Watch: My “To A Sick Damsel” kinetic typography video

Here’s my animation using Adobe After Effects of the 1537 poem “To a Sick Damsel (A une damoyselle malade),” finished for a class assignment in kinetic typography. Really proud of how this turned out!

This translation was done by Indiana University professor Douglas R. Hofstadter from the French original by Clément Marot. Hofstadter is director of IU’s Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition though his IU bio notes he “actually is pretty much left alone to pursue his multifarious interests.”

For Christmas, friends gave me Hofstadter’s book “Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language” (BasicBooks, 1997).  The book’s summary at  nicely sums up its wit and beauty in discussing the art of translation and a whole host of related issues.

Le ton beau de Marot” literally means ”The sweet tone of Marot”, but to a French ear it suggests ”Le tombeau de Marot”—that is, ”The tomb of Marot”. That double entendre foreshadows the linguistic exuberance of this book, which was sparked a decade ago when Hofstadter … got hooked on the challenge of recreating both its sweet message and its tight rhymes in English—jumping through two tough hoops at once.In the next few years, he not only did many of his own translations of Marot’s poem, but also enlisted friends, students, colleagues, family, noted poets, and translators—even three state-of-the-art translation programs!—to try their hand at this subtle challenge. …

Rife with stunning form-content interplay, crammed with creative linguistic experiments yet always crystal-clear, this book is meant not only for lovers of literature, but also for people who wish to be brought into contact with current ideas about how creativity works, and who wish to see how today’s computational models of language and thought stack up next to the human mind.

Screenshot of "To A Sick Damsel" kinetic typography video
Screenshot of the ending images of my “To A Sick Damsel” kinetic typography video. Credit: Cori Faklaris

Getting started on selecting a master’s degree thesis

My N512 class, Trends in Informatics, centers around the question: What do you want to be working on for the next 20-30 years? It’s a novel but necessary idea that RIGHT NOW, we have to identify our deep interests to avoid any wasteful false starts on the career for which, in pursuit of this master’s degree, we have committed two years of our lives and thousands of dollars. Let’s get our money’s worth!

But what are MY deep interests? Where’s my research going to focus? What can I sustain the energy and enthusiasm to work on well into the year 2035? How can I start laying the foundations for a productive and satisfying career? Continue reading “Getting started on selecting a master’s degree thesis”

1st week of grad school: I survived the door muffler and other stories


The unfamiliar piece of black rubber tacked onto a closed door’s latch was the most tangible of the many obstacles I faced during my first week of graduate school. But it was far from the first.

As I reflect back, here’s what I’m cringing about the most.

Continue reading “1st week of grad school: I survived the door muffler and other stories”