Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Breakfast Club

I just thought this was kind of funny. I found it on MSN's homepage the other day while trying to get my daily news update. I also love, love, love John Hughes' films--Sixteen Candles being my all time favorite--so I thought it'd be fun to share this little blurb and pic of the reunion between most of the Breakfast Club cast members.

Breakfast Club Reunites

Yes! To Technology

I am very excited by a future prospect that was offered today at my job. I also realized I’m a little dorkier than I thought because I am so excited about this. So anyways, the deal is, is that we are finally being upgraded from Microsoft Office circa 2003 to the wonderful (or so I hear) 2010 version within the next few months. “Thank God!” was my first thought. My poor little technological self is ready for the change. I also feel like I am going back in time every time I have to make a word document and what not. But that’s not the best part of the upgrade; the best part is is that my company has gotten permission from Microsoft to allow its employees to purchase the program for their home computers for a very low price.

Now I just need to learn how to use it. If anyone is familiar with the 2010 version and can explain anything about it, I’d greatly appreciate any feedback.

Facebook Commentary (Oh my!)

We all have one. Or two. Or ten. Those people who are chronic Facebook status posters. Don't get me wrong, I like reading status updates because who has the time to ask every single friend or acquaintance how they're getting along on a daily basis while trying (like myself) to juggle a full time job and school schedule? I sure don't. So that's why those little status blurbs come in handy... until you "friend" a chronic poster!

Lately I've really been questioning the validity of my being on Facebook simply because things are starting to annoy me--at the top of my list those people who seem to have to post an update about their life every other minute. I'm truly starting to think to myself when this happens, and I care because? The second reason on my list would be the unnecessary status rants that some people seem to have no control of once their fingers hit the keyboard. If you're mad at someone how about you tell them over the phone instead of embarrassing them—and you—over the internet? Why would you want someone to know all the tiny details (and most of them seem to be rather seedy anyways) about your life that should probably be kept private? And the third reason that I'm starting to question my being a Facebook user is because of right now: I am actually writing a blog about it which means it is starting to affect my thinking to a degree, as in I am thinking about it outside of Facebook! I know that I can only do my best to NOT do these types of things in my own little Facebook realm, but once it starts to irritate the hell out of you—I’m thinking it might be best if I disappear from the site for awhile and let everyone else figure it out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Design THIS!

Again, so far my vision for my site is one that is simplistic and clean looking. That being said, I think I am most likely going to rely on photos I have taken and there is the possibility of borrowing images from the internet to also decorate my page, which also may include those who have inspired me as a writer. I am thinking quotes, excerpts, and maybe links to those people I adore will be a necessary attribute to my site.

As for the design elements, I want my site to be easy when it comes to navigation (see previous blog), so I am sticking to what I know works and is pleasing to the eye by letting my graphics and photos work for me. I think Adobe Photoshop will really work in my favor when figuring out the pictorial layout of my site. I am also hoping that whatever we learn in the next few weeks will also help me make my site more creative and interesting to view. I know that I won’t have a mass media masterpiece, but I am hoping I can create something that doesn’t say “novice”, thus my reasoning for keeping things simple and manageable (at least manageable for this girl!).

Navigate this ah-way...

I’m a simple person, so I think I’m going to stick with simple navigation since I have a feeling that that’s all that I’m going to be able to do at this point. No, that is not a cop-out, but I think I’m more concerned about the visual appeal (okay you can argue that navigation is part of that) of my page above all else.

However, I would like to explore the use of interactive links (see blog #) because they are simple in nature but can hide a lot of fun ideas/things behind them. I also need to find out if “interactive link” is the actual term for what I am referring to. Either way, what I am hoping is that whatever I put on my site keeps readers attentions focused. I am interested, though, in having one main page and if I don’t have the links that appear as objects or whatever I delegate them as, then having links on my page that take viewers to a corresponding page that is filled with one subject. So say, I have something about my schooling background and one about my interests, you’d click on SCHOOL to get to the school information and INTERESTS to get to the interests I have written about. Sounds simple enough, but I am also interested in aesthetics and I like things to look clean, which is also why I am thinking maybe being ultra organized will help with navigation over all…

Let's talk about CONTENT:

When it comes to the content of my personal website, I am pretending that my website is like Facebook or MySpace. I guess what I mean is that I will be treating it like an autobiography of sorts without getting too, too specific. I think it would be nice to fill in personal background on such topics like education, hobbies/interests, etc and that’s why in that sense I am comparing my site to social networks—without of course, the social networking.

