For The Love of Pinterest: Process Post #6

I remember when Pinterest first became a big thing. It was very much connected to Facebook and 12 year old Emma loved to use it to make collections of all her favourite overly saturated dance photos, or funny Hunger Games memes. If you don’t believe me… here’s my old Pinterest account. Then, as Facebook began to become “uncool” — Pinterest became the holy grail for middle aged white moms everywhere. Utilizing its (not so) funny crafts and DIYs for dinner parties and book club gatherings everywhere. Needless to say, I stopped using Pinterest for a bit.

However, I began to avidly journal about 2 year ago, and one of my favourite things to incorporate into my journals is pictures! I started by using apps like Tumblr to collect photos I liked, and then printed them from word docs. However, I really wanted a place where I could find similar photos, but have the ability to organize them easily. And then I remembered! Pinterest!

Seeing as I love using Pinterest for monthly journal spreads, an aspect of the app that I love is the fact that you can now merge boards. And by doing so create collections of multiple boards all together. I do this after a month is over, and then add said monthly board to a collection of all the boards from that year. This allows my boards to be much less cluttered. And I also don’t have the confusion of having multiple February boards at one time.

I am now an avid Pinterest user, I not only use it for my journal, but I have a variety of boards that I constantly add to just for fun. I would definitely say I’m proud of the state of my current Pinterest account, and whenever I find myself bored I end up on the app — pinning away. And in order to get a feeling of the visual vibe of my blog, I have made a not so eloquent emma board (although it is very new, so don’t judge the lack of pins). To me, I find that Pinterest allows for you to easily organize many ideas — visually. You can easily write down a list of things you would like to incorporate into your bedroom design, but Pinterest allows you to do that through visuals!

Process Post #9: Marketing

This week, Dr. Norman provided us with a comprehensive overview on potential marketing opportunities for our sites should we decide to look into additional methods to monetize them. She describes different types of advertising we can undertake, such as “social media” and “affiliate ads” (Norman, 2020). I have already implemented ads using Google AdSense, but I did want to learn about the other options that can assist in catering specifically towards my audience. On the whole, it was interesting to examine more targeted approaches.

Dr. Norman deconstructed the characteristics of effective advertising and what it entails as well as provided direct examples including “website-based displays” utilized by popular websites such as The Washington Post (Norman, 2020). Key pieces of advice shared that I also aim to incorporate more on Four Purple Walls are the certain practices involving “content marketing,” (Norman, 2020). The main suggestions being “using specified language from the brand in your post” and “publishing post[s] on [particular] dates” (Norman, 2020). I have tried to remain consistent in regard to language. However, when blogging, we are encouraged in PUB 201 to publish at least one post per week, so the best way to go about doing so addressing the latter would be, perhaps, a unique entry on International Literacy Day, which is happening September 8 this year, evidently because it relates to Four Purple Walls’ topic, where I could combine a review with a nod to the exclusive occasion.

Also, one of the links to an article on the last slide describes as to what a “blogger rate card” is – a tool people currently use that I never heard of before. It essentially exhibits various “ad placements and price rates for advertisers on [a] blogger’s site” (Parsons, 2019). What surprised me is that these cards can be either “digital” or “physical” (Parsons, 2019). I notice how harnessing this kind of strategy is beneficial due to the information shown giving direct insight. Overall, the blogger rate card was without a doubt a compelling takeaway from the lecture.

References

Norman, S. (2020). PUB 201 – Week Nine [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from: SFU Canvas.

Parsons, J. (2019, July 19). How to Find Blogger Rate Cards to Advertise on Blogs. Retrieved from: https://guestpost.com/blog/2019/07/blogger-rate-cards-advertise/

Going Online: Process Post #7

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the coronavirus that is causing much mayhem across the world. As of Friday March 13th it was announced that all in-person courses at SFU would be going online! Now, while this is something that most definitely had to happen, but I am also frustrated for a couple reasons. First of all, I genuinely enjoy the classes I have this semester and enjoy going to class because of the lectures my profs do, and, I am terrible at committing to online courses.

The first time I ever took an online course was in Grade 10. I did a special dance program when I was in high school called the “Pre-Professional Dance Program” (or as me and my friends called it: PPDP) which pretty much meant I got to leave school one blog early to go to dance class. My high school worked on a 4 block day timetable, which would then switch a the end of the semester (very similar to university). The class that PPDP would take the place of was gym class. Thank goodness. As well as one the two electives I got to choose each year (also fine because the only elective I cared to take was drama) However, PE 10 is a course that is required (at least in BC) for one to graduate high school. As is the dreaded Planning 10 class — which students often end up taking online so they don’t have give up an elective. Although, because of my PPDP, I was forced to take these two classes online. Yes, Gym online.

To be fair the gym course was easy enough, I did about 10 quizzes (which were all open book) and I just had to prove that I was getting enough daily physical activity (which was also easy seeing as I was doing about 20 hours of dance a week). However, the Planning 10 course is a whole other story. First of all, even if you did the version of the course that was in class, it’s boring. But put all the information in online power points where I can easily change the tab and watch tv on Netflix? even more boring. I procrastinated the hell out of this course, and (somewhat) luckily there was no completion deadline on it — so I could take however long I needed. Although when they say that I don’t think they mean almost 2 years. Finishing Planning 10 online was one of my greatest achievements, mainly because I don’t think anyone (including me) thought I could do it.

I was of course scared when I decided to then take another online course in University, especially seeing as there was no way they’d let me take 2 years to complete it. But with my determination, I was able to complete it and get a solid mark along the way. However, that was one course, and a course that was intended to be online. Whereas all the courses I am taking right now (3 to be exact) were not made to be taught online, and couple of them are bound to be quite difficult for me to now comprehend via my laptop rather than two and a half hour lectures.

