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   Friday, June 20, 2003  
MA / writing exercise
Writing Exercise: Spoonbill Generator

This week's writing exercise comes via a link on Boynton's new site.

The Spoonbill Generator is a collaborative writing project, where participants add a line to one (or all) of the three poems being written at any given time. The only limitation is that you are only allowed to write one line at a time. You also contribute a word to a list of possible title names for the piece when it's finished. I am in danger of becoming obsessed with it, I must say.

All poems are archived, with this being one of my favourites so far, although I'm also highly amused by this one, which has a kind of grisly Dr Seuss feel to it:

There's too little gristle and not enough fat
For this steak to be made into some sort of hat
So let us determine its destiny now
And justify fully the death of a cow
By lobbing it into the glass chandelier
And raise, if we can, just a moderate cheer
For the slaughtermen bold, with their stun-guns and knives
Sharpened each night by intemperate wives
In bonnets of liver, in trilbies of veal
Kept on their heads by the Slaughterman's Seal
And only removed when the lights have gone down
For it's certainly true that in some parts of town
Where gilt candelabra, with offal bedecked
Are taken asunder and ritually wrecked
A cranium covered, while darkness prevails
Is a sordid rebuke to the Princess of Wales
The Slaughterman's patron, the most sacred cow
To whom all the slaughtermen's wives take a vow
Of bare-faced obedience, broken by none
But the clan who invented the hamburger bun
To sop up the worst of the slaughterhouse waste
From the worst of the wurst where the waste gets misplaced
To the primest of ribs and the choicest of cuts
The spleen and the pancreas, eyeballs and guts
Never dreamt that their bun would embrace such a feast
And their innermost secrets would then be released
Of a slaughterhouse mopped by the stuff it shipped out
Of the shouting and swearing, the blood in a gout
Of slaughtermen dancing in line like Rockettes
With their wives on the sidelines all placing their bets
On which Rockette man the next gout-squeezer hits
Distracting the dancers by flashing their tits
But slaughtermen dancing, bedecked in their hats
Ignore the distractions, the blood in the vats
Arises to venge each poor haberdashed cow
The band slows the dancers with "Who's sorry now?"
The slaughtermen, weeping, don't see the ghoul coming
Nor the wives, for the hats all their senses are numbing
The rats, though, see all; soon their verminly giggles
Resound through the hall as the dancing line wriggles
"Rats!!!", the wives scream, giving Specter of Slaughter
To Ronald McDonald - who sure didn't oughter
Be present when talk is of beef - and why's that? ...
But no matter -

Petite- I think you should have a go.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:43 AM


   Thursday, June 19, 2003  
MA / animation
I Love Egg

Another interesting, if bizarre link from the Brownie: I love egg. Animations about incredibly cute eggs dressed up as strawberries, bears, penguins, bombs. I have no idea what it all means but I love it all the same.
   posted by *mcb* at 9:01 AM


   Wednesday, June 18, 2003  

Ant Research

ant nest

ant nest
ant nest
ant nest
queen ant
So, Questioning Ant, we haven't seen you in the Nest for a while. How is the research going?
queen ant
queen ant
Well, to be honest, I'm finding it a bit of an effort at the moment.
queen ant
queen ant
Why's that?
queen ant
queen ant
I'm not sure. I think it's partly because I'm in a routine with it now, and it's not as challenging as it was. And I have a lot of other commitments- it's hard to find time to work on the MA sometimes.
queen ant
queen ant
What other commitments do you have?
queen ant
queen ant
I'm job-sharing with a spider, searching through metadata on the Internet.
queen ant
queen ant
That must be quite an exhausting job.
queen ant
queen ant
Yes, and it's harder for me as I've only got six legs.
queen ant
queen ant

You need to structure your time more efficiently, allot specific times each week for your MA.