I will also be adding pictures that coincide with information that I provide along with a few of myself since the website is about me! At this point it’s easy to create an outline in my head of what I want to accomplish on my site, but I have a feeling that my true inspiration won’t come until I actually start piecing my page together as that is how most projects usually work for me, so in that case, I think for the most part I am not going to try and plan in depth, but instead, just sort of wing it and see what I come up with.

Monday, September 6, 2010

One terrible writer's site

It's so bad, it's good. That's what I found myself thinking after reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Yes, I am admitting to reading her books. How else does one try to figure out what all the hype is about?  What I am not admitting to is swooning over Edward and Bella's love story. Her premise is good. Everyone loves a love story, but the writing, not so much. I have a feeling that's why fans are so crazy for the entire book series: it's easy to understand and easy to digest. I think the biggest word used throughout any of the books was "irrevocable" and I also think that's why the word stands out in my mind when I think back to what I read when I read the books. So all that being said... I just checked out Meyer’s website to see all the Edward goodies that could possible be crammed into one website. I am really surprised to read that her brother maintains her website. I would have thought that her publishers would have been more adamant about her having a swanky big budget page, but not so much. Either way, here's a chance to decide for yourself:

Example of a hypertext narrative...

I find the idea of writing a hypertext (rather a choose you own adventure) narrative really intriguing because it is such a simple concept when creating one online. I chose to follow one of the links Jenny provided us because I had no idea how to find hypertext narratives as Googling examples didn't provide any surprisingly. I clicked through a few of the stories and settled on "Carnival" as it reminded me of those Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine from when I was in middle school. I was consistently left to wonder who the people are behind writing these stories. Students? Amateurs? Are they bored? A lot of the stories are pretty well constructed besides the horrible spelling and bad punctuation (sorry it bothered me!). Some, however, were pretty boring but nevertheless I was amazed at the time probably spent on these kinds of narratives. Does anyone know of any hypertext stories geared more towards kids? My nephew loves to play games online (he's six) and he also likes to read and I figure playing a "game" to find your way through a story might be fun for him to do, I just wish there were pictures for some of the better written stories! Here is a link to one of the better stories I found through Wikipedia, but good luck with the links! A lot of them lead to nowhere and by nowhere I mean you have to start over from the beginning.


One cool writer's site...

Celestial Timepiece: A Joyce Carol Oates Home Page

Since school ended last semester I have found myself reading more and more of Joyce Carol Oates over the summer and still now that school has begun again. I consider her a “cool” writer because within every piece of writing she produces I find myself amazed that she can get into her characters so deeply—even with incredibly short pieces of writing. I am in the CWPA program as a non-fiction writer, and I swear I think Joyce Carol Oates might possibly know her fictional characters even better than I know myself!  Psychologically the descriptions, motives, and emotional baggage her characters carry is amazing and I find myself wanting to learn how one is able to construct such seemingly real individuals in such an effortless manner.  I find that my favorite pieces by Oates’ writing come from her short story anthologies. I am constantly amazed at her talent of building a story in as little as three pages and feeling as though I know the characters even though the trip from beginning to end has been so short.

If you haven’t yet read Oates, a few of my favorite anthologies have been Haunted and The Collector of 
 Hearts. Within these books there’s a little something for everyone, but they are mostly horror stories. I also recommend Foxfire, Rape: A Love Story, and The Tattooed Girl—they do not disappoint!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

An online site/project you’d be interested in learning how to do…

Shadowbox Magazine

Again I am drawn back to the Shadowbox Magazine site with the simplistic layout because I am really interested in creating an interactive site. Although I am not sure if that’s what the Shadowbox site actually is. Again, I really like the idea of “opening” different parts of a seemingly simple website in order to uncover whatever is behind that object. I think it would be interesting to discover ways in which to hide what your readers will be seeing when clicking each link and those ways to hide what information it is you want to be read.

An excellent online literary journal...

Shadowbox Magazine

What drew me to this particular site was the simplicity of the journal’s webpage. It’s more or less a single paged website with many links used to transport readers to where they want to go.  I also liked that the idea of a “shadowbox” is incorporated throughout the website’s functioning links. When one clicks on the link of choice a shadowbox appears (and if you don’t know what a shadowbox is, the webpage explains that as well). However, that was the one aspect that could have been a little more creatively constructed within the site’s overall layout. The information laden shadowboxes are incredibly plain when compared to the actual site. I found myself wishing that they were more colorful or had some kind of interesting multi-functional purpose like the linked objects on the page that brings them forth. I realize though, that what really is important is the author’s stories and work, not necessarily the website, but either way, I thought the layout would draw interest to said work.