Places to find me.

In case you’ve ever wanted more places to find me (and the stuff I like, produce, or pontificate…), I thought I’d put together a list. In general, I work under the name nothingfuture- but here’s as complete a list as I can currently come up with:

Some of these aren’t in high use (pinterest, G+, ello) some are mostly for consumption (vimeo, soundcloud), and the rest are for producing/posting/sharing/ranting (twitter, tumblr, flickr, youtube). Even there, flickr is mostly for storage & content mining, if I’m honest. There are other, abandoned & orphaned accounts out here (foursquare, I’m looking at you…), but they’re as good as dead to me (and I only keep them open to maintain control of the username).

Of the active accounts, here’s what I use them for:

twitter

This is where my day-to-day comments go, though there’s always been a pretty heavy educational slant to my postings there. I’m not as active as I once was (which wouldn’t take much), but it’s still a place I check often. I use the API to do a bunch of archiving here as well- it’s a great research tool as well.

instagram

This is a favorite of mine- though I’ve been experimenting with it of late. I used to use it to share the quick shots of my life, but lately I’ve been taking a higher-quality view of what I post there (ironic, given the wildly poor quality of the media). All my content there is original to me- no reposts, no fluff, no filler.

tumblr

I’ve had one of these for a long time now- years. I’d mostly ignored it for a while, but recently I’ve been investing more time in it, and the more time I spend with the platform, the more I like it. Like, a lot. In fact, if someone was talking to me about wanting to start an online platform for themselves, I’d recommend tumblr before most other options. It’s very, very good. My instagram posts are cross posted here, but most of what goes here is not content created by me- I mine other platforms for content that speaks to me, and it gets queued here. This blog gets auto-posted 8 times a day, between 7am EST and 8pm EST. All I do is keep the queue full of good content. Also, tumblr is an amazing content consumption platform- it’s a self-contained RSS reader for other tumblr blogs.

youtube

I’ve had a number of projects in video over the last million years- and youtube is the place (right now, anyway) to post that stuff. I like the compression on vimeo better (uploaded videos literally look nicer there), but youtube has the audience and the infrastructure of google behind it, so there you go. My instagram videos are posted here in all their non-cropped less compressed 14 second glory. Longer work makes it’s home here.

Research List #34

Current Obsessions:

  • Brunley Kwaiken (and the offshoots…)
  • Kodachrome processed via Caffenol (weird cyanotype effect)
  • Caffenol recipes (and the best uses for each…)
  • Reloading 126 film cartridges
  • Workflow for a BMPCC into FCPX
  • Vintage Russian 35mm lenses
  • Building a new fly fishing bag (NF-P-126)
  • Waterproofing/resisting cotton duck cloth
  • Better sourcing for ITW GT Cobra Buckle (black, 1.5″)

a new playlist.

I’ve been dumping the full-res (such as they are…) videos that I make (for instagram) to a playlist on YouTube here.

They’re all short (duh) and are aimed at telling (very) short stories from my day-to-day functions. They are not, in and of themselves, products, really. I suppose they mostly just serve as a sort of ongoing drill to help me improve. Or something.

But everything looks better in slow-mo and I really dig the way some of the color grading looks on these. And 14 seconds is short enough that even I don’t get too bored…

As you were.

Current Settings

In case you have a morbid curiosity of what setting/apps/workflow I’m using on my iPhone in my current series of instagram videos, let me break it down like a fraction:

  1. Shoot the video in FilmicPro. I leave it wedged in 720p/60 frames per second with an automatic output of 30 frames per second. This also drops audio, which I am totally ok with.
  2. Load the clips into iMovie and edit. Add the title text (or a splash screen…) and import a soundtrack. Export the whole mess back to the photo roll at full resolution.
  3. Grab the edit in Chromic and color grade. I know there are filters in Instagram and iMovie but I like these better- and they offer a bit more control, I think. Push it back to the photo roll.
  4. Bring the now edited and graded clip into Instagram. Make sure you pick a decent splash screen. Double color grade if you’re feeling frisky. Tag that thing, too.
  5. Get no views regardless.

Done. Some of the new Sony cameras have a neat wifi based proxy recording function where you can send your footage straight to your phone- my Nikon won’t do that (hrmph!) so iPhone it is. It’d be pretty neat to be able to shoot on the serious camera and still edit/grade/upload on the go. Maybe I need to buy a Sony?

