Living With Chronic Pain

On this day two years ago, I was involved in a car crash that would change the course of my life completely. I couldn’t have known then but the injuries I walked away with would only get more and more complex as time went on.

My journey with chronic pain has been an uphill battle, an omnipresent force, a seemingly unsolvable puzzle. What started as a neck and head injury translated into widespread muscular malfunctions, spinal issues, nervous system problems and pain that manifests differently and unpredictably every single day. It has forced me to overhaul my life as an athlete, as well as massively scale back on highly active lifestyle I used to lead.

From the moment of impact up to now, I have used the majority of my energy trying to find any successful ways to heal. I’ve been treated by physios, chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, psychologists, strength and conditioning coaches, naturopaths, more medical specialists than I care to count. I’ve had dozens of needles and injections into my spine, and many assurances that the next treatment will be the solution. I have dealt with so much false hope its been dizzying. While I there have been a few small victories through this process, I continue to press on trying to find solutions to my body’s pain responses that seem to get more complex with each day.

There is no facet of my life this hasn’t affected. I can’t stand still for more than a few minutes without becoming vastly uncomfortable; I can’t sit for more than thirty or forty without often experiencing excruciating pain somewhere down my spine. As you could imagine, being a university student dealt this set of cards has placed additional hurdles in my path. Predictably, this has also led me into a process of having to completely reevaluate my whole identity and what defines me as a person, when many of the things I love can no longer hold such a dominant place in my life.

Chronic pain is something that often goes unseen; to both the individual and everyone around them. I have good days where the pain is more of a hum in the background, but I often have bad ones, where it’s so loud and angry that my energy becomes completely depleted, my moods get ridiculously unpredictable and my body needs a lot of care, attention, and rest.

I have bad days that sometimes look like breakdowns in the car or Physio office, but I’ve also had dark times that stretched into months of anxiety and bouts of depression.

However, in order to maintain my own sense of sanity I often find myself striving to project an image of vitality during the manageable moments. But it’s always the same pattern, one way or another the symptoms will bounce back like a boomerang and manifest in ways that can be debilitating. I kept trying to claw my way back into the life I had before, the life where I felt strong and could work hard without giving things a second thought. The life where I felt comfortable in my own skin and in control of my own circumstances. In the low moments I felt like I had lost myself completely.

It took a lot of fighting and rebelling against my own body before I begun to explore the idea of accepting my circumstances as they are in the moment, and working towards placing the things that give me relief and happiness at the forefront. My mental health was hindering me – it shaped an outlook that was translating into even more physical degeneration. Luckily, I was still able to receive external help and support from others, helping me realize that my tenacity to heal and bounce back didn’t always have to manifest in fighting. Instead, this part of my life is teaching me that self care is something that is going to be one of the most important resources in my life going forward – listening to what my body has to say instead of fighting against it.

With the presence of sport and activity in my life massively scaled down, I have had to explore some different facets of what makes me happy and keeps me calm – mostly revolving around writing and art. I have tried so many times to sit down and write my story but every time I have, I’m left with pages and pages of what I hoped to be cathartic, but was instead just another pathway into emotional distress I didn’t need. I never wanted to let anyone else read the things I wrote. So I didn’t, until now.

I wanted to share my story somehow because I often felt disingenuous with the person I was projecting myself to be; I was not living as this person in the majority of my day-to-day life. The moments I conveyed were the good ones, where I was able to give myself a little wiggle room to play again and just hope that I wouldn’t wake up feeling completely broken again the next day. Sometimes however, I am lucky enough to see those good moments can spread into good days. Rarely do I have a day without pain, but the good days often come in the form of a shifted outlook. Lately, I’ve been trying to keep those days as dominant as possible, allowing myself to go through the daily processes of pain management while still maintaining as much of the positivity as I can.

Sometimes that can look like going for an hour surf with no muscle spasms, but sometimes it looks like a forced ten minute walk. It’s always a balancing act.

But I wanted to shed some light on the trials of chronic pain, and perhaps shed some light on the incredibly vulnerable parts of who my circumstances have pushed me to become.

I am still in the midst of this puzzle, my body still in a very different way than it was before the accident. But instead of always allowing this part of my life to consume me, I am striving to work with it; reminding myself to check in with what I need in the moment instead of where I want to be. I am lucky enough to have support systems in place and some truly influential people in my life that have dragged me out of some pretty dark places. For this I’ll continue to be grateful.

I am not fixed, but I am also slowly trying to reassure myself that I am not broken, either.

Vol. 10: Peer Review #3


This week, I will be reviewing Teresa’s blog: I want to be clear from the beginning, as per usual, that I will be examining her content as well as visual design. In light of this, it would be best to start off by trying to describe the audience persona she has envisioned for her blog.

Already from the homepage of her blog, I feel that I can quickly try to identify the type of audience it is for. Her blog title, “The Confusing, Jumbled Life of Teresa Hanul Seo” already denotes that her blog is intended for a more young, fun, and lighthearted audience. Right away, humour is present within her blog, denoting one should view this without taking anything too seriously. If I were to give an ideal demographic audience, I would say that it would be roughly between the ages of 15-20, either male or female, and closely tied to attributes of Millennials.

