Rebecca Boyd

Exploring the universe, one frame at a time.

[Insert Obligatory Quip About Needing To Update The Blog More Often]

Posted Sunday, May 29th, 2011
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[follow with cliched (although true) excuse about having been busy recently]

I’m gearing up for another series of Juvenile Arbitration workshops.  I taught two series last summer, working in partnership with Dr. Olga Ivashkevich, who is an Art Education professor at the University of South Carolina.  We taught the kids, who are first time offenders referred by the Juvenile Justice system, how to use prosumer video cameras, lights, and microphones; and then the kids made infomercials on topics of their own choosing.  Here’s an example:

This summer, we’re teaming up again, and we’re going to be teaching stop motion animation, using Barbie dolls.  I was doing a test run moments ago, when the camera battery died.  I took it as a sign that it was time to update the blog.

When the battery is recharged, I’ll go back to my mockup, but honestly, I was shooting blindly.  Just taking pictures of different poses, hoping a story would come to me in the process.  So it’s probably good that I’ve sat down to do some stream of conscious blogging.  I tried to write a script before I started shooting, but – for the first time in a long time – I encountered really intractable writer’s block.

I’m tempted to copy one of the infomercials from last year, since this is just a test to see what problems I run into and how I might steer the students clear of them.  But that feels like cheating.  And, really, writer’s block is one of the problems the students might run into.  I think I will have the old ‘draw a character and a situation out of a hat’ solution standing at the ready when we actually do this, for those who are truly unable to think of something.

I’m sitting on my front porch as I type this.  It’s dark out, and there are bugs flying all around the porch light.

Oh.  Idea.  Suzie is typing up an angry email to Sally.  She hits Send and immediately regrets it.  Sally reads it and is devastated.  Except, do kids use email anymore?  Maybe Suzie should be texting.  (Bah!  I h8 txting.  But all the kidz r doin it.  lol fml)

In any case, the bugs around the porch light.  It’s beetle season.  I can’t remember by what measure, whether it’s number of individuals or number of species, but beetles apparently make up 25% of the life on this planet.  Whoa.

The insects are very cyclical here in South Carolina.  First come the flies, then come the wasps, then come the beetles, then the spiders, then the katydids.  Also, apparently this is a cicada year.  So there’s that to look forward to.

Truthfully, I find beetles kind of scary.  When I pick them out of the water trough, they cling to my finger.  The ones that fly tend to have crazed, unpredictable flight paths.  I don’t like the unpredictability.  I like bugs that allow me to give them a wide berth.  Spiders are usually great like that.

I hope I have some writing spiders on the front porch this year.  I’ve seen one or two tiny ones already in passing, but none have set up shop yet.  And I suspect that a huge percentage of the tiny ones get eaten by other creatures – lizards, birds, what-have-you. 

I’m quite fond of writing spiders.  They’re slow and pretty and not poisonous.  And they get enormous.  Every year so far at least one has set up a web on my front porch.  And every year I give her a name and greet her each day when I arrive home.  Here’s hoping I have that opportunity again this year.  They seem to settle down in June or July.

Zoe: July 2010

Anyway.  Angry texting.  Or cyberbullying, maybe.  I suppose I should try writing a little script along those lines.  And maybe I’ll post the result.  In fact, I’ll definitely post the result.  Once it’s good.