An example from today:

Podcasts.

Just a quick run-down of the podcasts I’m currently listening to:

  • Work Flowing
  • Cool Tools
  • The Alton Browncast
  • 99% Invisible
  • Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project
  • Mad Decent World Wide Radio
  • Solid Steel

Quick Update.

Some of you may have notices some minor changes around here.

Wait- that’s not true. Nobody visits here.

Anyway. I’ve added a quick feed to my instagram account on the right side- it shows the five most recent photos I’ve taken. Sadly, it presents videos that I post there as stills (with no indication whatsoever they might be videos…). Whatever. Though instagram is where I’ve been (weirdly) posting most of my new-ish video content. Just this morning started looking at the Storehouse app for putting together narratives in video and still with text. I dunno. Looks promising.

Above that lovely display of media there is now a place to sign up for my newsletter. Enter your email and BOOM you get (infrequent and erratic) updates about the various things I find, think, see, and hear. And make. Let me be clear:

It is a terrible mailing list. You’d be a complete and utter fool to sign up. Nothing good will come of it. Resist the urge. Subscribing to Sean Bonner’s or Warren Ellis’ mailing lists would be far better. Mine is rubbish.

Despite this stern warning, some folks have started signing up regardless. Fools. That means, however, I will have to begin actually mailing things out.

So that’s it. Nothing else new (in terms of design and whatnot. Always lots going on in the background).

Rules.

From the back cover of Paul Cronin’s book about Werner Herzog, titled Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed (found via kottke) The rules:

1. Always take the initiative.
2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.

 

 

Required Viewing (get off your butt and make something)

Alright. This video was shot with a point and shoot. A $600 all-in-one consumer grade camera. A further example of how constraining your tools leads to creativity for solving problems.

So. There’s no excuses. There’s no more waiting. Pick up whatever’s in your hands and make the thing already. You don’t need anything else. You don’t need better.

Building a Game (Part 3)

It continues.

We’ve covered how we made the board, and the manipulatives (and tools) we used to build out the game thus far- but we haven’t talked about the variables we’ve constructed to keep each round of the game from being repetitive.

We needed things to interact with during the game- Bad Guys, Good Guys, and neutral characters that would give us social interactions. And while I could write these into the notes for each round of the game, I wanted a couple of things:

  • Consistency of characters & attributes
  • Randomness of interactions
  • Input from my kids towards these characters

I knew we’d need at least three categories, and so with that in mind, I had the two girls sit down with notebooks to brainstorm characters we could create. They drew drafts of monsters, and once we had a meaningfully sized pile, they sorted them into “Good Guys” and “Bad Guys.” I busted out the box of blank cards (mentioned in Part 2), and they made two copies of each monster onto the cards- leaving an area below the monster clear for me to write in attributes.

BadGuys

I also made some “Good” cards that facilitate commerce. These are Wizards and Witches, and what they want is to trade you magic in exchange for coins or jewels. Different characters have different exchange rates (all of which float via dice roll…) so sometimes you get a really good deal (and sometimes things are expensive). The girls added some good characters too- more on that below.

GoodGuys

We needed a way to move currency between coins and jewels, so I made a quick stack of “Trader” cards- these characters only move currency between jewels and coins- though I’ve just made some Blacksmith cards (to buys swords from- again, on floating rates), and I’ll be adding a bunch more here as we go on. This category seems to be a good place to introduce new variables.

Traders

To keep these three (ever-growing) stacks of cards organized, I color coded the backs. Simple. And expandable, because I’m sure we’ll be adding more types of encounters. For storage, each stack gets a binder clip and is put in the same case as all the other gear.

ColorCoded

I’ve been really impressed with the creativity the kids have shown- we’ve got cards that add points to your dice roll to move around, cards that make you invisible to a bad guy, and (my current favorite) robot cards you can program to do your bidding in your absence. Those are pretty cool.

There are all manner of bad guys, and I try to write in a single “Boss” or “Big Bad” per round- it’s not on a card, and it’s attributes can (and do) change. This character is usually the last bad guy on a round, and it’s usually guarding a stash of loot- which you’ll likely need, as you’ll be hurting after fighting it. I also try to plan games so there’s a “healer” shortly after this character, as I don’t want them headed into the next game deep in a hole.