My main goal for the 4 weeks is to try and stay organized. I still have assignments that are due and final exams to prepare for, but the only way for me to not become overwhelmed is to prepare myself. One of the ways I hope to do this is maintain the schedule I already had. I had class on Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays — so I will do my school work on those days.

But with all this being said, I completely understand the decision for us to switch to online courses. While we might not realize it yet, the situation we are all in the middle of is quite serious. Social distancing is one of the best things we can do not only for ourselves — but for others. As an introvert myself I don’t find this too difficult — but if you are someone who usually loves to be out and about 24/7, think about it first.

Learn | Maid Cafe

If you have ever watched any Japan travel vlogs or blogs, you must have heard about maid cafes. It is basically a themed cafe with cutesy waitresses dresses up in maid costumes, serving you adorable looking foods and drinks. The maids will usually ask you to make a spell “Moe, moe, kyuun! Oishikunare!” before you start your meal. Depending on the store, you can usually take pictures with one maid of your choice. This is an extremely popular and unique experience for tourists, especially for weebs like me who are very into anime and manga.

Origin

1998 Launch event for “Welcome to Pia ♡ Carrot! 2”.

Akihabara is the place that gathers anime, manga, gaming, idols and all kinds of otaku hobbies. It is also the place where maid cafes were born. The first maid cafe appears around two decades ago in the “Tokyo Character Show 1998”, where the launch event of the love simulation game “Welcome to Pia ♡ Carrot! 2” took place. The event production team set up a one-day cafe with waitresses cosplaying as game characters while serving customers. This concept cafe was greatly appreciated by fans, hence, the event team decided to run the cafe longer for a limited time. This further led to the grand opening of “Cure Maid Café”, which is believed to be the first official maid cafe.

Insider Talks

Maid gentlemen’s club

The popularization of maid cafes started a boom in the maid culture, yet, also brought up the dark side of it at the same time. Other than cafes, there are many maid-themed stores, like karaoke, casinos and more. Some store owners even started a trend of maid strip club, maid gentlemen’s club and maid prostitution. These sexual services are described as the dark side of the maid culture because it has attracted people with an unpure mind to Akihabara and leaving otakus with no place to stay. Additionally, the increasing amount of tourists that have heated up the battle between stores also causes some less pleasant voices within otakus and even maids.

From an interview performed on 100 maids staff, most of them agreed that otakus customers are more willing to spend money on services and tips more compared to tourists. The maids surely do not hate on or whatnot, yet, when it comes to financial benefits, otakus seems to have won the heart of the maids.

If you are a weeb, have an otaku hobby or if you are totally not interested in such a culture, I still recommend you to try out one of the maid cafes when you visit Japan. It is a very interesting experience, and if not, the girls are really cute and adorable to look at, cough cough, I mean the food and drinks are really cute and adorable to look at. Get ready to Moe moe kyuun! ♡~*

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VOGUE ITALIA

I thought this Monday was going to be like every other Monday, but to my surprise, it didn’t. I woke up at 8:30 am, made my way to the bathroom and when I came back to my room, I got changed for the gym. I spent about an hour in there targeting my arms, and as I was taking a break from my lat pulldowns, I got a DM from a Disney Animator and aspiring Photographer named Marc (@marcrovich), whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with before. Like most messages I get in the morning, I ignore them until at least 9 am to make sure I’ve had enough time to wake up and spend some “me-minutes” with myself.

When I came home, I immediately showered and as I began to towel dry my hair, I opened up the messages. I would have never guessed what happened and neither could Marc.

A photo we had taken together in late January was published on the Vogue Italia website! I couldn’t believe it, even asking several times over and over again sounding like a broken record, it wasn’t a joke.

As I made my way to the bus station to head to an appointment in Surrey, not only did I miss the 145, but within minutes hot tears started streaming down my face and I can assure you that it wasn’t because I missed my bus. I’m not much of a cryer, but I still couldn’t believe the news. It was starting to seem as different doors were closing in my life, other doors were starting to magically open. 

The next day, I went to lunch to catch up with a group of doom mates that I met in first year! Before I had even sat my butt down, they were shouting at me from across the way about the news. It was one of the most gratifying feelings in the world to celebrate and be celebrated by the first group of friends I made in University. They’ve seen me grow into exactly the person I’ve always wanted to become and they’ve supported me since the very beginning of me moving out here. It’s crazy to think of how many nights we spent on the 7th floor of the common room in Shadbolt House talking up until all hours of the night about where we saw ourselves three years down the road. At the time it was incomprehensible, but in current time we were all together celebrating who we were now. As we toasted to celebrate, I was so incredibly happy. Not just about the publication, but because I had people out there supporting me no matter what I decided to do. No matter how many changes I’ve undergone in the past three years, I’m still the same small town kid, but with the people I’ve met along the way, I’ve been able to build the life that I’d dreamt about three years ago in that common room.

Blog Post #21: Girl, Stop Apologizing Review

Hi everybody! I hope you all had a great start to the week. This next entry is a review on Girl, Stop Apologizing, by Rachel Hollis. If you recall, my first ever blog post was Girl, Wash Your Face, also by Hollis, which you can find here. It makes me reflect on all the work I’ve done thus far on this platform and overall, I’m extremely proud of Four Purple Walls.

 Anyway, without further ado, here’s Girl, Stop Apologizing.

Hollis lists and elaborates on effective means women can go about pursuing their goals, despite the challenges faced along the way. She addresses the most common excuses known to man throughout, which typically hinder individuals from doing so, such as “I Don’t Have Time,” “I’m Terrified of Failure,” It’s Been Done Before” and “What Will They Think?” She essentially cuts the crap by getting straight to the point, but writes with a compassionate approach, while, similar to Girl, Wash Your Face, consistently providing examples occurring in her own life.

