beautiful sunny day, and my class had gotten cancelled so I had the time to take pictures this afternoon!

The Photoblitzing assignment basically required me to snap photos of the content listed, from objects with figurative meaning, such as things that represented human complexity, to literal objects, like the hand of a random person. The catch was that you could only perform these tasks within 20 minutes. After 20 minutes of silly poses and awkward pacing around the area between Lee Hall and the clock tower, I ended up taking 9 photographs. These were my best 5:

Photo at an Unusual Angle Flowerbed from an Ant's Perspective

This photo was taken on campus walk between Lee and Trinkle. People looked at me like I was insane for taking a picture of a flower bed by sitting on the ground. But hey, if I didn’t I never would’ve gotten an amazing shot like this!

 Human Complexity
Human Complexitiy at its Finest

This is Trinkle Hall, the Computer Science and Philosophy building. This hall basically breaths human thought and complexity.

Things That Don’t Belong Together

This Doesnt Belong Here!

This just seems so weird….the most of the campus is built on square and rectangular shapes, but every 50 or so steps you get these weird circles that just seem out of place. Maybe they’re secret passageways!


Octopus Tree!

The only way we can make an image seem supernatural is if we use our imagination. To me this tree looked like an octopus walking around Ball Circle. Or maybe it’s an upside-down spider…either way it makes you not want to get close to it.

Human Emotion

Representation of Human Emotion

This one is definitely my favorite! This is a statue of James Farmer, one of the most important people of the Civil Rights movement. He risked his life multiple times by choosing to ride on Greyhound buses from the North to the South back in 1961, journeys which he nicknamed the “Freedom Rides.” Pretty soon others followed his example and also started riding the buses in protest.This later led to the desegregation of inter-state transportation in the U.S. When I see this photo, I think of human courage.

Passage of Time


Time doesn’t stand still; therefore none of us are the same people we once were. We have sufficiently grown wiser throughout life, starting from the day we spoke our first words, to as recent as the end of last semester. Whenever something unpleasant happens in life, you may wish to go back and stop the occurrence from happening and never have to experience the indescribable anguish. But would you ever wonder how such revisitation would effect you in the future? If you had never touched that scorching hot skillet as a child, how would you have experienced the pain of being burned and learned from it?  If that narcissistic douchebag  ex-boyfriend had never dumped you your senior year of high school, how would you have later met the person who really taught you what it meant to be in a meaningful relationship? Since we are humans who are susceptible to making mistakes, the most we can do is learn from them and construct ourselves into better individuals. Wisdom comes with the passage of time, but only to those who are willing to learn from their mistakes.

In the image, Present Amber (the only one in color) is sitting as if she were looking out a window and watching all of her old stories play out from afar. She anxiously wants to warn them about some of the impending tribulations that they are about to undergo and what they could do to prepare for such struggles. However, she is aware that if she does tell them, she herself will never be the same. All of the experiences she’d undergone, good and bad, would never had happened to her, and she would be as naïve as her infant self. After that point, she may as well not exist anymore because she isn’t the person she once was (represented by her fading away.)

This image was made for the 9 Lives visual assignment. I made this image in GIMP by cutting out photos of myself from different time periods, the one in color being the most recent. Rather than leaving all of the past photos separated, I decided to integrate them into 1 moment in time. I borrowed the park image to provide a place for the Ambers to take a group photo.

Park Image Source:

Park Image License:

“NO U (turns)”

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This image was for the assignment called Cropped Signs. The task was to take a picture of a street sign and crop out a portion of it to make it have a different meaning. I took this “NO U TURNS” sign. This may seem like a simple sign that says “NO U” but when I saw it as I was walking I immediately snapped the picture and laughed like crazy.

Being an internet geek, I’m familiar with the infinite amount of memes floating around online; the phrase “NO U” being one of them. This is just the phrase you say when somone is in the process of telling you off and you regress back to your childhood days by saying “No you!!” as if that’s going to effectively shut them up. Learn more about the “NO U” meme here!

Love Makes You very Cheesy…


I’ve never been a fan of pickup lines…but some of them can be just plain hilarious. For this assignment I had to caption a picture from Franco Accornero’s postcard pack called “Unbridled Passion.” I got this horrible pickup line from one of my friend’s Facebook statuses last Summer when she explained how this guy came up to her and her friends and the beach and said this. Apparently it didn’t work on her…oh well.

