Being poetic.

Haiku – A Japanese 3-Line Poem.

“Haiku it up!” is a writing assignment that asks you to compose a haiku using a random dailyshoot photo.

I was born and raised in Japan, however, I never really had the chance to receive a formal Japanese education. In course of Japanese education, I’m certain that children would work with haiku in class. I had the opportunity to learn and compose haiku back in high school when I took advanced Japanese courses.

It’s sort of funny that I was taught to remember the American Constitution, government system, and history, and not much about the Japan. Everything I learned in elementary to secondary was based on American system of education, so I had no clue what to do when I had to write a paper on Japanese legislation. Me and my fellow classmates had a hard time to do some assignments. Though, we also did fun activities like composing haiku.

The instruction for the assignment misses out some rules for haiku such as use of 季語 (seasonal word), but this is not any formal language course or anything. I didn’t add any seasonal word, although, it is important to have it in most cases. Seasonal words become the image of the haiku.

So here we go:

Don’t hold on to now.
Lost time’s never found again,
so govern the clock.

holding on


Let’s Remix an Album Cover!

“Remix an Album Cover” is a Mashup assignment which you will find an album cover and remix it to represent something else. What you alter can be anything – it can be a play on the title, the image, the aesthetic, genre, etc.

This is my second mashup assignment and it deals with music again following my previous ds106 post. Since we got the chance to listen to an interesting presentation on open source last week by our fellow classmate, I thought I’d do a piece that pays a bit of hommage to him.

Before starting on the assignment, I had to choose between two to work on and they are both cool records. As you can see, I picked Symphony X’s Iconoclast (2011) over the other album Origin of Symmetry by Muse. One of the song from Origin of Symmetry is featured in my post on Alexander’s lecture. The reason for choosing Iconoclast is because the album is themed on what we humanity is concerned with – dehumanization and the power of technology in society.

To me, this piece is simplistic, but a serious mashup. The composition of the work is suppose to be similar to the cover art for the single Symphony of Destruction with the hand scraping on a surface of algorithm. I used Pixler this time to manipulate the images. None of the images are used directly in the piece without any effects. The image of algorithm was originally just a bunch of zeroes and ones, but I think the use of kaleidoscopic effect transformed the uninteresting arrangement to a nice base for the cover.

I personally want people to think deeply about the meaning of the word and the album title IconoclastBeing a rebel and thinking outside the box seems to always open up a road to the future. I was wondering if iconoclasm can be applied to the present higher education. Will something change in our future by rejecting the ordinary template we are provided?

Ghost Opera.

FanFic Assignment: FacFic Picture

This is a fanfiction assignment which you “take the name or title of your favorite band, song, movie, or tv show and display it in the form of photography”. The image you create needs to somehow capture your theme.

My all-time favorite band is Kamelot when they were with their former singer Roy Khan. Many of my favorite bands come from either the ’70 or the ’80s like Rainbow (with Dio or Graham Bonnet,), Show-Ya, and Iron Maiden. Anyway, Kamelot is an awesome power metal band I recommend to people. Their music is theatrical and not too loud for non-heavy metal listeners.

I chose the title track from the Ghost Opera album (released in 2007) for this assignment. To fully understand what is happening in the picture, you would want to watch the video for the song. Check the lyrics as well, to get the feel of it.

As I imagined, the creative process demanded working with paths and cutting. Everything was done using Gimp. Through the process, I came up with a bit of new ideas that altered my initial intentions such as adding a glow of light, filtering the background with a newspaper-ish effect, and so on.

I have a fond memory of Ghost Opera from back when I was in high school. I knew the band existed, but I didn’t really discover them until I actually listen to the song “Ghost Opera”. The album was also the very first Kamelot records I bought. Soon after the purchase, I had to listen to them more. Another thing that I remember about it is that me and my ex got to know each other by me lending the album to him. Isn’t it kind of peculiar that a heavy metal record can draw people together?

18 Makes 1.

Video Assignments: 1 Second Video

The description for this assignment asked: “How much of a story can you tell in a 1 second video?” and left a link to an inspirational sixty seconds film. I first had no idea what to do, but the super-short film sort of explained it all how to start mine.

