DS106 Assignments

Looking Back On Week Two

Week two has already challenged me and taught me so much. I’ve been quite busy with a combination of work and school. But completing the assignments for DS106 has allowed for me to take some personal time to be creative and have some fun.

To begin, I found the Daily Creates to be a lot of fun. Though simple, the challenges helped me consider interesting thoughts that in a busy schedule can often be forgotten about. For example, the Daily Create on daydreaming reminded me to daydream!

The Daily Create on colloquialisms encouraged me to do some research:

The Daily Create on “obscure but good songs” let me appreciate some great songs from the 80s!

The Daily Create on supporting role stars reminded me how much I love the original Blade Runner!

All of these Daily Creates were small, fun challenges that helped me be more expressive.

In regard to the Assignment Bank assignments, I found them both challenging and informative. I learned the most from these assignments by doing things I had never done before, and I was able to be creatively expressive in ways I’m normally not.

The three assignments I chose were “Places of Peace” (visual), “Snapshot of a Story” (writing), and “Alternate Universe” (design).

What I loved about the visual challenge was not only that it brought back memories from so many amazing times, but it also was quite thought-provoking. I had to try out a new app in order to create the collage, and I ended up liking it a lot. Linking it to the 80s theme by considering if those locations would still be peaceful in that decade was challenging but interesting. Read more about my thoughts on my post, Peace: Anywhere, Anytime?

The writing challenge was the assignment I had a lot of fun with. Yes, it was a little bit less serious, but it allowed me to indulge in my love for corgis, and express it in a creative way on Snapchat!

Finally, the design challenging was the most difficult. As I said on my post, Exploring Difference Universes, I have no design experience. So don’t judge (hahaha)! After much research, I was able to self-teach myself to cut myself out of one photo and paste it onto a background photo. Easier said than done! But I’m quite excited to use GIMP again (a free substitute I found for Photoshop) as a means to continue expressing creativity!

In regard to customization, I have worked to make my website an inviting and good-looking place for people to visit. I added the corgi as my header image (are you surprised?), and furthermore, I added a welcome page! Search around and enjoy! I had some difficulty understanding how to create separate pages, but again, research and self-teaching is the way to go. I’m learning a lot!

Finally, I have focused on participation by tracking the work of other students in DS106 and commenting on tweets, Instagram posts, and blog posts.

I’m excited to be meeting the people in this class and getting to see the work everyone is doing!

Exploring Different Universes

Alternate Universe: my design assignment for the week!

Okay… don’t judge my Photoshop skills. This took a lot of effort for someone who doesn’t know how to use design software!

The goal of this assignment was to Photoshop yourself into a different environment. A super different environment. And in order to make this fit in with the theme of our course, I chose a video game from the 80s!

This assignment probably took the most effort of the three. I first had to find the proper software, then figure out how to use it, and finally decide how to tie it into our course theme.

First off, I don’t own Photoshop. Maybe UMW provides it for students? But I don’t know how to access that. So instead, I decided to do some research, and eventually found out about “GIMP,” a free online knock-off version of Photoshop. I’m still learning how to use all the tools, but thus far, I’m proud to say I’ve figured out how to use the lasso tool and how to create layers.

Although this assignment required a lot of research, I’m excited and intrigued by getting to know more about design. It definitely seems like another platform on which I can express my creativity.

Tying in the 80s theme, I thought it was cool be put myself inside a video game from the decade. It reminds me of all the games I played with my dad on the Atari growing up. Pong is one of my favorites. Perhaps this activity is also symbolic of us DS106 students diving into the 80s?

Meet Cerberus the…corgi?

A Snapshot of a Story: my writing assignment for the week!

This was my fun activity for the week. In order to create this, I used Snapchat! I like the idea of using different platforms to complete these assignments. It allows for diverse creativity and different means of expression.

The challenge of this assignment was to write a haiku summing up my favorite myth/legend/tale. Being the corgi-obsessed person that I am, I thought relatively quickly of the legend of Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards over the Underworld.

My creative thought-process considered an alternative to the legend. What if, perhaps, the “menacing,” “vicious” dog was instead a cute corgi? Why do so many legends/myths, such as that of Cerberus, have to be intimidating?

Peace: Anywhere, Anytime?

One of the assignments I chose to do this week was to make a collage of places that bring me peace.

First, a tour of the images I picked.

On the top left is a photo I took during a UMW study abroad trip in the south of France. Although the experience of living in France by itself was an incredible one, I specifically remember taking this photo at a moment where I felt happy and peaceful. The weather was perfect and the landscape was poetic in its beauty. The sea in the distance, which I was walking toward, made me excited for a day at the beach.

