It’s cold. Cold, cold, cold, cold.

Don’t get me wrong – I like winter. Hot chocolate, sweaters, scarves, holidays…but I only really like the cold when it snows. And so far, it has not snowed. Unfortunately, yesterday, it was calling for ice and rain today, which would be bad since I’m driving home for Thanksgiving! But the weather seems to have changed and now it will only rain. We’ll see.

But this is how I felt getting ready to go to class today:

Here’s hoping we get some snow soon – not too much. Just enough to delay my morning classes. We don’t need a repeat of the giant snow storm of 2010. Here’s a little snowy reminder:



I don’t want that much snow. Just a light dusting to remind us all what the season’s about (I’m paraphrasing from “The Ultimate Christmas Present”). But anyways, wish for snow and stay warm!!

How to Make a GIF on a Mac

We learned in class how to make GIFs – but those computers were Windows computers and I have a Mac. I wanted to learn how to make GIFs without downloading all the crazy programs and files we needed on Windows. I also wanted to know how to make GIFs without having to download videos off of YouTube through weird websites (which I feel very wary about using). I figured there must be a way to do all of this on a Mac with the programs that are already installed on it (and there are a lot of speciality programs on Macs, I think). And I did. And now I’m going to share it with you. These are the programs you will need to make a GIF:

-Gimp (this is a free picture manipulation tool that you download from their website. This is the only thing you will probably need to download!)



That’s it! So to start, find a video clip that you want to make into a GIF. (It could be on YouTube or anywhere, really). And here are the rest of the steps:

1. Open QuickTime and go to File > New Screen Recording. Queue up your video to the moment you want to make into a GIF and start recording. Once your clip finishes, stop the recording.

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2. This will create a .mov file most likely named “Screen Recording.” Open iMovie. From there go to File > New Project and then File > Import > Movies. Find your movie file (it will most likely be in the Movies folder).

3. Select the portion of the clip (adjusting the size of the yellow box on the video) you want to be your GIF (don’t worry too much about the ends of the clip – you can always edit it once you have it in Gimp)

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4. Copy and paste this section into the project section of iMovie.

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5. Go to Share > Export Using QuickTime Choose where you want to save your file. Make sure you select Export:Movie to Image Sequence (this breaks the clip up into image files of each frame).

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6. Open Gimp. Go to File > Open as Layers. Find where you saved the image files of your clip. Select them all and click open.

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7. At any time, if you want to preview what your GIF will look like, go to Filters > Animation > Playback (Make sure you select 12 fps as this is what your GIF will eventually be exported as)

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8. If you decide you want to shorten your GIF, you can delete layers on the right panel. Select the layers (or frames) you don’t like and click the trash can icon.

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9. You can also resize your GIF by going to Image > Scale Image This will allow you to change the size of the picture.

10. If you would like to crop your images, click on the scalpel tool (hover over each tool if you can’t find it) on the left panel. It will allow you to crop your image with a rectangle tool and it will crop every layer.

11. After you decide you’re finished editing your GIF, go to File > Export

Give your GIF a name followed by .gif

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12. When exporting, make sure to check the “As Animation” box and to change the delay between frames to 80 milliseconds (this is roughly equivalent to the 12 fps I discussed earlier – it’s the best rate for easy viewing).

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13. Your GIF is finished! Now all you need to do is publish it on Tumblr or another Internet site and it’s ready for the world to see!


Pride & Prejudice Word Clouds

As you’ve probably gathered from my previous post about my final project, I have finished my Pride & Prejudice project! There’s a tab at the top of the page that will take you right to it. I hope you read over it because I’m really proud of it. Making the word clouds wasn’t that challenging – that was kind of the fun part. I eventually found the Tagxedo website I told you about before and from there it was simply making the letters in Word and uploading them as pictures. Sometimes it was kind of tricky to get the right words to show up – for example, there was a particular chapter where Darcy was the fifth most used word, but it wouldn’t show up in the letter. I eventually discovered this was because the shape constricted the places words could go. I had to fiddle with the emphasis on most used words and reject some lesser used words that got a place so that the more important words like Darcy (which, really, is a VERY important word), would show up. In order to choose the colors I took a very scientific poll (read: I texted two of my friends) and asked which colors they associated with Darcy and Elizabeth. Interestingly, both said blue for Darcy, which was my first choice. One said yellow for Elizabeth (which I kind of agreed with, but it would have been too light), and one said green. I started thinking about green for Elizabeth and it made perfect sense to me – Elizabeth is very in tune with nature and she’s not crazy like her sister Lydia (who I definitely think would be pink) or soft-spoken like her sister Jane (I’m thinking probably purple). It’s interesting to think about what colors we associate with characters.

