As I sit here, working on my last DS106 project right before the deadline, I decided to write to all you future DS106ers, and give you awesome tips on how to procrastinate and win in this course. First, I suppose you shouldn’t really procrastinate.
But if you’re like me, and there’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of only having a short while to finish something, the panic gets your creativity flowing. Secondly, I’ve given myself extra time to do assignments before, and all I learned is that I’m going to take the amount of time i’m given to finish an assignment period, with similar results (if given a week, I’ll do un-serious interrupted work for the entire week. if given a day, I’ll take a day. But give me an hour, and I’ll throw something together faster than Congress in a lame-duck session).

Tip #1: Make sure if you’re going to procrastinate on actually doing your assignments, that you at least know what the assignment is ahead of time. I like to think that if I read the assignment, then give myself until the last minute to actually do the work, inspiration will come from all the time i’ve given myself to let ideas float around in my subconscious. The adrenaline just does the work of moving what’s subconscious to the conscious (sometimes, caffeine is needed).

Tip #2: If you’re going to procrastinate, make sure you are doing a project with something you’re interested in. I find that projects go much faster if i’m actually invested in what i’m doing, rather than trying to finish something as quickly as possible (get it over with) that i’m not remotely interested in. Maybe try something related to popculture. You’ll be interested in your work, and other people will appreciate it.

Tip #3: Build your e-go. Get it? Electric ego? It’s like email, but confidence. Yeah, but what I actually mean is check google analytics regularly. Nothing makes you feel cooler than the fact that 6 people checked out your blog on any given day (until you realize, 3 of them were probably you, sitting in the library, on a different IP address). But seriously, if you feel like what you’re doing is at least being looked at by other people, you’ll be more interested in doing your work and feel more confident about your DS106 abilities (last minute work requires confidence).

Tip #4: Take DS106 ONLINE and WITH A FRIEND. The reason I say online, is because you’ll be forced to learn everything on your own (which is why you take with a friend, so the 2 of you can share info), but also because you have WAY more flexibility to procrastinate. For example, you can put your assignment off until the weekend (DS doesn’t really feel like work anyway, so it’s not like you’re doing homework while you’re perusing youtube for your favorite TV show clip: which is totally DS106 related by the way).

Lastly, Tip #5: Get all of the “little” stuff out of the way in between big projects. I find that the regular blog updates, and a lot of the commenting and looking at other people’s work, can be done late at night before I go to bed, or for an hour in between classes, etc. This gives you all kinds of cushion time for when you’re trying to bust out that big weekly assignment Saturday afternoon (due at midnight).

So basically, if you follow my 5 tips to procrastinate and win, your DS106 experience should more or less be totally similar to the experience I had with DS106: One that’s awesome, and one where you’re taking an enjoyable class that complements the chaos of a junior/senior level course load perfectly (fun work that’s completely unrelated to my major).

Now go out there and have fun winning.

 

 

2 of my favorite shows of all time are Captain Planet, and Avatar the Last Airbender. I mean, what could possibly be cooler than shooting water/fire/air/earth out of your ring or hands? Let me answer for you. Nothing!

I will tell you what’s cooler than Captain Planet

and

What’s cooler than Avatar the Last Airbender:

Captain Planet, the Last Airbender! Seeing all sort of elemental themed parallels between the two cartoons (i had to cut out “heart” it’s the lamest power anyway. Seriously, Wheeler gets to shoot fire, and the heart guy -I don’t even know his name- gets to talk to monkeys all day? That’s not a power. That’s a curse.), I decided to mashup Captain Planet’s audio with Avatar the Last Airbender’s intro. The hardest part was splicing all the audio (done in audacity) to time perfectly with the avatar clip (in Imovie) since I was doing guesswork. Anyways, here it is:

 

 

Captain Planet, The Last Airbender

What I learned: I learned that doing restaurant reviews often puts you into this mindset of awareness as soon as you walk into a restaurant. It’s weird. The smallest details of food that you probably wouldn’t have noticed before, and the types of comparisons you begin to make between restaurants, all of which comes from paying more attention to what you’re eating and the way it’s presented.

For the blogging portion, what I found to be most interesting was the fact that often felt like I was trying to verbalize and dictate the types of thoughts that usually hit your mind immediately and all at once when you’re eating. These are thoughts related to food texture, flavoring, and identification of ingredients (which is the hardest part). I feel like a regular eating experience involves a focus mainly on whether or not you’re enjoying the food (pleasure or displeasure), but in order to “review” food, you’re forced to be more thoughtful and mentally breakdown the process of eating. Then you have to communicate those thoughts (which is a difficult task if you’re not taking notes at the table-something that had I done, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to review restaurants while with friends anymore. They thought the vlogging was weird enough.)