For instance, she even asserts that, at one point, when the rest of her family were having fun at a pool, she was inside writing this book. Sometimes everyone needs to sacrifice something in order to work on what you want to accomplish in life. Its just a necessary part of the process. She also mentions suggestions for realistic goal setting and they’re one of the most powerful aspects of the title.

I kid you not, her books have changed the way I view life as someone who possesses dreams. I loved everything about them. Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing are the first self-help/improvement novels I’ve read, and incredible introductions to this powerful genre. If you’re looking for the perfect combination of amazing advice and personal experiences, please give Rachel Hollis a shot.

Process Post #8: Methods that can help enhance our blogs and monetization resources

This week in lecture, Dr. Norman discussed the best ways to regularly post and listed the different factors that contribute to successful engagement. What stood out to me was “recycling well-performing content.” While I have come across such practices on various platforms by other people, it is one I may consider undertaking on social media, but I am unsure if that could function well on the blog itself. However, one feasible idea may be placing certain posts I think would be eye-catching on the home page as evidently this page is the first one viewers will see if they were to organically search “Four Purple Walls” via Google or type it directly into the search bar.

She also provided us with useful suggestions regarding creating supplementary content with the potential to add to our brands, including infographics and avatars. I never contemplated making an avatar for the site as I frequently saw it as more of a fun activity for personal use. But I do now see how this quality actually possesses the possibility to further “convey personality” (Norman, 2020). I also really appreciated Dr. Norman recommending the, essentially, corresponding tools available that directly helps us to do so. Concerning infographics, there was Canva, which I have had experience utilizing, as well as Visme and Biteable. I never heard of CoSchedule either, a website that assists in devising effective headlines.

What definitely surprised me were means such as crowdfunding being an option to monetize. I saw it as more for companies in the process of launching rather than individuals running a blogsite. I never knew the purpose of crowdfunding additionally encompassed “supporting other ventures” (Norman, 2020). Overall, I am glad our class was given the opportunity to learn more about many valuable, online resources. I look forward to engaging with them in continuing to enhance my blog.

References

Norman, S. (2020, March 6). Beyond Logos: From Instagram to Infographics + Funding and Financial Resources. PUB 201. Lecture conducted from Vancouver, B.C

I Am Sorta Okay With This: An “I Am Not Okay With This” Review

Netflix’s latest series is I Am Not Okay With This, which follows teenager Sydney as she navigates high school, the realization that she has a crush on her BFF (who happens to be dating the school’s bully), and slowly comes to terms with her newly discovered superpowers. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Charles Forsman (which is by the same author who also wrote the graphic novel that inspired the beloved Netflix series The End of The F***ing World).

I will start by being very honest and saying that I initially had no interest in checking this series out. While I was intrigued when I read the synopsis, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities it had to pretty much every other teenage girl coming of age story. One of Sydney’s first voice over lines in the trailer is literally “my name’s Sydney, I’m a boring 17 year-old white girl.” And one of the posters even shows her covered head to toe in blood, looking very similar to Carrie. That being said, I was interested to see where the story would take itself, and i will be honest and say I really like the metaphor of super powers and puberty (as weird and specific as that may be), while it may be slightly over done. And I was also excited to see Sophia Lillis and Wyatt Oleff acting together once again — as they were both in the 2017 version of Stephen King’s It. It almost seems like Sophia can only do roles that require her to be covered in blood at one point?

The only word I can think to use to describe this series is meh. There are good parts, cringe-y parts, and parts that had me laughing so hard my mom came upstairs to ask me what exactly is so funny? But for the most part it felt like almost every teen show. With the underlying themes of mental health, most specifically depression and suicide — i don’t think they were handled as well as they could’ve been. This is not necessarily a spoiler but it is revealed that Sydney’s father had committed suicide about 1 year before we meet her here. And throughout the story we learn more about him and what it is that pushed him to do it. I think they could’ve handled this topic a bit better personally, and felt wary of the way they made suicide feel like the only option and truly brushed over the deeper details of it all. I think it is extremely important to handles topics like this with care because they are so important to be talking openly about and destigmatizing — especially because I know many teenagers are watching and therefore learning from it.

On another note, there is something I’ve noticed in a lot of recent teen tv series and even movies. There will be a story set in modern times, with phones and current dialogue referencing memes and tik tok and things like that — but for some reason the costumes, sets, and even just colours of the show will make it look like it’s set in the 80s. I’ve also noticed this in The End of the F***ing World, and while I have not watched Sex Education I know that was something a lot of people noticed there as well. I think Netflix knows how much everyone loves the look and feel of the nostalgia in Stranger Things, so they try to give us all that same feeling with other shows. The only problem is Stranger Things ACTUALLY TAKES PLACE IN THE 80S! So it makes sense. Here, I can help but be confused when a character pulls out an iPhone and starts texting because I was so sure it took place in the past. For me, I think there’s a fine line between a film or a tv series being timeless and it trying so hard to pull nostalgia strings. An example of a timeless film is La La Land, which for me could really take place in any time period — even though they have modern technology. Whereas this show, and others, make me confused and feel like they’re trying way too hard.

Speaking of trying too hard. I hate to admit it to myself, but i am no longer a “teen.” But I still think 20 is too early to not be able to relate to teens AT ALL. Wyatt Oleff’s character, Stanley (yes, same name as his It character) is one of the most pretentious and annoying characters I have ever witnessed in a TV series, and I truly fear any teenager that acts like him (no offence). I have nothing against appreciating old technology. I have a record player, i love it, i listen to music on it. But, not only does Stanley Barber listen to his music only on his record player (which he then plugs his earphones into?) he also claims that VHS is the best platform there is… which is just… top tier pretentious in my books. To me, (i’ll admit: a slightly pretentious young adult), i think everyone knows that VHS is just a bit too much. However, there are also moments where I did enjoy Stanley as a characters, along with the others as well. But I’m someone who really has to have a connection to characters and really become invested in them in order to really love a tv show of film — and that didn’t really happen for me here.

