Sleuth Summary 4

Week 4 and I really enjoyed myself. Photography is definitely my favorite medium to create and appreciate.

The visual assignments have also been my favorite so far. Love At First Awkward Encounter was definitely one of my favorite assignments so far. Being able to take a picture of my friends and capture a raw moment and expression is always a really cool opportunity. Adding a cool background and setting to the picture makes it even better in my eyes. And then being able to write a fun, creative story about said photo made it even better. Just getting to think about a story and then write and let the thoughts flow is a very fun activity for me, personally.

Seeing Color and my Civil War reenactment photo was also really fun and creative. I loved editing and shaping the picture to fit a mood or change the perspective of it. Adding a hue to a photo can really add and change the feeling of a picture, particularly red. The original picture was all green and lush and natural, but after the red it blurs the colors together and from a distance, gives a very different perspective.

Finally, the photoblitz! My favorite assignment this week. I got to play with my roommates DSLR and take some cool shots. I especially liked the ground level shot and taking pictures of people around me and their interactions with each other. Taking pictures of isolated objects also has a cool feel to it, it allows you to line up shots and really refine the subject in a small environment.

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Those are all from my flickr!

Something About A Shadow

Something that follows me

Something that covers the bad behind me, but helps me learn

Something I try and be the best model for, inner and outer

Something that reminds me the shape of myself, the shape of my character

Something that comes out in the days brightest, challenging, exciting moments

Something that knows the one hundred percent real, vulnerable me

Something that loves me, saves me


This is a shadow of a cross that I made out of match sticks when I was 10 years old in my old church. This is something that has stayed with me throughout a move to a new state, away from family and friends, to a new school and new church. This cross has been with me through a lot and I’m realizing more and more now how thankful I am to be a believer in Jesus Christ.

Getting a little personal here, but that’s okay. Jesus is someone who has taught and loved me my entire life, and the people around me that have come into my life as a result of faith and circumstance and trust have done the same. I try to live my life to exemplify good, bold Christian behavior in a way that is friendly and welcoming. When I meet someone, I want them to know that I genuinely care about who they are, what their thoughts are, and who they identify as. Loving people is the absolute first and most important thing in the Christian faith after believing that Jesus Christ died to save us. My shadow is the last thing people will see of me, and to be remembered as a shadow of a good, loving person is definitely an important thing to me.

Ultimately, the message behind this picture means much more to me than the framing and the creativeness of the shot. That’s why it’s a bare bones picture with a heck of a lot more meaning.

Love At First Awkward Encounter

These are my two friends; Brick and Yak. This is the story of their story.

Brick was a cute blonde who frequently saw Yak and gave him shy sideways smiles. Yak was not a cute blonde and never knew what to say to Brick in passing.

Brick and Yak had mutual friends that often hung out and went to events around campus, but they never found themselves together in close proximity.

One day, a group of Yak’s friends and a group of Brick’s friends decided to go watch a local  University of Martha Welsh field hockey game together. This was their moment in destiny.

The two groups were approaching a place to sit, and Yak grew increasingly nervous; he was walking near Brick but desperately wanted to sit next to her finally. It just so happened that as Brick was sitting down, Yak’s friend, being the jerk that he was, tripped him! The result of Yak’s fall would land him directly next to Brick.

As he came crashing down, Brick was looked on astonishingly and made sure he was okay after his fall. At that moment, Yak knew exactly what to say: “I’m much better now that I’m by your side.” BOOM. HOOK LINE AND SINKER. Just like that, fate was set. The look Brick gave Yak just after he said his killer line is what I miraculously captured, being amplified by a supremely stunning sunset. Picturesque destiny in a photograph.


This was just a simple funny story with a cool picture. My friends were in the perfect place for a cool picture and I tried to take advantage of the moment. I love sunsets and don’t take enough pictures of people and especially people’s faces. So that’s definitely one thing that I want to start capturing more of, and especially cool candid reactions like this one.

Sleuth Summary 3

Week three: check!

This week was very writing intensive and creative, which overall, I liked. I felt like there was overall a lot of work though. The movie took a huge chunk of time and because I have already seen many spy movies, I saw no major benefit in terms of learning about the topic. However, it was cool to watch a movie in black and white. I don’t ever get to see those anymore.

The spy theme is becoming increasingly hard to create fun wording without repeating things. The theme is also pretty straight-forward and doesn’t allow for the most creativity, as I mentioned in my blog post here.