It kind of reminds me of this disorder called synesthesia that we talked about in one of my Psychology classes. One of the side effects of this is that people will see letters of the alphabet as having color. It’s actually pretty fascinating how the brain sort of rearranges its’ sensory pathways. I know there was book written about this called “A Mango Shaped Space”  that I’ve always wanted to read.

But back to my project: I’m really, really, super, amazingly proud of what I’ve done (the coding alone was sometimes super-challenging), so I hope you’ll check it out!

Final Project

I’ve started work on my final project! Here’s the proposal I wrote up for it:

For my final project, I have decided to make Twitter accounts for the characters in the 1985 movie Clue.  The tentative title for this project is “Character Clues.”  This movie is based on the popular board game and is a murder mystery.  The plot of the film takes place over a period of a few hours one night during a dinner party.  There are fourteen characters in all.  I will create accounts for each character and then proceed to tweet as them in the course of the movie.  This will create the effect of the characters “live-tweeting” during the events of the evening.  I intend to use these accounts to enhance the viewing experience of this movie by giving viewers a closer look at the personalities of the characters.  I will collate the accounts either through a public list on my own Twitter account or through the use of Storify which I will then post on my website.  After the project is over, I will write up an essay that reflects on my experience in creating the accounts.

I started making the accounts tonight…until Twitter discovered me. I’ve made 11 accounts so far, and I still need to make accounts for The Motorist, The Cook, and the Chief. These are more minor characters, but they definitely have significance in the overall plot. I’m pretty excited about this project, as it will give me ample opportunity to watch “Clue,” one of my favorite movies, multiple times. But first, I must finish making all the Twitter accounts! And figure out how to work TweetDeck…anyone know anything about it?

Sunday Afternoon

Happy end of Daylight Saving Time! Hopefully everyone turned their clocks back so that they didn’t miss anything important this morning. I love when Daylight Saving Time ends because it means we get an extra hour of sleep…for a couple of days, until we’re used to it.  Of course, it also means that I am now ready for dinner and it is just past 5:00. Maybe I can hold out for another half hour, but we’ll see.

Anyways, not much going on today. But tonight Once Upon a Time is on and it is the premiere of Ariel, aka the Little Mermaid! When I was a kid, The Little Mermaid was not my favorite Disney princess movie because of this scene:

I mean, he destroys all her stuff!! Every time I watched it, I was so angry at Triton and sad about Ariel.  Anyways, rewatching that scene now, I realize how much the movie is about racial tensions between the merpeople and humans.  I guess I haven’t seen that movie in so long, that I kind of forgot about that aspect. Now I definitely have to rewatch the whole movie. But first, dinner, and then Ariel’s debut on Once Upon a Time! So excited!

Fangirling About Fan Art

A while back I made a post about Words as Art.  That post and the pictures in it were partially my inspiration for a project I’m doing in Digital Studies.  We have to take something (Anything – a book, a video game, etc.) and use some sort of computer tool to interpret that text.  I decided to do something with Pride & Prejudice, not only because it is one of my favorite books, but also because it is one I know really well, and because it is in the public domain.  What I decided to do was make various word clouds from chapters of the book.  I’ve already finished all the word clouds, and I will be making a separate page about the project. So for now, I’ll just give you a glimpse:

Screen shot 2013-10-18 at 9.09.12 PM

I think it’s turning out really well, and I’m excited to post the final product.

At any rate, I recently came upon another piece of words as art and thought I’d share it.  I mentioned before that I watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and I follow most of the actors from that show on Twitter.  While I’m a huge fan of the LBD, I haven’t quite morphed into the fan who makes fan art.  That isn’t to say I have anything against fan art – in a lot of instances, I think it is the coolest thing.  Myself, I have never really wanted to make fan art, but I really appreciate the effort fans put into making something beautiful and creative.  And in all honesty, what is my Digital Studies project if not fan art of Jane Austen’s classic novel?

