Friday, June 30, 2017

DIY Removable Flash Card Based On Sigur Rós Songs

How It All Started

I was sitting all relaxed one morning listening to Sigur Rós when a thought crossed my mind: "What if I could make you, a flash card that teaches you Icelandic, based on Sigur Rós songs?" I was about to tweet that, but instead I started working on it. Obviously 'cause I thought it was gonna be a breeze. Spoiler alert: it's not.

The Idea: It Has To Be Removable!

I'm gonna make a set of flash card consisting of five batches. One batch will consist of ten word entries that are taken from one Sigur Rós song. At the end, I'm gonna have 50 word entries derived from five songs: Hoppípolla, Starálfur, Glósóli, Ekki Múkk, and Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur.

But, because it's not enough to learn Icelandic or any language from only 50 vocabs, I decided that the entries should be removable and updatable. That's why the words and illustrations on my flash card can be pulled out and replaced with something new.

The Journey

Initial Phase: Solid Idea, Bad Execution

After figuring out the tools and materials I might need, as well as calculating the dimensions of the card, I started working on it without much thought. I knew I got the materials I needed. 

For the base, my mischievous self insisted that I make use of the last remnants of my failed startup, i.e., my business card.

And then origami paper will cover up the base and give it color. 

At each corner and the middle of the card, I'm gonna attach small pieces of poster board--but just on one side at the edge so they can serve as a clip that holds the word and illustration pieces. 

Lastly, I'm gonna slide the word and illustration pieces made of origami paper between the poster boards. This way, the words and illustrations can actually be pulled out and changed (into a new entry, or into another language) according to your wish.

The plan is good, the base cards are ready, time to insert the word and illustration pieces. 

But oh, because I made the cards willy-nilly, they're askew, their sizes inconsistent, and as a result, the pieces did not fit. 

An awful mess. I have to start from scratch.

Reborn Phase: Beauty Matters! Restart Everything!

Wow. Apparently, you cannot work willy-nilly when you're doing 50 pieces of cards by hand. Okay, I decided to redo everything, but this time, I'm gonna rely on something I know will be consistent: computer and printer. 

The first time I tried making the flash card, I cut up my pieces along hand-drawn lines. Wrong. Before you cut them up, just make the lines on the computer and print them out directly on your poster boards or origami paper. Saves you time and gives you consistency. Then for a clean cut, go with a sharp cutter.

Once I got my poster board pieces ready, I attached them on the base really carefully. As I learned before, askew pieces will fuck everything up.

Now I got a really neat poster boards accurately placed exactly where they should be. And when it's time to slide the word and illustration pieces, they actually fit.

Crazy Hidden Challenges

Now. I don't wanna talk about it, this is really painful and traumatizing, but actually, there's one more challenge in making a flash card. Not just my flash card, any flash card I believe. And that, is illustrating a certain type of word.

It is easy to select a picture to illustrate a hand, or a woman. But how exactly do you illustrate words such as "therefore" or "but"? 

I had to rack my brain and get around the problem. Eventually, I decided to get creative by getting philosophical, going abstract, and conceptualizing shits. Anything to survive basically. And the result is absurd cards like these:

Endalaust | Eternity. A wheel and its shadow. 
Because together they create the "eight" symbol. 

Öðrum | Other. Kids excluding one other kid. 
Because that's just how you behave towards other people.

And the most absurd one of all...

En | But. Scissors taken apart. 
Because it is a pair of scissors, BUT it is not functioning that way.

From Maker Movement To Open Knowledge Movement

As a user and fan of a lot of MOOCs, I'm grateful for their existence in the open knowledge movement. Now that I've completed my project, I'd like to give back to the community by making my design available to anyone who wishes to make it.  

Here are the downloadable files where you can find the ready-to-print designs and materials:

Materials and Tools
Poster Board Pieces
Word Pieces
Illustration Pieces

Credits and License

Special thanks to Sigur Rós for providing the inspiration and creating the songs.