Right away, I’m presented with a humourous picture of Childish Gambino. I would say that in terms of designwise, it seems out-of-place, but it ties the theme of her blog together in the beginning. The one thing it does correct is that it entices me to want to see other things for a possible laugh or smile. The colours used are vibrant pops of red and yellow, yet are on the softer side to ease the eyes. I’m glad she didn’t use overly vibrant colours or I would’ve commented on it. Her text is also a different colour, and gives a nice contract to everything. I would say the tagline under her title is a little hard to read, and possibly reworking the title a bit could have it feel more balanced.

The red pop of her menu bar struck out at me too much in the beginning, but once I realized some text inside her blog was the same colour, it was now consistent with the rest of her blog. I would say maybe now the blue of her title might be out of place–I personally find 3 colours that are very different from each other hard to handle. But, nonetheless, the carefree nature of her blog might say otherwise.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Teresa also has a calendar at the bottom of every page in her blog. Though the it is nicely presented, I found it kind of off-putting since there was no real use for it–we can quickly view the calendar from our mobile devices or laptop.

Teresa’s about section already sparks her style of writing for her audience. It’s very conversational, and I find it warming. Her ability to be this loud helps me realize how much she can be that dependable friend, or the main character in those tween movies we adore. This is her voice, and I find it quite powerful!

Though the design is sleek on different pages, I find that it is not creative enough for the intended “feel” she was going for. Maybe Teresa ought to put pictures in posts too, to at least bring some colour to her text.

I can’t say too much about her content, as none of it resides outside of pub101 posts or peer reviews, but I will say if she did post any content, I wish for her to include the quirkiness she has in her language, some colour to denote the fun and silly atmosphere, and to be creative! Overall, I find that she was able to pinpoint her audience well with her design and whatever content she has on there, but I am rooting for her to include more and post more for her audience!

’till next time, homies!

Commes Des Garcon- Playlist #2

“People in your life are like season, and everything happens for a reason”

This week’s vibe will give you the kick start you need to get your week rolling. I have a busy week ahead of me and after creating this playlist, I’m excited to get started. This week will be a busy week for me because I will be modeling in Vancouver Fashion Week Season 18, which begins in literally less then 2 hours from now! There are over 80 international designers who will be flying in and showcasing their vision throughout the week. With that being said, I cannot wait to see what the designers will be bringing in this season, and hopefully get the opportunity to walk for some of these amazing designers. Also, during this week, my partner and I have landed our first of many clients; we will be digitally marketing for their company.

This has been something we have been working on for the past few months and finally, after a lot of hard work and patience, we are launching. Along with all the business stuff, I need to try my best in keeping up with my school work. I find that doing it can be a bore, but what I have learned is that having good work ethics for school will portray even better work ethics when you begin your own company one day. Nobody is going to force you to do something you do not like, but if you keep an open mind, you will be surprised how things fall into place.

This week I want people to try something new daily, and begin creating a plan to follow for the week. Creating a weekly plan is something I have started to do, and I personally love it! I feel like it keeps me more focused and consistent since I am an extremely forgetful person. In addition, I have reminders that  notify me every 30 mins before my next task. I have started using  Google Calendar as my go to app for these daily reminders and organizing my weekly schedule, and I highly recommend it! First, I would start by planning out one single day, and then follow with the rest; each day should have it’s full potential used. I promise you will feel so accomplished when you realize how many things you completed in one day. With such a realization, it will push you to strive even further in the upcoming days and weeks.

Process Post 9

This week, guest speaker Juan Pablo Alperin posed several interesting questions to the class. First, he asked us to envision a future that sees the decline of Facebook and to elaborate on what kind of changes or shifts would lead to this decline. Next, he asked us to reflect on the constraints that Facebook imposes on us as users and to consider how these constraints influence our behaviour online. In this response, I will address the initial question.

Imagining A Future Without Facebook

Professor Alperin started off by addressing the common misconception that the Internet and the Web are the same things. To my dismay, they are two distinct concepts. I have been using the terms interchangeably for years. The shame. The embarrassment. I will address this question with the newfound knowledge that there is, in fact, a distinction between the Internet and the Web. The “Internet” refers to the physical structures that connect the online world, while the “Web” describes things like HTML and hyperlinks that comprise the core technology of the web. Therefore, Facebook is an application that uses the Internet’s infrastructure.

Every empire falls eventually. Social media platforms and applications are no exception. At one point, Nexopia was the leading social networking platform. Today, most people would give you a funny look if you told them you were on Nexopia. Eventually, the next best thing comes along. Old social media platforms are replaced by new ones that do the same as the last and more. Some applications even integrate popular features from existing applications, such as how Instagram has implemented “Stories” that were initially seen on Snapchat.

Keeping Users Within The Application 

Ultimately, all social media giants will fall, but for different reasons than the last. We all learn from our mistakes, and sometimes, we learn from the mistakes of others. Again, social media platforms are no exception. Current platforms have looked to the mistakes of former giants and quietly avoided making the same mistakes. For example, Nexopia failed to consider that hyperlinks would re-direct users to external websites and in turn, decrease its amount of traffic. Now, applications like Facebook and Instagram redirect users to pages that are opened by the app rather than a separate browser – a subtle ploy to keep the user within the app. At this point, Facebook has avoided some of the problems that other networks have encountered. So what will lead to Facebook’s demise?

Will Privacy Concerns Lead to Facebook’s Demise? 

Giving up personal information is a requirement of using Facebook. But at what point does this become an issue?

Today, Facebook fell as much as 8.1% to $170.06 in New York (Time, 2018). This decline comes after reports that users may have had their data used improperly. Cambridge Analytica, the data-analysis firm that helped Donald Trump win the presidency, was able to obtain and misuse personal information from more than 50 million Facebook users. The company’s shares show that users are not happy.