Anyways, Ashley Clem, who played Lizzie Bennet, recently retweeted a piece of fan art someone (@FearFlannery) had created and tweeted at her.

(Click on the picture to see the original Tweet)

This picture is inspired by Episode 87: “An Understanding.” I won’t go into the details, but it is truly one of the best instances of acting I have ever seen.  The other inspiration for this picture is the song “No One is Alone” from the musical Into the Woods.

The marriage between these two shows is perfectly exemplified in this picture.  The lyrics from the song make up the tree, and in the foreground is Lizzie comforting her younger sister, Lydia, telling her that she is not alone.  This song and this episode both have the same underlying message; no one is alone.  To see them united so perfectly in this interpretation, really illustrates how fan art can add so much to the reading of any text.

About Me: Snoopy

Happy day after Halloween! I made this special pumpkin last night and I thought I’d use it as inspiration for my blog post!


I’ve mentioned the Peanuts gang several times throughout my posts and that’s because I have always been a huge fan of Snoopy and all his friends.  My mom has always loved the Peanuts and she definitely transferred that love to me and my siblings.  The Peanuts are always full of wisdom and frankly, they’re just really cute!  The comics are always really clever and I always love watching the holiday specials.  I remember there also used to be a TV show that was on really early in the morning when I was a kid.  When I liked getting up super early, I would go downstairs (And usually everyone else was still asleep) and watch the show.  So many of my childhood memories involve Snoopy and I’m glad they do.  The comics taught me a lot about life and made me very grateful that I never got a rock in my Halloween candy bag.

About Me: Normandy

I’ve mentioned several times that I went to Bath during the summer of 2012.  I was there for five amazing weeks, and at the end of that time, I didn’t go home, instead I went to France.  I met my family in Paris, and from there we drove to Rouen for a night, and then we went onward to Normandy, and later back to Versailles and Paris.  Now, one thing you need to know about me: I have always been fascinated by Paris.  I’m not sure where this fascination came from – Madeline? Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Passport to Paris? The animated Anastasia movie? – I don’t know.  All I know is that from a very young age I knew that I wanted to take French in high school (I did) and that when I went to college I wanted to study abroad in Paris. That was it. Case closed. No questions asked.

Until I found out about the Bath program, that was pretty much still my goal. Once it came down to deciding where to go, however, France just wasn’t a perfect fit for me.  Pretty much any program I went on there would be taught in French, which wouldn’t mean anything for me credit-wise since I had already filled my language requirement.  I don’t regret not going to France at all for study abroad.  And luckily, I got to go there anyways.

At any rate, back to the story. So we drove up to Normandy (An interesting experience) and stayed for about three days.  Let me say this: that was one of the coolest places I have been.  We went to pretty much all the various D-Day Landing beaches.  I’ve always found history fascinating, especially when you can really feel like you’re experiencing it.  We went to Utah Beach, one of the D-Day Landing sites.  This picture shows what it looked like at low tide, which was when the soldiers had to disembark onto the shore.  We didn’t walk all the way down to the water’s edge because it was so far – at least a mile.  Imagine what it would have been like for those soldiers who had no cover in the early morning light.


Utah Beach, Normandy


One of the other stops we made in Normandy that has stayed with me was our trip to the American Cemetery.  This is where soldiers were buried who died during the war in Europe.  It overlooks Omaha Beach.  I can pretty much say that I have never seen a more beautiful location for a cemetery – and that’s part of the reason it’s stayed with me.  The scenery is in absolute contrast to what happened on that beach so long ago.  And the silence.  Up on the bluff in the cemetery, you can barely hear the waves.  Everything is silent, everything is in awe and remembrance of those people who lost their lives.



The other thing that has stuck with me is the opposite of silence: the music.  When we had entered the cemetery museum, we signed a guestbook and saw that some people had come in just before us that were from the same town.  We found the man, his son, and his father (a World War II veteran) who had signed the book, and found out that his other son would be singing later on in the cemetery with his chorus.  We decided to check out the singing, and found out that the chorus was actually from a high school near our house.  It was the weirdest moment of being in a small world.  The chorus sang a couple of songs, but the one that has stuck with me is “I’ll Be Seeing You.”  This song was very popular during World War II, so it was appropriate for the chorus to sing it.  Standing there, the wind gently blowing, listening to this song that so many millions of people turned to for comfort during the war, surrounded by a hauntingly beautiful setting…It’s a hard feeling to describe.  Music has always been important to me, and I think it can create such strong, powerful feelings within you.  It made me feel the despair, hope, strength, and love of that entire era, and reminded me that the whole world was forever changed by those events.  That moment will forever be etched in my mind.