Generally, I think, the interpretation of an assignment objective is up to the creator. DS 106 is about being creative and experimenting, after all. Therefore, I decided to do a collection of one second videos. My video consists of bits and bits of moments that tells a story.

There is nothing special about the process of the work for this assignment. It’s simply taking videos, putting them in order using a video edit application, and adding music in the background. The process was easy after I figured out how to do it, but the application was last opened in 2008…so that meant there would be a technological confusion in my way.

I was mildly amazed when I uploaded my first video ever (congrats to me) on YouTube. YouTube lets you edit your video after uploading it just like other image files. It offered trimming, altering effects, and free audio to have some music playing in the background. I only chose to add an effect and stuck with what I had. One problem I found disappointing was the resolution. I didn’t expect the camera to be that bad.

Publicizing your work takes a bit of courage. I set the video to be available to the everyone, but posing a real-life visual content gave me an unexplainable sensation. I felt quirky, I guess, to display a work that is more closer with the creator in means of reproducing live moments.


I hope nothing happens to me with copyright issues…the music I used in the background is the intro of Rasen by the band lynch.

Iconic You. Iconic Me.

Design Assignment: Iconic You

The objective of this assignment is to “create an iconic image/design for your own site that somehow represents you”.

More than half of the semester has ended and the schedule we’re managing is like a roller coaster. Yet, I still had not put out anything particular about my blog title or my name, mhacca. This design assignment has not much relevance to what I was just wondering, but I would like to note on that too in the article.

My title of the blog you are looking at right now is called “neopessimist23”. I took it from a song title by the band Moi dix Mois. The number “23” at the end comes from the Japanese era. Year 2012 equals to Heisei year 23 in Japan. In a image like this, maybe the blog title was better off placed to the side instead of how it was finished design-wise. I guess it works fine this way because you wouldn’t want to tilt you head sideways to look at it…

I personally love the fancy design of the number.

The process of the assignment was done on GIMP and Pixler. I find it easier to use GIMP for cutting out pictures as I want it to be. There were some experiments done with effects as seen below. I played around with colors, dots, and lighting.

  Now, I’ll explain the imagery. The oval white object on top of the vase is an egg. It represents myself as being a newbie. I hope I’ve become a semi-newbie or someone more experienced at the technology we’re all manipulating. Next is the flower sitting upon the egg. I put the rose there to show my (past) identity as being called the “flower girl” back in secondary school. We keep a garden full of trees and flowers in front of our porch back at home.

Speaking of plants, my name “mhacca” refers to peppermint (hacca) in Japanese. My mother’s hometown used to be one of the world’s busiest peppermint growing area.

Mashup: Children’s Book and The Pioneer

The Mad Tea Party.

Mashup Assignments: Mashedup Children’s Book

Mashup a children’s book based on another cultural artifact. For example, framing Dr. Who as a children’s book in the aesthetic of a Dr. Suess’s work. See example from College Humor here:

Since Scott asked us to have more variety of categories for our DS106, I wanted to do something in another category I still haven’t tried. A past blog post from the previous semester inspired to me to try this assignment. I think this assignment can also be under the design section.

How are people doing with their presentation preparation? Mid-term has started and we’re all having a hectic week. I’m suppose to be busy too, and I somehow spent a hour or two the other day just to search the right picture for this assignment. It’s my bad habit to go headlong at whatever I decided to do.  First off, I couldn’t find the desirable CC-licensed image of children’s books. I could immediately think of some well-known books and I had plenty of ideas. “The Snowman” was one I wanted to use, but that plan had to be put away. Instead, I found an gif animation of the famous tea party scene from Lewis Caroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” which I replaced The Mad Hatter’s face with Engelbart’s.

Can you believe it? I’m still writing about a Pioneer after finishing the first section. A light bulb went off in my head when I saw the dormouse. I made a little association with the Pioneer and the mouse (dormouse – mouse – computer mouse…Engelbart?).

The creative process of this assignment became somewhat difficult, because I had taken a gif animation and played around with it. Although you can’t really tell Alice is actually holding a x-ray-ed computer mouse, which the sparkle erased from the image. Check out the twinkly animation version of the Tea Party on Flickr. I wish I had the animation working on here too…I don’t consider this piece as one of my best works.