Facebook stock, March 19th, 2018. Source: Google.

It is evident that privacy concerns can be detrimental to a social networking site, even one as large as Facebook. I think that if privacy concerns arise in the future and users become aware of any misuse of personal information, then individuals may become wary of using Facebook. As a result, Facebook may be replaced by a social networking site that is more transparent about users’ privacy.

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Community Calendar: dinner or death

WHEN: Fifth solar flare

WHERE: That really weirdly shaped rock – you know the one

WHAT: Dinner or Death?
Will those dandelions flashing like neon yellow strobe lights melt your eyeballs or taste fantastic on a light summer salad? Does that tree bark just appear to be infused with uranium or shall it turn out to make a great late night snack?
If these are the kinds of questions that keep you up at night as you chew the marrow out of a rat bone, this is an event for you!

Join Sandra as she wins the ‘Greater Good’ award, snatching up vegetation to test if it’s edible for the rest of us.
Sandra is an esteemed member of the Crafter Cult, who allegedly lived with a PHD in horticulture before the apocalypse, endlessly hindered by the formality of science protocol from eating the plants in her lab, which was always her one true desire.

Election Results: time for time


In an unprecedented event of compromise, an insane war was avoided when Crafter’s, Grafts, and the Nihilists reached a consensus on the need for time in Sporyn.


Time, of course has been a tricky construct to enforce since the sun rises and sets at random, uncalculable, intervals, with solar storms continuously raging; sometimes burning blisteringly bright for what feels like days, while at other times rising then immediately plunging us back into darkness three times in a row. However, since more and more people are finding themselves assimilated into the Cults of Sporyn, it’s gotten hard to coordinate any sort of meet up larger then four people.

In true Nihilistic fashion, the Nihilists (myself included) predictably did not want any way to measure our lives or anyone else’s. We argued that the inability to tell people when to meet up in massive numbers helped keep the city peaceful, since war cannot be waged without organizing troops based timing, and all conflict can be kept to wholesome one-on-one fights to the death.

The Crafters were all for creating a new way to standardize their lives, as well as everyone else’s. They agreed with us Nihilists for the most part about needing to keep peace, and offered to draw up plans for some for of police force, which thankfully was immediately shut down.

The Grafts could be persuaded either way, but felt time would be beneficial if they wanted to construct some kind of military parade one day.

A compromised was reached – there will be a reliable way to measure time, but you only have to pay attention to it if you want.

Events will be planned based on solar flares!

Since there are always solar storms no matter how long the sun is up for, tell your friends to meet you at when a certain number of solar flares transpire. That way, only the people attached to the plan have to pay attention to the flares, and anyone opposed to time can go on living as normal as possible.

Week 9: What Google Analytics Has to Say

My findings in Google Analytics allowed me to see that most, if not all of my website’s audience is North American. This means that even though I’m an international student, I have to cater to my audience who are most likely North American and may not be able to relate to International student related content. The audiences were from Canada, America and Peru. To me this is quite surprising because I am Tanzanian and I know for a fact that I’ve asked some individuals in Tanzania to take a look at my sight and give me feedback. This does not seem to have been recorded by Google Analytics and therefore makes me feel as though I should not trust all the data Google Analytics is providing to me. Does Google Analytics only record data from activity taking place in North America? It does not feel like a credible source.

Also, according to Google Analytics, readers mostly go to the site on days that I post. This means that in order to drive traffic to my site more frequently throughout the week, I need to spread out my posts throughout the week. I can post on Mondays and Wednesdays if I’m only putting two posts out or Monday, Wednesday and Friday when I have a third post to put up. Furthermore, it seems as though when I mention the posting on Instagram, it seems as though more individuals come from there. Therefore I should keep promoting posts on my Instagram account as well as on Facebook because it seems as though despite me not posting on that platform, readers are also being driven from there. This could allow me to get more visitors and views to my site, allowing me to be able to activate my Google AdSense.

Let’s Talk Facebook

In my opinion, I believe that Facebook is already in its declining stages as older individuals are beginning to dominate the platform. We see our mum’s, aunties and uncles spending more time on Facebook sharing posts that are not credible; sharing pictures without thinking about what Facebook is doing with all their data and allowing strangers to view their pictures and private information. For many of us in our 20s, we understand the importance of protecting our privacy. We need to be cautious of what future employers, and coworkers are seeing. Although it is illegal for future employers to go through our social media platforms when deciding whether or not to employ us, it is a very common practice and therefore we should be cautions when posting anything on any open platform.

As for keeping in touch with individuals around the world, a world without Facebook would not necessarily make much of a difference in many of our lives today. This is because there are many other more engaging platforms such as Instagram where individuals can share highlights of their lives and keep it much more private. We are also able to have conversations with individuals on various platforms such as Skype, WhatsApp and so on.

Facebook is more difficult to keep private, as the user has to figure out exactly how to privatize different aspects of their profile. This includes privatizing albums, posts and profile pictures all separately. As for Instagram, the user simply privatizes their entire account and this means that those who do not follow the individual cannot access their posts. For me personally, I choose not to post anything on Facebook anymore because I allow anyone that I know or have heard of to become a friend. I have managed to delete old unnecessary posts and privatize pictures of when I was younger to the point where only I am able to view them. On Instagram however, I only allow close friends or individuals I want seeing my posts follow me. This allows me to keep my life private and protected from individuals who have no business in seeing my personal life.

