Blog Post #24: Author Appreciation (Installment #5)

ca. 1930s-1940s — Laura Ingalls Wilder Signing Book — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Photo courtesy of time.com

Hello lovelies! Its another author appreciation post! This week I thought I’d talk about someone whom I’ve admired since I was a little girl. The author for this next installment is…Laura Ingalls Wilder!

She’s most well-known for writing the Little House on the Prairie book series, which were based on her life growing up in the late 1800s. I was introduced to these titles by my mother and just loved the stories ever since. History, especially around the time Wilder lived, has always been an interest of mine. I remember eagerly opening the first book, Little House in the Big Woods and I couldn’t put it down. Overall, I adored her vibrance, spunk and fun-loving personality throughout the series. Reading them further gave me a vivid glimpse into what life was like back then. Although Wilder highlighted both the difficulties her family faced and happier moments, it made me truly appreciate the opportunities that I have currently as someone living in the 21st century.

Discussing this era makes me want to go back to being an 8-year-old when I found out that the series was created into a very successful TV show, starring Melissa Gilbert. Little House on the Prairie also became one of my favourite programs. I was amazed by every aspect of the show including how well every actor portrayed the individuals Wilder incorporated. If she were alive today I would definitely try reaching out and tell her how much Little House on the Prairie meant to my younger self and even now. I without a sliver of doubt consider Wilder a public figure who has had a major impact on the cultural landscape. She was a force to be reckoned with.

Calling all the big history buffs out there like me who have not done so already: I highly recommend you check out Laura Ingalls Wilder and her work.

Challenge Accepted

This week, instead of writing to you from the comforts of my dimly lit dorm room, I’m coming to you from the confines of my childhood bedroom, only about 5.5 hours away with the Georgia Straight being the only thing separating us. Amidst this unique time, I’ve found that over the past week being adaptable is not only a huge part of our lives (yours and mine included) generally speaking, but equally huge part of being creative. To come full circle here, I need to jump through a few hoops and bounds so bare with me as I swear that I have a term worthy ending for you. 

I’m currently enrolled in an upper division Communications course that focuses primarily on sound engineering, putting a critical lens on the history and relevance of podcasts in particular. When I first read the syllabus in January- which seems like a lifetime ago, I was well aware that I’d be handing in a 5-10 minute podcast as my term project worthy of a heavty 30% contribution to my final grade in the course. 

About four weeks ago, my prof David decided (on the fly) that conducting an interview within our podcast was no longer optional, but mandatory. Given the time frame, this was prior to the University shutting down as the severity of COVID-19 ramped up. Within a week of his firm decision, five out of the thirty five of us attended our last in-person lecture and since then, all of us have been now working online to complete the course. Nearly two weeks ago now, David sent us an email to see how we were all doing on our projects. Upon opening the email, I assumed that he would be extremely lenient with our “mandatory interview” or even axxex it, but he didn’t. Instead, he wrote and I quote, “we need to be imaginative about how we respond to our situation.” With the world going into toilet paper bankruptcy, I thought that David would have  been without-a-doubt more understanding of our situation. In hindsight he was, I just couldn’t see it yet.

All during this time period, I planned on staying at the SFU campus until my scheduled move out date (April 26th), and then moving to my grandparents house for the rest of the summer. However, like many things in life, that didn’t go to plan or even remotely so.

I found myself arguing back and forth with my parents on where I’d be staying and for how long, each phone call ending without an exchange of goodbyes, but with the sound of the call being cut in one of my ears. Ideally, this virus and other viral pandemics in the past have been an occurrence that I and many others have been lucky enough to have not yet experienced in their lifetime. I’m completely guilty of underestimating this virus. Like many others, I can’t comprehend what it means for the future, not just my future or your future, but the future of the human race. It sounds extreme when I type it out, but since COVID-19 is unlike any other past pandemic, nobody is really sure what tomorrow will bring. In my mind, it was easier to think about tomorrow being a better day, but with each tomorrow things actually haven’t been getting any better. Due to its increasing severity, my parents made the final decision to bring me home to Vancouver Island. 

At the end of that phone call, my heart started rapidly beating as I saw the life I built for myself flash before my eyes. All I could think was, “How am I going to create from there?” As all of my photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, stylists, connections, networks, and brand deals are located in the city, I felt like I was nothing without them. Going back to the island felt like I was being exiled…banished…annexed from everything that I had built within the last year. BUT, at the same time I was having my little meltdown (trust me, I realize how ridiculous I was being), the ENTIRE population was experiencing the exact same feelings as I was. 

