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  1. Martha Goes to Camp

    (Silent) Young Adult Wolf!¬† I decided to spend tonight relaxing…

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    (Silent) Young Adult Wolf! 

    I decided to spend tonight relaxing in my bunk and working on a Video assignment. I chose Alan’s “Return to the Silent Era” challenge.  

    I really had no idea what movie I wanted to do. Everything I thought about seemed like it would be kind of flat. And the, out of the blue, I settled on a movie that I don’t even really remember liking but that is a quintessential symbol of the decade I grew up in: Teen Wolf. 

    To do the assignment, I started by using SaveVid to download the trailer from YouTube

    Then, I pulled it into iMovie. I knew I wanted to make it black and white and use the iMovie “Aged Film” effect. But, unfortunately, in my version of iMovie you can’t apply to effects to a clip. So, I did the B&W effect, exported it, and then imported it back into the program. Then I was able to add the “Aged Film” effect.

     Next, I began thinking about where I wanted to insert cue cards. The trailer soundtrack is mostly a voiceover with bits of dialogue beneath. Strangely, they seem to show each of the scenes the dialogue come from, but they are lined up together. I was able to pretty easily figure out, however, what dialogue went with what scene. 

    I wanted a realistic cue card graphic, so I did a quick Google image search and came up with this one (which is free to anyone to use!). 

    I pasted that image in wherever I thought the cue card should go, and started typing the dialogue straight from the movie. It was pretty easy to settle on a font that looked right. I did have to play with the title effects so that the text didn’t fade in and out (which wouldn’t make any sense on a cue card). 

    At this point, I felt like something was missing. I decided to see if I could replace some of the language in the movie dialogue with more “authentic” slang of the silent movie era. I found a bunch of Web sites with 1920s slang dictionaries. This PDF was probably the most thorough and useful. The translation isn’t exact in some cases, but I felt like it added some kind of additional authenticity to the project. 

    Next, I worked on the music. I knew I wanted to use ragtime piano, and I found this great radio show on the Internet Archive that was available with a Creative Commons license. 

    There’s a point in the original trailer where Teen Wolf turns on the car radio, and the music in the clip changes. I used this point to switch to a different ragtime tune. I’m not sure if the music works that well, but it is authentic! 

    Finally, I decided to speed up all of the video a bit. It seems to me that silent movies often have the quality of speed being off, so I thought this effect might work. I think it’s okay.

    I added an opening and closing cue card, and that’s basically it! (Note I changed the title because the term “teenager’ didn’t come into use until after 1930! I’m not sure “Young Adult Wolf” is as catchy, though. :-)

    Enjoy!  

    Screenshot of iMovie

  2. Martha Goes to Camp

    When I saw that today‚Äôs Daily Create was to share an…

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    When I saw that today’s Daily Create was to share an annoying telemarking call, I realized that I had something that it might make sense to share. It’s not really annoying, per say, but it is relevant to the activities this summer. I had actually forgotten about it until the prompt sparked my memory today!!

    Looking back, I guess it was a kind of strange way to get recruited…but, hey, look at all the great things that have come out of it!

  3. Martha Goes to Camp

    Today‚Äôs Daily Create instructed us to share a short clip…

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    Today’s Daily Create instructed us to share a short clip of whatever was broadcasting on Channel 106 on our televisions. Truthfully, since the bad storms a few weeks ago, the reception on the TV in the Camp Headquarters has been terrible. Most channels have been unwatchable. Channel 106 has been particularly strange — it seems to be picking up signals from a variety of sources. See for yourself. 

  4. Martha Goes to Camp

    Yesterday afternoon, I hosted the ‚ÄúMysteries on the…

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    Yesterday afternoon, I hosted the “Mysteries on the Mountain” radio panel to discuss the strange happening at Camp Magic MacGuffin. I was joined by Alan, Zazzy, Joe Beets, Uncle Hector, and Slide Guy! for about an hour of conversation. 

    Unfortunately, I forgot to start recording until about 7 minutes into the show. Some other things have been said about the show, but I think it turned out great. Don’t you? After all, we did solve the mystery of who has been breaking into Zazzy’s foot locker! 