Personal Process Post #9: The Demise of Facebook


Do you think Facebook’s massive empire could ever really come crashing down?

We may not be scrolling down Facebook’s newsfeed forever.  People may grow tired of cat videos, overused memes, political musings and everything else that seems to currently prosper on Facebook. Facebook may evolve to appeal to potential new interests of consumers, but I say it is quite possible that Facebook becomes the next MySpace, a platform which I am sure we will all agree is long deceased. “In the end, Facebook is just an application. And people get tired of applications after a while” (Marks, 2013). The next big thing always seems to emerge.

Is Facebook really just an application? Yes, when you visit, login to your account and scroll through the newsfeed, you are using an application, but Facebook has become so much more than that. The popularity and profitability of Facebook has made the company an entity that dominates the Internet. Facebook is really everywhere online. “When you really look at what the company is trying to do, it becomes evident that its goal is not expanded convenience within a Facebook ecosystem but outright colonization of the entire online and mobile experience” (Osterndorf, 2015).

Facebook seems to grow more and more powerful, but what Facebook does to maintain control seems to be either enraging or terrifying.

Doing Anything to Increase Users

Facebook went to incredible measures for new users when they launched Facebook claims their project goal is to decrease the digital divide by offering an Internet service to those who could not afford or access the Internet. “ is not a nonprofit company or even an organization. is a business development group within Facebook aimed at increasing Facebook’s users and revenue” (Elgan, 2016). “When users choose [], the carrier unplugs them from the Internet and plugs them directly into Facebook’s servers, a walled garden that provides the equivalent of stripped down sites, but is not the Internet” (Elgan, 2016). Through this service, Facebook is beginning to expose  people to an Internet exclusively controlled by their company. provides no access to Google or institution websites.

“Facebook has long been accused of creating a walled garden social network, and also of duplicating the Internet on Facebook itself. is the ultimate expression of that strategy. Facebook found a way for people to use Facebook without using the Internet, while simultaneously getting credit for providing a massive good for humanity”(Elgan, 2016).

Dominating Through Acquisition

Facebook is constantly acquiring new applications. Griffith (2017) explains that Facebook threatens small startups by saying “something to the effect of: ‘join us or we will copy you.'” When Facebook’s three billion dollar offer was rejected by Snapchat, Facebook certainly retaliated by adding Snapchat’s “stories” feature to their apps. Griffith (2017) fears that Facebook’s control prevents the innovation of others from flourishing.

Always Tracking

The evidence is in all those targeted advertisements you’re seeing: Facebook is tracking you. Facebook profits from the personal data their users freely provide them, and many are discomforted by performing this free digital labour.

It is a little frightening to recognize the power of Facebook, isn’t it? It probably will begin to frighten people more and more should their power continue to increase and people become aware of it. According to (Osterndorf, 2015), a world where Facebook dominates is not one we want to live in. “If Facebook does become the entire Internet, it’ll be bad news for our digital lives, and by extension, our “real” lives, too. The simplest solution: Kill Facebook before it becomes an unstoppable agent of chaos, its own Mr. Smith.” The only thing that may overpower Facebook, is the power of an angry crowd. I believe the only way Facebook may truly lose it’s power over the web is if there was a social or political movement to overthrow them. There is already a lot of anger and discomfort surrounding Facebook’s control and practices, but will it ever be enough for people to riot against it? Considering how precious the Internet is to so many, and how Facebook has seized such control over the digital landscape, I am not sure I truly forsee the demise of Facebook. However, I believe it is important to keep in  mind that overthrowing empires has been proved possible, and we may have more power as a collective than we may think.


The Watergate Issue

Hey y’all, thanks for tuning in to this post. Apologies again for missing the last two weeks of Wednesday posts, I was busy living up that procrastination life. But it’s not my fault, I swear – procrastination has my name contained within it.

p r o c r a s T I N A t i o n

See? It is part of me; or rather, I am part of it.

Today, I’m doing something slightly different to my regular post. I want to talk to you about something I call Watergate.

The café I work at willingly supplies customers with free water when they request it. We also sell water bottles, but who wants to pay $2.57 for something that they can otherwise get for free? Anyway, my problem is not with water being free – I think that’s great. In fact, I wish people everywhere had access to the amount of clean water that we do. That would be fricken fantastic.

My problem is with the people (I mean, it always is with me). This post is for all you nasty people out there that have ever rushed or intentionally been rude to a barista or server because they couldn’t hurry up and bring you water. Yeah, you.

Sorry for those of you that thought I would actually be discussing the Watergate Scandal from the 1970s. I might have click-baited you. Oops.

So here it is. Watergate.

If you are anywhere that offers free water, I think you should remember that WATER IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT.

You line up a water fountain when there are people in front of you and you WAIT to access that water. Same goes for when you enter a public space and demand a cup of water for yourself.


Also, people all over the world still do not have access to water. So check yourself before you wreck yourself. Here’s a video that I hope will make you rethink your nasty attitudes. You know who you are.

I know waiting thirty seconds is just impossible in your busy day. It’s not like you spend hours on end scrolling mindlessly through your phone on a daily basis. OH WAIT.

Over my two-year stint at my place of work, I have had many an encounter with rude customers that wish to take advantage of our free water policy. Great. That is fine.

It is the rude part that really gets me. Why are you being rude over something I AM GIVING YOU FOR FREE????  Being an asshat usually doesn’t work in your favour. In fact, on several occasions, I have conveniently “forgot” requests for water.