* I just realized now that I was goofing around checking out some dormouse pictures and videos (they’re too adorable to avoid). No wonder I took more time than I expected to complete this assignment.

An Album Cover: Like a Moon on the Tides / Sydney Weekender

Visual Assignments: An Album Cover
 So here’s something fun for everyone to do, should be quick and easy, but try to make it pretty. First, go here: The title of the article is now the name of your band. Next, go here: Go to the bottom of the page. The last four to five words of the last quote are the title of your first album Lastly, go here: Select the 3rd image. It is the picture for your album cover. Manipulate the picture, resize it, add some other color, whatever. Do the same with the band name and album title, put them over top. However you wanna do it. Make it look cool.
 There are more than forty people who have completed this album cover assignment. That’s a lot of participants and I thought I should be one of the bunch. One trivial memory from the creative process is that I had to reload quite a few times to find an image under the right license. All these impressive photos appeared, but sadly they said “All rights reserved”. The photo I finally found then was the base image for the album cover. Assuming from the photo title, the scenery happens to be somewhere in Paris, France. Despite the artist’s name “Sydney” weekender, the background image is of another continent.
 I tried using GIMP this time and failed to create a proper cover art I initially intended to make. During my first try, I messed up the original picture so I had to restart from downloading the image again from Flickr. Then, I resorted to Pixlr which probably didn’t eat up my computer’s memory. I was slightly mad at myself after realizing while working on this article that I spelled the word “Sydney” wrong (Syndey? What?). Of course, I went back to Pixlr and it was fixed. There’s not many photo manipulations done to the base image. Instead I played around with the fonts. I noticed for the first time that Pixlr lets you use the fonts you already have in your computer. The fonts used in the cover art are free, by the way.

Surreal and Kind of Cute.

Visual Assignment: Fat Cats make Art Better

 Using this site: as a platform for ideas, and using Photoshop (or something like it) as your tool, place a fat cat into a photo of a classic art piece. The goal is to make it convincing: make the art become on with the cat.

 Unbelievably, I haven’t written any DS106 blog post for this section. After submitting reports and essays for other classes, I sort of went into short hibernation. Although, I have been thinking about this and that in my head starting from Neuromancer to Web 2.0 and the future of cyberspace. Was I slacking off? Kind of. Well, today I decided to be part of the Fat Cat craze and share my piece.

 I don’t reckon people know that I was an AP Art student back in my high school years. The art teacher I had constantly insisted that I should be a visual art critic, and I was and I am still interested in art history and philosophy. Yet, I chose to pursue another field of art, and thus, going through a bit of a rough ride I ended up being here in Temple. As I’m writing this I feel like I need to listen to the ballad “Dream On”. And speaking of dreams, the classical art piece I used for the assignment is one of the notable works of the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali, who portrays dream images and landscapes. I’m talking about a different definition of dream, but anyway, the title of the piece is “The Persistence of Memory”.

 This is my first attempt at creating an image using Pixlr which Scott recommended in the CIS blog on Monday. The online photo editor is quite easy to maneuver. I used GIMP to manipulate images for The Pioneer section and it took me time to figure things out. So Pixlr is a nice discovery. Thanks for recommending it Scott.

To tell the truth, there is not much to comment on the process. My initial idea was to place a cat in some wintry ukiyo-e, but I was unsuccessful in finding any that are usable. I abandoned the idea and turned towards western art. Dali was an easier piece to work on, because of the surreal nature it had. Placing a ginormous cat in the scenery would look just fine. Personally, I think at least half of the burden was on researching images for the process.

I love cats (or most smaller mammals) and lived near them all my life, despite the allergy I supposedly have. If you got interested, try this assignment and join the Fat Cat craze!

I Love My Cupcake Browser Theme.

Which web browser do you use? There were several browsers I tried out in the past, but currently I’m sticking to Firefox. According to the stats as of December 2011, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer are the top three popular browsers in the list.

I don’t consider myself as a digital native, although I was introduced to computers in kindergarten at school. We all had to play around with old Apple computers under the guidance of our teacher. Do you remember using “Netscape” in the earlier years of your cyberlife? It’s the green logo, remember? Maybe some of you do remember or know, maybe not. The DS106 assignment I did this time relates to Netscape and the founder of Netscape.