  5. Martha Goes to Camp

    Magic MacGuffin Mystery Show

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    Today, in lieu of a weekly campfire, I’ll be hosting a live radio panel/call-in show to discuss some of the mysterious happenings at Camp Magic MacGuffin. I felt it was time to bring together a number of people to discuss exactly what’s going on at camp. There have been a number of speculations, some alarming, some downright horrifying: 

    I’ve managed to contact a number of these people to discuss all of this AND MORE!!! 

    Our Panel: 

    • Alan Levine, Camp Magic MacGuffin Co-Director
    • Slide Guy!, Internet Celebrity
    • Zazzy, Camp Magic MacGuffin Counselor
    • Uncle Hector, Unauthorized Magic MacGuffin Camper
    • ????

    You can tune-in on DS106 Radio at 3:30PM EST today for the show. If you’d like to ask questions of our panel, simply login to the DS106 TeamSpeak server. We’ll be using this to pull the voices of all of our participants together. 

    If you’re listening to the show this afternoon and have questions but can’t get on TeamSpeak, feel free to tweet them to @mburtis. I’ll be sure to monitor them. 

    If you can’t attend, feel free to share any questions you have in the comments below. I’ll be sure to fit them in. 

    And, I will be archiving the show and posting it here afterwards. 

    Stay tuned and stay safe, campers!! 

  6. Martha Goes to Camp

    Video of Camper and Furry Pet(?) Raises Eyebrows

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    I’ve been really busy lately at camp. Keeping an eye on everything in Shed #4 and all. A few campers have asked if they can come and see the contents of the shed. Please stop asking. I simply can’t grant permission at this point. It’s complicated. 

    Meanwhile, some more strange footage has emerged. This time it’s a video I found on one of the digital cameras we lend out to campers. (PLEASE PEOPLE, remember to delete your stuff when you return equipment!!)

    Once again, I’m not sure what I’m looking at. I think this might be the inside of one of the bunkhouses, but I don’t recognize that camper or his pet. . chinchilla? Does anyone know the source of it, and should we be concerned that someone’s been spiking the KoolAid? Or perhaps this camper has stumbled upon those strange spores I inhaled out by Paddock 77 a few weeks ago? 

    It’s possible this was an attempt to complete a video project, since we’re smack in the middle of the video unit at Camp Magic MacGuffin. But, if that’s the case, I just have to say: go back to the editing room. This needs work.

  7. Martha Goes to Camp

    Back from Special Assignment

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    Hi Campers, 

    I’m back from the special assignment that I left for on Wednesday. As you may remember, I received a fax fron headquarters Wednesday morning with instructions to meet a driver who would take me where I needed to go. 

    Yesterday afternoon, I woke up back in my bed in the cabin. I have no recollection of anything since being in the vehicle with the driver. I did find several tweets under my account and a bunch of photos on my camera. There’s also a video I recorded. 

    I just recorded another video telling a bit more about my experience. It’s very mysterious. I’m not really AFRAID. I mean, after the Shed #4 incidents last week, I feel so at peace with the notion of Magic MacGuffin. But I would be lying if I said this last episode wasn’t a bit…disconcerting. 

    If you have any idea what it all may mean, let me know in the comments.

    Here’s a quick recap that I was able to recreate from my Tweets (there’s a link in there to the video I created while I was “away”):

    And here’s the video I just made showing a few more photos I found on my camera… and some other strange discoveries.

  8. Martha Goes to Camp

    Off on Assignment for Camp!!

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    After yesterday’s amazing experience in Shed 4, I visited again briefly with Alan this morning. I can’t describe the incredible feeling of peace and relaxation I feel. I don’t even remember what was bothering me before, and I almost can’t believe I ever doubted Alan or CVI. I will admit that my head has been aching fiercely this morning, but it’s a small price to pay for the feeling of empty calm that I’m experiencing. 