True Glamour

Such glamor can only be attained by a canine of exquisite tastes.

This is my lovely hound, Caesar. His hobbies include strutting his stuff on the runway, signing autographs, and going to photo shoots like the true model he is. He enjoys eyeshadow that brings out his gorgeous amber eyes and lashes that accentuate their almond shape. As you can see, he doesn’t mind posing nude for the camera. ;)

I created this image using GIMP and borrowed a wig image from here. I added make-up by using the paint tool and adding a Gaussian Blur to spread out the color. I then toned down the opacity to make it a bit more realistic. I added the eyelashes using a brush that I acquired years ago (search eyelash brushes on google to find something similar. I don’t remember where I got mine.) Lastly I brightened up his eye by making a separate layer for his eyes and using the paintbrush to color them bright orange. If dogs could be drag queens, Caesar would make a PERFECT one!

Weekly Summary: Audio Week!

Once again, I forget what week it is…I think it’s week 4….It’s so easy to lose track of time while in this class since the weeks tend to fly by. I may not know what numeric week this was, but I DO know that it was my favorite week thus far, AUDIO WEEK!

Cohosting on DS106 Radio

First of all, I LOVED cohosting on Ds106 Radio with Nancy on Monday! I was a bit scared of being live on the air where anything could happen, but I calmed myself down enough to speak clearly. We had the chance to share our experiences with ds106 thus far; our favorite assignments, our weaknesses, our strengths, our interactions with other students, and our complaints. There were approximately 10 people listening to us, and I learned how a good amount of DS106 students were not even in Virginia, or in this country for that matter! I found the special guest, Grant Potter (inventor of DS106 Radio), to be very informative in the discussion about how audio could be a huge part of digital storytelling. He really knew his stuff! During the discussion on digital stories within videogames, I explained how when we play videogames the game’s environment is not the only thing that governs our gameplay experience, but also the atmosphere of the room we’re playing in could also contribute. For example, playing sinister games like (Amnesia) in a brightly lit classroom is not the same as playing it alone in your apartment at night. It was so much fun to not only join in on a topic that sparked my interests, but to also get my feet wet experiencing what it’s like to be live on the air. This summer I am going to be an intern at the Q94 radio station in Richmond producing and editing radio commercials, but I may also have the chance to be live on the air with the station in the future. I was glad that I had this opportunity with Ds106 Radio, but the only part of our broadcast that I was disappointed at was the horrible timing of my apartment’s fire drill that caused me to miss the rest of the show! I re-listened l to it eventually, but man I wish I coulda been there!

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Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad

Since this week was the intro to audio storytelling, it was very appropriate to first learn about the building blocks of an amazing story. I watched radio gurus, Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad, explain their views on audio storytelling. Glass’ video leaned more toward the structure of the story and creating it while Abumrad spoke more of connecting with the audience and painting mental pictures together. I felt that both of these men knew what they were talking about and obviously had enough radio experience under their belts to lead others in the right direction.

 This American Life: “Getting Away With It”

After watching Glass and Abumrad’s videos and had acquired an idea of how radio stories are structured, I began listening to the audio story “Getting Away With It” featured on This American Life. As I listened I mentally noted the radio techniques being used to bring the story to life. I felt bad that I couldn’t apply the techniques to the last story in the episode because I just couldn’t get into it.

Radio Bumper and 5 Sound Story

These assignments were single-handedly the best this semester (so far at least) and I really enjoyed doing them. The Radio Bumper was my favorite of the two because it gave me some practice producing radio commercials, which, as I stated before, I plan to be doing this summer. I created this by mimicking the structure of of my hometown’s radio bumpers. I threw in the random Tiny Tina line (which I voiced) because it was previously being discussed on Ds106 Radio on Monday, to the point where she somehow appeared on Twitter to haunt us.

The Sound Story assignment confused me at first because I had no idea that the content had to be new material. At first I used a sound story that I had created last year for a Umw video contest (which didn’t win, sadly) that contained 19 sounds relating to the life of a Umw student. When I learned that I had to make something new, I created a story recounting me trying to learn how to play an instrument when I was younger. This one only had 5 sounds as opposed to the previous 19.