This was an extremely easy show to watch, and especially binge. With there only being 7 episodes and each of them being approximately 20 minutes long — I was able to finish it all in one night. It clearly draws inspiration from other coming of age films, and TV shows without it feeling too much like a copy (I definitely see the Carrie similarity as a nod rather than a rip off). However, in the last few episodes it was made very clear that there was no way everything would be wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end, and I’m guessing there’s going to be a second season. That being said, I didn’t love the ending. I think with where the story was going they still could’ve left it ~ambiguous~ without leaving me very underwhelmed and with about 1000 questions piling up in my brain.

So, at the end of the day — i AM okay with this…. sorta.

I Am Not Okay With This is now streaming on Netflix

Process Post | Visuals

Studies have shown that visual content helps people retain information better, suggesting that visual content creation for a blog is as important as written content. Some examples to learn from are Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and all other social media platforms with a large amount of visuals. My blog has several visual contents including the logo, large photographs, some gifs, yet, there are no videos, infographics or audio. To develop such content for my blog, I brainstormed a few ideas that might fit

First, I should make more videos during my future trips to Japan, and try to incorporate some audio within. I personally would not want to include my voice, which as an alternative, I can make good use of the current trend of ASMR clips. ASMR videos on chewing and eating sounds match with the theme of my foodie blog, create variety in contents and incorporate visual contents. It can be a tasting video of food bought from a convenience store in Japan or take-out from Japanese restaurants, which will allow me to relocate myself to a quiet environment for better soundtracks.

Secondly, infographics can be used to explain my blog post’s content, such as steps of a recipe, proper table manners and more. Similar to Kane Honnosuke‘s instructions on “How to eat Tendon”, I can learn from the store and create guidelines with illustrations. Generating my own artwork also helps my blog to look more consistent in terms of graphic styles, colour choices and more.

I will definitely try to include more multimedia content into the blog, so as to help audience understand my content better and improve the blog’s quality.

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Blog Post #20: Forgiveness Review

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a great day. This week’s post is on Forgiveness, by Canadian lawyer, Mark Sakamoto. It brought me to tears and I couldn’t think of a better book to write about for my next blog entry.

The novel elaborates on the incredible narratives of Sakamoto’s grandparents during WWII. From Ralph, his maternal grandfather, enduring a difficult childhood and miraculously surviving horrific treatment (which is an understatement) as a P.O.W, to Mitsue, his maternal grandmother, and her family being forced out of their home solely because they were Japanese and leaving a life they’ve always known, only to take up back-breaking labour whilst bearing extremely harsh weather conditions in exchange for miniscule pay, it provides readers with a vivid snapshot of the hardships this generation overcame so they could, at some points, simply stay alive, but also create a better life for themselves and their future children.

The latter sections of the book, however, detail what Sakamoto’s own life was like being a young boy of half-Scottish and half-Japanese descent growing up in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He recalls the joyful moments, including he, his younger brother, and father riding in a 1974 beige Chevy truck and watching Mr. Rogers. He also emphasized the intense love he felt from his mother every single day as well as his father’s perpetually happy, calm presence, despite working long hours.

However, Sakamoto further discusses particularly challenging times when these things came to an end after his parents decided to get a divorce. His mother hit a very low point in her life and the events that followed are beyond heartbreaking.

I was speechless after finishing Forgiveness. The prose is absolutely stunning. I’m truly inspired by Mark Sakamoto and words can’t express how much I appreciate his relatives for their willingness to share their stories. I felt so many different emotions and loved it.  All I can say now is: “READ THIS BOOK!”

Eat | Kane Hannosuke

Kane Hannosuke (金半之助) is a Japanese chain specialty restaurant known for its Tendon, which is tempura rice bowl. Beginning with its main store at Osaka, Kane Hannosuke has expanded to a global scale with oversea stores in the US and Canada. After long years of wishing, dreaming and praying, they finally opened a store in Vancouver, allowing me a chance to try out this amazing rice bowl without having to worry about flights and travelling costs. This week we will not travel to Japan, but just our taste bulbs.

Interior

Inside of the store

Their first Vancouver branch is located on Robson Street, right at the center of Vancouver downtown. The outside of the store does not stand out, but the floor stand signage with a picture of its signature rice bowl caught me immediate attention as I walk by. When entering the store we can see a wall of cherry blossom painting. It is very calming and matches the overall atmosphere. Beige wood furniture with light green cushioned chairs and the warm yellow gradient from the lights also made a very friendly and peaceful first impression.

Main Course

Menu

The menu fully showcases their dedication towards tempura, featuring only their 4 famous tempura rice bowls and several tempura sides. I and my food buddy both ordered the premium tempura rice bowl, which has a whole white eel, shrimp, mixed seafood tempura, soft boiled egg, seaweed, green bean and the best part is that all items are deep-fried in the fluffy but crunchy tempura batter. These freshly made tempura pieces are then topped with a splash of special house-made sauce, and finally, placed nicely on a bowl of steaming hot rice. The sauce helps to reduce the oiliness and gently softens the shell so it will not hurt our gums even after eating that many tempura pieces. Before start eating, our waitress also recommended us to follow the steps illustrated in the guidelines.

Guidelines to eat a tendon

This is undoubtedly a very filling and satisfying meal that I am sure everyone loves. Each and every single bite is so enjoyable, juicy yet crunchy. When paired with the sauce and a spoonful of white Japanese rice, it is better than anything you can imagine. However, despite the fact that this meal is extremely delicious, the calories and oil consumption also made me worry and slightly guilty. Great price and a good portion, tasty but cost me hours of workouts afterwards. But I did not regret it and might even work harder so I can come more often!

