Writer, Christian, SEO/Social Media Marketer, Book Reviewer, Deaf and Loud.

Monthly Archives: January 2013

Emily-Is-A-Strange-Name

 

Image Credits: Deviant Art

 

A few nights ago I was watching the movie The Possession and I noticed the young girl who was possessed name was Emily. I then questioned, “Why is every young girl in horror movies named Emily?”

The-Possessions-Emily-Is-Scary

 

Image Credit: Blog Spot

Think about it — the young girl in The Exorcism of Emily Rose? Her name was well, Emily. The two movies were both very similar, too. Not only were they both horror movies, but they both featured a possessed young girl who required an exorcism to be performed. 

The-Exorcism-Of-Emily-Rose

Image Credits: Nook In The Woods

It doesn’t end there, though. William Faulkner’s classic novel A Rose For Miss Emily was a strange tale where the main character had some rather unusual attachment issues with her deceased husband. Sure, Miss Emily was an older adult in the story, but she was a far cry from normal, as most Emily’s in literature and movies are.

A-Rose-For-Miss-Emily

 

Image Credits: Edublogs.org

Another example of an unusual literary character named Emily is Emily the Strange who was well, strange. This Emily was attracted to dark things such as the color black, night time, and her beloved black kitties. She enjoyed playing practical jokes on people and having unusual adventures such as painting sewers at late hours of the night. She definitely lived up to the “strange” title. 

Emily-the-strange-is-strange

Image Credits: Deviant Art

With all of these examples of unusual characters named Emily, one has to wonder, are there any NORMAL characters named Emily? What is so symbolic with the name Emily that many writers choose to name their unusual characters after it? 

A basic Google search suggests that the name means “industrious”. That doesn’t really sound right in this context, though. Another suggestion is that the name could mean “rival”. Could this be the answer? If a character is possessed, do they rival the spirit that is possessing them? 

Maybe writer’s choice of the name Emily has nothing at all to do with origin or symbol. Maybe it’s nothing more but a mere trend starting back with Faulkner if not before him. Surely that’s how most literary trends get started…all with one person and then several others that follow in their footsteps, right?

What are your thoughts on horror/unusual characters being named Emily? Do you think it’s symbolic or just a coincidence? 

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Image Credits: Shelby Township Library 

Let’s face it, when writing poetry we have all been faced with the temptation to include rhyming words. They’re fun, they’re easy, and sometimes we still hold on to the belief that in order to write good poetry we must stick to rhyming. I myself used to be guilty of abusing end-rhyme in all of my poems. However, the hard fact is that unless you’re Dr. Seuss or another famous children’s poet, rhyming is going to do much for your poetry except hold you back. Here’s why:

1. It’s annoying. This is the number one reason to avoid adding rhymes in your poetry. When you’re a kid it’s cute and fun, but as an adult? Not so much. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve read poems full of rhymes for my college literary magazine, Avant, only for a majority of the staff to reject them simply because they thought the rhyming was over-done, redundant, and simply annoying. 

2. It takes away from the poem’s meaning. Poetry is meant to be DEEP. What makes poetry so deep? If it’s done right it should be full of concrete vivid images created with the use of metaphors, similes, and strong descriptions that posses the ability to move the speaker. You don’t need rhymes to do that. Rhyming will only distract the reader from the beauty of the images.

3. It’s childish. If you’re a children’s poet like Dr. Seuss then that’s fine, but most of us aren’t striving for that. If your poem reads like a fill-in-the-blanks game it will be quickly forgotten and void of all meaning within about five minutes. 

4. It’s lazy. Let’s face it, when you take the time to write a good poem it doesn’t come easily. Perhaps you spent hours huddled over the same poem. Some of us may have even spent days, weeks, or months choosing the perfect words for our poems. What is it that draws us to rhyming? It seems like an easy way out. I just need ____ word to match ____ word. It’s like a form of ad-libbing, which once again is great if you’re a child, but if you want to call yourself a professional poet, no so much. You should strive to write poetry that you’re proud of, not poetry that is quick, effortless, and easy. Chances are if you take the easy way out with your writing, your readers will know. 