There’s a lot still to do- there are always more cards to add, for one. And I’m learning that hard-written numbers for damage/coins/jewels/whatever are less interesting than dice rolls to determine outcomes. I also would like the game to be more group-oriented. Right now, it’s very everyone-for-themselves, and as things get harder I want to push it towards a collaborative effort to reach some higher goal. I’ve not entirely figured out how to accomplish that, but I’ve got some ideas. I also want to make more boards- and I think I’ve got a good idea for easily-made boards. That’d be great because then the kids can help with making maps, and I’m sure they’ll like that. Eventually I also want to try making a modular board that can be shuffled (a la Settlers of Catan…) so every round can be based on the same pieces, but each assembled board is “unique.”

Each “round” of the game takes between 30 and 45 minutes right now- and that’s the sweet spot for the girls in terms of attention and enjoyment. I’m ok with that length right now, but I’m hoping to grow that a bit as they become more and more invested.

All these notes at the end should have made it clear that there’s very likely to be a Part 4 to this series. That’s not a bad thing.

Building a Game (Part 2)

We’re back to this. I’d been waiting for an Amazon order to make it’s way to my house, and that finally happened.

As we had been playing, there were a few things that were starting to box in some of the more creative play I wanted to be able to allow. We only had 6 sided dice- and we likely could have made that work for a bit longer, but I was trying to bring an every-growing degree of complexity to the game, so… I bought some dice. A big bag, actually- it had about 100 dice in it (D4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, & Percentile). Those should give us a better ability to modulate tasks- a monster you need to defeat can exist on a difficulty scale of 1-20 now, instead of just 1-6. That will help as I start to make the games serialized.

Serialized?

Yup. We’re starting to carry data from one game to the next- so weapons you amass come with you, money carries with you (more on this in a second…), and attributes your character uses exist over a scale longer than a single sitting of the game. I’m hoping the longer narrative structure helps to maintain some of the enthusiasm the kids currently have- it also allows us to not have to re-built resources for their characters. Every. Time. We. Play.

I’ve also introduced money into the game. I wanted to build it in for two real reasons- the first is to introduce some of the most basic elements of economics. Rare things cost more. Common things cost less. You only have so much money- and when it runs out, you need to make choices about what to do. And so on. Also (point 2!), MATH! Right now, coins are just coins- pennies in our case- and you have however many you have. But soon, as the amounts increase, we can introduce nickels, dimes, and quarters to the mix. Some good experience with the math of money.

Besides the coins, I wanted something less linked to a numerical value. That is to say, a nickel carries the value of 5 with it- and I wanted “money” for which the value could change- it could be worth more or less at any given time. Clearly, what we needed was jewels. Did you know Amazon sells jewels? Yup. Nice, big, colorful “pirate jewels” made out of plastic and sure to please. Got a big bag of those too.

Clearly, we’d outgrown our previous modest box’o’stuff, and I needed to upgrade. Home Depot sells these lovely small part boxes, and I picked up one- the girls really enjoyed sorting the different (and exciting) types of dice into bins. Heck, that was an activity for a night on it’s own. All that looks like this:

ManipStorage(crop)

That mostly took care of the manipulatives we needed (so far), and I moved on to making the game more modular and unpredictable. What I needed, really, was a stack of interaction parameters that we could draw from- when the map says “monster here,” you’d draw a card to see what sort of monster you were fighting and what their properties were. Amazon sells big boxes of blank playing cards that are totally awesome for this- they’re just the right size, they have rounded corners and the right finish on them, and they take sharpie just great. Got a box of those, too. Cheap! And there’s like 500 in the box, so we’re good to go for a bit.

The next step is to sit down and actually make the cards- I think I’m going to have a brainstorming session with the girls about types of monsters and baddies and whatnot, and then I’ll spend some free time (HA!) making a stack of cards and attributes based on those notes. I suspect those stacks will be a constantly changing and evolving sort of thing. There are always new types of monsters (and good things, too- Wizards and Elves and whatever else they think up…) to be added, and the properties are always up for debate. I’ll need to figure out how to keep the stacks organized- though for the short term, a colored dot on the back of each type of card category should do the trick. Pics of those to come, as, you know, I actually make them.

I also want to build out a couple of other stacks of cards, too. Items (and they’re properties) and Interactions (and their rules) should probably get made, and I’m still working out a reasonable (and adaptable) economy for things like “Health” and whatever other things we can work out.

Looking over this (and the last) post makes me pretty sure there will be a Part 3 to this. Dunno when, but there you go.