Below that is a photo I took of my dog, Millie. She’s the sweetest dog I have ever known, and always bring so much joy to my life. Although the place where I took that photo is peaceful as well, my reason for picking the photo is more so because I feel at peace wherever and whenever I am with Millie.

The top right photo is from one of my favorite coffee shops. Although the Carytown coffee shop is now out of business [rest in peace :'( ], I recall such happiness and peacefulness from being there with my boyfriend. Many a time, we have explored Carytown together, and stopping at the coffee shop was one of my favorite memories.

Below the coffee is a photo from my hometown – Charlottesville. More specifically, this photo was taken early in the morning when I went for a walk with my dog, Millie, and my mom. The fog made everything quiet and peaceful.

Finally, the bottom right photo is a photo from a restaurant in Lithuania. My mom is from Lithuania, and during my upbringing, I visited Lithuania many a time. It is like a second home to me, in large part because my mom’s family still lives there. I always enjoy exploring restaurants like the one in the photo.

The work behind this was fairly straight-forward for me. I used Layout, an Instagram-recommended app that helps create collages for you. Perhaps the most demanding part was searching for the images that held the meaning to me. Searching through my photos brought back so many memories. Anyways, I chose a layout that looked nice, and voilà !

Furthermore, this post requires a little explanation of my thought process in linking this to our 80s theme. Although at first, these photos seemingly have nothing in common with the course theme, it is rather the mental process that accompanied this assignment that make the connection:

What would these places be like in the 80s? Would they exist? Would they still bring me peace?

It’s hard to say. For the photos of France and Charlottesville, I think the locations would be pretty much the same in the 80s. Lithuania, on the other hand, was still under the control of the Soviet Union at the time. I probably wouldn’t be able to go at all! But in terms of the coffee shop with my boyfriend, and the walk with my dog, it made me realize that a lot of peace comes from the people (and creatures) I value the most. If they weren’t travelling back in time with me, I probably wouldn’t enjoy my time in the 80s as much as I’d like to.

Weekly Summary: Week I

This week has thus far been a lot of fun. Summer break was MUCH needed, and I had the opportunity to do a lot of fun, new things. However, I’ll admit I was getting a little stir-crazy, and was honestly happy and excited to have classes start up again.

DS106 is a class I’m taking to fulfill a general education requirement. But quite honestly, I also hope to learn many valuable things from this course. Despite not being an immediate choice for an International Affairs and French major, I’m definitely excited to be pushing my boundaries and challenging myself to learn something new. Already this week, I’ve created my own website and blog! Despite some difficulties, Professor Bond was able to help things come together smoothly.

Finally, begrudgingly, I also got a Twitter! (I don’t really like Twitter in comparison to other social medias, but I’m reminding myself that this class will help open me up to new things…)

Instagram, Youtube, and Soundcloud were a breeze, as these are social medias I’m familiar with, and enjoy using. I created a new Instagram to better-focus on the goals of this course, but feel free to find my real Instagram page @tomlengel. I’m excited to be using all these platforms as a way to express myself, as well as to meet the people in this course!

Finally, I enjoyed writing about our course theme on the 80s. I think there’s a lot to study, consider, appreciate, and converse about in regard to this decade. My suggestion for a movie that takes place in the 80s was Dallas Buyers Club: a 2013 film that depicts life in the 80s during the HIV/AIDS crisis. It’s a powerful movie, and deals with a heavier, but very important topic in today’s world. I think studying how the 80s has influenced our society today is a wonderful idea for the semester ahead.

“What do the 80s mean to today?”

This is equally a simple question, and yet a difficult one to answer. I have no doubt that you could walk into a crowd, ask everyone you meet this very question, and you would end up with a variety of different answers. Perhaps for most of us in this class, the 80s was well before our time. I was born in 1998, so by default, my opinion and understanding of the 80s is based upon what society today remembers about it.

On a more personal level, the 80s makes me think of my dad, who considers the 80s to have been the best years of his life. My childhood was filled not only with countless stories from my dad’s adventures, but also with music and movies from that decade. I’ve listened to my fair share of Billy Idol and Gary Numan, and I think I’ve seen Blade Runner about five times now. I do find particularly fascinating the thought that I was raised to enjoy so many things from a decade I never got to live in. Perhaps children in later years will be taught to love the early 2000s?

Quite honestly, I’m excited to see where this theme will take us. There’s certainly things that are overrated from the 80s. But of course, there are many great things that have come out of the 80s! No decade is perfect or better than the other in my humble opinion. And at risk of sounding preachy or too deep for Thursday morning, I think it’s at least important to appreciate the good things that have come from any decade. And if the 80s was a magical time for some people, I’m excited to hear why!