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DISTRIBUTRICE: Peer Review #2

For my second peer review I will be talking about Yelyzaveta Panchenko’s site: www.distributricee.com

Upon first glance her blog is very beautiful. I love the colours and her choice of font. I also think she does a very good job of utilizing the “above the fold” concept. Because not only does she have an interesting header photo that intrigues me, but there is the “explore all new trending” at the bottom — which makes me want to scroll down.

Although, this header image really makes me want to click the “follow me” button — but when I click on it, nothing happens. I would suggest having this button go straight to either the About Me page, or a social media platform. And speaking of social media platforms, they are easily accessible from the upper right corner of the blog. With there just being Instagram and Facebook. However, the Facebook is private/for just friends — and the Instagram has no connection back to the blog. I would suggest connecting these platforms more. So for instance, making a “fan page” on Facebook — rather than using your personal page. And posting the link to your blog in your instagram bio. This will make it very easy for people to connect you to your blog as well as your blog to your instagram and vice versa — no matter what platform they are using.

When it comes to the personality of the blog, I find it difficult to imagine who exactly is writing these posts. While I know the name of the author because I’ve been given it to complete the assignment — and it can be found in small writing on each individual post as well as through Insta or Facebook — there is nothing on the About Me page. Even if you want to make this blog anonymous, make that clear (and then maybe remove the connection of prior mentioned social media). Or there is of course the possibility of using a pseudonym. And then, while each individual post does shows the author’s name … it says Elis — which not the same name as that on facebook. Even just making the most simple decision of choosing a consistent online name can help make your brand much more successful. And I would also suggest adding an image, which can also make it much more personal than the ominous grey human silhouette.

Another suggestion would be to make the process posts as well as peer reviews individual posts, rather than pages where new words are added each week. I would then suggest putting them both under one category of Academic or PUB 201. In the long run this will be much easier. Because as you write more process posts and peer reviews, there won’t be any necessary scrolling to try and find the one that you want. This will also put all of the school related content together, making it completely separate from the rest of the blog. And even with regular blog posts, utilize the categories rather than have each one show as being “uncategorized.”

over all the posts of DISTRIBUTRICE have a clear motive, and it is done in an incredibly efficient way through their writing style and interesting and informative topics. My only suggestion would be a more connection within the social media presence and an extra personal touch, and then all will be well!

Live From My Blog It’s A “Saturday Night” Documentary Review!

I have a very weird and distinct memory of the first time I was exposed to the iconic sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live. I was on a family vacation to Victoria with my parents and my oldest brother. And for some reason, I have a vivid memory of hearing the words “it’s by **** in a box” over and over again. This was in 2009, so I was about 9 years old and in my humble opinion far too young to be hearing the usually crude words of songs by The Lonely Island’. But nevertheless, this was (probably) the first time I witnessed Saturday Night Live. Something, that would turn out to be one of my favourite things. And so, it is no surprise that I would immediately want to watch the documentary Saturday Night, which follows the cast of SNL‘s 34th season through the weekly creation of an episode of SNL (with this week’s host being John Malkovich). Showing us how they get from the initial pitch meeting on Monday, all the way to the live show on (you guessed it) Saturday. 

This documentary was shot by James Franco (yes, the well known actor who played Tommy Wise in The Disaster Artist) while he was studying film at NYU (it’s also worth it to note that he had hosted the show once before this). And, it also happens to be one of the most difficult movies to find online. I think that’s partly because it was a school assignment first and foremost. While it was filmed in 2008, it didn’t premier at the SXSW film festival until 2010, and then didn’t get widely released until 2014. In the end I finally found it, on Youtube of all places. 

That being said I was so eager to watch this because it not only highlights one of my favourite eras of SNL, but because there is literally nothing else like it. SNL is relatively secretive of its process — I did the NBC studio tour last time I was in New York and they won’t even let you take a photo of the hallway. and while past and present cast members have told stories about the show and talked about the creative process, it’s unprecedented that Franco was able to do this film because there’s nothing else out there actually showing us the writers in the moment. If you don’t know, SNL starts on Monday with a pitch meeting in Lorne Michael’s office. Then everyone writes as many sketches as they can on Tuesday, then they do a table read of all those sketches on Wednesday, then they narrow it down to less sketches, practice those, have the dress rehearsal at 8:30 on Saturday, narrow it down to even less sketches, and then have the live show at 11:30pm. It’s a lot. And so, I was extremely excited to be able to see all of that in this documentary. Although, that’s not exactly the case. 

The main issue with the documentary is it feels like a school assignment. It’s messy and the production value isn’t amazing. It often goes between colour and B&W— which I at first thought was going to be used to differentiate between the creative process and various talking head interviews — but it was ultimately just used randomly and (I think) for no apparent reason. 

The other problem I have is it often finds itself too In the moment, and I can’t help but think that someone who has little to no knowledge of SNL would end up being confused. I could tell it would be like this from the second it began. We of course start on Monday, the day of the pitch meeting, and we get a little interview with cast member Will Forte (2:18)— who is a consistent voice throughout the film. Franco says to Forte “So, the pitch meeting” to which Forte begins to explain what exactly the pitch meeting entails — that is before Franco cuts him off abruptly saying, “we know what it is, but how do you feel?” To me this shows that this movie isn’t really going to try and educate the people watching. What if the viewer actually doesn’t know what the pitch meeting is? They might not know that the pitch meeting is where each writer AND cast member introduce themselves to the host of the week and pitch something to them. We are not told this, and the footage we get of the pitch meeting itself doesn’t exactly convey it either.