I have told y’all about Selma so generously informing me that I “incorrectly” made an ice water. Apparently, there’s a correct order in which to place the ice and water into a cup.

But here are some other offenders.

The Group Order

A young man and his friends come in and order six large iced water cups in the middle of a rush. There are fifteen other drinks in the queue, waiting to be made. After placing the water cups in line, the young man yells at me for making him and his friends wait for water. There is also a line behind him.

Dude. That water is free. You are privileged enough to live in a society that provides YOU with water. You’re not trekking some 30 km out in the desert to a well or watering hole to bring it back. You don’t have to boil your water to clear it of pathogens or dangerous microbes before you drink it. Also, you did not pay for your order. This is a business. On what planet does it make sense to prioritize your drink in lieu of working on the drinks that people have paid for and are still waiting for?


The Line-Skipper

Now, I get it. Sometimes, if you’re looking for a swig of water and see a line-up to the door, you think: it’s okay. I’m just grabbing some water, I don’t need to stand in the queue. Fine. Do you.

But just remember: you’ve skipped a line – you can’t double-dip on benefits.

Sometimes, we can get you that water with no wait. But other times, there is one. If no one is standing around idly twiddling their thumbs, take that as a sign from a divine entity. We are BUSY. We are trying to accommodate you as quick as we can. You think we want a pissed off customer scowling at us from the end of the bar like a petulant child that’s been told “no”?

We don’t.

We also don’t need to be asked multiple times where your water is at. It’s coming. We promise.

The “I Need to Catch My Bus” so “Hurry Up”

Okay. Transit can sometimes be fickle. Buses can come too early, or they can come too late. But we have customers who, on a regular basis, storm into the store demanding a glass of water, having already skipped a massive line. They then have the audacity to rudely yell at us for not being fast enough for them to catch their bus.

“I’m running late. My bus is coming.”
Okay, so go catch your bus.

“Can you hurry up. I need my water and then I have to get on the bus.”
So get on it.

I’m sympathetic to the transit struggle, I really am. But Translink also offers pretty accurate schedules. They also provide you a number to text the bus stop and get a real-time update on the status of your bus.

Storming into the store to demand water because you can’t schedule yourself enough time to do your tasks is your fault. Not ours.


Just. Check your privilege people. Or so help me.

The post The Watergate Issue appeared first on Beleaguered Barista.

Peer review #3

Shaun Gill

    Shaun with his blog IAMSHAUNGILL draws the viewer in from the front page. It is marketed to two apparent audiences: young people looking for music, fun, and advice, and anyone who might be looking for a male model for photographs. It is better attuned to the audience of young people, as the existence of music mixes and other fun elements make it seem less professional. However, for both audiences, the use of graphics, photos, and hip GIFs from popular cult films is very eye-catching. The great graphic design is essential in a blog, mainly if the blogger has the moxie to go for a really unique individual look, as it can discourage others from appropriating one’s attitude, ideas, or material; a blog that stands out visually has the personality to avoid being plagiarized (Hurst, 2016). IAMSHAUNGILL’s look is immediately visually striking, using a photo of (presumably) the author looking directly at the camera with an intense, somewhat ambiguous look. The look doesn’t immediately push the viewer away, as it is not entirely hostile; but it isn’t overly friendly, either. It is more intriguing, making the viewer wonder what kind of attitude a person with such an ambiguous expression is going to radiate through the prose. Are they going to be as attractive as the photo? More approachable?

    The video primer also advises that each blog post should use an image in each post; posts without any unique visual element do not draw in the eye and make the reader curious. The primer also argues against looking clip art, as it tends to use dated; if you do use clip art, it should at least be stylistically consistent within the blog, or at least within the post (Hurst, 2016). IAMSHAUNGILL uses more great visual elements in the listing for each article on the front page, including a very professional looking photo of the author on the “portfolio” link and a very engaging, crazy movie GIF for the latest post, and some very attractive pink neon letters on black to draw the reader into the “No Bad Vibes” post. The front page of this blog follows the advice we have learned so far, but without being obvious that it is following rules. It simply looks good and is engaging visually.

    The posts themselves are more of a mixed bag. The “No Bad Vibes” feature, which is a weekly mix drawn from the author’s Spotify, is only going to be engaging to readers who share the author’s taste, and yet find it original enough to supply them with new songs to listen to. This is risky, as few people have the same taste, and pop music is pretty well disseminated. The latest post is a personal post, which is very positive and upbeat but a bit vague and hard to glean much specific information from. All in all this blog shows a great deal of creative literacy (Norman, 2018). It is a great-looking platform that is sure to do a great job as it fills up with content. However, it needs to pick one audience: people looking for models, or young people looking for fun.


Hurst, A. (Director). (2016, May 21). Upgrade Your Graphics [Video file]. Retrieved from

Norman, S. (2018, February 21). Lecture Files Week Six: Digital Literacy.

