The internet is down, again. Another annoying phone call, another appointment made. This time the technician found a connection problem outside my apartment and thus, no charge for the service call. After four months of international phone calls, emails, surveys and chats. Have I been talking to bots all this time? But that’s a different digital story…

This is my first attempt to reflect on the Digital Alchemy of Networked Narratives. On America’s Presidential Inauguration Day. Is this an omen? No, that would be digital augury and I’m interested in transformation, digital and otherwise.

That’s how I found the Center for Digital Storytelling, now StoryCenter, in Berkeley California. Learning to use story circles to explore my life and to increase my ability to listen with compassion has transformed me. Last week I had the honor to assist StoryCenter founder Joe Lambert teach a group of facilitators to continue story work in education, non-profits and social services.

StoryCenter logo: Listen Deeply, Tell Stories

In the same week I received the invitation to participate in netnarr, finished my Copyright for Educators & Librarians Certificate through Coursera (in anticipation of taking the new Creative Commons Certification class), and got an A in my Physical Geography class. It was a four week intersession online course that covered sixteen weeks of material. I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of academic fraud, but I’ll take the four units I need to finish my Associates degree in Sociology. Spring semester starts next week and I’m looking forward to my last SOC class, taught by my department chair; The Sociology of Death and Dying.

My main project this year is to finally create the structure for an eportfolio. I’ve been trying to understand how I can use one to document all my learning and experience. A retired scientific glassblower, I have so much experience to document that isn’t text based (implicit or tacit knowledge) that I don’t know where to begin. I’ve attended one AAEEBL conference, read several books and interviewed some portfolio users. Anyone else going to the AAEEBL Conference in Portland this year? My takeaway is that by building a digital portfolio (data base), one can reflect on their learning and experiences to make new connections and reach new understandings they didn’t realize at the time they were creating their digital artifacts. I look forward to including everything I make and learn while participating in Networked Narratives.

Long ago I set up my own domain. I tried blogging. No one cared, especially me, but I was just a cranky old returning Community College student pissed off at the Financial Aid Department. Lately, I’ve made many ds106 Daily Creates and cross posted them to my website, Twitter, Google+ and facebook. CogDog has inspired (shamed?) me to try and give proper attributions, but I’m still not sure if I’m tagging things in the best way. I know I’m not including the necessary metadata for the semantic web. (anyone else taking the Metadata Workshop at DHSI in Victoria this summer?) I’ve tried and abandoned all the other social media sites (who else has thousands of bookmarks and no followers?) with the same result, except facebook: Now I stay in touch with a half-sister I’ve never met because she found me on facebook.

The first thing I saw on facebook today was a reminder of my first ds106 post: Cow Punk. I love serendipity!

Punkwith mohawk feeding Scottish cow in Dalwhinnie, Scotland.
Dalwhinnie, Scotland Photograph by Jim Richardson

I wasn’t sure it was my first post, so I googled how to search my twitter posts. In settings you ‘create archive’ which is emailed as a .zip file. Unzipping the archive you can view it many different ways, the easiest for me being through a browser. (Any JSON enthusiasts want to explain how that search works?) First I searched for #ds106: it wasn’t there. Harrumph (rhymes with Drumpf). How do I search my images to find which one was first? Google says just type modified: into the file explorer search box and files are automagically ordered by date. Then you can type a range after the colon if need be. There it is. I called it Cow Punk after the musical style popularized by The Beat Farmers, Lone Justice, Rank and File and X. I was born in Hollywood and lived in Whittier (home town of Richard M. Nixon) until I moved to the Bay Area. I included a link to Rank and File’s song/video “Ever see a sheep in a pork pie hat?” in my tweet. I was (hopefully) alluding to Scottish sheep (and cow) herders and their American cousins (cowboys) [should have left the typo ala CogDog *cowbots*], 60’s British Mods and today’s hipsters (pork pie hats), punks and edupunks. (google it)

It was my first post, why wasn’t it in my twitter archive? Doh! I started by playing with #western106, Alan Levine’s 2016 fork of #ds106. Back to search my twitter archive with #western106 and there it is! @ds106dc #tdc1472 #western106

A quick search of my gmail reminds me of the #tdc1472 prompt: “An old Western saying tells us not to approach a bull from the front, nor a horse from the rear. It also tells us not to approach a fool from either side. Make one image/drawing or several (like in a comic).” I just googled for an image I liked and downloaded it. Now, an image search of my tweet reminds me that I misappropriated a National Geographic picture from “30 Years in Pictures: Celebrate National Geographic Traveler’s first three decades with flashes from the past” It was from “”History in a Bottle,” a look at the Scottish Highlands—and its single malt whisky—that appeared in the July/August 2001 issue of Traveler.” Ooops. And I didn’t attribute the photograph as “Dalwhinnie, Scotland” by Jim Richardson. Since all I did was crop and reverse the image, I can’t even honestly claim it’s repurposed. In my Copyright for Educators & Librarians class I recently learned to go through the Four Factors used by the US courts:

Four factors of Fair Use law in US.

Nope, nope, nope, nope; this doesn’t augur well. My only defense is that I’m a student, a really old student. All I can do now is wait for a letter from the National Geographic and perhaps the Scotch Whisky Association. Good thing the Dalwhinnie Distillery isn’t a member. Ain’t google grand?

I’ve learned that I don’t have to do anything to secure my copyrights, so here are images I do have the right to use.  I took them on Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2016 while at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association annual conference. I didn’t get a signed release, but the young person was sitting on a public sidewalk so I’m not worried. He was a block away from Maisel’s Indian Trading Post, built in 1939. Visiting Maisel’s reminded me that I was 11 when I started working during summers in my aunt and uncle Pobar’s Chevron Service Station And Sawahu Trading Post in Organ, New Mexico, southwest of White Sands Missile Range and National Monument. That’s Maisel’s politically incorrect antique sign.

I didn’t see the obvious connection between the photos that afternoon on Central Avenue. Today while looking looking for Cow Punk it jumped out at me. And all I did was resize the originals, so now I’m reflecting on the reflections!

The night before President Trump’s Inauguration, there was thunder and lightening in Oakland, California. This is rare for the Bay Area (after taking GEOG1 I could explain why) and I took it as an inauspicious sign for living under the new regime. Last week I made a commemorative thing and I’ll use it to close my inaugural post. Look closely for the shadow. I’ve learned that what I see on my 4K monitor isn’t what everybody else sees, especially on their phones.

President Donald John Trump - with text Super Callous, Fragile Sexist, Extra Braggadocious. Triple chins in ornate gilt frame.
President Trump Inauguration January 20, 2017





“30 Years In Pictures: Celebrate National Geographic Traveler’s First Three Decades With Flashes From The Past.”. Traveler 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.

“Augury”. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.

“Cowpunk”. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.

“Inauguration”. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.