Maggie’s Birthday and a Map of Sounds

The Daily Creates this week were intriguing. We only had to complete two, which was a change of pace, but I made them count. The first one was pretty much a have-to. We were prompted to make Maggie Black a birthday card. And who doesn’t want to wish someone a “happy birthday”?! It is the best way to make friends, and I need as many as possible, especially since so many women find me intimidating. However, I think Maggie and I could be great friends, because us redheads have a lot in common! :)

Happy Birthday, Maggie!

The second Daily Create that I chose required the recording of a hometown sound map. However, I was away on business in Fredericksburg, Virginia, so I captured the sounds of Fred Town! This Daily Create actually allowed me to get to know this quaint little town a bit better! I recorded some birds tweeting (which are actually very active in the Downtown area of Fredericksburg), some construction noises, cars, etc. Please enjoy this audible delight!

Jewel out.

Newsletter! Newsletter! Read All About It!

This prompt is the first original assignment that I created, and this week was the perfect opportunity to do so. Since we had to complete five stars of web assignments, and there are few that lend themselves to sharing the formation of  Black Widow Agency and how it operates,  I developed one that requires the creation of an email newsletter. I figured this would be a perfect way to go.  However, I wasn’t sure how to submit it to the ds106 Assignment Bank, so I asked another girl in my class, Kendall (I can’t remember her last name), to submit it for me under her name. She was kind enough to oblige and even added a sentence at the end to give me credit. I named the assignment, “Email! Email! Read All About It!” ,and the prompt I developed states:

For this assignment, use the website Vertical Response to create an email newsletter for a fictional agency, company, organization, etc. After you sign up for a free account, Vertical Response allows you to choose from newsletter templates, into which you can insert text and images. You may tell the story of how your entity formed, give background information on the members/employees, and/or provide viewers with current happenings. Once completed, send it to at least 5 people in the DS106 community, so they may share your exciting news! Since there is no shared embedding link for this website, please screenshot or take a photo of the printed newsletter (hard copy), in order to share it on flickr and in your blog post. The idea for this assignment was developed by Julia James.

I valued this assignment at 3 points.

As per my own instructions, I chose a template from the Vertical Response website, for a newsletter, to announce the formation of Black Widow Agency. I decided to use it to give background information about the members of BWA, including myself. I emailed the finished product to the three other members of our agency (Edie, Sylvia, and Margaret), Professor Jim Groom, and Kendall. I even added a link to our Twitter account, on the email, so the recipients may follow us. Since my newsletter was too long to screenshot, I merely printed it out and took a photo of it with my iPhone, in order to post on flickr.

BWA Newsletter

I really hope that many people complete this assignment, because I worked hard to create it. Plus, is there a better way to announce the formation of an entity?!  I think not!

Jewel out. <3

Be Mine…All Four of You, Please?!

When I saw this assignment, a belated Valentine’s Day card that was mysteriously left at Black Widow Agency came to mind. I mean, the wording is just beautiful, so it is worth sharing! The assignment “Noir Valentines” states:

In honor of the convergence of Friday the 13th, St. Valentine’s Day and Noir106, and inspired by The Nitrate Diva, here’s a new assignment to try: Design a Noir Valentine card. Incorporate images and quotes from film noir, the noir-er the better.

This assignment is worth 2 points.

This card is crafted with so much care that Edie, Sylvia, Margaret, and I have just been dying to figure out who it is from! The noir qualities are quite impressive! All that we have come up with, however,  is that it was made on a computer, with the text overlaying a giant ace card that was most likely copied from Google Images. I will even suggest that it was made in Microsoft Word, because I recognize the font and the way it was created. We even went as far as to research the saying that our Secret Admirer put in quotations: “better than a deck with six aces”. However, all that we can surmise from this saying is that the sender is a fan of the movie “Brute Force”, which proves nothing because none of us recognize a connection. For now, I will take it as a nice gesture… at least I hope it is! When you work in the business that my associates and I do, you don’t get too many nice gestures, so you have to be skeptical of everything. The woman’s features on the card keep drawing my attention, though,  because they kind of resemble someone I know, but I can’t quite place the face. For some reason, this really worries me. Something just doesn’t seem right, and BWA will get to the bottom of it eventually. But for the meantime, I will just enjoy the only Valentine’s Day card that I received this year.

Noir Valentine

Jewel out.

Put Away Your Books…Pop Quiz!

What is the best way to really learn something? A quiz, of course! That is why I chose to complete the “Pop Quiz!” assignment. It states:

Using a free online quiz service (I used PollSnack), create a quiz that shows off your knowledge of a particular story. Try to make it interesting enough through the questions you choose and the way you phrase your answers that someone taking the quiz is able to see that there’s a larger narrative informing the questions. Your quiz should have at least three outcomes and at least five questions.