The daily creates were pretty good, but a little bit tougher to create on my own this week. The bond name generator daily create was fun and quick to make:


Another daily create was to make a blurred picture, and because it was Friday, I was excited!


The final daily create was to figure out the ultimate tool for creativity. I said boredom was, because it usually spawns the best and most creative of ideas, practical or not. If used as a tool and one doesn’t stew in boredom, great things can come from it!

The next few assignments we picked were from the assignment bank under the writing section totaling 8 stars. They were pretty creative which I liked, but I was also not sure how much I was supposed to write for them. I attempted to make a full story out of all of the topics but wasn’t fully successful I feel in some ways. My three writing assignments are here.

My final project for the week was my character’s dossier, Kevin Burkhalter. This was definitely my favorite thing this week and I look forward to incorporating him into future assignments as well as continuing to grow and develop his current and back story.

Until next time.

The Swiss Sleuth’s Dossier

Burkhalter, Kevin

Born in the Swiss Alps to mother Caroline Almeida and father Baron Burkhalter.

Profession is a professor in the College of Science and Technology at Harvard University.

Hobbies include skiing, playing slow pitch softball, fishing (regular, fly, ice) as well as mountain climbing and free climbing.

Academic interests include computer science (security), art history, music history and composition, and quantum and experimental physics.

Fluent in 5 languages (enlgish, spanish, german, albanian, and arabic).

Married and widowed to the late Jasmine Yvgenny Burkhalter.

Has two children Jason (17) and Marilyn (20) Burkhalter.

Was deployed in Afghanistan, Georgia, and Saudi Arabia for Espionage and Reconnaissance on behalf of and protected by the United States of America.

More information about deployment specifics etc… can be provided upon request.

Sleuth Assignments: Writing Edition

This week’s assignments are 8+ stars worth of writing assignments. Here’s what I picked:

A Letter To You As A Child (2 1/2 stars)- This is a letter to me at 16 years old. Take advantage of high school. Take advantage of having awesome teachers and friends and mentors around you. Don’t be afraid to ask and be creative, go out of your way to accomplish your goals and or to help your friends. Work harder than everyone around you, it’ll only help you in your future. Don’t give up volleyball and basketball, you’ll miss playing them. Don’t tear yourself apart over failures and criticism. Begin to thicken your skin, take all the criticism you can, then talk through them and learn from them. Don’t punch the dugout just because you don’t feel good enough. Your time and place will come to shine. Take more risks, go out of your way to be bold and brave in your conversations and relationships. Take any help and advice you can get, don’t ever become too arrogant to think otherwise. Soak up time with your parents and don’t argue over little details so much. They’re not important, quality time with parents is. Listen to as much music you can and watch as many classic movies with friends you can. Learn to appreciate time with people more and how to make the most of that time. Figure out a way to remember the good times. Take some more pictures, no matter how annoying it may be in the moment, memories are precious. Take pictures with friends and loved ones. Learn to forgive and love again. Grow in your faith and take it seriously. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, you’re so much stronger than that. Be the best version of yourself you can be, every single day.

Dream It… Write It! (2 1/2 stars)- One time I dreamed that I was spending the night with a friend. Before going to bed, we checked the door to make sure that it was locked. During the dream, I woke up to an intruder breaking into our apartment. My friend who was sleeping on the couch, suddenly got up and did a huge kick flip over the head of the intruder, and was able to hit him in the back of the head with a baseball bat, like a whack-a-mole. Meanwhile, I was fighting off hordes of ninjas who were pouring in through the windows, each wanting a piece of me and my friend. After we had vanquished all of the bad guys, we were left with one final task: defeat the Elder Dragon. We had to accomplish this by lobbing fire extinguishers at him from our roof and then shooting them with flaming arrows, causing them to explode. Pretty effective right?

Changing Fortunes (3 stars)- “It is fortune, not wisdom, that rules man’s life” This fortune is an interesting one. As a spy, much interpretation is required to decipher messages and clues. This clue was part of a mission to track down an international drug lord and bring him in for questioning. Taking his own knowledge and understanding into account, he quickly came up with the conclusion that the only way he would be able to come into contact with the drug lord. He eventually developed the idea to manufacture a great amount of fake cocaine and attempt to sell it for cheap to the drug lord. This ended up getting the spy a meeting with the drug lord, but what he did not expect was that while he thought he was setting up the drug lord for capture, the spy’s partners double crossed him. The drug lord ended up selling off information that he tortured out of the spy… Leading the fortune to still be true. The drug lord, influenced by fortune, outplayed the spy’s attempted wisdom.