queen ant
queen ant
Yes, I know, I know. And I do that already, it's just that sometimes I don't feel like it. So I clean the house for hours, or go to the gym and bench-press ten times my own body weight. Anything rather than work on the MA...
queen ant
queen ant
I've got a bit of motivational advice that you can write down and stick over your desk, to help you when you're having trouble getting started.
queen ant
queen ant
Oh yes, what's that?
queen ant
queen ant
"If I don't keep working my research grant will be terminated, the other ants will expell me from the Nest and I will be destitute.
queen ant
queen ant
You're not exactly a touchy-feely kind of supervisor, are you?
queen ant
queen ant
I'm not just your supervisor, I'm also your Queen and probably your mother, too.
queen ant
queen ant
That's a lot of responsibility for one ant.
queen ant
queen ant
I'm used to it.
queen ant

Grumpy Girl
   posted by *mcb* at 8:53 AM


   Tuesday, June 17, 2003  
MA / comments

Fridaysixpm's post for Monday June 16 (I can't get the permalink to work) is a good example of how comments can add much in the way of insight and discussion to a particular topic.
   posted by *mcb* at 9:16 AM



For some reason I have a particular dislike of the phrase "It all went pear-shaped." I'm not quite sure why this is, and it's definitely not as well-formed and fervent a hatred as the one I have for the expression "At the end of the day." I think, in both cases, the hatred stems from overuse. And I will admit that going "pear-shaped" is very descriptive of something going horribly wrong.

But where does it come from? I'd kind of assumed that it just meant that it was something that had gone a bit saggy around the haunches, something that was not apple-shaped. But someone recently suggested to Thieu that the phrase came from ballooning- that as a balloon started to lose hot air it bulged at the base.

So of course I did a Google search (which I also did recently with that most mysterious of phrases "how's your father?" which had long left me perplexed.) And the answer? No one seems to really know although there is a common belief that it originates from aircraft flight training terminology. The ballooning theory doesn't seem to be true, however.

And the other thing I'm curious about is how widely spread is its usage? Not just Australia, obviously, definitely Britain. What about the States? And are there equivalents in other languages? And why do I think about these things?

   posted by *mcb* at 8:52 AM


work / technotes
Importing Quicktimes into Flash

Pls ignore this- it's really only for my own benefit. I always write these things down in a notepad and then forget where I put it. So I'm hoping that by blogging it I'll be able to keep track of it.

1. Export the clip from Premiere as a Quicktime.

2. Import into Media Cleaner. The latest clips I made had the following settings:
data rate 1000 or 800. Millions of colours, spatial setting 50 %. Frame rate 12. Sorensen 3 compression. 16 bit mono sound, sample rate for sound 11.025 khz.

3. Most important is to have NO compression on the sound, as Flash seems to not like it.

4. Import into Flash. When the initial Sorensen compression screen comes up, set the compression to 80 or 90 percent. This makes a huge difference to the file size. If the dialogue box is saying that it has disabled the sound this is probably because the Quicktime exported from Media Cleaner had the sound compressed.

5. The lowered data rate in Media Cleaner made a big difference to the file size. The default setting was 1440 and I put it down to 1000 without too much loss of quality (particularly if the clip was fairly static.) I reduced it down to 500 but there was considerable loss of quality at this point.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:40 AM


   Monday, June 16, 2003  
MA / writing
New Analogies

They are at the market, walking around. She asks his opinion on something- how he feels about a certain vegetable or fruit. Perhaps the Quince. Perhaps the Persimmon. He says "Well, it's ok, but it doesn't really twirl my propeller." She nods, and thinks for a while, then says "Let's make up some more of those." He doesn't know what she means. "More of those bad analogies, like "twirl my propeller." "
"Ok," he says "You start."
"Ok," she says "How about "It doesn't really caramelise my onions."
"Nice" he says, and nods. "Here's one. "It doesn't really toss my salad." "
"Yes, that's good too. What about "It doesn't really Search my Internet."
"I think you're getting a little wide of the mark now."
"Or "It doesn't really excavate my fosillised bones."
"That sounds more like an exclamation."
"You mean like "Well, excavate my fosillised bones!""
"Yes, exactly."
(Nearby, a vendor is singing Cheap today-a, cheap today-a as if on other days, the bananas might not be such good value.)
"I'm running out of ideas."
"I think the analogies work best with food concepts."
"Like "butter my bread" or "percolate my coffee?"
(Cheap today-a cheap today-a)
"Would you like me to stop this line of conversation now?"
"I think it's for the best. Before someone gets hurt."