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Process: Presentations and Personal Biases

This week we had the pleasure of having Patrick Pennefather join our class to give us some tips on how to rock our pitches and presentations. He was an amazing presenter; engaging, funny and confident. One of the most interesting things he mentioned were biases; how we all have our own biases about ourselves in terms […]

Peer Review 3

Shazia in her week five’s process blog post ( ) says that her content/site is aimed for 18-25 year old students of international background, also “Vancouver foodies” who like coffee.  Her set up of the site is meant to remind the site visitors of Instagram; she says this is because she believes Instagram is the most popular social media platform.  Scrolling through her different category pages I do see the nod to the Instagram format; the posts are displayed on a grid with three columns.  Something I notice and am wondering about is why there are no pictures featured with her blog posts in the initial inventory.  Her concept opens a very good opportunity for pictures, of the food she’s having, the places she’s visiting.  Her content inventory right now is black and white, and only text.  She has some very interesting posts, but because there is not a lot of stimulation, as a reader I am not as excited to click on her posts as I know I could be.  In her week six post (  I read her rationalization for not having the pictures on her homepage, but I would have to lovingly, gently disagree.  While the lack of pictures may seem more professional as she says, the vibe I get from her posts is not of professionalism, but of personal interests and passions.  I think the lack of pictures on the homepage take from the personality of her posts.  Just the black and white text in my opinion leaves her audience less to relate with and be excited by.  In addition to engaging her readers, the images also are important for distinguishing her posts from one another (its contents).

For marketability I think this presence has good potential to draw an audience.  Vancouver is a great place to have this site rooted in.  The food scene is pretty diverse and really great here.  I think a challenge for Shazia is making her food/travel/thought blog stand out from the many others out there.  There are lots of food/thought blogs out there, she has to present herself in a way that no one else has yet.  She envisions her audience to be of international descent, I think that there is not a whole lot of this influence in her online presence yet (her posts, site design).  I’m having a hard time picking out specific decisions made for drawing the audience she intends (the international part of it anyway).  In her week 5 process post that I previously linked she mentioned that she’s imagining a large part of her audience to be East African students.  I think she could start acting on this demographic by going to places that specialize in East African cuisine, and writing about that.

In one of her posts she mentioned that she has an Instagram for this site. I think that that is a really great idea!  If she has an Instagram for this site though, why is her site following an Instagram-like format?  I think if she already has an Instagram for this site, having the format of this presence also like Instagram, it might get repetitive and boring for her visitors (in my opinion).  Because she already has an Instagram I think she could try something new with her site’s format; something that compliments her Instagram presence, enhances it, but it not be too similar.

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Process Post Week 9

In lecture this week we were prompted to think about what a world without Facebook would look like/be like.  I consider myself not too much of a social media person, I make effort to unplug and regulate my life online, but I found this question really hard to answer.  I didn’t realize how embedded this platform was in everything.  I honestly cannot even wrap my head around this concept of Facebook not being present anymore.  Juan gave us prompts that ease us into this very complex/abstract inquiry. . .I’m going to address those ones . . .

Ways that Facebook has in a sense affected what I do and don’t do on the platform, well for me Facebook is the main connection pathway for my family that I don’t see all the time (not living with me, other side of the world).  When I do post something I keep their presences in mind; in this my rare posts on Facebook are pretty not controversial, and not really personal.  Facebook has never been a platform for me to express my feelings, or my personality.  It was mentioned in class that Facebook is moving into a news feed platform than a personal one, and I would have to agree.  While it was never personal for me to begin with, I find myself on the site watching videos and memes more than anything else.  I can’t even remember that last post I’ve seen that wasn’t related to a meme, or a video.  Other platforms like Instagram, and Snapchat have a better atmosphere around sharing personal content.

As a student now I still see some significance to Facebook though.  While it is less personal, I still use it to connect to my relatives.  I am not as informed on how my friends are doing through Facebook, but I can connect with them through the memes and videos, which I think is unique to this platform.  I think this new age of Facebook facilitates a different kind of connection to other people and content.  The content you engage with and share while it may not be your original feelings/thoughts I think it still expresses something about you (your interests/your personality); Your feed in this way is still some kind of expression of yourself, but less direct.  I think though where this relevance to life may die out is after college. when the fervor and time for funny videos and pictures is significantly lessened.  In my opinion, at this point Facebook may die.

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Process Post 8

I have recently downloaded Google Adsense onto my blog and began monetizing my site. So far I am unhappy with the placements of the ads on my site because it has been interfering with my blog’s usage. It has been recently pointed out to me that my drop-down menu is blocked my the banner-ad across …

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To my future husband. . #isingonthisone


Song: Dreamer – Dave Love




To my future husband . . .         

I hope that you are happy right now. I don’t know where you are. who even you might be, but I am really really excited to see you.  I’m praying for you already (just letting you know); that you reach everything you deserve to, that you learn everything you need to, and that you grow into whoever you’re meant to be.  We probably don’t exist to eachother yet, so I can’t support you when you’re down, listen to you when you need someone, but know that I am looking forward to it!    I’m working on some things too, and I want to tell you that I’m doing pretty well.  That’s it.  Wherever you are I hope you’re smiling.  I’m excited to know you, and care for you.


xoxo – P.s. Can you rush just a little bit?





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Process Post #9

I am not sure how I feel about Google Analytics – it is incredibly helpful to me as a website owner but, at the same time, it is extremely creepy. Looking at my Google Analytics, I learned a lot about my readers… probably a lot more than they would ever think.

That said, I was super surprised about the activities of my users. Of particular interest for me were: a) how my site was accessed and how much time was spent on my site; b) which site pages were most viewed; and c) the activity flow of my readers.

How the Site was Accessed/Time Spent on Site

I was a bit surprised about how my readers were reaching my website! I was not too surprised about my site being accessed directly because, when I tell people about my blog, they usually just type in the URL themselves. However, I was surprised at the Social categories because I have only advertised my blog through Instagram.