Sleuths and Secret Agents, and Similarities, Oh My!

The spy genre of entertainment has been around for some time now in our Western culture. The interesting thing is, there hasn’t been much variation of the overall theme of these movies and television shows. As of now, there are two main over-arching categories of the industry: witty and comedic spy works, or the serious and devilishly handsome spy works. Of course there is almost always some interplay between the two, but very rarely is there a new type of spy based movie or television series. Why is that the case?

As I continued to look into the Spy theme of our class and watched 39 steps, I see so many glaring similarities between so many productions, or just slight variants. Spy’s are all dangerous and incredibly talented, who either are no-nonsense or all nonsense and still perform life, country, or world saving tasks on the regular. In doing so, they are almost always assisted by a secondary character or group of characters that for some reason have the protagonists best interests in mind at all times and always know exactly what the protagonist needs ahead of time.

For example, in 39 Steps, the protagonist is thrown into the situation but by using wit and charm and cunning, is able to make his way around and eventually complete the mission. But not without the help of many around him, and a wide availability of resources.

Taking all of these into account, the basics for a serious and true-ish to life spy movie require a dashing, suave bad-ass spy that knows how to manipulate people and situations. The spy needs to have a massive availability of gadgets, vehicles, and people willing to help, as well as endless charm and sophisticated humor. If a humorous spy movie is in order, then simply switch the sophisticated wit for dirty humor and it’s basically the same from there on out. Character looks may vary heavily, but overall, those are the basics to any spy movie.

Sleuth Summary 2

Week two!

This week I was very rushed, but actually really enjoyed my time working on these assignments. My favorite by far was making some pixel art and browsing the internet looking for some inspiration. The visual assignment was called 256 Points and had us make our own 16×16 pixel art. Here’s what I came up with:

I got some inspiration from a lot of the video games I play and types of games I like, such as Skyrim and others that incorporate a lot of magic and medieval themes.

Another assignment I did this week was an Animated GIF assignment, which had us make a GIF of a reaction. I chose a little scene from one of my favorite movies ever, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where Ferris sneakily goes to pick up his crush, Sloane Peterson, and his buddy Cameron has to hide under the cover. The reaction after the trio pulls off the stunt is an awesome scene and is what I chose to make a GIF of:

This is an awesome reaction because the trio are skipping school and successfully pulled off their stunt without a hitch! Successful sleuthing!

The third assignment was a writing assignment about a song and the feelings it evokes within me. The song I chose was the Intro to Logic’s first album, ‘Under Pressure’. This song just gets to me because it’s a really dramatic and memorable intro to an absolutely awesome album. This is some of the only music that I genuinely want to listen to time and time again and want to hear and dissect each word, each verse and get all of the meaning out of these songs. Some of my favorite music ever follows this intro:

The daily creates were a little more strained for creativity for myself becaue they were pretty tied down in terms of the subject matter. I liked thinking about what I could make out of what I was given, but still found them a little challenging and definitely tough remembering to keep up with throughout the week, instead of all at once. My three daily creates were:

I particularly enjoyed the storyboard daily create because I love YouTube as a platform, and I also love pictures and photography. Seeing a visually pleasing video made into visually pleasing pictures was really awesome. Plus I also looked through my old favorited videos on YouTube which were a lot of fond memories. The mystery machine picture was funny and I tried to kinda recreate the theme of what was wanted, but had multiple ideas of what to do. At one point when I had longer hair and scruffy facial hair, a few friends called me shaggy so that was definitely another idea of mine, but not what I settled on. The third daily create was a long shot for me as I know nothing about philosophy. I tried meshing that theme with the spy theme and had average success, but wasn’t particularly proud of the t-shirt design I came up with. I personally would’ve liked just a spy themed t-shirt and had a great idea for a t-shirt with that theme.

Overall, definitely liking the theme and making my own sleuthy twist. I definitely need to start on this work ahead of time during the week and not tie myself down this late at night. But, I suppose I “thrive” under pressure. I really do enjoy this work and being creative, so that’s definitely incentive to make myself time to make better use of my time so I can create better content.