Picture credit: 

A wheel and its shadow: Ravinder M A
Kids excluding one other kid: Robert de Bock 
Scissors taken apart: Eric.Ray 
Night: frostnip907
Down: Riko Jennrich
Standing: Thoroughly Reviewed
Yes: Pabak Sarkar
Dream: Emily Raw

Also thanks to Flickr users whose pictures I used as illustrations, whether they're shown here or not.

This flash card and its design are free for non-commercial use.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Forgetting Wonder Woman

I just need to write this post really quick. It's been a couple of days since I watched Wonder Woman and I can't seem to get over it. So I just need to get it out of my system.

I'm in love with Wonder Woman--not the character Wonder Woman, but the film Wonder Woman. And I wanna talk about it.

First, let's talk about the fighting scene.

I love it. It's ugly. It's unpretty. That's why I think it feels damn realistic. You think when you're trying to deliver a fatal blow to your male opponent you can still be pretty and graceful while doing it? No, except maybe you're doing Kung Fu. And that's what it shows here. That 360 degree flipping kick is manly and ugly as fuck. And that's... I think that's how it's supposed to be. It's not supposed to be pretty, it's supposed to be done with great force. Prettiness be damned. So its unprettiness feels realistic. And because of that, we buy that it's badass.

Second, Wonder Woman's struggle.

The moment I saw the no man's land scene in the film is the moment I realized that that girl is right. Which girl? The girl whose tweet went viral

I get what she's talking about. Wonder Woman marches forward on her own. So badass. But for me, why this scene is so precious is not just about how tough she is, how badass and powerful she is, but actually, it's the struggle. It's this one sequence where she is bombarded by machine gun and she stopped and shielded herself. Ogghhh... Perfect.

And I love that the camera moves closer to focus on her struggling face. Gal Gadot so delivers. This shot reminds me of our struggle in life. We all like to share our success moments, but we rarely share our struggle. So this one shot represents it. I can relate. This is us when we struggle to reach our dreams and goals. Without this shot, the no man land's scene will be just another battle scene in a film, but this one shot brings out the heart of the film. 

Third, the Titanic similarity.

I saw one Youtuber reviewed this film and she mentioned Titanic--my number one favorite film. The romance in this film reminds her of Titanic. Aha! My reaction to her opinion is no and yes and yes. No, it's not as romantic as Titanic; in my opinion it's closer to sweet than romantic. But yes, I understand where she's coming from. And also yes, it reminds me of Titanic too. 

What, then, reminds me of Titanic? 

All the love this film receives. 

Wherever I go--Twitter, Youtube, check the score on IMDb, on Rotten Tomatoes--almost everyone comments positively on the film. Probably only one person, of all the comments I saw on the internet gave a negative comment on this film. That is... crazy.

Sure, when Titanic was released in the 90's there were no social medias. So how can I really compare? But I imagine, with all the commercial and critical success that Titanic managed to amass, this must be what it was like for Titanic when it was released. This overflowing universal love.

Lastly, the trailer.

When I saw the trailer for the first time, I wasn't interested. It's just another superhero movie. Whatever. Not convinced it's going to be great. So when everyone on Twitter talks about how great the film is, I'm confused. What's with all the love? Eventually I decided to give it a try and as you can see, I end up trying hard to forget it.

I like the film so much that I watched the trailer again on Youtube just to catch a glimpse of this film again. Here's what's interesting, it's the same clip I watched before watching the film, it's the same clip I watched after watching the film, and it's also the same clips that are in the film. Only this time, I like it. Why? 

Because this time, I get the context. Before watching the film, there was no context of all those clips being shown. Wonder Woman running in a field, tackling bullets. Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow! Who the fuck cares? But in the film, the clips work perfectly because of the build-up it brilliantly crafted. There is the build-up to that very scene, there is the origin story of hers, and these things make all the difference. These things make you care

In the end, I think I fell in love with this film not because it's a good female-led film and I'm female, but because it's a good film, period.

Pics of Wonder Women taken from: Wonder Woman trailer
Tweet taken from:
Titanic poster taken from: