Hanging Desk: Week 1

Piecing It Together

For my midterm assignment, I’ve decided to build a hanging desk I saw in a CB2 catalog. Here are images of what their desk looks like:

I really like their design so for the moment I’m going to try and replicate it. Here are my own sketches:

At the bottom of my sketch page I’ve included a “challenge section”–I’m thinking about including gears on the sides of the structure that turn as the desk drawer is opened.

I also made a cardboard prototype:

Forever Giphy Chat Bot

Twitter Bot Workshop

Assignment: Make a bot that responds to @-replies or direct messages. Use Digital Ocean to run this bot “forever” on a remote server.

My chat bot concept was to use the giphy api and tweet out a random gif using the content of the tweet as a tag. Here’s what I mean:

random_user: @GiphyChatBot chill
GiphyChatBot: @random_user [random gif that is tagged “chill”]

I think this qualifies as a chatbot because it simulates/automates a human interaction that might go like this:

Person 1: Hey bro, send me a Little Shop of Horrors gif
Person 2: Okay bro, here is your Little Shop of Horrors gif

The thing that I don’t love about the bot is that it only produces single-exchange interactions. It doesn’t create an extended conversation between user and bot. At any rate, here is an example tweet:

Painful Objects

Collective Narrative

Assignment: Create a narrative experience centered around a single or several objects.

Something happens to me when I hurt myself in my own home. I temporarily become blind with rage. I’m angry at myself. I’m furious at the object. If I can pin the incident on someone else, I’m furious at them, too.

I can’t control this lizard brain. And it scares me that I can instantly become so unlike myself. I decided to catalog the objects in my home that have ever caused me physical pain. Mostly it’s an exercise in data collection. But maybe reliving some of these painful moments will better prepare me for the next one.

It should come as no surprise that the inspiration for this list was a stubbed toe.

The Kitchen

Cabinet Door:
3+ offenses

Whenever I’m stooped over the garbage can or the kitchen sink and a cabinet door is left open, I’m destined to hit my head on it when I straighten up. Because Max is more likely to leave the cabinet doors open, he is also more likely to be the object of my fury. The last time this happened I screamed FUCK and Max thought that I had really seriously hurt myself, but when he called out to see if I was okay I was too angry to speak. Even when he ran in to check on me I still couldn’t say anything. It was only as the pain subsided that I could ungrit my teeth and apologize.

Pain Scale: 9/10
Expletives? FUCK.
Worth it to remove the object? No. Cabinets need doors.

Stove top/Oven:
3+ offenses

Even though it’s not unusual to burn myself cooking, my lizard brain doesn’t kick in when this happens. Is it because the pain isn’t instantaneous? Burning pain always takes a second to register. When I burn myself I don’t usually feel anger at all. It’s either self-pity or just a stoic acceptance. Oven burns are badges of honor in the quest to adulthood.

Pain Scale: 5/10
Expletives? Muttered
Worth it to remove the object? No. The stove giveth way more than the stove taketh away.

~1 offense

When I was making myself pour over coffee I accidentally splashed boiling water. Fortunately the water hit the countertop before hitting me so the injury was mild.

Pain Scale: 2/10
Expletives? None
Worth it to remove the object? Not the teapot’s fault. I’m all squared with the teapot.

The Living Room

Binder clip:
~1 offense

My boyfriend Max is a teacher so there are binder clips all over the fucking apartment. I’ve done a good job of avoiding them but I stepped squarely on one the other day. Fortunately its irregular shape seemed to disperse the pain, and no expletives were uttered. I think a good indicator of pain intensity is presence/absence of expletives. I think I’m going to go back and add that as a category.

Pain Scale: 1/10
Expletives? None
Worth it to remove the object? Even though I’m petty enough to trash the binder clip just to get back at it, the pain just didn’t warrant its removal.

Coffee Table:
3+ offenses

I’ve had multiple run-ins with this coffee table, and the last one was the worst. I actually broke my pinky toe on this thing while I was pacing around the apartment taking a phone call. The pain was so intense that I was unable to experience anger, or any other lizard brain emotion. My pinky toe is still a little crooked from the incident.

Pain Scale: 10/10
Expletives? Hard to recall. Mostly sobs.
Worth it to remove the object? While I didn’t get rid of the coffee table, I did repurpose it as a TV stand so now it’s in an area of the apartment that’s virtually un-stubbable.

Rocking Chair:
~1 offense

Stubbed my toe while vacuuming. The pain was short-lived.

Pain Scale: 2/10
Expletives? None
Worth it to remove the object? Definitely not. The chair was my abuela’s and has huge sentimental value. I think the chair would need to tackle me in my sleep in order for me to get rid of it.

~2 offenses

Stub my toe on this thing occasionally. The nice thing about it is that I can immediately collapse on the couch to recover.