    What’s more, I guess the guys at CVI saw the video and are finally ready to really give me more responsibility at camp! I received a fax late last night with instructions about a special assignment they have for me. I’m heading out now to meet up with my transportation for the trip. I’m not entirely sure what to expect; they indicated that more instructions would be forthcoming. But I expect to be away on this assignment for the next three days. Hopefully, I’ll be able to communicate a bit by Twitter. I’ll try to share anything exciting that happens!!!

    Wish me luck! 

  9. Martha Goes to Camp

    Evidence of Strange Activities at Camp

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    I think it’s probably obvious to anyone who is following camp and watching our weekly videos (particularly this week’s) that Alan and I are feeling the stress of directing Magic MacGuffin. I apologize that we aired our metaphorical dirty laundry today, but you can’t imagine how crazy it is to corral all the things that are involved in running camp this summer. 

    I feel like it’s time for me to start being more open about the things that are going on that concern me. I’ve mentioned several times in videos that I haven’t really seen Alan around camp for the last several weeks (since he returned from headquarters, actually). Despite attempting to set up meetings at various camp locales, I can never seem to pin him down. 

    Yesterday, I noticed his backpack on the ground next to the central campfire. I took a look for him, but couldn’t find him. On a whim, I dropped a digital recorder that I happened to have handy into the front pocket. It’s a pretty nifty device that transmits wirelessly back to my iPad. Unfortunately, I was only able to capture the first 45 seconds or so of his activity — presumably something happened at the end to interfere with the signal. 

    I’m putting this here because I need everyone’s help understanding what I’m hearing and determining what to do next. I’ve known Alan professionally for several years, and I was eager to direct camp with him this summer based on his stellar reputation as a teacher, technologist, and generally good guy. But, honestly, after the last few weeks (and seeing the evidence I’ve begun to undercover), I’m not sure what to think…

    Alans Bag by mburtis

  10. Martha Goes to Camp

    Things Get Stranger During Week Four!!

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    Dear Beloved Family,

    Well, week four has drawn to a strange close here at Camp. 

    The camp theme for this week was “design” and we asked all of our campers to go on Design Safaris, as they searched the world around them for examples of different elements of design. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to complete my design safari due to another incident that I was embroiled in. 

    About a week ago, I borrowed a camp camera to document some events here. To my surprise, the person who had last used it had been a bad digital citizen and had NOT cleared his old photos off of the device. I couldn’t help but look at what was there, and I found a set of strange, inscrutable shots of a grown man gleefully going down a small child’s slide. Who was this man? Why was he so joyful about sliding? Was there some hidden agenda at play? WERE THESE PICTURES LEFT HERE FOR A REASON FOR ME TO FIND THEM?!?!

    In order to better understand the situation, I tried to reconstruct the original incident: 

    I wish I could say the exercice helped, but it really just left me with more questions about this mysterious character. I nicknamed him Slide Guy! and decided I needed to do more to understand him. 

    I created a new assignment in the DS106 assignment repository (did you know anyone could do that!!??), and asked others to help me spot this man and solve the mystery of his affection for sliding. So far, over 23 other Slide Guy! incidents have been identified. And, let me tell you, Slide Guy! has gotten around. Jim Groom spotted him going over a huge waterfall! Andy Rush discovered that he once starred in a movie! Mike Berta saw him in a bunch of places, including a jar of fermenting yogurt

    But then things got REALLY weird, when Slide Guy! was spotted IN CAMP. I don’t know how to feel about this. I mean, we try to be very open and welcoming at CMM, but we do have rules, you know?! No one fitting Slide Guy!’s description has officially registered here at Camp. Is he crashing? Does he have some underhanded intentions? Will he end up threatening us all with power tools and locking us in hidey holes underground?!?! 

    ANY WHO, in other news, we had our first campfire meeting around the actual camp fire this week.  I took some shots of the event so that you could see just how magical this place is (and how strange some of our campers look). We were joined at this delightful event by the one-and-only Cheryl Colan (aka Doo Wop Girl), who is a designer herself. She gave lots of good advice and we had a fun and free-ranging conversation about design, in general. 

