The Disappearance of Meowdred Pierce: Week One

This week was definitely unorthodox compared to those in the past. Rather than just creating art in different mediums, we were assigned a case to solve. My agency will be working on: “The Disappearance of Meowdred Pierce”.          Maggie Black filed a missing cat report with Black Widow Agency, as NoirCat is nowhere to be found! We began the week by using the information that Black and Groom provided. Since the only location we had to go on was Groom’s place, (as he accused his dog, Daphne, of chewing on part of a ransom note) we began there. It turns out that we did find parts of the ransom note.

"We have your cat. If you every want 2 see ur cat again, meet @ the Pie..."
“We have your cat. If you ever want 2 see ur cat again, meet @ the Pie…”

Unfortunately, Daphne ate the end of it, so we were unable to make out where the catnappers want to meet. We continued our search of Groom’s location. While there, I personally conducted an interview with Daphne, thanks to help from a canine translator. The translator fed me the dog’s answers to my questions through an ear bud. Daphne did not have much to say on the subject, which is a bit odd considering her “best friend” supposedly disappeared. She did mention that NoirCat is not fond of the ds106 community that Maggie Black is a part of. It’s not much to go on, but we will put it all together eventually.

Julia: Well, hello Daphne. I’m Julia James.

Daphne: *Growls

Julia: I want to ask you a few questions about NoirCat. So, I’ll start by saying, I know you’re a dog and she’s a cat, and things can get pretty heated there. But I’m going to try to keep an open mind. So I’m going to ask you, once for the record, what’s your relationship with NoirCat?

Daphne: We are friends! Actually, we are best friends!

Julia: Oh friends, huh? I’m not sure I buy it! But anyway, why did we find the ransom note at your house?

Daphne: Because I ate it! I was hungry, okay?!

Julia: Okay then? Well, I guess my next question is…what do you know about Maggie Black and her relationship with NoirCat?

Daphne: She doesn’t hate Maggie! But she does hate some community she’s a part of…I think it’s called DS106.

Julia: We will be sure to look into that. But with the little that you gave us to go on, how do you expect us to find your friend?

Daphne: Trust me, you shouldn’t find her. That’s all I’m saying.


The next task in the case of finding NoirCat was to organize all of the information, evidence, and people we have come across so far. I decided to take the initiative to create a suspect board that ties together our suspects with the evidence that we have found, which we will update over the course of this case. This also created the perfect opportunity to submit an original assignment to the Assignment Bank. Once again, I asked my associate, Kendall Parker, to submit it under her name.  “This Assignment is Suspect!” is its name and organization is its game! If you want to complete it, feel free to check out the up-to-date version of mine on our agency website 24/7. Currently, this is what it looks like:

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As you can see, the board contains some evidence that I did not mention previously. This is because I cannot take full credit for finding it. I have been working with the three other women in Black Widow Agency (Edie, Sylvia, and Margaret). Edie has made some “Lost” posters and discovered the magnetic strip used to disable the microchip in NoirCat. As you can see on the board, this ties back to Joan Crawford, one of the few people who knows about the chip and the doctor who inserted it. In addition, Sylvia discovered NoirCat’s tag and collar, leading us to an abandoned building in downtown Fredericksburg. As of now, these are our only leads, but we will be checking out the abandoned building next.

Creating this board is perfect, because it is representative of our primary media (design). The interview is audio in nature,  which is one of our three supplemental medias (audio, photography, and video).

In addition to contributing to posts on my agency’s website, I also wrote up individual check-in posts, in order to update followers of this case with my personal progress and views. My first check-in was on Wednesday (4/8/15) and the second was posted today, Sunday (4/12/15).

The members of BWA sat down together on Thursday evening to hash out the details of the case to that point. Everyone made great points concerning the case, as some theories are very plausible. However, it would show bias to reveal these theories. We need to evaluate the evidence as it is uncovered to be sure we arrive at the correct conclusion!

I am also the operator of our agency Twitter account and have been updating our followers with the progress of the case throughout the week.

In addition to submitting another original assignment (This Assignment is Suspect!) this week, I also satisfied the final two additional requirements by creating two tutorials. One was for my first original assignment, “Email! Email! Read All About It!”. Following this, I attempted to pay Kendall Parker back for her help by creating a tutorial for an assignment that she completed weeks ago. I wrote a tutorial for the “Splash The Color” assignment. With these tutorials, I have completed all of the additional requirements for ds106. :)

I also took the time to look at all of the other agencies’ progress this week and was able to leave them some personal remarks. I commented on Stirrup Trouble’s post, Chelsea’s post, Sylvia’s post, Rhiannon’s post,  Phoenix’s post, Johnny Corner Pocket’s post, and Sasha’s post.

This week has been a productive one, full of evidence finding and case organization. Although we have no certain leads yet, I’m confident that NoirCat’s location will be discovered soon, considering who’s on the case!  Black Widow Agency will not be stopped!

