Bootcamp2013: An unforgettable, thought-provoking, exhausting, educational trip worth taking

I have decided to finish my weekly summary a tad earlier than usual because I have loads of other homework and this post is the most important. I am not 100% sure how these weekly summaries are supposed to look, but here goes.

For starters, my two week Bootcamp was fun. I have, in the past, run a blog to some succession (it has garnered 19,101 views) and am very proud of the hard work I put into it. Blogs take A LOT of time and effort. They do not give you a paycheck every two weeks. They can be rewarding and help shape your writing and computer skills for those who are open to it.

I was quite intrigued when I stumbled upon this course. It is not like ordinary classes I take every semester, which is a blessing and a curse. I thrive in the classroom–it has been sometime since I have failed to get an A and I am not sure how the grading is calculated in this class. This fact leaves me frightened a bit, but I will do all the work to best of my abilities and hope it was worth the investment. I am enjoying myself thus far. Bootcamp began with a startup of my new blog, entitled Jack in the Box. Having done this before, at Blogger, it was not all that difficult to get the ball rolling. The site looks good, at least I think so. It features some imagery, has categories, RSS links to my posts, twitter updates, a follow button, tags, archives, blogs I follow, and a copyright.

The homepage looks great with posts that have images, titles and the first paragraph of each entry. They are easy to access. I started with an about post, titled “Welcome All!” The post got Joe and Josiah to comment. Their blogs are among the most insightful and entertaining I have come across. In that first post I featured a link and some pictures. I figured out how to do this by reading up (The Missing Manuel) and taking time to browse my dashboard.

That is me next to a dirty, old school bus.

That is me next to a dirty, old school bus.

To get the ball rolling I posted my top 10 albums of 2012. I used this opportunity to showcase my growing abilities on the site and spread word about some awesome bands. It took more time than I probably should be spending on things unrelated to this class, but I enjoyed it.

Next, while still working out the kinks on the site, I posted an article I wrote last semester in my Media Writing class. It at least shows that I am not illiterate. I noticed some of the other members of our class liked hockey, so I thought it prudent to post my experience at the 2006 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament.

I followed that post with my ten favorite films of 2010. This was another “fun” post. Everyone loves movies (other than my father), and they are always a good topic of discussion. Film is something of a specialty for me, as is the case for many, and this post brought three comments to my blog.

Then it came time to take things a little more seriously when the topic of John Cage came about. Here is my post on Cage and his ten rules for teachers and students. It was an interesting task. Cage’s rules are interesting, as is the man himself. Cage’s rules were inherited from Sister Kent and the credit was given fully to Cage. Is it possible that these rules were chosen because of our upcoming research on copyright? Quite possibly, but unknown.

This is a picture I took while on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls.

This is a picture I took while on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls.

We pressed on and hit the topic of rss, creative commons and intellectual property. My first stab at the subject matter was a disaster, so I decided to give it another try, which was more successful. The subject matter proved to be more complex than I anticipated, but I eventually found my way (like a lost puppy).

So, that was my posting activity for the week, but I have spent much more time creating, enhancing, tweaking and figuring out my blog on wordpress.com than I have posting. I will talk a little bit about that here. Getting started was as simple as pie, but when you are used to another blogging service (Blogger) it can be hard keep the ball rolling–you can sometimes hit a wall. I slowly began to learn about widgets, tags, rss, pages and categories. Blogger is slightly more advanced in some areas, especially in the layout, but wordpress is more complex. Widgets are good way to showcase recent posts, blogs you follow, twitter updates, archives, and a search bar. Working on your blogs appearance is very rewarding. As you slowly begin to figure things out and come upon cool features your blog starts to take its form.

I learned a lot about wordpress through trial-and-error, readings from our text, intuition, and hard work. My work done here, in this course, is the most I have accomplished this early in a semester before. That itself is a testament for our bootcamp. Elsewhere, I commented on my fellow classmates posts. It is always interesting to see all the different angles every individual takes when tackling a post. Some are more comical, some extremely serious, some are a combination of both (which is what I attempt to accomplish). Some of the blogs are extremely simple, some are advanced, some colorful, some not, but they all have an identity. I would be lying if I were to say that you can not tell which blogs have had the most work done on them. Some of you have obviously worked very hard, and it shows.

It was a challenge meeting deadlines, but that should slowly get easier as we pass through bootcamp and into our weekly routine. The difficult weeks are going to be the ones that I have to work 37 hours while taking 15 credits. I will have to utilize each precious free moment–it is not going to be easy.

I have created a Twitter account (@JackRTuthill); at first I hated that I had to do it, but it has grown on me a little bit. I like being able to see what my favorite bands are up to and what friends and colleagues are finding newsworthy. I post on it every day, and will continue to do so. I also set up a Flickr account, thanks to a nudge by Joe. I uploaded six full pages of random photography I have taken in the last year. The photos range from Itasca State Park, Washington D.C., and the great state of New York.

This is a beautiful fall tree. Remember when it wasn't -10?

This is a beautiful fall tree. Remember when it wasn’t -10?

Also to my credit is my new globally recognized avatar (also known as Gravatar). This is the first I have heard of the term, but a little Google research fixed that in a hurry. Last week we discussed the detailed syllabus, which I chimed in on hastily. I also created an about page, which is eerily similar to my first post. It is very detailed, possibly overly-detailed but I am fine with that. Thankfully I already have a Google reader account, so it was easy just to add every ones sites to my feed. It simplifies things 1,000 times. I was familiar with this process, and that always helps.

I have embedded images and links in posts before so that step only took a short refresher course given by yours truly. I have met all the deadlines and have put quite a bit of effort into this new blog, and it has been fun, educational, tiring and worthwhile. I have learned a lot from our manual, our professor, my classmates, and the worldwide web. In hindsight, would I have done anything different in bootcamp2013? I do not ask questions like that anymore. I live in the present. So, no. I will continue to comment on everyone’s work over the next two days to get some chatter going. Adios.

This is a picture I took of myself under a waterfall in New York.

This is a picture I took of myself under a waterfall in New York.

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3 responses to “Bootcamp2013: An unforgettable, thought-provoking, exhausting, educational trip worth taking

  1. >. I am not 100% sure how these weekly summaries are supposed to look, but here goes.

    They look a lot like what you’ve posted here. Impressive work – and an impressive summary of that work: thorough, detailed, completely in your control, especially as you push towards what you learned. If we had badges, you’d get one.

    Thanks –

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