Another similar moment is when we take a peek at the SNL Digital Shorts (57:18). We suddenly cut to footage of the song “Jizz In My Pants” and a title card comes up reading “SNL Digital Short.” To me, I thought this would give us insight into how the digital shorts are developed and shot, as well as a bit of information about how it was Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schafer of The Lonely Island who popularized them in the first place. Although, we instead got clips of the song/video they (supposedly) wrote that week and an interview with Andy Samberg (which didn’t relate to the digital shorts at all)

And speaking of interviews, there was little to no skill of interviewing cast members, writers, producers, and even people they talked to in the SNL standby line. Not only did they not explain what the standby line is (it’s a line that begins 24 hrs before the live show that you can stand in for the chance to see the live show or dress rehearsal) but there was an excruciatingly awkward interview with one man in line. Long story short they kept mishearing what the man was saying and to me it read as quite unprofessional and sloppy. 

Although, with all that negativity there were some positive aspects as well. For starters, it does do a good job of portraying the ups and downs of working at SNL. On Tuesday night we see many different writers and cast members slaving over their sketches trying to get them done. A couple of my favourite moments being John Mulaney and Bill Hader laughing hysterically at one other over office supplies jokes, the testing of multiple fart sound effects to figure out which one is the best, Seth Meyers going to the producer’s office on the morning of the table read to ask if he should write a sketch (which ended up making it to air), and everyone talking about how normal it is to go to sleep at 8am on Wednesday morning. 

It also shows the ways in which certain sketches start as a little idea, and grow into something greater. As well as the way in which a sketch can seem amazing at the table read on Wednesday, get developed further and brought to fruition — only for it to be cut 30 minutes before the live show at dress rehearsal. 

I also really enjoyed the interviews that they did with Lorne Michaels (the creator of SNL), as well as Steve Higgens (long time producer). While I commented earlier on the low quality interviewing skills, the words that they were able to get out of these two SNL legends were definitely high quality. I especially liked the bit where Lorne talked about how the cameras being present definitely had an impact on the ways in which the cast members acted throughout the film —which I think is quite true. It put an interesting thought in my mind of documentaries as a whole, especially because I know that I would act differently if I knew someone was filming me. For instance during the part of the film that chronicles the writing process, we get a shot of head writer Seth Meyers taking a nap — and then we are shown him again once he has woken up gets back to writing. To me, I could feel the slight tension of Meyers wanting to go back to writing in private, but he was far too polite to tell the crew to maybe leave him alone for a bit. And despite the fact that Bill Hader has spoken a lot about the extreme anxiety he experienced while doing SNL, he doesn’t show any signs of that here, (and while I do acknowledge that anxiety is not always visible — he has spoken about the way that it affected his work) whether that be because they edited stuff out, or he tried to act differently for the documentary as a whole.

In my mind this was going to be the perfect little look into the process of SNL but it rather felt like someone “vlogging” their week at SNL. Showing us the highlights of the week, but leaving out the more nitty gritty parts of the show and the more “boring” parts of how it all gets put together. To me, this is sad, because I want to know every single thing about the show. I know there are books that talk about the show, and another documentary called Live From New York! But I think neither of those really achieve the idea that I have in mind. Going through each step of the week (pitch meeting, writing, table read, revisions, set design, costume design, rehearsals, dress rehearsal, the live show — and even more) while also giving the history of each element. I don’t know if there could be anything that is like that because a.) it would be about 10 hours long if it was a film, and b.) I think Lorne Michaels is very selective about who is able to chronicle the ways in which he makes SNL work. For instance, it is very clear that James Franco was a friend of the showing having hosted before he filmed this — and he has since hosted 3 more times. 

Although, I know I will probably come back to this film from time to time, just to enjoy the chaotic energy that exudes from the whole cast. and that odd joy mixed with stress that each of the cast members seem to be harbouring throughout their creative process. While they’re staying up until 8am the next morning writing sketches that will probably never see the light of day — they’re still doing it. They love their job even though it drags them through the mud a bit, and it is entirely worth it when you see the end product. 

Peer Review Two

NCars (http://ncars.ca/) is a personal blog composed by Neil Chowdhury. The overall design is clean and simple, which is very easy to navigate. Colour contrast is also great, with black and white as the basic palettes and yellow for highlights. However, there are some issues in other aspects of the blog.

First, there is no sign of any social media platforms being linked to this blog. As social platforms are playing a big role in any business in any field, it is a great idea to start a social media account. It will help to increase exposure and improve audience engagements.

Secondly, the topic of the blog is very confusing. Without looking into the landing page I quickly browsed the “Blog” section of the website. There are 3 blog posts from 2019 are about photographs, which made me assumed the theme of the blog to be photography. There is even a photo event/exhibition page showcasing amazing landscape photographs. Yet, going back to the homepage the tag line wrote “all things electric” with a futuristic car photograph as the background. Scrolling down I got more information about NCars as a “one-stop location for all the new for electric cars”, not to mention the spelling error of “al” instead of “all”. Finally, after reading into the blog posts which are not written in English, I suspected that the blog posts are placeholders from the WordPress theme, and came to the conclusion that the topic of NCars might be electric cars. This raises a big issue of the blog which is the lack of updates and contents.

Reading the first peer review did on this blog, I believe that the author of the blog had not worked on the posts or any updates to the contents. This is definitely the biggest challenge for the project as the website is currently 5 weeks behind schedules.

Eat | Umeyama Teppei Shokudou

Umeyama Teppei Shokudou Main Store (梅山鉄平食堂 本店) is a fish cuisine store located in Fukuoka, close to the fish market Yanagibashi Rengo Market. Most of the fish that are used in the restaurant are supplied by Yanagibashi Rengo Market, and the restaurant serves different menus every day depending on the types of fish that came in.