Jewel out.

I’m in Heaven in Week Eleven

After teaming back up with my fellow MaNOIRpulators and my Grandma last week, we went to work this week establishing ourselves on the web in different capacities. We formed Black Widow Agency (BWA). composed of Margaret Pinault, Julia James (me, of course), Edie Waz, and Sylvia Stone. In order to really plant ourselves into the online world, we created an agency website and a Twitter account. We are bound and determined to get our name out there, so that we can help women in need. Throughout the week, our members have also been creating different advertising materials for the agency including a newsletter, business card, logo, license plate, quizzes, bumper stickers, etc. BWA is ready to get started on missions, as we have established ourselves in the DS106 community as a top agency comprised of intelligent and sexy women (and, yes, that includes Grandma!).

For Week 11, we were required to create 5 stars of web assignments and 5 stars of any kind of media assignments (total of 10). For part of the 5 web assignments, I completed the prompt, “Pop Quiz!”. I created 5 questions and provided the answers given by each agency member. The participant must try to guess which answers I gave. It is a great way to get to know me and my mindset. For the rest of the 5 web stars, I created my first original assignment called, “Email! Email! Read All About It!”. Since the existing web assignments do not really lend themselves to being completed for an entire agency, a perfect opportunity to create my own emerged. The newsletter that I created announces the formation of our agency and gives details on each member’s role in BWA. The next assignment that I completed comes from the design category. I included a      “Noir Valentine” card that our agency received from a mysterious “Secret Admirer”. It was too great to pass up!  My final assignment contributed to our web presence, as I created a “Theme Song” for our agency played to the tune “Black Widow”, by Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora. It includes sound effects and voice-overs that make it unique to BWA. The assignments this week were all created with my agency and its members in mind.

We only had to complete two Daily Creates this week, and I enjoyed both of them tremendously. The first is a birthday card for Maggie Black, the hard-working tutor for DS106.

Happy Birthday, Maggie!

The second is a sound map of Fredericksburg, VA. I was unable to do one for my hometown of Chicago, because I was away on “business” this week. I actually enjoyed the sounds of Fredericksburg. because it is much more peaceful compared to the noisy streets of Chicago.

Until next week, Daily Creates!

I explored my fellow DS106’ers works once again this week.  I commented on Tiffany’s post, Edith’s post, Jota’s post, Amanda’s post, Cody’s post, Brianna’s post, Christine’s post, Gyeore’s post, Stephanie’s post, and Erin’s post.

In addition to the required tasks for Week 11, I also created two original Daily Creates. I really hope they come up soon on the website, because I can’t wait to see the twists that others put on the prompts. The first, “Special High Five”, is a video assignment, and the second, “Begin to Face a Fear Today”, is a drawing assignment. Check out the instructions for each below.

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With one original assignment and two original Daily Creates submitted, I only have to complete one more original assignment and two tutorials to complete the additional requirements.

This week was one full of blood, sweat, and tears. Okay, I have to admit…the blood wasn’t mine and the tears weren’t either. Ha! Anyways, it was also full of hard work. Ciao!

Jewel out.

My Job Away From Both of My Jobs!

I took on a third job this week, and it is certainly full-time! I entered the ds106 world and am not looking back. At first I wasn’t sure I could handle all of the work, in addition to my other two jobs, but I got through this week and am looking forward to expressing myself again next week.

The first section of the week prompted me to complete 15 stars of video assignments. At first, I thought, “What in the world am I going to do? I can’t share but so much of my life with other people”. However, I took a deep breath and found the perfect assignments to share all aspects of my life that I can and want to share. The first one that I completed is the “Name that Book!” assignment. I rightfully chose to use the novel that my book club has just started reading. I found the ideal images to represent the book’s title in a short 6-second Vine. The next assignment is the “Where Do You Want To Go?” prompt, which was bittersweet to complete, because it makes me sad that I will likely never be able to go to Harvard, but it also makes me feel hopeful that I will get to visit Cambridge, Massachusetts one day. Then came time to delve in deeper, as I picked movie scenes that have changed my life. The assignment, “Movie Scenes That Have Changed our Lives” , really gives me some insight into my own life, as I see why I became the person I am today. In order to round out these assignments, I completed the “Special Person Montage”. Since I do not have many people in my life who could fit in here, I decided to complete this video about my best guy friend, Storm. He is an amazing cat (yes, my best friend is a cat) who is more like family to me. I loved making this video, and we even watched it together last night, after a meeting with a client’s husband . These assignments truly provide an outlet for creativity that has been bottled up for a very long time.

The next task for the week was an unusual one. I was asked to partake in an interview. The four interviewers put me in a very compromising position, by the questions that they asked, but I obliged and was very cooperative, in order to avoid suspicion. They even published my interview on a newscast called One on One: Julia James. I am trying not to psych myself out about the strangeness of this request, but it is very hard. I don’t have anything to worry about, I hope!