Pain Scale: 3/10
Expletives? Not that I recall.
Worth it to remove the object? No. I need a couch, and I have the feeling that any other couch would offer similar opportunities for stubbing.


Medicine Cabinet Door
~1 offense

Very similar the kitchen cabinet scenario, but the pain isn’t as bad because there’s less distance between the sink and the cabinet door (so there’s less time to gather up speed before impact). In some ways more frustrating because then I’m forced to look at my pissed off reflection immediately after the incident.

Pain Scale: 6/10
Expletives? Fuck
Worth it to remove the object? No.

Sink and Bathroom faucets
~1 offense each

When I dye my hair I’ll rinse it out directly under the faucet, and I’ve hit my head on the faucet trying to extricate myself. Again, not much distance between me and the faucets so the pain isn’t so bad, but hair-dyeing can be such an ordeal that it’s hard not the take the injury personally.

Pain Scale: 2/10
Expletives? Yes
Worth it to remove the object? Neither possible, nor worth it.

Toilet Bowl
~1 offense

This one’s a little foggy, but in the middle of the night I ended up sitting on the toilet when its seat got left up. I think I was a little drunk at the time. This didn’t hurt too badly, just the hard impact of mis-judging the distance between my ass and the surface below. I think my buzz smoothed most of my anger/frustration/shame. No anger towards Max because he never ever ever leaves the toilet seat up. I probably left it up while I was cleaning the toilet or something. I have strong feelings about the seat getting left up. I wish I didn’t because I’m pretty sure every other article on Breitbart reads something like “Women March on Washington because Poor Dude Left the Seat Up”. See this fucking article. Or don’t see it because your day was probably bad enough already.

Pain Scale: 1/10
Expletives. No. But fuck Breitbart.
Worth it to remove the object? Obviously not.

The Bedroom

3+ offenses

The thing was potted poorly and leaned to one side. Whenever I watered it, it would fall off the sill and land on my bare feet.

Pain Scale: 4/10
Expletives? Probably
Worth it to remove the object? Eventually I stopped watering the thing out of spite. When it looked to be about 75% dead I threw it out.

Seashell Necklace:
3+ offenses

This ended up on the floor when I was moving a bunch of stuff around and I keep stepping on it. Every time I do, another delicate seashell breaks beneath my feet. This makes me sad because the necklace definitely belonged to mom/abuela/tia. Also they probably bought it on the Island aka Puerto Rico aka the Homeland. This wasn’t some mass-produced thing, someone painstakingly collected and threaded these little baby seashells onto the necklace. It’s still lying on the floor along with little seashell shards because I can’t bring myself to examine it and see exactly what condition it’s in.

Pain Scale: 1/10
Emotional Pain Scale: 7/10
Expletives: Sad expletives.
Worth it to remove the object? Even if it’s broken, I’m not going to be able to throw it away right now. I’ll put it in a dark place and falsely promise myself I’m going to fix it, until the next time I find it again.

3+ offenses

Always sucks to stub your toe right as you’re about to go to bed. As with the couch, at least I have a soft place to writhe on. Also maybe worth it to mention that when I was hauling the frame around on a giant cart in the IKEA parking lot, I hit a curb and slammed my shin into one of the boxes. The bruise lasted about 2 weeks.

Pain Scale: 3/10-7/10
Expletives: Here and there.
Worth it to remove the object? No. This MALM ikea bed frame with two storage boxes cost me blood, sweat, tears and 250 dollars. The bed frame stays.

Non-Rectangular Box: Week 2

Piecing It Together

Last week we had decided to make a box out of three masks. We cut up a bunch of cardboard prototypes to figure out how we wanted the masks to fit (like using slits or interlocking teeth on the sides). We ultimately decided that the most fool-proof method was to create a base with slots that the masks could slide in and out of. As long as the slots were correctly spaced apart, the masks’ sides would match up and create the appearance of a closed box. Here is a small prototype we made using scrap acrylic. There’s no base yet so the masks are being held together with tape:

We designed the masks in Adobe Illustrator. We decided to use the dimensions of the average male face–7 inches in width and 9 inches long. We also used guidelines to make sure the eyes would end up in the right place. David didn’t choose any particular theme for his mask designs. My design was inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead masks. Here are a few images I used for inspiration:

Here is what the masks ended up looking like when they came out of the laser cutter!

 Because we couldn’t find wood that was both thick enough and wide enough to fit all the masks into, we ended up adapting our method of fitting them together. We laser cut little joints that connected each side of the mask. Once the joints were in place, we traced the position of the masks on our remaining piece of wood (our base), uploaded a photo of the traced wood to Illustrator and traced again within the program. This way we were able to laser cut the small slots for our masks. Here’s the final product! It’s not really a “box” so much as a ceremonial candle holder, but we’re still pleased with the result.

“The Thought of You”

Collective Narrative

Assignment: Create a short sound piece in 2-4 parts.  In your approach, you may offer different perspectives on a single subject, or use multiple voices or different components to complete a single narrative.