   posted by *mcb* at 8:50 AM


MA / proposal revision
The Weblog and its Impact on the Voice, Style and Content of the Web Author, Artist and Researcher.

Sensei- can we talk about this on Wednesday? I've done some revisions.

Brief Description:

A Weblog is a frequently updated personal webpage or online diary. Entries are usually, but not exclusively, text-based and are marked by a date stamp. Some weblogs take a journalistic approach, linking to and commenting on topical issues. Others are deeply personal. Whichever model they follow, Weblogs have in common an informality, an openness and awareness of their position in the public sphere. Mortensen and Walker’s description of Weblogs as being a way to “trace the flight of thought”(1) is an apt metaphor for both the process and product of creating online narratives. Weblogs are a means for recording the steps along the way in the production process.

This project aims to investigate the ways in which the weblog format can be used to the advantage of web-writers and / or online researchers, especially when working towards online delivery. It will start by investigating the ways in which the Weblog is currently being used by writers, researchers and artists. It will then investigate what can be learned from the Weblog format when constructing narratives for the Web; be these narratives fictional, personal, journalistic or non-text based pieces, and it will look at the impact of the Weblog on formal narrative concerns such as Voice, Style and Subject Matter.

It will examine the possibilities offered by the Weblog as an online version of a notebook, ideas journal or confessional diary and how these traditional formats are altered by “publication” on the Internet. The project will investigate the possibilities offered by the Weblog as a centralised location for recording ideas at their earliest stage of development through to a finished state. It will look at the Weblog’s ability to attract other like-minded writers or researchers to the work, its capacity for providing instant feedback to an author’s work and the capabilities offered by the Weblog for fostering online communities, collaboration and the exchange of knowledge.

The following questions will be addressed:

1. In what ways can the unique model offered by the Weblog format assist the web writer in producing, shaping and refining narratives designed principally for web-delivery?

2. Similarly, what possibilities does the Weblog present for the online researcher as a tool for shaping and progressing their research that other mediums do not?

3. In what ways does the online environment and the process of broadcasting globally, impact on the web writer’s process? For example; how are the author’s Voice, Style and/or Content affected?

Initial research and a literature survey suggest that the Weblog is potentially an ideal and unique tool to aid the online researcher, writer or artist. A series of Weblogs will be kept throughout the duration of this research to examine the various possibilities offered by the format. These Weblogs will differ in their form and content depending on the reasons why they were initially conceived. Some will be maintained by the Researcher alone while others will be collaborative. Some will be concerned with recording recent research on, and experiments with, the Weblogs format, while others will experiment with creating online narratives. The longevity of the each Weblogs will vary depending on their role within the research process. There will be one Weblog dedicated to charting the progress of the research process itself and this will be maintained throughout the entire duration of the project.

In addition to these research Weblogs, an online document will be created at the end of the research that will present the findings of this project and examine the potential offered by the Weblog format as a tool for online researchers, writers and artists. Where relevant it will link to the Weblog experiments undertaken by the Researcher throughout the course of the research period to underline and illustrate the benefits and/or shortcomings of the format. The intention is for this document to be a resource for future researchers in this field as well for the Weblogging community.

This project will be studio-based in Melbourne and will utilise the facilities of the Department of Animation and Interactive and the personal facilities of the researcher.

(1) Mortensen, Torill & Walker, Jill Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as Online Research Tool p 268
   posted by *mcb* at 8:31 AM


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