This assignment is worth 2 points.

It will add to the success of Black Widow Agency if prospective clients can differentiate between the four agency members, so I created an online pop quiz to see if participants are able to detect which answers I gave to the five questions included. I think it is the best way for people to really get to know me and how I think. And, even if the answer is incorrect, the quiz reveals biographical information about the chosen agent. There are four possible outcomes to this quiz: Julia James (that’s me!), Edie Waz, Sylvia Stone, and Margaret Pinault.

I created this quiz through Poll Snack. It contains five questions and four possible answers for each question. The dark color red used for the background of the quiz was chosen based on our agency’s theme colors, dark red and black. Check out the quiz here: Which Black Widow Agency members’ answers are Jewel’s?

If you know me well enough, then you will  get the correct outcome. If not, no worries, you will learn more about one of the other Black Widow Agency members. Either way, you are learning about a great agency that will help a lot of desperate women! Best of luck! ;)

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.



One on One: Julia James

I obliged to a very abnormal request this week. For some reason, still unbeknownst to me, I had to answer seven unusual questions, in a sort of interview setting. The thing was that the interviewers (two men and two women) were asking me the questions through the computer. At first I was honestly worried that someone told them that I did something illegal. And after seeing that they published it on some newscast, I’m even more suspicious. But, I have no choice but to move on, because law enforcement hasn’t approached me yet! I mean, what could I have done? I’m only a legal secretary. That’s like the most boring and justice-filled job in the world! Anyway, I answered all of their questions, even the weird ones, fully and with a small smile on my face. I could not have been more cooperative. Thinking back on it… I don’t even know who these people work for! And I gave them answers to very personal questions! Oh, goodness! I need to stop the madness. I am sure everything will be alright. Let’s look at the positives,  the light that I was filmed in was very favorable, and I got to wear what I wanted. So, I guess their intentions aren’t too questionable! But, I’m going to let you be the judge. Check out my interview below and be completely honest. I need to know if you think I may be in some sort of trouble! :/

Any thoughts? (They can be on the interviewers, my outfit :) , my hair :) , etc.) I would love to hear what you think!

Jewel out.

People, Let Me Tell You About My Best Friend!

The “Special Person Montage” is a perfect way to pay tribute to the best guy I have ever known! Unlike most, he is always there for me, regardless! I can definitely see myself waking up to his cute face every day for the rest of my life. I think this may be true love! The prompt states:

For this assignment you are to decide on who is special to you. It could be a relative, sibling, parent, friend, mentor, celebrity, or anyone. Then you are to make a video of images or video clips of them showing all the different things that they do that makes them special to you. Add music, animation, transition, anything to make the video. In your write-up be sure to explain why the person is special to you.

This assignment is worth 5 points.

The hardest thing about my lifestyle is the loneliness! Of course, I am close to my mom, Edie, and Sylvia, but I do not have a special man in my life. I am blessed, however, to have a guy best friend, who is almost like family. He has been there from the very beginning, from when I used to hide under my bed from thunderstorms (hence his name, Storm) until now, when I come home from long days at work and just want to relax. You may wonder why I got to name my best buddy…it is because he is my cat! No matter what time of night or what disguise I’m wearing when I return home, he always recognizes me and shows me unconditional love! I thoroughly enjoyed making this video, since it allows me to share how special Storm is with the world! Please try not to be alarmed while viewing, as I went through many hair phases back in the day, before deciding on my natural red color. I also added some current photos and videos that are just the cutest things you will ever see. I dare you not to smile! :) I created this video through iMovie by adding photos of Storm and me, as well as, some videos of our playtime. The beginning of the video is played to the background music of “Best Friend” by Harry Nilsson, because Storm is my best friend, of course! The rest of it contains a “playful” tune, because Storm is just the definition of playful. Oh, how I love him!

Jewel out.

Movies That Made Me!

My life has been changed over the years by several movies. All of them contain powerful women, just like me. I was not always this way, however. Growing up, my mom was treated like dirt by my dad. Unfortunately, she wasn’t strong enough to get out of the relationship at the beginning. I vowed that I would never be like that, and these movie scenes encourage that. Luckily, my mom gained enough strength to divorce him. As long as I follow the advice in these movies, I will never end up in a situation like that. I pounced at the opportunity to complete the “Movie Scenes that Changed our Lives” assignment. It states:

For this assignment, select scenes from 3-5 movies. These scenes should represent scenes that changed your life or made some sort of dramatic, traumatic, lasting, or emotional impact on you. When you have selected those scenes, create a video that shows the scenes and includes audio/video of you describing what it is about the scene that made a significant impact on you, what you are fond of about the scenes, what scares you, what you remember thinking when you were a child, etc. Feel free to be liberal in your interpretation of the instructions. Keep in mind, however, that the primary point is to recall 3-5 movie scenes that have made a lasting impact on you (whatever the reason for that impact may be.) When you are finished, upload the video to your blog, and, If you are inspired, expand on the reasons why you connect with the specific scenes in your video.