Daily Creates

Acrostic Poem with Article of Clothing
Too Late
Hum First Memory
Retitle a Movie

This one was my favorite this week.



Another week, another week of amazing projects done by the DS106 prodigies. I take the comments that have been posted my blog to the heart because they address how I have the potential to be something great later in life. (I wont let you all down!) Overall I had a blast this week with audio! I’ve trained myself to be completely calm and collected when in front of a microphone, so much so that now it just comes naturally to not be embarrassed by my deep, boyish voice. There were more assignments than last week, but I didn’t care because they were based on hobbies that I do almost every day. The only negative thing that I could come up with is the fact that the Daily Creates are becoming more of a “rush job.”I don’t know…I used to love Daily Creates at first, but now stacking them on top of other things we’re supposed to do throughout the week, plus the assignments we’re doing in our other classes, is making them more tedious. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy creating things like these, but I wish I had the time to spend more time on them and make them a bit more elaborate; like the ones I created the first week. I could do SO much more with them!

And so ends the DS Weekly Hurricane (this is the name I’ve come up with because the assignments roll in like ferocious storms at the beginning of the week and die off at the end, leaving a beautiful sunbeam of accomplishment.)

This American Life “Getting Away With It”

I chose to listen to the This American Life episode called “Getting Away With It.” This series introduces ordinary people telling their stories anonymously, so that they have the freedom to speak what is on their minds. I took some notes on this style of storytelling as I was listening to it last night.

At first I tried to read the story at the same time as I was listening, but this didn’t work because there was a lot of pauses and stammering between words. This wasn’t a bad thing at all; in fact I enjoyed how they used their voices to show emotion and express the character’s personalities. What’s remarkable about audio storytelling is that the story can be told effectively without any of the actors being seen. By the middle of the first story, I’d gotten so much into it that I hadn’t touched Facebook at all, and I hadn’t even noticed that my phone rang…twice (my mom wasn’t too happy.) The narrator described everything in colorful detail to help paint a mental picture for the listener.

Every sound played a huge role in the story’s structure, from the sound of clinking bottles to the transition music in between. Music choice was key in how the scene’s mood was set. Driving down the countryside was exemplified using sort of a southern guitar theme while the arrival of an antagonist prompted a much darker tone. They used pauses to convey suspense. An example of this was when the mother and narrator arrive at the checkpoint and the music died to an awkward pause. Just made you want to hold your breath and hope they wouldn’t be discovered. When the suspenseful moment was over, happy music resumed, as if to say “Okay, you can exhale now.” You could never capture this level of drama by simply reading a script! After the story, there was a cross-faded transition into the show’s bumper, where they reminded the audience of what they were listening to, then another transition into the next story by restating the theme of the episode.

I loved Molly Shannon’s story in Act 3 (Crime and Tutus) about how her and her friend were able to sneak onto an airplane! There weren’t any sound effects in this story except for the audience’s reactions. By the way that Molly relived her story, you could really tell what she was feeling at that moment, as if her situation had just happened the previous day. My favorite line was after they snuck onto the plane and Molly shouted in a fast rant, “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women. And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen!” This story definitely had a sense of triumph; I mean sneaking onto a plane for a free trip to New York? That’s a once in a lifetime deal if if one manages to get away with that! As the end transition song said, “I’m on a plane. I cant complain!”

I tried SO hard to maintain my horrible attention span for the last story, but I just couldn’t because not only did it exclude sound effects, but, to me at least, it wasn’t as interesting as the first 2 stories because it was just government officials droning on, and it didn’t seem to lead anywhere.  This is sort of comparable to me trying to read a chapter book. If there’s no pictures, but the story is still great, I’d still be willing to read it. However, if there were no pictures and the topic was boring, there’d be no way I could focus on the words for very long.

Overall, I feel that radio shows such as these could successfully keep an audience entertained by using techniques such as Foley sounds, music tracks, and audio effects to make a story seem more realistic and fuel the listeners’ imaginations. I liked this episode (or the parts that I actually listened to) so much that, whenever I get the time, I plan to listen to a few more episodes in the series.