“I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.”


About Me: Travel

I think I’ve always loved traveling.  I remember when I was younger and we’d be flying somewhere, we’d have to get up really early, drive to the airport, and wait for a shuttle to come and pick us up as the sun was just beginning to rise.  I’d have my little monogrammed pink bag full of mostly books and stuffed animals, and we’d wait for our plane to leave.  It was exhilarating to be traveling to somewhere new and different.  Now it’s just as exciting to be traveling to new places, but the actual traveling isn’t as fun anymore.  The act of traveling has lost some of its nostalgia for me.

Going to Bath last year was really the first time I’ve ever traveled on my own.  It’s scary being on your own.  But that’s part of growing up, really.  Writing this post made me think of an old Peanuts quote that a friend of mine used to have on her AIM profile (Yes, AIM. Don’t pretend you don’t remember it.). I had a tricky time finding it, but here’s the comic it came from:


I couldn’t find a bigger picture, so here’s what Charlie Brown says after Peppermint Patty asks him what security is:

“Security is sleeping in the back seat of the car when you’re a little kid, and you’ve been somewhere with your Mom and Dad, and it’s night, and you’re riding home in the car, you can sleep in the back seat…You don’t have to worry about anything…your Mom and Dad are in the front seat and they do all the worrying…They take care of everything.”

It’s such a pretty sentiment.  Charlie Brown tells us though, that this doesn’t last – you have to grow up and then you can’t sleep in the back seat again.  It’s kind of sad, but in that way that makes you realize that it’s true.  Growing up is scary, but it’s also fun.  No, I can’t sleep in the back seat anymore, but I can go places by myself and experience them.  If I hadn’t gone to Bath last year, I think I would be a very different person.  No matter how not fun traveling can sometimes be (Running through an airport, getting stuck sitting on the tarmac…etc.), going to new places is fun.  It may not always provide the same level as safety as sleeping in the back seat, but as you get older, sometimes it’s okay not to play it too safe.

About Me: Harry Potter

No, the title of this post doesn’t mean that I think I am Harry Potter.  However, Harry Potter is one of those things that has had a serious impact on me, as I think it has for a lot of people in my generation (And beyond – let’s be honest, JK Rowling has cornered the young adult market for all of time).  I have my Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone book with a handwritten inscription from my parents saying, “Happy Birthday Colleen!”  I don’t think I have any other books that my parents inscribed, so it’s kind of like they knew that this book would be a Big Deal.  I’m not sure why Harry Potter has become such an integral part of my identity – I guess it’s like I said in my original blog post about me, that “You’ve Got Mail” quote is really true:

Kathleen Kelly: When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.


The books are just so well done and well planned.  That’s one of the things I have always loved about the series – JK Rowling thought about the series, from start to finish.  A detail that pops up randomly in the first book, suddenly becomes significant in the last book.  And while some may say that this is just pure chance, I think Rowling really knew what that first Chocolate Frog trading card would mean in the larger mythology.

I said before that we read Harry Potter in one of my classes in Bath.  We read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Can I just say that the auto-spell check did not underline Azkaban? Proof that Harry Potter is significant.) and the conversations we had about that book were really spirited, but also really interesting.  That’s another great thing about Harry Potter (From a English major’s perspective), it can be interpreted in so many ways, and so many different theories and schools of thought can be applied to it.  One of the coolest things in our British Fantasy Writers class was that we got to go to Oxford on a study trip.  While we were there, we saw Christ College at the University of Oxford and the Bodleian Library, which were used for filming in the first few movies.  We saw all kinds of landmarks from the movies and our entire class (Mostly. Some were not Potterphiles.) was really excited about everything related to Harry Potter.

I don’t really know why Harry Potter is such a part of my identity, like I said.  I think it has something to do with the fact that it can still inspire and amaze you even years after you’ve read it.