This assignment is worth 5 points.

The movies that I have watched throughout my years and the scenes that have changed my life are from Space Jam, Legally Blonde, Enough, Erin Brockovich, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Each of these scenes have strong female lead roles that take a stand and get what they want. I played around with iMovie, once again, and inserted pictures of the movie covers and the scenes themselves. I got the scenes from YouTube and used the 4K Video Downloader to download them and the MPEG Streamclip to cut out any parts that were unnecessary.  While the movie cover for each scene was playing, I recorded a voice-over that includes my explanations.  Nothing is better than a woman who can take charge and dictate their fate. Trust me, it is a great feeling! In this video, I explain exactly why these clips changed my life for the better!

Jewel out.

Breakfast, Batman, and Bark

I was searching through the “DS106″ website (still not sure what that means), and I discovered something called Daily Creates. I just knew I had to test my creativity with these. It turns out that these activities were the best part of my very stressful week. When you work as hard as I do, any little fun outlet is worth it. I completed three of those things this week, and I am darn proud of them!

The first Daily Create that I did involves a bagel, grapes, and one winning smile! I could not pass on the prompt to make a “Breakfast Selfie” when I noticed how naturally happy this bagel is. It made me happy, too! It really was a shame to eat it, but a girl needs her morning nourishment!

Look at that smile!

The next Daily Create that I completed took 15 seconds. Easy peasy! Literally, it was a 15-second challenge to draw Batman. And, who doesn’t love a hero? Ask my clients, they will tell you how important it is to have a hero to save the day (or a life). I did this one while at work at the law firm. Shhh! Don’t tell my boss-dad!

Batman, is that you?

To round out the week, I partook in some tree art. Personally, I didn’t even know tree art was a thing, but guess what?! I rocked it! (I think!) The top one is the original photo with the sky as the background, which I took on the car ride home from James and Allman.  I copied and pasted the same photo and turned it to make this cool design. Then, I experimented with different hues to give uniqueness to the copies. They are colors of different blouses that I own! Don’t you just love them?

Gee, I'm a tree!

This creative outlet took away a lot of stress from my week, and I cannot wait to do it again!

Jewel out.

Oh, The Place I’d Go!

Even if I had all the money in the world, my dream travel destination would not change. And, it is not a common vacation spot either, trust me! However, it has sentimental attachment for me, which is exactly why I would want to visit Cambridge, Massachusetts. During my senior year of high school, I was accepted into Harvard University. Yes, Harvard! However, my mom decided to divorce my dad, because he objectified her for their entire marriage, and there was no longer enough money for me to attend! (don’t get me wrong… I am very happy about the divorce, for my mom’s sake) You see, my dad made my mom sign a prenuptial agreement, and after the divorce, he decided not to pay for Harvard. My mom has always supported my dream of going to Harvard, but my dad never believed  I needed to go to college. He used to say, “Julia, you are so pretty that you will find a rich man to keep you!” The lingering feelings of disappointment led me straight to the “Where Do You Want To Go?” assignment. It states:

Where is somewhere that you have always dreamed of going? I really like travelling, and I often think about where I would go if I had all the money in the world. Do a video montage of images and/or video of the places that you would like to go, and add music that is native to the that area or just something fun.

This assignment is worth 3 points.

I took to Google to search for images of Cambridge, including the skyline, downtown area, Harvard University (of course), and other parts of the beautiful city. Then, I visited YouTube to find a couple Harvard videos. I also added a picture of my Aunt Faye’s house (more like mansion), because I have been meaning to visit her in Cambridge for a long time. Using iMovie, I imported them, and then went on a search for background music. Since Cambridge doesn’t really have a native song, and the Harvard fight song is not very catchy, I searched for musical artists from Massachusetts and came across Bobby Brown.  I chose the song, “Every Little Step” for my video. I love it so much! You better believe that it went right up on my workout playlist! As much as I loved making this video, it makes me a little sad at the same time, because I don’t have enough money to go to Cambridge quite yet. But, who knows? After I take on a few more clients, it may be a dream realized. Check out my fake vacation video in the meantime:

Jewel out.