I'm so, so excited!
This is so fun!!!
It has been a long, long time since I have blogged, and it is a difficult question to ask "where to start." Now, there is more time on my hands, the best place of initiation is to rewind the clock, and dig deep down that rabbithole, that "giant ecosystem" swimming in Victoria's head.
To say in short, I have surved the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Conference (Chicago, 2009), had my first successful poster session in my graduate career (interviewed by an award-winning Korean journalist, science-art biologist from Northwestern University, an AAAS science-technology policy fellow from Washington DC, and an anthropologist from University of Chicago, not to mention some interesting guy affiliated with Marxism, and an enthusiastic 9-year-old girl dissected a frog in first grade and wanted to simultaneously become a gymnast, singer, and a scientist (and I said, believe it or not, it IS possible), met the players behind the Gonzo Scientist column, which I had dreamt about meeting for a long time (in which now I treasure as dear friends!), watched the "This is Science" dance performance, took millions of photographs from the airplane, came home to Santa Barbara and finally finished a California Marine Life Protection Act Regime Profile and Opinions Article (which had been looming over my head for over a month like an unwanted tumor in my brain), had slowed down my participation with SciArts (to my dismay, I'm so swamped), went to San Diego for a weekend to go fishing for lobster and the like, and then my mind, which had been on a ferris wheel, spinning to no where in particular (and way too fast), had come to slow down and wiped to a blank slate, as I had been taken off the ferris wheel, and asked the question, "Where exactly am I at?" Good question. It was a celebratory weekend between an educated idiot and an unincorporated academic, and I returned to UCSB somewhat fresh, though still out of context. I had come to realize what a mess I was in, and it took me nearly three days of running mindless errands to catch up with the visceral, physical world of maintenance (in which I still don't totally feel caught up), to top it off, a pleasant visitation with Dr. Melack on the byproducts of the AAAS conference.
My mind, wiped to such a blank slate, was open enough to learning Adobe Flash, a software program that allows dummies like me to incorporate motion into my website. I had been haunted by the words of Maria Gordon, who once told me that websites that don't incorporate the slightest bit of motion end up being very dull and boring. And I agree, but I felt very incapacitated. Fortunately, the week of my return to UC Santa Barbara, the Instructional Computing Group at UC Santa Barbara offered two Adobe Flash workshops, and I managed to construct the two flash systems above, of course with a little bit of help.
It's funny, back in the Fall of 2007, I was exposed to Adobe Flash through a CCS multi-media course taught by Graham Wakefield. I was so overwhelmed by that point that I had no ability to synthesize all that I experienced in the two days of lecture. All I remember was learning about the history of cinema, and it ended up that film started in the hands of comparative photography of horses running by a behavioral ecologists. Film was started by SCIENTISTS! Dxmmit! And then took a huge turn and headed toward the taking pictures of naked women rather than comparative animal behavior. *Sigh.* Such is the origins of Hollywood. I also remember Graham asking the fundamental question as to whether we visually process the world in a continuum or in discrete chunks. As if the dual wave-particle theory had been scaled out to apply to the very perception of our eyes. I think that we perceive in discrete chunks, and that our vision is pixelated, because we have a finite amount of rods and cones, and that that each rod and cone can only take in only so much information.
So it goes.
But to get to the point, this overwhelmingly chaotic class had come to sink into my psyche like a ghost that would never leave, and then somehow, when taking the first Flash class under the mentorship of a very nice, humble undergrad by the name of Luis, I was able to ask all the questions that I wanted to know: how do you import visuals? how do you import audio? how do you make one picture fade to another picture (alpha tint)? how do you make objects to move (it's all about TWEENS! setting beginning and ending points, inserting frames)? rotate? change color? what is the fundamental workflow? how do you save the files? what are the file formats (fla html swf)? How do you get the html code so that you can place it on to a blog (have to open up the html or swf file in notepad).
Somehow, the chaos of the past seemed to click into place. My mind is so mysterious in its operations. I'm sure Luis was partly annoyed that I asked so many questions. But I was determined to master these demons!
The result is above. I am happy. I have fundamentally expanded my horizons in website design. I am learning how to tinker with blogger as well. Not only that, I have been messing around with Weeble at http://www.weeble.com, and it seems like an ideal website for the simplest of functions. I am feeling more and more "powerful" every single day!