5. You’re better than rhymes. No really, you are. Think of it this way, remember back in elementary school when you were first learning how to write poetry? EVERYONE wrote in rhymes. Why did they do it? Because it was all they knew at the time. Now as a professional writer/poet you are far too advance to be stuck in those elementary ways. You have feelings! You have emotions! Better yet, you have great writing skills to go out and capture those emotions in the most effective ways possible! Take advantage of those writing skills and ditch the rhymes. Seriously, just do it…forever. 

 


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Photo Credits: NPR.Org

With a bright and sunny cover featuring an image of a cute, smiling child, Heaven Is For Real seems like a promising story of a child’s journey to heaven and back. However, this story has little to do with the young Colton Burpo or heaven at all.

Sure, we get to see how Colton becomes ill on a family vacation. The family thinks that it’s just a stomach virus, but it later proves to be misdiagnosed appendicitis  When his appendicitis goes misdiagnosed his appendix ruptures, requiring emergency surgery. It is during these surgeries that Colton spends three minutes in heaven visiting with God, Jesus, Mary, the grandfather whom he’s never met, and even the sister whom was miscarried before he was born. 

Readers are allowed to see fragments of what Colton saw in heaven. His father, Todd, reports that Colton was fascinated by all of the colors in heaven and the beauty of Jesus’s eyes. He also notes that Colton told over and over again of the love Jesus has for his children. We get this information in little fragments told by TODD, not Colton. The story does not seem to be told in Colton’s perspective at all and nothing ever seems to come to “life”.

I think it is safe to say Colton really did get to heaven for a little bit. Todd Burpo provides enough evidence to believe that, he just lacks in the details. I want to know more about what heaven looked like, what Colton did, what was said, and I especially wanted to know more about Satan’s presence in heaven, something barely touched on in this novel. 

In sum, Heaven Is For Real is a  cute, easy read, but if you’re looking for long vivid descriptions that really paint a strong picture of what heaven is like, I recommend sticking to Choo Thomas’s Heaven Is So Real. 


As I look back from my first finished website project to this one I notice only about two things stayed the same: the colors. I was persistent to keep the colors the same because they match my blog’s theme and I liked the way they worked together. Blue is a very common color to use on websites because it goes with everything, is easy to see, and emits positive feelings. It is also common to see it on social media websites (think Facebook and Twitter) and with my work with social media I thought that worked well.

This is the final design of the front page from my first website project:

original-website-design-front-page

 

This is what my final project’s homepage looks like:

final-website-design-homepage

 

They are both noticeably different. For the first one I have my writer’s statement with a link to my resume on the first page. The thing you notice the most is a picture of myself. On my final design I have re-written my about page to focus more on my work and less on me and I have also  created a whole page for my resume without having to link it from the front page. I removed the picture of myself and installed a slideshow with screenshots of my work. The thing you notice the most is my the slideshow showing my articles — this is exactly what people should be focused on.

Another thing that is absent with the first design is the navigation bar. There was no navigation bar and the only separate page was my resume. The front page was everything. There were links for other things such as my blog and resume but it was a bit messy and hard to access. The final design features a navigation bar with custom CSS and pages for About, Writing Samples, Resume, My Blog, and A Contact page. I have also installed a Twitter widget on every page rather than linking it so that it will be easier for people to find my website and my tweets will be displayed and hopefully further encourage people to follow me on Twitter. People like to see what others tweet about and get a feel for them before they choose to follow them on most occasions.

I think I’m still a bit anxious when it comes to coding, but I’ve definitely come a long way. I was constantly afraid of breaking things or messing things up before and my anxiety towards math blocked me from grasping the concept of grid-based coding. I have since overcome a bit of my fears. Grid-based design is frustrating and complicated, but once you learn it it is not all that bad. I have also learned how to use comments in coding. This took me awhile to understand, but once I figured it out it proved to be useful in helping me to remember what different pieces of codes were. For example, I had many </div> tags in my codes and sometimes it got confusing to remember what exactly it was coding. With comments I could write exactly what they were doing. In addition, If I wanted to test something to see how it looked before deciding to drastically and permanently change it, I could just comment out the original code. This would keep the codes, but block them from showing up. I did this when I was figuring out how to use the slideshow. I blocked out the codes for the feature articles in containers I originally was using. Once I had my slideshow set and decided on using that I deleted the comments to clean up the codes a bit, but prior to that moment commenting them out proved to be immensely helpful.