Marc Andreessen :p by JD Lasica / – CC Licensed via Flickr

The now multi-millionaire software engineer Marc Andereessen was a student and a part-time assistant of NCSA at the University of Illinois when he began his new browser development project. He was one of the second generation of the people who were introduced to WWW which Tim Berners-Lee created. However, at that time, the web browsers like Unix was expensive and they weren’t available for the general public. So Andereessen’s aim was to build a better user-friendly browser that everyone could use. As a result, he and his co-workers produced the Mosaic web browser. It was released to the public in the year 1993. There was a legal problem over the property of the Mosaic browser between the University of Illinois and the company Andereessen co-founded with his business partner. Mosaic had to be renamed to Netscape Navigator soon after its release.

I didn’t know until I read the information on Andereessen and Netscape that Netscape was originally named Mosaic. As you may have recognized, Netscape exists, but it’s no longer a popular browser. Netscape engaged in the Browser war with Microsoft, which became interested in the Internet business and hopped on the bandwagon. Then, as you can see, Internet Explorer won the war and became the dominant browser in the market.


Here’s the assignment detail:

Design Assignment: What the Font?
A common exercise in design school, take typographical elements (perhaps even the words of a story) and bring them to life.

Since we’re doing The Pioneers section, I wanted to continue on working on DS106 assignments with the pioneers theme. I don’t think I’ve seen an Andreessen post yet, and that is why I thought this article will be a good one to do. My design is a portrait unlike the rest of the posts that people have done. I wasn’t so sure how I would interpret the assignment mission, though there’s some typography essence in the image (the word NETSCAPE being blown away).

Now I’ve become slightly more experienced with using the image manipulation application, the time spent for creating the assignment has been reduced than before. I’m also eager to try new things.

( The white caption in the background is taken from the familiar Pioneers page).

Patty Pioneers – Weiner eating a wiener.

Original scanned photo by telehistoriska - CC Licensed via Flickr

Visual Assignment: Patty Pioneers

Simply put, this assignment involves editing a picture of any Computer Pioneer so that it looks like they are eating/about to eat/holding a burger or similar types of fast food.

After this morning’s class I thought I’d do a post on Weiner. I decided it was about time to move on to DS 106 assignments since we are ending the section in one week or so. My first intention was to start off with the easier creative assignments, but technology was intimidating me. It has been quite a while without touching any photo editing software. I have had experiences with Photoshop back in my high school years, because I was one of the yearbook editor. However, I couldn’t suddenly buy Photoshop and I never worked on freewares like GIMP or Inkscape. Both of them were installed in my laptop somehow, though I had no clue how to use them. It took me a few hours to begin the whole assignment, and I had trouble going through the process. I failed a few times, but thanks to the Internet Pioneers — I with helps from tutorial sites I actually got something done!

Whenever I see a dachshund, I always think “a hot dog is walking on the street”. As you know, the name hot dog derives from their long body that looks just like a wiener. I doubt that there are hardly any hot dog stands or shops out there using proper pork and beef mixed wiener sausages. Hot dog is fast food, right? It’s quick and easy to prepare. So I added a hot dog, a bottle of coke, and a plate of french fries in Norbert Wiener’s picture. In the original photo, he is holding a cigar between his fingers.

Norbert Wiener has an unique biography. The story of him being the child prodigy is interesting enough, but what appealed to me was the transformation of his ethics against science and politics. I think he is an almost underrated contributor to the fields of cybernetics, mathematics, and extensive studies he related to them. He has won significant awards and honors. However, I have a feel that people tend to pay attention on the sophisticated form of outcomes the more modern pioneers have produced. Perhaps, his partly Jewish origin had kept him away from further prestige and celebrity. I didn’t know him and thought that the originator of Cybernetics and electonic communications should be noticed by everyone. Also, along with accumulating some facts about Wiener from online readings, I realized that truly intelligent individuals seem to have similar human philosophy. They all work for the establishment of a better human society by applying what they specialize in. As I mentioned before, Wiener is a remarkable personage. His near-rebellious attitude towards the government and questions on the ethics of scientists distinguishes Wiener from the other pioneers we have covered so far.