To make my project experience as interactive as possible, I tried to do a variety of difference things in terms of the mediums I used to communicate my food experiences. Mainly, I used the traditional method of just writing blogs. However, I also tried posting some of these on yelp.com, and even if that experience didn’t turn out to be quite as interactive/communitylike as I thought it would be, it was interesting to me to be posting my own restaurant review alongside numerous other normal, non-food critics. Finally, I tried a vlog. This was definitely the most fun way to communicate a message, and I think what it captures best is the blogger’s personality. Definitely a good tool for keeping the message entertaining and engaging.

Next time, I’ll just vlog everything.

 

As promised….my next (and unfortunately…final) restaurant review is in vlog form!

Couple things first though:

1st: Sorry I was chewing and talking for the first few seconds. I honestly didn’t notice it happening at the time, but from a viewer’s perspective, it’s kind of gross.

2nd: This was in 3 parts, because I filmed it using the front-facing camera on my itouch, and for some reason when you try to send videos from your itouch to yourself via email, it a. restricts the size of the video you can send (so you can only send small pieces at a time) and b. might not be retrievable once sent via email.
This sort of ruined my plans to splice the 2 clips together (good thing there were only 2) into a cohesive vlog. And my only other option was to post directly to youtube from the itouch (which ended up working).

Lastly, Thai Aubergine is a relatively new (about a year old) Thai restaurant located in the Cosner’s Corner shopping center on route 1 south of UMW. This is honestly one of the best/one of my favorite Thai restaurants and it’s the 2nd time I’ve been since they opened last year. Last year, the place was packed when we went, but for some reason this past weekend, we were the only ones in the whole restaurant. I don’t know if it was just a slow night, or if things had changed drastically since the restaurant opened. One thing I can assure you hasn’t changed is the quality of the thai food.
And without further ado:

Part 1
watch?v=cG2gge0bQro

 

Part 2

 

 

Please, please, please forgive me on this. Because I’m about to make one of the laziest moves DS106 has probably ever seen. For one of my 2 projects, (this will qualify as audio), I came up with the idea of turning my portion of the radio show project we did way back when (The portion of that show that I contributed was the roadtrip radio soundtrack) into an audio assignment.

So: here’s the general concept of the assignment: Create a vehicle-trip themed (boat-themed, plane-themed, roadtrip-themed) playlist that would go well with the type of cruisin’ that you’re doin’.

The hardest part of this project, interestingly enough, was finding downloadable mp3s of the songs that I wanted that weren’t fake (I had to settle for “Sweet Home Virginia/Happy Birthday to some guy” instead of “Sweet Home Alabama”). Next, I had to make good transitions between the songs (using static-like sounds from a free sounds site), and editing the songs/sounds together. The theme was also challenging, since I tried to make the songs create a linear-route from California to New York (Sweet Home Virginia screwed me). Overall though, I was very happy with the end result.

As a future possibility/for anyone doing this project, I think that a road trip playlist on another continent would be fun, especially something international. For example, for Continental Africa you could definitely throw in some baba yetu by the Soweto Gospel Choir and waka waka by Shakira feat. Freshlyground. Both songs would be for South Africa, since Soweto is from Soweto and Freshlyground is from Cape Town. RadioShow

I know it doesn’t look like much, but just this small clip of the song took hours to complete. I used IMovie for the project, and besides creating a varying array of fronts/colors/sizes/transitions/movements for the lyrics, the TIMING for the lyrics in time with when they appear in the audio of the song is meticulous work. Sometimes it would take up to 10 minutes to have a 3-word phrase line up perfectly.

 

For those of you UMW students or Fredericksburg area residents who’ve passed the concrete/brick monstrosity on route 1 and wondered

A. What is that thing?
and
B. When’s are they going to be finished building it?

The answers are that the building is the William M. Anderson Center, a 1,700 seat state-of-the-art basketball/entertainment arena beng built by the University of Mary Washington. Once completed, the building will be used for hosting basketball division III games/tournaments, volleyball tournaments, and indoor concerts, rallies, and freshman honor convocation.
In fact, the building’s first event will be held in August during Freshman Orientation Week, around the same time the center will have a formal opening ceremony.

So now you’re probably wondering: What does the Anderson Center look like on the inside?

The answer lies ahead:

 

Special thanks to Athletics Director Ed Hegmann and Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions Melissa Yakabouski for arranging this tour.