In terms of the bounce rates, I was surprised that people who have accessed the site through a social networking site spent the most time on it. I suppose that this is because those who do click on the link in my Instagram bio (I am assuming that this is where people are coming from) are the most interested in actually cooking and thus, will spend more time on the site.

In the future, I think I will advertise my website on my social networking platforms (probably just Facebook) more and see if that increases traffic to my site. Also, to decrease bounce rate (and thus increase the amount of time that people spend on my site!), I think I will change up my homepage in a way that the user would want to stay on my site for longer. One idea I have to do this is to have a pop-up of some sort that says something along the lines of: “What are you craving?” or something and then having the user be redirected to the recipe that they are craving, or a recipe similar to that craving. Hm, that sounds complicated but I think it would be effective.

Screenshot of how users are getting to my site, as well as the bounce rates.

The Most Viewed Pages 

I was a bit surprised that only two of my recipes even made it to the top 10! I think that the sour cream banana bread post is the most popular recipe because I personally think that its featured photo is the best looking.

Thus, I think I will work on improving my featured photos. I only really like three of the featured photos that I have taken (the banana bread one, the smoothie one and the oatmeal one) and I want to replace the rest. I think having more attractive photos will increase the likelihood that users will visit other pages.

Screenshot of pages most viewed.

User Flow

User flow was the most interesting to look at, as I could see which pages my readers visited, and in what order. I found it interesting (rather than surprising, per se) to see how users reached certain pages.

I think having the banner on my homepage helps to gain readers’ attention to certain recipes (and thus leading them directly to these recipes, rather than having them click through my site), as well as the sidebar on each of my posts. I will pay better attention to user flow and add more links onto my homepage and/or sidebar and see if I see any differences!

Screenshot of user flow.

 In conclusion…

Google Analytics has provided me with great insight that I would otherwise not know. That said, it is up to me to implement the changes I mentioned above and see if it helps my site grow.

Professional Complaining – AKA election time

Got a grip? We’ve got an audience.

The apocalypse may have eradicated suburbs, streetlights, waterways, all wheelie chairs, and the concept of Tuesdays, but it did not eviscerate our innate desire to have someone yell about life qualms, while everyone else waits to scream in support of a statement they agree with – This is called Voting.

Oddly enough, this is as non-partisan as the Cults of Sporyn get.
Collective memories of what ‘politics’ were before the great incident of human idiocy (which wiped out a whole tax-bracket of people who considered themselves above death for stringing up sentences like “ethically frugal public-funding”) couldn’t recall much that politics actually helped near the end. Having Cults take out the need for those self-righteous Parties. A distillation of what people actually liked about the whole system turned out to already be a favoured past-time of sentient Sporyn residents; giving speeches about whatever’s going on in their head at any given time.

So we made it a community event.
Sometimes it actually cumulates in something getting changed!
REMEMBER: Topics of this Soapbox screaming time have been already narrowed down by the Crafter’s since those over-organized road kill scrapbookers love micromanaging the rest of us.

1. What to do about the excess children.
Since no one has claimed responsibility of the wild, parentless kids running around Sporyn, and their crying and complaining and entitlement to others finding clothes and shelter for them is getting a little distressing, what do you think should be done about it?

2. Pros and Cons of standardized time.
As no more clocks exist, and day and nights never last for predictable intervals anymore, we’ve been going without measurements of time for the last little while and managing it pretty well!
If you want it back, state your case!

3. The Accountants are pissing us off.
(This problem is particularly dear to my heart)
Those stuck-up apocalypse deniers are just gonna keep going off acting like the old world didn’t get destroyed, judging the rest of us with those blank stares and old world shakes of their heads while they pretend to get promoted at their steady corporate jobs?!
Are we really gonna stand for that?

If you have any thoughts on any of these issues at all, come to the speech ceremony!
Through anger, you too have the power to incrementally improve the City of Sporyn.

Peer Review #3- Honestlynaomi

First Impressions

This week, I’ll be reviewing Naomi’s blog,, with a focus on marketability. My first impression of Naomi’s site is that it is clean, elegant, and easy to navigate. Naomi has implemented a pop of colour in her logo, as well as a personal tagline that reads “daily doses of my lifestyle and pop culture, with a little sarcasm mixed in.” As a reader, I immediately know that this will be a personal and lifestyle blog, and I can decide whether I would like to explore further based on this initial information.

Logo and tagline of

I think that Naomi’s blog will attract females in their late teens to mid-twenties, especially those who are interested in fashion, food, travel, and the post-secondary experience. I like how Naomi has explicitly outlined her target audience on her “About” page, which reads “if you love fashion, food, and travel you’ll feel right at home here.” Through this statement, Naomi recognizes that “a public is self-organized… it exists by virtue of being addressed” (Michael Warner, 2010, p. 413). By addressing her audience in both the “About” page and in the sidebar, Naomi has effectively acknowledged and welcomed her audience.


Sidebar widget on

Naomi’s site is a personal and lifestyle blog; therefore, the marketability of the site rests on Naomi herself. I think she has done a great job in this area – she has a descriptive “About” page, a sidebar featuring a personal message and photo, and a customized logo. I think that the personal photograph in the sidebar is a nice touch that humanizes Naomi and allows her audience to put a face to her posts. In “How To Survive the Digital Apocalypse”, Travis Gertz (2015) raises concerns that we have designed ourselves into a corner by being reliant on design choices created by machines. By customizing her logo, sidebar, and theme, Naomi has addressed the concern that “originality is risky” (Gertz, 2015).