    Over the course of the week, I really tried to keep up with my own design assignments, and I’m quite pleased with my work. I think the one I’m most proud of is my reimagining of the cover of The Girl Who Played with Fire

    I think it turned out well, and it captures a certain VIBE that we have going at Camp this week. 

    But, really, the biggest turn-of-events was what happened on Saturday! I was all set to sit down and spend the weekend continuing to build duPont Hall at the camp site. (It’s coming along very nicely, as you can see below): 

    But then I received an unexpected memo from the head of CVI (Camp Magic MacGuffin’s holding company), telling me they had three new campers that were going to be arriving that evening, whom I needed to devote special time and attention to. 

    I was okay with that, of course! After all, welcoming people to Camp is my job! And I love nothing more than orienting newcomers to the magic and light that is MacGuffin. But the three campers that arrived at my doorstep, were NOT what I expected. The oldest is only eight years old! The youngest is three! 

    I think this is a bit young for MacGuffin campers, don’t you? Does this symbolize some new business venture of CVI? Why are they recruiting such young members? 

    As you can imagine, my hands were full entertaining, feeding, bathing, and tending to these three new arrivals. Right now, I just put a film on to keep them occupied so that I could get this letter written! I’m not even sure how I’m going to record the weekly video with Alan later today (he, by the way, has gone MISSING AGAIN!!! On Twitter he just tells me his sharing his “voice” up “north.” Whatever THAT means.) 

    Anyway, here’s a picture of our newcomers entranced by Peter Pan. I’m taking them off campgrounds later this afternoon for chicken nuggets and french fries (not sure how CVI will feel about that, but I’m all out of PB&J in the cabin). But after that, I’m going to make them start creating animated gifs. Nobody gets a pass at Camp Magic MacGuffin. NOBODY. 

    Til next week,

    Your Beloved Martha 

  11. Martha Goes to Camp

    Wax Ain’t Cheap, you know

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    I completed the Big Caption today for another design assignment. The idea behind this one is that you take a photo from the Big Picture Web site and you recaption it so that you completely change the original meaning of the shot. 

    The original caption on this photo: 

    A worshipper lights a candle as she attends Sunday Mass led by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim in Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia on April 29, 2012. 

    I actually played with the styling of the thought bubble quite a bit to try and reduce the cheesiness factor of putting the words in an actual thought bubble. 

    In any case, I’m pleased with it. It makes me giggle. 

  12. Martha Goes to Camp

    Simple Gifts

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    For my next design assignment, I decided to do the Lyric Typography Poster. However, I did go a bit beyond just using text, and added a very basic vector graphic. I was really inspired by the examples at Music Philosophy — Especially when I saw how adding just a very simple graphic could be so effective. 

    The lyric I picked was from the traditional Shaker song Simple Gifts. It’s a particularly meaningful song for me because it was one of the songs that was played and sung at our wedding (10 years ago this summer!). The song is really meant to be a simple dance, and the last lines of the song (which I didn’t use) is, “To turn, to turn will be our delight,/ Till by turning, turning we come ‘round right.” I wanted to evoke that sense of movement a bit in the poster. 

    It actually is a song that encompasses what I strive to make more of my personal philosophy: looking for the simple, coming back to where we were, finding the gifts in the things we already have. Really, very beautiful, yes? I’m not sure my poster is beautiful enough to capture this sentiment, but I had fun doing it and thinking about this song again. 

    Note: The original image came from The Noun Project (a fantastic source of free, CC licensed simple vector graphics) and was created by David Goodger. It is shared with a CC Attribution license.  

  13. Martha Goes to Camp

    Firewalk with Me

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    I decided I wanted to do a design assignment today, so I started browsing the Assignment Repository. There’s so much great stuff in there (although I do think some of our “Design” assignments need to be re-categorized as “Visual” assignments). I settled on Alternative Book Cover

    To get inspiration, I started browsing my digital book downloads on Amazon. (Yes, I know I’m the loser who pays more than eBooks are really worth, but, goddammit, I’ve read more in the last 18 months than I had in the last 8 years thanks to my Kindle and iPad). A few years ago I ploughed through the Stieg Larsson series and loved it. It’s not fine literature, but it’s riveting and the characters are pretty fascinating. I decided to do an alternative cover for The Girl Who Played with Fire. I thought I’d find some cute kid shot of a kid. . playing with matches. Then I realized that wasn’t so cute; it was scary. 