Reunited and it feels so good! Peaches and Herb’s lyrics are the definition of my reconnection with Edie Waz, Sylvia Stone, and Margaret Pinault. The MaNOIRpulators are back, baby! And they are back with a vengeance. We decided to combine our expertise again, for some agency that the heads of ds106 are forming. I don’t know what the task is yet, but I know our agency will be on top of things, like always!

The Daily Creates for this week were simply to die for! They were a wonderful way to express myself and release some stress after long workdays and sometimes during them. I took a breakfast selfie of the cutest bagel I have ever seen. It was a shame to eat it! Next, I accepted the challenge to draw Batman in 15 seconds. I actually surprised myself with how much I was able to draw of him, and it actually looked somewhat accurate. Finally, I created some bangin’ tree art from a photo I took on the way home from the law firm. The color scheme looks like my closet. So cute!

Look at that smile!

Batman, is that you?

Gee, I'm a tree!

I decided to explore this week and came across some awesome work from people in the ds106 world. Who knew that so many people participate in this?! I commented on Barbara’s post, Brianna’s post, Erin’s post, Amanda’s post, Amy’s post, another one of Brianna’s posts, Brenda’s post, Edith’s post, Phoenix’s post, and Stephen’s post.

The final task was an opportunity for extra credit, and it was actually the first thing that I did this week. I tuned in to a special radio show on Monday night at 9:00 PM. I came home early from the law firm just for this show and it didn’t start until about 9:30 PM. This was unfortunate, because I was supposed to meet my new client, Brenda, at 10:30 PM. Luckily, I was able to postpone, because I really wanted that extra credit. The show was worth waiting for, and I enjoyed interacting with my peers in ds106. Check out some of the tweets that I sent out during the show:

Well, that’s it for my first week at my third job in ds106. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and just may have made a few friends (or at least acquaintances).

Jewel out.



On the Go From Radio to Video!

This week in DS106, we made an evolution from radio to video. As much as I loved the radio portion, video has taken over the 21st century and, therefore, is very familiar. We began the week by wrapping up the playing of radio shows on DS106 Radio, and I decided to tune in to “Get a Clue”. My review of the show is very positive, because it is a great show that is well thought out and executed beautifully. Once again, my favorite part of this process was the tweet-along, as I love interacting with my fellow ds106’ers and professors. Below are some of my tweets from that night:

The next task allowed us to reflect on the past few weeks of creating and listening to our radio show. As we moved into video this week, it was nice to look back on the extensive process of producing the show and also the experience of listening to it with our peers. Reflecting on our radio show creation in a post, allowed me to relive the enjoyment and pride of what we accomplished!

The Daily Creates were an enormous amount of fun this week. I began by creating a video trailer for a character that represents a feeling. Puz Ling (puzzling…get it?) cannot find a place where he fits in…or can he? Puz is one of my greatest cartoon creations! :) The next prompt that I decided to complete was capturing an artistic blur in a photo. I snapped a picture of a plant and the colors blend wonderfully.

It's a plant, I swear!

The next assignment was probably the most time consuming. However, I am very proud of the final outcome. We were required to create a video essay for a film, by analyzing and applying the principles that we learned about in Roger Ebert’s “How To Read A Movie” and three videos of our choice. I chose “Examples of Editing Techniques”, “Camera Angles and Techniques”, and “Hitchcock Loves Bikinis”. Having never watched an Alfred Hitchcock movie before, I decided to view the film, “Notorious”, and he certainly did not disappoint. I was able to apply a lot of Ebert principles about dominance to the scene I chose, and a few points about cinematic techniques from the videos. I thoroughly enjoyed “reading” this movie from an analytical perspective. Check it out:

Out of the three options available this week, I chose the first and completed at least eight stars of video assignments, with four relating to my character and someone else’s. The first assignment that grabbed my attention was the “High School Memories” video. My mom has been working on a scrapbook from high school for me, so I was inspired to go back and look at all of the pictures that I have. This assignment allowed me to make something that I will always treasure! It turns out that… “I lived”!

The assignment that I chose to fulfill the character requirement is unique, compared to the usual approach that I take. I decided to not assume Julia James’ persona, but instead, to look back at all of the work that I did with my character and showcase it in the “Show Off” assignment. I collaborated with Brianne Comden to make a joint video about our characters. Some of the pieces involve both Julia and Margaret, as we established them as granddaughter and grandmother in our radio show.

Capping off the week, we had to create a character category on our blogs and submit it to the DS106 website. Luckily, I already had a “Julia ‘Jewel’ James” category, so all I had to do was submit it.

Although it was not a requirement, I went ahead and commented on a few of my peer’s pieces. I commented on Phoenix’s post, Fatale’s post, Amanda’s post, and Brianna’s post.

I think it is fairly safe to say that my transition from radio to video was problem-free, and some great art was created during the process!

#ds106 #4life


Eight is Great, Let’s Create!