For this assignment, I decided to write an absurd song with my boyfriend. I wrote the lyrics out beforehand but the melody was mostly improvised (apologies for the vocal mis-steps, as soon as I know I’m being recorded I get the yips and lose the ability to hit notes). Many thanks to Max Chomet for his contributions on guitar, as well as being an obliging performer in this audio drama.

Non-Rectangular Box: Week 1

Piecing It Together

Assignment: Build a non-rectangular box. The box must have an opening and be able to stand up by itself.

Our group began by proposing ideas. Below is my “idea page” with the first ideas that came to mind. I thought it might be interesting to make a spherical UFO that would balance perfectly without tilting over. I was also interested in making an “illusion box”–using mirrors to make it look like the box was empty even if it wasn’t. There is also an obligatory sketch of a pussy box.

At the bottom of the image above, there’s a sketch of three masks that come together to make a box. I was riffing on JunChao’s idea of building an angular mask. We were most interested in this idea so we made a few more sketches and some cardboard prototypes:

In the image above, you can see a few sketches of how I thought we might accomplish the task of getting the masks to piece together and come apart. In the first sketch I was trying to imagine interlocking “teeth”. In the second sketch, I drew slits in the front of the masks to allow them to slide into one another. The slit idea is how I designed two of the cardboard prototypes below.

Make a Bot that Iterates, Enumerates or Exhausts

Twitter Bot Workshop

For this assignment I wanted to tweet out every last paragraph in a Dan Brown book. For those of you who don’t know, Dan Brown’s signature move is to end a paragraph with one-word italics:




This is a huge source of amusement for me that understand the appeal of Dan Brown books but think that his prose is garbage! At any rate, I had to change the parameters to “chapter endings” generally. This is because even though most paragraphs worked beautifully with the 140 character max, even Dan Brown will through in the occasional 4 sentence paragraph at the end of a chapter.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish getting the bot up and running in node. Using the crontab scheduler hasn’t worked for me so far, but when it does I’ll update this post.

Site-Specific Story

Collective Narrative

Assignment: Create a narrative experience centered around location.

For this assignment, the “site-specific” location I chose was the kitchen, where I recorded a kind of cooking show podcast episode. Full disclosure: I can barely cook, but I use the show as a framing device to talk about my abuela.

The podcast is about 40 minutes long, and I intend to update this blog post with a more comprehensive breakdown of what I’m talking about when. But if you’re not interested in the cooking process at all, the main storytelling part begins at 21:45 and continues through to the end.

Piecing It Together: Drawing Objects

Piecing It Together

Assignment: Select an oddly shaped object. Make one drawing of the object as you see it. Then, imagine how you would slice it into 2d pieces in order to recreate it, and draw samples of these slices.

Here is my wonky 3D rendering of a toy truck:

Here are the 2D slices. I split up the truck into four different sections–the wheel and axle, the front, the rear, and the staircase divider between the front and the wheel. If I’m correct, I could make a truck out of 18 pieces. This 18-piece count does not include the wheel and axel parts, or whatever I’d need to connect the wheels and axel to the body of the truck.

Making Bots with Tracery and CBDQ

Twitter Bot Workshop

Bot #1: German Word Bot
Inspired by Allison’s tangent on the phrase “basketball net” (the tangent being, there’s no rule in the English language as to why this is the conventional phrase. It could just as easily be “basket ballnet” or “basket ball net” or “basketballnet”). She mentioned German noun phrases, which I adore. So I made a quick bot that spat out English definitions of a few phrases.


Bot #2: Fun with “Alas”
This time I was inspired this tumblr floating around Facebook:


The concept is to take every instance of the word “Alas” in Shakespeare’s writings, but replace it with “Aw, shit”. I decided to take this a step further and replace “Alas” with “fuck”, “shit”, “ack”, and “Alice” (Because I love the idea that everybody’s just pissed off at some poor lady named “Alice”). I didn’t limit my quotations to Shakespeare because I wanted to have more variety in my Bot’s output. I also learned the syntax for getting the bot to remember the first expletive, and cap off the whole quotation with “Fucking [same expletive”].

Bot # 3: Bots Against Humanity
Though pretty simple, my favorite Bot is a critique against the game “Cards Against Humanity”. I know this is a much beloved game (and I used to enjoy playing it myself), but after reading a few compelling arguments against CAH (like this one), I realized that the game is actually awful.

The inspiration for this bot comes from some friends who use the “Rando Rule” whenever they play CAH. On every turn they add a random extra white card from the deck (“Rando’s deck”), and give “Rando” the black card if the random card gets chosen. Guess what? Rando has won several times, and usually finishes in the top half. This is Rando, if he were a Twitter Bot:

Help for this Bot came from JSON Against Humanity. Here’s my source code: https://github.com/mejiasparker/twitter-bots/blob/master/bots-vs-humanity