    THEN I started to think about scary kids and fires, and I remembered conversation Jim and I had yesterday about our favorite Stephen King novels. Aha! I decided to photoshop a picture of Drew Barrymore from Firestarter onto a book cover for The Girl Who Played with Fire

    THEN I thought about the animated magazine covers that Jim’s been doing, and I knew what I needed to do: 

    This was pretty tough for a few reasons. I wanted to stay as true as possible to the original cover of the American edition of the Larsson novel. It’s a pretty stark layout, and the letters are heavily fragmented. But, with some work, I was able to clean them up and add a dropshadow that matches the original. 

    I did have to change the spacing of the title to make room for the image. In the end, you can see how the text design of the Larsson book works great on THAT cover, but it’s not nearly as effective on this cover. 

    That’s okay, I still think it’s a cool cover. 

    I have two problems with it, I guess. First, it’s way big: 2.2MB. Second, the animation doesn’t seamlessly loop, but to do that I’d have to add more frames and the file would just get bigger. 

  14. Martha Goes to Camp

    Greetings from Beyond

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    Dear Beloved Family,

    I’m writing you following the third week of camp here at Magic MacGuffin. Above, you’ll see a postcard that I created that reflects my feelings this week. On the one hand, camp is a blast, and I wish you were here. On the other hand, I feel a strange, blurry darkness descending and I fear what will come next. 

    Allow me to explain. 

    I’m finding that my life at camp is beginning to get the better of me. I am so deeply embedded in the virtual and real world of the Mountain that I cannot clearly distinguish what is real from what is unreal. 

    Yesterday, I lost my glasses. I searched my entire cabin for them. They weren’t anywhere! I was really getting stressed, so I did what I usually do when I need to FIND something. I went to Google: 

    At the time, I was really mad at Google. The results it was giving me were TOTALLY unhelpful. But then, later, I thought perhaps Google isn’t what I should have used? I mean, I can’t remember if that’s how I usually search for lost things. I’m so confused. 

    Then, I was reading some amazing new posts from some of the campers on my iPad. I was so engrossed, I reached around to turn the page. But, there was no page to turn!  Did iPads used to have pages? How I am going to keep up with the camp reading if I can’t turn pages, anymore?! Am I missing something…?

    My head hurts. 

    Then, this morning, I woke up from an amazing and insightful dream about camp. I thought, “I have to blog about that!” But then I remembered that I had installed the DreamPress plugin, which automatically blogs your dreams, complete with dreamshots. BUT, when I went to check my site later, I couldn’t find the plugin anywhere! I couldn’t even find it in the official WordPress plugin repository. 

    Someone is obviously playing tricks on me. I hate to say it, but I suspect my co-director, Alan. He’s been very mysterious lately. He SAYS he’s at camp, but I can never FIND him. Sometimes, I hear him around the campfire, but when I turn to look at him, HE’S NOT THERE. 

    Today, he’s supposed to meet me at Shed #4 and introduce me to “Marco.” Does anyone want to come with me? I’m nervous…

    On the bright side, we had a great week at camp learning more about photography and visual storytelling. I’m most proud of this picture I took after hanging my hammock outside of my cabin. I didn’t have the energy after putting it up to climb into it, so I lay down on the ground underneath and took a nap. When I woke up, this was the view: 

    Lovely, I think. I think. I think. I think I’ll take a nap. 

    Until next week,

    Martha

  15. Martha Goes to Camp

    Embedding is #4life

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    I think the notion of “embedding” photos on blog posts is causing a few DS106 students to stumble. Let’s see if we can make this all a bit clearer. 