We went back to the basics this week with the typical assignment bank prompts, daily creates, and a few other posts. It was a nice return after the two weeks of radio show work, although I enjoyed doing that tremendously. Speaking of radio shows, our first task for this week was to listen in to a radio show other than our own, tweet along with it, and then write a review. Since my group’s show, “MaNOIRpulators”, aired on Wednesday, that is when I chose to tune in. After listening to our show, “Dead Silence” was aired, and it was so refreshing to listen to another group’s take on noir radio shows. The group did a great job with its suspenseful and twisted plot, and I really enjoyed the experience of listening to it as a whole. In addition to the written review, part of this experience was tweeting along with my peers, so check out a few of my tweets:

Our next task was to get IN[SPIRE]ed!  All of my fellow DS106’ers do great work, and I found four great examples to add to the website submissions. Emily, July, Kathy, and Brian all inspired me this week with their newspaper design, radio bumper, photo digitization, and photoshopped image, respectively. Not only do they motivate me to keep putting the maximum effort into the work that I am doing, they motivate me to think outside the box when doing so!

The Assignment Bank was back this week, and I was able to explore the category Web for the first time. Two out of the three of my assignments this week were from that category. The first prompt that I chose was the “Design an Invoice”, and I created a fictitious invoice for one of my peer’s characters, Victoire Absinthe, as she hired Julia James to get rid of her husband. Julia charges her for a number of items and tasks, including surveillance and travel expenses.

Invoice Photo

The second assignment that I chose to complete is the “You’re A Pinteresting Character” prompt. Since my radio show group established my character, Julia, as Aubrey Howland’s character, Edie Waz’s, cousin, I thought it would be great if they created a joint Pinterest board to display their favorite things. 10 pins relate to Julia, while 10 relate to Edie. They touch on all aspects of their lives, including beauty, fashion, and drinking. Below is a snapshot of the top of the board:

Pinterest board


I collaborated with my great friend, Brianne Comden, for my final Assignment Bank prompt, “Google History Maps Story”. Since Julia is Margaret Pinault’s (Brianne’s character) granddaughter, we decided to base the story off of a visit to Julia’s grandmother’s grave, which is really a cover for a “business” trip to France. It is quite a sketchy and interesting story, so check it out!

Our next task was the one that took the least amount of time, but I  think it will be very useful in the future of this class. We were required to create Gmail and Twitter accounts for our characters! I found this assignment to be fun, because I was able to expand Julia James’ social media world and really allow her to interact with other characters in DS106. Her Gmail is and her Twitter handle is @OneBrightJewel.

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Our commenting assignment from the past two weeks was repeated again this week, as we were required to comment on ten of our peers’ pieces. I am glad it was, because I love going back and viewing so many great works of art that amaze me each week. I commented on Tyler’s post, Barbara’s post, AdventuresOfM’s post, Lauren’s post, Spencer’s post, Brianne’s post, WildWoodBlog’s post, Landon’s post, Kayleigh’s post, and hungryMax’s post. I really enjoyed all of these assignments, and hope I was able to brighten their days with my comments!

The options for daily creativity were abundant this week. There were so many great prompts that I wish I had time to do more! However, the three that I chose are three that I am very proud of. My Daily Creates include the display of many sides of myself in photography, an abstract drawing of my favorite moment from the past week (Watching Netflix, of course!), and a video of things that make me laugh out loud.

The Many Sides of Kendall!

Binge Watching is an Addiction

Well, that’s all folks! Week 8 was great, and I’m sure week 9 will be divine!

#ds106 #4life



Noir YOU Talking to Me?!

Week Seven of ds106 was a doozy! Although the amount of assignments and posts paled in comparison to previous weeks, the amount of work that I put into the radio show was beyond measure. I worked on some aspect of our group’s show every night for the past two weeks. Whether it was a commercial, a radio bumper, dialogue writing, recording, audio editing, or simply putting time into the thought process behind the show, each task was just as crucial as the next. The progress for this week was abundant, leading up to the final product:

The next step for the week was to repeat the commenting assignment from last week by sharing our thoughts on ten of our classmates’ work. I commented on Kelsey’s post, Jack’s post, Brian’s post, Brianna’s post, Kayleigh’s post, Rhiannon’s post, Abigail’s post, Stephanie’s post, Kassia’s post, and Brenda’s post. By completing this assignment, the same conclusion that I keep making is that my peers are extremely talented and creative.

The final task for this week reunited me with my good old friends, the Daily Creates. I really enjoyed all of the prompts this week, to the point that it was difficult to choose. However, I am very happy with my decisions.

My first assignment was to create a video of five things that bring me joy, so I included, a movie theater, Chipotle, Planet Fitness, the Lakers, and basketball.

The next task that I took on was writing a short story based on five random emojis that I was given on the Emojinate website. With the images of an angry face, a punching fist, an apple, a french horn, and a cat, the following story came to mind.


The final Daily Create I completed was a modified image with teal and orange hues to create a sense of action.


