IRLDistortion: Face in chrome coffee cup straw

Every day, like I’ve done for the last two years of grad school at CMU, I wake up and make coffee. It is what makes me feel “normal.”

At my cousin’s house, the same is true. Except I use his glass cup, and his chrome straw. The pink sliver in the straw is me, trying to feel normal by drinking this iced coffee as I finish my thesis.

IRL Distortion – work from home edition

The exact moment we talked about taking an “IRL distortion portrait” during last week’s zoom call, I looked up and saw my reflection in the back of my roommate’s computer monitor.

She and I had crammed our workspaces together on a table way too small for the two of us – I assume many of you are having similar situations where you’re learning to share new spaces that you haven’t shared before.

The silver lining of me being up close and personal with her screen was this funhouse-style look.

Distortion Experiments

Experiment 1: Real Gamers Only

I tried to take a self portrait in my girlfriend’s glasses as we played Animal Crossing. However, there wasn’t enough contrast between the TV and the ambient lighting (it was dark outside) to see anything other than the silhouette of my hand.

Experiment 2: Skate Park Teapot

We thought it looked like a fisheye skate park video. Unfortunately, the teapot is a little too dirty.

Experiment 3: Yet Another “Funny” Zoom Virtual Background

I wish I had a better webcam so this looked less chaotic, but it’s still funny.


I did a few distortion experiments:

through a piece of toilet paper;

through a mason jar filled with water and stirred;

and through the light of a laser pointer (ft. my cat). (Hopefully my iPhone camera sensor isn’t destroyed.)