I suggest that Naomi post content more frequently and consistently, especially if she is looking to monetize her blog in the future. This would increase the amount of traffic on her blog as well as show potential sponsors that she is dedicated to her site.


Naomi’s blog currently features two posts. So far, Naomi’s posts have explored her personal life and food. These topics are broad enough that they will appeal to a range of individuals including her target audience. In order to increase readership in the future, I suggest that Naomi monitor her Google Analytics after posting some more content. This will allow her to determine which posts receive the most traffic. In turn, she can tailor her content to reflect what her audience is interacting with the most.

Layout and Site Structure

The menu consists of four major categories: “Life”, “Food”, “Fashion and Beauty”, and “Travel”. One suggestion I have is to reduce the number of categories until more content has been posted. I suggest removing the “Travel” category because it does not feature any posts, and I think that most users navigate away from websites once they reach an empty category or a broken link. By removing unnecessary categories, Naomi can enhance user flow within her blog. In turn, Naomi will enhance the marketability of her site by keeping users on her blog for longer periods of time.

Blank “Travel” category

As a reader, I was a bit confused by the “Fashion and Beauty” category – it consists of a few images of clothing and make-up, but the images are not accompanied by any text or description. This can be easily addressed by incorporating these images into a text post and providing links to the products. As a result, Naomi would increase the content on her blog, as well as provide potential opportunities for affiliate marketing.

Social Media

At this point, Naomi has not integrated any forms of social media onto her site. I would recommend incorporating at least one social media platform using the widget feature. In “Publics and Counter-Publics”, Michael Warner (2002) posits that “no single text can create a public… nor can a single voice, a single genre, or a single medium” (p. 420). By incorporating social media widgets onto his site, Naomi would interact with her audience through various mediums in order to contribute to the “reflexive circulation of discourse” that is required of a public (Warner,  2002, p. 420).


I think that Naomi has done a great job designing her site with her target audience in mind. Naomi’s audience likely consists of young females who are students or hold part-time jobs. This is an audience that does not want to exert too much time or energy navigating a website. Naomi’s blog is great in this regard – the design is clean, there is minimal unnecessary content, and the blog is easy to navigate. One minor suggestion I have is to clean up the “About” page by removing the comment box. The comment box creates a lot of unnecessary clutter and throws off the visual equilibrium of the page.


Overall, I enjoyed reading Naomi’s posts and I think that she is off to a great start. One thing that stood out to me was how Naomi directly addresses her audience in her “About” section and in the sidebar. As a reader, this acknowledgement made me welcomed and appreciated. There are a few minor changes that can be made to the menu and “About” page, but this can be done fairly quickly. I look forward to reading more of Naomi’s content in the future!

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Process Post 8

No, I’m not going to monetize my site

Look, I understand. Completely. Some people, especially ones named Trevor Battye, become so desperate for cash that they decide to monetize their wedding invites. Obtaining a high quality of  life is hard. Getting a job that pays well enough to maintain that life is even harder. So if I too was desperate, I would probably monetize a lot of things.

That said, my website is about yarn graffiti, and as far as I know, most people don’t get paid for (admittedly mild) vandalism.

What I do is a hobby. Yarn bombing has never been a monetized endeavour. It’s just supposed to be . . . fun? Don’t get me wrong, you can have fun at a job and make money too. But just because what you’re doing doesn’t pay, it doesn’t mean that it’s inherently foolish or worth less of your time.

For example, I do sell the crochet toys and accessories I make. I’ve been casually running an Instagram account for two years, selling my wares to friends, family, and strangers. Sometimes I get requests for custom items, which I enjoy making. I’ve been to a couple craft conventions and made a small profit from those. It’s a side profession that I don’t take too seriously.

Yarn bombing, however, is a completely different story. I came into this class wanting to do something fun. My first thoughts weren’t “how am I going to make the money back that I had to spend on this site?” but “what can I do that will be fun, creative, and over the top?” So I went with a yarn graffiti site.

Ads are ugly and I had no intention of putting them on my site. I hadn’t even considered ads before it was brought up in class. Why would I have? The way our websites were talked about up until then was “they are your portfolios!” Do people usually put ads in their portfolios? I don’t know.

This week we read about The Toast shutting down, despite its attempts to incorporate ads. This was a site that needed to do this in order to support labour costs. I don’t have to do that, so I might as well not even bother.

Another way I could monetize is to sell my yarn bombing services aka put a price on my hobby. Think of a hobby you have; let’s say you collect bottle caps. Are you going to charge someone because you’re technically cleaning the streets of garbage? Of course not. It’s your hobby, and usually people don’t put a price on theirs. I can’t speak for everyone, of course. But no, I do not want to charge anything for my graffiti.

It defeats the purpose of the art and I can afford yarn with money from my real job, thank you very much.

As for data trails, my job requires me to Google lots of different stuff, and I rarely ever like/comment/share something on Facebook, the only social media I use other than Instagram. I doubt anyone is getting any useful data from me or about me, honestly. If I’m being naive and they are, well darn. They’ve yet to manipulate my mind as far as I know.


Looking at my Google analytics, I can’t say I’m too surprised with what I see. I wasn’t really expecting to see a lot of traffic on my site beyond a few of my classmates, and a few of my close friends. This isn’t very concerning however. I made this blog with an intention of it being kind of private, and I feel like if I had a lot of traffic it would lose the meaning of what I initially wanted it to be. As a result, I don’t foresee any massive changes coming in terms of what I’m publishing here.