On that note, I am ready to take a break from all that is noir and ds106 for a week. Enjoy spring break, ds106’ers!

#ds106 #4life

Check…1…2…Check…Radio Show Week 1

This DS106 week, being the first of our radio show weeks, was different from all others in the past. Although it may seem like fewer blog posts and written work, it was approximately the same amount, if not more, with all of the group project work that we started. After forming a group with Aubrey Howland, Brianne Comden, and Amanda Layton, we developed a storyline for a radio show over group text. Our name, “the maNOIRpulators”, is based on our characters, as they are mostly mysterious women who manipulate men for different reasons. Our progress for this week was remarkable, as we developed our character interaction, made some promos for the show, and planned out the workload. Our next step is the script, and then we have to record and edit.

As stated above, our group made promos for our radio show. Personally, I decided to design a logo because it is a main visual representation of our show. It portrays the premise of the storyline without giving away too much. The name alone hints at the plot, and the three female silhouettes and color scheme convey a sense of noir.

DS106 Radio Show logo

On Thursday, I partook in the radio listen-along through Twitter. That night, “Red Wine” and “Jack the Ripper” played. Both were great selections, but I have to say that I enjoyed “Jack the Ripper” more, simply because of the creepy narrating voice and the fact that I had heard about Jack the Ripper in the past. Once again, the tweet-along allowed me to connect with a lot more students in ds106. I really enjoyed this process because I ended up following several peers and found that many students share my views on the shows. Check out a few of my thoughtful tweets on Thursday night:

Our next task was to do a better job commenting this week. Over the past weeks, I have linked to the comments that I have made, but there have only been a few per week. This week I fulfilled the requirement of ten comments, commenting on Cheyenne’s post, Edith’s post, a “journey into noir” post, Megan’s post, Lauren’s post, Sahar’s post, Gyeore Lee’s post, Lesya’s post, another one of Lesya’s posts, Janaye’s post, and Tiffany’s post. I actually really enjoyed this assignment, as well, because I was able to explore my peers’ work and hopefully make them smile. It was interesting to see how some people interpreted the same assignments that I completed.

The final task took us back to the famous assignment bank. We were required to complete ten stars of assignments, with five of them dedicated to our character. I took advantage of these assignments by completing some of the requirements for the radio show, one bumper and one commercial. For the DS106 Radio Commercial, I decided to devote it to “Jewel” and I fabricated the product, NO-NV perfume. Its scent is dual in purpose, to make any woman be trusted by the women she encounters and attract the men she desires. Although this product seems a bit far-fetched, it definitely follows the guidelines of being as creative and abstract as possible.

In order to complete the rest of the five points required for my character, I did the Character Bird Calls assignment. With “Jewel’s” interests, it was fairly easy to find sounds that would grab her attention and attract her to them. She loves working out, longs to be a lawyer, and enjoys a nice martini at the end of a long day.

One of the first assignments that I decided on was to make another DS106 Radio Bumper. Although I loved the first one that I completed, I took advantage of this second chance to make one that applied more to the radio show that “the maNOIRpulators” are taking part in. It has a sultry side, typical of Femme Fatales.

The final audio assignment that I chose this week was the Emotions Through Sound prompt. After much deliberation, I decided to convey “sadness”. I achieved this through playing slow violin music in the background of a woman, a dog, and a baby crying. If it does not make you the least bit sad, then I do not know what will.

Now that this week is complete, it is time to move on to the second part of radio days and complete our radio shows. I am excited for what the next week has in store, as we write and recite our script together. Our characters are sure to come alive in “the maNOIRpulators”!

#ds106 #4life

Ready to Resign from Design!

The focus on design this week changed my perspective. Even on short car rides, rather than just looking at advertisements and signs, I analyzed their use of color, balance, typography, and proportion, just to name a few. Don’t worry, I focused on my driving, as well!

To start off the week, I introduced myself to basic concepts of design through Massimo Vignelli’s short booklet. In “The Vignelli Canon”, he discusses which graphic design elements he values the most and how they all work together to make design “one”. Reading this booklet allowed me to get a true understanding of what this week entailed, and it helped me to create very design-conscious pieces. My thoughts on Vignelli’s ideas were both in agreement and disagreement with his own thoughts. Another reflection post that helped me gain a greater understanding of design was the one in response to a movie. I chose to watch the Coen Brother’s “The Big Lebowski” and analyze the built environment of Los Angeles in the 1990’s, its use of space, and elements that are included in the movie but also in other noir pieces. Once I got past all of the crude humor and cursing, the movie proved to be pretty good. More importantly, the design elements were easy to spot and created the noir style. Both of these posts introduced me to the concept of graphic design and how it would be used during the week.

The next assignment for the week was similar to the Photo Safari we completed a couple of weeks ago. Rather than searching for photo elements, we were looking for design elements in this week’s DesignBlitz. I made the realization that a lot goes into advertisements, signs, and billboards from the size of the font to the color of each individual piece. The four elements that I found perfect examples of around Fredericksburg are: symbolism, typography, proportion, and balance. Each different concept has its own purpose and creates an interesting effect, depending on the medium.