Lunch sets

Interior

Store front

Umeyama Teppei Shokudou Main Store has a casual and comfy atmosphere that is very family-friendly. A lot of wood textures are used for the outer wall and interior of the store, creating a calming mood with warm earth tones. Furniture, tableware and the overall design is not the fanciest that you can find, yet, it is clean and cozy. A lot of office workers from the neighbourhood spend their lunch breaks here to get a refreshing and fulfilling meal. Staffs are very welcoming and always have the brightest smile on their face when serving us. The intimacy ambience makes feels almost like a family business, yet Umeyama Teppei Shokudou is actually a small chain that has 2 other branches.

Main Course

Lunch set

After a 10 minutes walk from the Yanagibashi Rengo Market, I and my family arrived at the restaurant. There was a short lineup but time passed by quickly while we were browsing through the comprehensive digital menu. Once we seated our waitress immediately approached us and place our order of 4 items including a fish of the day grilled lunch set, fish of the day stew lunch set, grill mackerel lunch set and a sashimi lunch set. Water and tea are self-served which can be obtained near the entrance of the store. All our dishes came pretty quicky just after a few sips of tea. The combination of each set was very well-designed, with a different side salad for different types of fish. I got a greater burdock carrot salad mix with sesame sauce, while other sets had either the seaweed salad or the konnyaku and taro soup salad. My sashimi set was very fresh and there was absolutely no fishy taste but only a sweet meaty scent. The thickness of each sashimi pieces was not overwhelming but still very satisfying. Not to mention the thick dark soy sauce that richened the overall taste of the whole meal. Rice can be refilled at no extra cost, but I decided to leave some space for other delicious foods that were waiting for me.


Umeyama Teppei Shokudou Main Store is surely a fish cuisine professional yet offering all the tastiness at a surprisingly economical price, attracting everyone from the area to drop-by for a convenient meal. It is a highly recommended choice for people visiting the area, especially those who prefer cooked fish rather than raw sashimi fish.

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SOMETHING DIFFERENT…

Hey there, my name is Mehtab and I welcome you to my website/blog. I know you’re probably confused… like, “where am I?… this is a car site thingy”.. well let me explain. This blog, titled “Vancity Exotics” was created as an assignment for school. I have had a deep rooted love for automobiles since a young age, which is why I chose to create a blog about cars when asked to create a blog about something I am passionate about. I used this platform for my previous Publication Course to post my assignments, weekly process posts, essays and of course pictures of the hottest rides roaming our streets.

Moving forward into a new semester, I decided to take another Publication Course in which I have been tasked to create a type of blog post or to comment on a public domain about something I am passionate about. Now I know what you might be thinking like, “is this guy seriously going to make another blog about cars?… what a weirdo”. Well, let me be the first to say NO, I will NOT be doing that, instead I will be writing about something else I am passionate about, technology. In today’s modern day, technology has shifted our world into an unrecognizable place. Communication technologies have had a dominating effect on the lives of individuals, resulting in them becoming more dependent on such technologies to maintain a standard of living. I came across an article written by Yalda T. Uhls and others (cited), titled “Benefits and Costs of Social Media in Adolescence”. This article discusses how social media is intertwined with adolescent development and assess both the costs and benefits of adolescent social media use. The article was very interesting, and I enjoyed reading it, as it resonated with me in many ways. I decided to do some more research in hopes of potentially adding to the ongoing conversation about technology, social media and the following is what I came up with. 

Technology gives us easy access to information and news, through our smartphones, tablets, laptops and other smart devices, overshadowing the more traditional ways of doing things (Uhls, 2017) Before this era of technology and social media, information gathering and the sharing of ideas happened at a much slower rate. The evolution of technology has been beneficial to society, as it opens up a new spectrum of the world. We are able to communicate efficiently, research and gather information we are interested in through online articles and blogs; not to mention, we are able to stream videos, share pictures and expand our knowledge about global issues.

Departing from reality is necessary to achieve the standard of interconnectedness that is the current state of society. Social media has created a lot of opportunities, as it gives recognition to small businesses and brings people from every corner of the world together in instances of crisis and awareness. However, I also believe that modern forms of communication are negatively impacting modern societies by eliminating the need for interpersonal communication skills, and creating an environment that lacks awareness of social surroundings, and lacks a sense of identity. 

Technological advances are highly demanding of an individual’s attention and take up much of our time. Social processes, people, and their social arrangements are seen as factors that collectively promote change and affect our society. Communication technologies cause individuals to disconnect from reality, negatively impacting our perception of the world, making humans less willing to learn by themselves since ‘google knows the answer’, inevitably decreasing effort and promoting dependence. ”Unlike facet-to-face interaction or even the telephone, the internet offers opportunities for social interaction that do not not depend on the distance between parties” (Kraut, pp. 1019). 

Technology is intertwined in daily life, so much so, that escaping modernity is nearly impossible. Regardless of the ease and interconnectivity that communication technologies may provide, it takes away from our perception of reality and our surroundings. With the ever increasing use of technology and social media, there is an increased dislocation of oneself from reality (Connerton, pp. 124). For instance, there is a disjunction between the production and the final product of goods; in that, there is “a telling contrast between the personal signature of the artist, the stamp of the creator, and the anonymity of those in manufactur[ing]e who leave no trace on the product” (Connerton, pp. 125). Technology is both beneficial and detrimental, it all depends on how one uses it and how one misuses it.

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References:

Connerton, Paul. How Societies Remember. Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Kraut, R, et al. “Internet Paradox. A Social Technology That Reduces Social Involvement and Psychological Well-Being?” The American Psychologist, vol. 53, no. 9, 1998, pp. 1017–1031.

Uhls, Yalda T, et al. “Benefits and Costs of Social Media in Adolescence.” Pediatrics, vol. 140, no. Suppl 2, 2017, pp. S67–S70.