If I had more time or skills I think I would’ve liked to explore the idea of using a carousel. I think the slideshow served me well, but I’d like to examine how a carousel would’ve been different and seen first hand which option was better. I liked how our class was focused extensively on hand-coding. Everyone I talk to outside of class about it finds it interesting because so few people can do it. However, I do wish we could’ve done just a little bit with dreamweaver or another program. I think it would have been neat to hand-code everything for several weeks and towards the end be exposed to dreamweaver so we could fully understand the differences and what makes hand-coding more unique or personal. I know about dreamweaver from tech friends that use it and I know a lot of companies use it but having no experience with it myself I don’t really know what it does or just why hand-coding is better except for what our textbooks say about it. It would be cool to experience the best of both worlds, but I agree that learning to do it by hand first is more important and beneficial for us.


When I first began designing my website I don’t think I really knew what I wanted to do with it. I was trying to reflect on the work I do, especially social media/internet writing, but I had no idea how to go about it. I felt like I had to tell people what I did…I didn’t know how to “show” it.

As I read more and more about emotional and responsive design throughout the semester it began to make more sense to me. Ea conference with Dr. Wolff proved to be immensely helpful. I am very thankful for all of the help and guidance he has given me as I designed my website. I remember one of the most important things that he taught me through our initial conference was to focus on my work and not myself. In the early stages of my website my home page was just a huge instagramed picture of myself and an “about” page that read more like a biography than a writer’s statement. It was not very emotional. It also didn’t use the grid-based approach because I didn’t understand how to use it and therefore neglected it altogether.

During that conference Dr. Wolff explained the grid-based approach to me once again in a way that made more sense than the book did. I learned how to break my website into little pieces using boxes/containers and began to brainstorm different ideas for how to display my work. The idea of showing feature articles on my homepage came up and I decided to take down my photograph. It’s not important for users to see me on this website, it is my work that they should be focused on.

The first attempt at showing off my feature articles was using three of them in separate containers. This sounded like a good idea, but turned out to be a disaster. The website always looked very cluttered. I fixed it when I added padding…but the website was very “fragile”. It seemed like every time I changed the slightest thing with it the padding would get lost or messed up and everything would display wrong with text outside of containers or containers overlapping, etc. I was never very happy with this style, but I didn’t really know anything else to do.

When Dr. Wolff showed our class how to use slideshows it turned out to be the solution to my problem. With the slideshow I was able to  completely eliminate all of the cluttered boxes and to just use the slideshow to feature screenshots of my article. This was a very beneficial way for me to show people my work directly without having to tell them about it. I was able to use the remaining grid space for my Twitter widget. Twitter is a big part of the work that I do and I am an avid tweeter. When people search me on Google Twitter is one of the first things to show up. By adding Twitter on nearly all of my pages people will be able to find my website more easily.

The only real thing to focus on/problem I was having after the slideshow was the font. My original fonts were just default/basic fonts that were boring and unemotional. I needed to find lesser known or custom fonts. I loved using Google Fonts because they were so easy to install which was helpful for someone new and inexperienced in coding like myself. I sometimes had trouble choosing fonts that gave my website a personality, yet were easy to read. My initial choice was called Englebert. It looked good on Google, but on my website when I used it with big bodies of text it was difficult to read and on smaller devices like iPads and cellphones it clumped together. I needed to try something new.

englebert-font-difficult-to-read

Photograph shows Englebert font at different sizes. The smaller the font, the harder it becomes to read.

My next choice was Josefin + Slab. This font was more simple, yet elegant. I tested it at different sizes and it seemed to be fairly easy to read from a number of font sizes. I liked this one because while it was personal and gave off a “handwritten” feel, it was still easy to read.

josefin+slab-is-easy-to-read

I wanted the headers to stand out from the other text so I kept them orange and used another font – Bubblegum Sans. I liked this font because I thought it was fun and playful and helped to give the website even more personality and keep it from being too serious or boring.

 

homepage-shows-orange-bubblegum-text

Overall I think I’ve come along way with my website and I am pleased with the progress I have made. If I had more time or skills I would like to try to have my own handwriting serve for the basis of the font to make it even more personal. I also would’ve liked to do more with social media pages. I tried in the very early stages but had trouble getting the buttons to all work and look good together, so I ended up scraping the idea and focusing on other ideas instead.



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