Blitz Symbol


Blitz Typography


Blitz Proportion


Blitz Balance

The forever-faithful Daily Creates came next! As stated in my post about all three, the choices for assignments this week gave me a challenge. I was unsure which ones to choose, to the point that I had to wait until Sunday. I guess that is the perfectionist in me coming out, because I always want to be able to complete something to the best of my ability, and I did not have a great understanding of some of the prompts, in order to do so. However, the three that I chose to do came out great and allowed me to spread my creative wings. That is what I love about the Daily Creates each week. The first creation is a “Happy Birthday” portrait made for David Kernohan. I’m glad he liked it!

Happy Birthday, David!

The second creative hands prompt that I completed allowed me to combine a former art assignment with some new ideas to display several versions of my hands in ten unique ways.

Can you HANDle this?

The final Daily Create assignment challenged us to create a piece of jewelry out of real food. This was fairly easy to complete while eating my cereal this morning.


Once again this week, the design assignments were the most time-consuming tasks. We were required to complete 12 stars worth, with 6 dedicated to our character, and at least one 4-star assignment. I began the journey with three 2-star assignments devoted to “Jewel”. All three that I chose grabbed my attention immediately, because they each allowed me to present “Jewel” in new light. The first prompt was to create a form of identification for my character. I took the opportunity to present a new side of “Jewel” by fabricating a gym membership card for her. This part of her life had yet to be discussed. The second character assignment that I chose for “Jewel” was making a business card for her day job as a legal secretary. A lot of thought was put into the color scheme to represent her appearance, the additional stars in the background, and the alternative phone number that she includes for her special clients. The final task that I completed, as a part of the 6 stars, was making a card for someone. As soon as I saw this choice, I knew that I would make it a Valentine’s Day card from “Jewel” to one of her client’s husbands, as a part of her manipulative tactics.

Jewel Gym ID CardJewel Business Card


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For the remaining 6 stars, I had to choose at least one 4-star assignment. I completed the DS106 Wallpaper with my own interpretation of this class and the noir style. It incorporates several noir tropes and is my most prideful creation, as I became a Photoshop expert during this assignment (somewhat). The last design assignment that I completed was the famously suggested “One Story/ Four  Icons” for 2 1/2 points. It did not disappoint!

DS106 Wallpaper copy



1 Story 4 Icons


After making so many unique and original creations this week, the final task was to learn about some of the protections for these works, or as some view it, some of the limitations. I read and watched several resources concerning copyright and the Creative Commons initiative. In a blog post, I made my own conclusions and formed my own opinions about the topics. I concluded that copyright is often overprotective and restricts the sharing of intellectual property, which is a shame in a world thriving in online network sharing. Creative Commons provides a great alternative that allows creators to still have protection for their work, while also allowing easy access to it. This week was overall a little challenging, but I came out of it a divine designer, or so I like to think.

In addition, I always like to comment on my peers’ posts throughout the week to keep my participation in this class up and hopefully put a smile on peoples’ faces. I especially liked guessing the movies and shows for the One Story/Four Icons Assignment. I commented on Stephen’s post, Harvey’s post, GP Library’s post, and more.

See you on the flip side ds106…by flip side I mean tomorrow, of course!

#ds106 #4life

I Think I’m Hearing Things!

The dreadful Audio week that I heard about on Twitter and various other DS106 sites, proved to be a little difficult but nothing I could not handle, or at least ask others about. In fact, I enjoyed this week the most because I truly felt accomplished when I finished each assignment.

I began the week by introducing myself to audio storytelling. Some of the concepts that I learned about from the Audio Resources were extremely interesting, and I found that they were applied in many of the works that we viewed, listened to, and read. The first two video clips, although visually the same, differed greatly in their sound and their meaning as a whole. Even though they were the same opening scene to “Touch of Evil”, the first clip portrayed an exciting walk through a chaotic street, while the second conveyed a frighteningly rushed walk through the same street. This transformation was solely due to the change in audio and exemplifies its powerful effect on media. For the second resource, I chose to read, “The Ambience of Film Noir- Soundscapes, Design, and Mood”. This selection broke down the elements of audio and how they are used to achieve mood, setting, and atmosphere. The final resource that was used to introduce us to audio in storytelling was DS106 Radio. I participated in the live “tweet-along” on Tuesday night, during the playing of the “Maltese Falcon”. Through this piece, I gained a better understanding of how audio is used, particularly in noir, to create an eerie mood or transition into flashbacks. My reflection on these resources and the use of audio, as a whole, is included in a blog post.