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Travel | Weird Bars 🥢

Bars are always the best place to spend hours drinking and snacking with friends after a long day of work. In Tokyo, there are all kinds of bars ranging from classy places at the penthouse to cheap eats on a roadside and the most strangely themed bars. This article will introduce 3 weird bars that are way more interesting than you can imagine.

Hackers Bar

Hackers Bar

Hackers Bar, as the name has stated, is a bar for hackers. It is the perfect place to enjoy live coding, and networking with professionals in the field as all staffs are serious engineers, aka hackers. It might seem like the bar is only for hacking and coding, yet, all kinds of complicated engineering theories, highly complex techniques and intricate knowledge are welcome to be shared in the bar. A specialist will hold a daily theme base on different languages including PHP, Objective-C, JavaScript, HTML, Swift, CSS and more.

VOWS BAR

Vows Bar

VOWS BAR is a bar found by monks based on beliefs of Buddhism. It might sound very contradictory since monks are banned from drinking alcohol. However, Yoshinori Fujioka, the staff at the bar who is also a monk at Jodo Shinshu Honganji Temple, explains that they are practicing the chilled and relaxed atmosphere at a bar to help customer spill out their stress and issues. He mentioned that customers are more open to discuss and perform counselling after drinking. Alcohol is not the main focus, but the effect of alcohol. All monks at the bar are wishing to provide life coaching advice to each client and help them find out the best solution.

Sengoku Buyuden

Sengoku Byyuden (戦国武勇伝) is created based on the age of civil war. Japanese armour, weapons and images of historical figures can be found everywhere in the bar. Tables are named according to different historical events, and private rooms are named with a well-know Japanese warrior. All dishes and drinks are also named with war-related terms. This is absolutely one place for visitors who are interested in the Japanese wartime period.

Next time when you visit Japan, be sure to move beyond sushi, tempura and ramen, and spend some time in one of these amazingly interesting bars! And don’t forget to drink within your limit. Cheers!

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Process Post | Brand Story

Lauren Cheal did a guest lecture on brand story, teaching us the importance of storytelling within a brand and the power of convincing audiences with an anecdote. For my blog Nihon Shoku, the brand story should describe how and why I found interest on the topic that I am blogging about. It should provide audiences with an understanding of why the brand exists, thus persuade them to follow the blog using a more personal approach.

I posted my brand story in the discussion section for this week’s participation, which I will quickly summarize here. The story behind the brand began with my interest in Japanese pop culture of anime and manga, and the beautifully illustrated food scenes in the episodes. I was deeply fascinated and sparked my inner desire to try all kinds of Japanese food. My first visit to Japan had convinced me to learn Japanese so I can understand the menu and table manner instructions provided by the restaurants. This blog is a place that gathers everything a Japanese foodie traveller, like me, would love to know or read about.

After composing the brand story, I found it helpful in establishing a stronger base for the blog. I am more confident in sharing and talking about the blog because now I understand the blog more. I once again realized how much time and effort I am willing to spend on this topic of Japanese food culture, and never getting tired of it. Another benefit of building up a brand story is mentioned in the video showed by Cheal, discussing how people are buying the “why” behind the product instead of “what” the product is. Writing a brand story for the blog is definitely the best reply towards the “why” and refraining myself from only focusing on the “what”. There are tones of food and travel bloggers on social media, which makes it really hard to stand out from the crowd. Yet, the brand story reminds me of how to make my blog distinct from the others. Nihon Shoku is not a food blog solely for pretty pictures and catchy phrases, but also all the researches and information behind each lovely dishes. It is not just another travel blog that features everything in any cities but it is made for foodie travellers going to Japan. It helped to guide and to reorganize my ideas and also reminds me of my initial thoughts.

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Motivation 101: How to Make It ‘Til you Spring Break It!

Everyone dreads the last few weeks of spring semester. Here are some survival tips that will get you to spring break – ready to chill!

Create a Schedule

Instead of daydreaming about the warm beaches that I (unfortunately!) WON’T be tanning on this spring break, I like to make a list of all the high priority tasks that I need to complete before the break.

I like to map out everything that I need to get done by creating a schedule of what I need to do every day. This way, I don’t have an excuse to get lazy or “not know what to do” because I have taken the time to plan it out.

Check out: MIDTERM SEASON: Study Tips

Find your Go-To Study Spot & Hunker Down

If you haven’t already found your favourite study space, find it! Everyone has their preference, but personally, I find I can remain the most focused when I get out of my house and study at a cafe. Try out a few different settings, and consider what works the best for you. I like studying with some background noise, but others prefer the quietness of a library.

Check back on my blog soon for a post about my favourite study spots near SFU!

Make time for self-care

Ensuring you make time for yourself as a student is the key to success, IMO anyway! Whether you take some time to go for a walk, run a bath, or put on a face mask, you will thank yourself later. Knowing that I am taking care of my mind and body always helps to ease the stress of encroaching assignment deadlines and midterms.

Check out: Practicing Self-Care as a Student & 5 Tips to Staying Healthy as a Student

Comment down below if you have any tips for me. Have a great spring break everyone 🙂

Weekly Blog 11 : Travel Note of Czech Republic, the country that came from fairy tale 🇨🇿

Nietzsche said, “When I sought for a word to express music, I found Vienna; when I sought for a word to express mystery, only Prague came to my mind.”

85 years ago, Kafka, a great literary master, died in Vienna, and was immediately “shipped” back to Prague, a city engraved with an important mark of his life.

Some say that the immortal halo of celebrities has remade the city. Goethe delighted the German city of Weimar, Mozart made Austria’s Salzburg charming, and when we came to Prague, the Czech capital, we discovered that the old town has been added a mysterious legend due to Kafka.