    Let’s say I’ve uploaded a truly awesome photo to Flickr, and I want to share it with the world. There are a couple of ways that I could reference this photo on my blog: 

    1. I could link to the Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marthagrace/7363496548/

      See what I did there — I copied and pasted the actual Flickr page URL (which happens to show the image on it) into my post, and I turned it into a link to that same URL. Generally speaking, this is a poopy way of referencing a photo. As your reader, I have to look at that ugly URL (although, if I wanted to, I could make the link a prettier phrase or sentence) and then I have to click away from your truly awesome blog to do see that actual image. Then, when I get to the page you’ve linked to, I can see the photo but I have to see a bunch of other Flickr interface stuff to.

      But, most importantly, the Web is a visual medium. You’re taking a class on digital storytelling, which means you’re learning how to use digital MEDIA to create stories and narrative. What’s the point if you’re not actually using the images in your posts? 

      Yuck. 
       
    2. I could link to the actual image file that I uploaded to Flickr: 
      http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8010/7363496548_890c0e5fbf.jpg

      See how that link also points to another URL, but this time it ends in “.jpg?” That’s because I’m literally linking directly to the image. If you click that link , you’ll only see the image, not the whole kit-and-kaboodle of a Flickr page. 

      How did I do this?! It’s like MAGIC! No, it’s not really. What I did was right-click on the actual image in Flickr and then chose “Copy Image URL” in the menu that appeared (depending on what browser you’re using that menu item might be worded differently).

      Here’s a Pro Tip: In Flickr, if you go to the “Action” menu on any image page, you’ll see an option to “View All Sizes.” This is nice! I get a whole selection of image sizes to choose from, and then I can right-click on the image when I get the size I like to grab the right URL. Isn’t Flickr cool?!

      BUT this is still sucky. I still have to look at that ugly URL and I have to leave your lovely blog to go see the image. Blech.
       
    3. I can EMBED the image into my blog post. This means the image actually APPEARS in my blog post, instead of just being a link. In WordPress, you’ve got an icon above the main post edit box to “Add Media” (it kinda looks like a camera). If you click on it, you have two basic options: “From Computer” (which means you’re going to upload it to WordPress) or “From URL” (which means you are going to simply point to the image somewhere else — like Flickr).

      Now, you COULD upload the image to WordPress and embed it that way, but you have a limited amount of space on your Web host, so why waste it? And, if you’re already uploading stuff to Flickr (like your Daily Creates), why duplicate the effort and upload it somewhere else? Instead, chose the “From URL” option, and paste that image file URL I talked about in #2. 

      Also, with this technique, you can theoretically embed images from ANYWHERE on your blog — all you need to know is that right-click trick to grab the image file URL. (Of course, you want to make sure you have permission and provide adequate attribution if you’re embedding someone else’s images on your site.)

      When I EMBED, I get this:

       

      Isn’t that so much nicer?  Embedding images is #4life. Learn it. Use it. Love it. 
  16. Martha Goes to Camp

    The Unexplainable, Explained

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    I’ve really wanted to try¬†this DS106 visual assignment¬†in which you try to illustrate a word/phrase that has no English equivalent. Alan actually¬†built a little randomizer¬†that will give you a word to work with, and then you’ve got sear...
  17. Martha Goes to Camp

    No One Will Believe

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    I took a stab at Remix an Album Cover this morning. I’m trying to see how many of the assignments for Camp I can do on my iPad — partly because I’m curious as to how good it really is as a device for creating (not just consuming) and ...
  18. Martha Goes to Camp

    Week One of CMM is a Wrap!

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    Whew. We just finished the first week at Camp Magic MacGuffin. For my letter home, I did this video. Hope you enjoy! In addition, here’s a quick (~10 min) tutorial about installing WordPress at Hippie Hosting that I threw together for our UMW st...
  19. Martha Goes to Camp

    Week One of CMM is a Wrap!

    by
    Whew. We just finished the first week at Camp Magic MacGuffin. For my letter home, I did this video. Hope you enjoy! In addition, here’s a quick (~10 min) tutorial about installing WordPress at Hippie Hosting that I threw together for our UMW st...

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