The next task for the week were the ever-faithful Daily Creates. I knocked these out early in the week, as Monday’s and Tuesday’s prompts were too great to pass up. The “Urban Decay” assignment prompts us to take a picture of something that represents decay, and I knew of a shed that fits this description precisely:

Shed-ing Away

On Tuesday, the assignment was to add words to a photo with the theme of “I’m Sorry”. Upon research on the ol’ trusty Google, I discovered the perfect picture to go along with the theme:

Ya gotta go!

At first glance of the “radio bumper” assignment, I honestly did not know what to do because I had never heard of one before. However, after listening to DS106 Radio on Tuesday night and using the Wikipedia link to do some research on them, I understood exactly what was being asked for in this prompt. I also realized that I have listened to thousands in my lifetime. I worked to find the perfect background music to represent noir and came up with the message, “Freeze…You’re listening to DS106 Radio” to bring out a character trope (hard-boiled detective) typical of noir stories! I believe that my bumper will be a great addition to DS106 Radio, as I have already heard so many great ones from my peers between broadcasts.

The next task was to complete 8 points of Audio Assignments, with 3.5 of the points being dedicated to the “Sound Effects Story”. This assignment was also required to revolve around our noir character. Therefore, “Jewel” went on a house call to a client’s home and came upon an unexpected scene. The Free Sound website provided me with the effects necessary to make this story possible, and Audacity allowed me to seamlessly put them together. Creating this story adds depth to “Jewel” as a character and helped me gain a better understanding of how to fabricate my own version of audio storytelling.

The next audio assignment (worth 3 points) that caught my eye was the “Line Remix” prompt. Although I struggled with finding which movie to choose, once I decided on “She’s the Man”, I knew exactly which line to transform. If my line was inserted into the movie, it would completely alter the story plot, as Viola Hastings would not be able to continue playing in the huge game at the end. She would also never get to be with Duke (and that is a shame for everyone)!  I really enjoyed completing this assignment, because it connects outside of the noir realm.

The next assignment that I chose to take on connects to my life away from noir, as well, since I will listen to the final product well into the future. The 3-point assignment,  “So and So’s Greatest Hits” prompted us to create a mash-up of our favorite artist’s songs. When trying to think of an artist that has been a constant presence in all phases of my life, Beyoncé is the one person that comes to mind. I put together a mash-up of seven of her greatest tracks, in my opinion, and utilized Audacity to cut out parts of them and transition in between each. Unfortunately, due to copyright issues, I was unable to upload the track to SoundCloud, but I was able to upload it to the posts directly. The final product is something that I am extremely proud of, because it represents all of the parts of Beyoncé’s artistry that I enjoy listening to the most.

The final written assignment for this week was coming up with DS106 Radio Show ideas for an upcoming assignment in a few weeks. My first idea revolves around our original noir characters, which each of us was required to create and continue to develop through several assignments. For each show, members of a group would assume the role of their own character. The characters would all have to interact in some way in a short story that is told through the radio broadcast. My second idea focuses on the audio principles that we learned about this week. Each group would include information about the artists on a movie soundtrack that featured noir music, presented similarly to a talk show, as the conclusion would be an informal discussion of the effectiveness of the music, suggestions for improvements, etc. Either of these radio show ideas could be effectively executed by groups of my peers.

Experimenting with Audacity was the most fun task to complete this week. It applied to several of the assignments, and I have a sneaky suspicion that it will continue to apply throughout the semester. I had never worked with audio editing software, and it was very intriguing and addicting to do so. On some assignments, I did not want to stop trimming clips here and shifting clips there. It does not help that I am a perfectionist and worked with the tools until I got each Audacity project the exact way I wanted it. The online manual helped tremendously.

As part of my participation this week, I took to Twitter heavily with the “tweet-along” and several other tweets about my assignments, my progress, and I even reached out to the community for some help with Audacity. I got some great feedback! One of the awesome things about this class is the sense of community, without even sharing a classroom. In addition, I commented on Brian’s post, this fellow political science major’s post, and Leanna’s post, to name a few. Like Professor Bond says, “we are all in this together” and commenting is just one aspect of this! Until next week!

#ds106 #4life

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Noir Elements

This third week of photography and visual noir took me for a loop, beginning with the mysterious cat and disappearance of Maggie Black in the introduction video. By the end of the video, I knew this week was going to be interesting, and it was certainly not a let-down.

I began the week with reviewing the sources about photography to get a sense of visual storytelling. I reflected on my own experiences, or lack thereof, with photography, and used the sources to re-evaluate my approach to taking pictures. In this post, I was able to get a true grasp of how noir shots are taken, which developed into an understanding of how scenes are shot in noir films.

For the next assignment, I chose to analyze the noir films,  “Killer’s Kiss” and “Chinatown” (streamed through Netflix). The movies vary greatly in schematics, but the presence of noir elements is undeniable in both. They possess elements such as dim lighting, the Venetian blind effect, distinct shadows, urban nightscapes, smoking, and violence. This task was definitely the most time consuming, due to the lengths of the movies. However, it was fairly easy to write about the cinematography, because noir was definitively present in both.

One of the most exciting and fun tasks that I took part in this week was the photo safari. I visited downtown Fredericksburg, created noir scenes at my home, and even encountered a cat. I chose to capture the elements of the dramatic use of distinct shadows, lighting from one side, off-kilter or unusual camera angle/framing, the “Venetian blind” effect, and a Noir Cat. On some of the photos I applied a Noir filter, which just happened to be an option in the editing software on iPhones, to enhance the image. It was funny to see this as a filter because, just four weeks ago, I had never even paid attention to the word, “noir”, and now I am surrounded by it. Through completion of this safari, I gained a greater understanding of how noir is applied to films and other visual works.

Although the Daily Creates last week took first place on the “fun meter”, I have to say they took second this week behind the photo safari. Despite that, I still enjoyed doing them and they challenged my mind. The three Daily Creates that I chose this week were the Droodle, the silent movie about silence, and the instructions for an everyday item. I used basic lines to create the outlines of the Cat in the Hat without the cat. I hope some viewers were able to solve the riddle! For a silent movie, I took another trip to downtown Fredericksburg and filmed a car ride through various parts of it, capturing shops, street lights, parallel parking, and power-walking women. For the final prompt, I decided to write up instructions for how to use a specific model of a Keurig that I own. I figure many people drink coffee and other hot beverages these days, so this would be an everyday item that a lot of people could relate to and use.

Droodle, Droodle, Droodle, I made it with a pen!


How to Use a Keurig (Model: MINI Plus B31 Keurig Brewer)

  1. Plug the cord into a grounded outlet.
  2. Press the Power button.
  3. Lift the cold water reservoir lid.
  4. Pour the desired amount of water (minimum of 6 ounces and maximum of 10 ounces) into the reservoir.
  5. Lift the brewer handle (The water will start to drain into the brewer when the handle is lifted).
  6. Choose a mug or cup and place it on the drip tray.
  7. Select a K-Cup portion pack of your choice.
  8. Place the K-Cup into the assembly housing that appears when the brewer handle is lifted. (*Caution: there are sharp needles in the assembly housing in order to puncture the K-Cup when the brewer handle is lowered)
  9. Make sure all of the water has drained into the brewer (This should take approximately 5 seconds).
  10. Lower the brewer handle completely.
  11. Press the BREW button (It should be flashing blue).
  12. The BREW button will flash red while the water is heating.
  13. After two minutes approximately, it will turn solid red and the beverage will begin to dispense into your chosen mug or cup.
  14. Once the beverage is fully dispensed, lift the brewer handle and remove the empty K-Cup.
  15. Press the Power button to turn the Keurig off.
  16. Enjoy your beverage!



Once again, the most difficult part of the week was completing the Assignment Bank prompts. This week we focused on Visual Assignments, however, and they a lot more fun in my opinion. We were required to complete 10 total points of assignments with 5 revolving around our character. As a part of these 10 points, 3 were dedicated to the “What’s in your bag?” assignment about my character, Julia “Jewel” James. Although it was previously stated that she does not carry a bag, to uphold her sexy look, I decided that she would store one in the company car that she drives. The items in the bag reveal a lot about her, including what she values and what she does in her spare time. It certainly adds some darkness, as it should, to this sultry Femme Fatale. Although I only needed 2 more points dedicated to “Jewel”, I instantly came across a perfect 4-point assignment that would add depth to her character, as well. The “Post-It Notes & Grocery Lists!” assignment was the ideal way to expand “Jewel’s” backstory and provide a sense a reality for her persona. With this assignment completed, I did 7 points for my character and needed 3 more to complete the whole assignment. Upon searching for a perfect 3-point prompt, I came across “Splash the Color”, and my search was over! I love experimenting with photo editing but had never learned how to create color splash in photos. I took the opportunity to do so in this assignment and found the perfect application for iPhone to aid me in the process. I am really proud of the final product, because it creates a deeper meaning for an already very meaningful event in my life, high school graduation. In this particular assignment, I was able to combine ds106 with real life, and it was awesome!

The final task for the week was to organize my blog using categories. I completed this task early on, so that I could already have places to put my new assignments for this week. Although I had already made many categories as a part of personalizing my blog last week, the addition of some of the categories that were suggested enhances my website even more. In addition to the suggested categories, I also have an overarching one for all of the assignments, titled “ds106″, and one for all assignments that have to do with my character, titled “Julia ‘Jewel’ James”. I put all of these categories into a side menu with my About Me! page on top and links to my social media accounts at the bottom. Check it out:

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 2.25.53 PM

As always, commenting is a huge part of this course and a huge part of staying connected with one another. This week I commented on Mariam’s post, Chelsea’s post, Second Star to the Right’s post, Roehl-road Xing’s post, and others.

Even though we are only three weeks in, I cannot even fathom all that I have learned so far. I am excited for the coming weeks to see how challenged my mind can truly get!

#ds106 #4life