As my mom and I drove down the mountain onto Hastings Street- which is my most well known street thanks to the R5, I had a crystal clear view of the city. Since I was a little kid, Vancouver has always held a special place in my heart. I visited lots as my grandparents live there, always having so many things to see and do whenever I wanted, it was so unlike living in a small town. Although it’s true about what they say, “the grass is always greener on the other side,” but it was undeniable that the city offered more opportunities than that of a small town. To this day, my eyes still widen in awe as I’m greeted by the city as it’s always been a place where I’ve dreamt of living. In that moment my heart started to tremble as I realized that living in Vancouver was the one thing I had never once taken for granted, and I believe that’s why leaving hurt so unbelievably bad. We drove and drove and drove as the signs passed us, it was as if every first memory I ever experienced at those places started flashing through my mind one by one. It really put things into perspective for me as to how much I’ve come to grow and love the life that I’ve built for myself out here. My heart started pounding a little less, and it made the hurt go away. I had to remind myself that it wasn’t a goodbye forever but merely a heartfelt, “see you when I see you.”

As my journey continued back to the westend of the coastline, I checked my phone notifications. I had about 15+ missed messages from my CMNS 357 group chat about our individual podcasts- the three of them were debating whether or not they should complete the final assignment. One of them said that they were willing to nix the assignment completely taking an overall pass with 60% (due to our circumstances, this was approved by SFU as a “P” grade) as we no longer had access to a professional sonic studio, the other one was saying that we should complete our podcast for David (as he’s our homie and has been extremely good to all of us), and the last one admitted that they were too lazy to even bother with the assignment.

As I read the incoming messages I realized that my theory about the island being the reason why I lose my creative touch was just about as backwards as my classmates debating our final assignment. After that, I stopped asking myself, “why…”

“Why didn’t David excuse the interview from our term project?”

“Why did COVID-19 have to banish me back to Vancouver Island and ruin my creative streak?”

…and I started asking myself what. 

Specifically, what I was going to do, not only to produce a term-worthy podcast (with an interview) but to remind myself and my classmates that we as individuals were the only thing we needed to be creative.

In the very first lecture for this class, David said, “the podcast is one of the oldest acoustic artefacts to date, and yet still remains, and continues to grow in popularity.” He encouraged us to think outside of the box and told us that this virus was an even greater reason to go above and beyond, to show him that not only could we use the software, but we could use it in a way that told a story- a human like experience. And this is exactly the state of mind I have when I create, limits don’t exist, COVID-19 can’t and won’t stop me from being creative. Yes, It can take me out of Vancouver, it can take me away from the skyscrapers and the urban landscape, and it can take me away from my photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, stylists, connections, networks, and brand deals, but what it can’t do is take me away from being creative. I mean unless I actually am unfortunate enough to catch the virus… but for the purposes of this story, the only thing that can stop me from being creative is myself. 

And then the aching stopped, and I realized how happy I was to be home, with my family, and most importantly in a safe space rather than being cooped up in my dorm room for the next however long.

Creating content out of the island is something I haven’t done before (at the level I’m currently producing content at now), but I’m willing to accept the challenge. As a creative you need to be adaptable, and since my brand is myself, it shouldn’t be too hard bringing that with me unless I stop myself.

I picked up my phone and began hastily typing back to classmates. I’m glad that I could not only get them to reconsider their assignment for David (he really is a homie), but more importantly, for themselves. We don’t need access to sonic studios to create term worthy podcasts, and I don’t need Vancouver to keep creating. Instead we need to focus on telling meaningful stories that encapsulate human-like experiences that relate with our listeners, which believe me can be done with all but the very devices we hold so dear. I hold every ability to create within the palm of my hand, and so do you. 

So what’s stopping you?

Process Post #11: Podcasts, Online Audio, and Games

This past week, Suzanne discussed effective blogging practices and provided insight as well as relevant statistics regarding what the general public looks for in a blog. She mentions how they are no longer just spaces that have blocks of text, but rather, websites possessing other engaging elements to them. Podcasting, for example, has proven to be a great way to connect with your audience. Suzanne also, however, elaborates on both undertakings possessing their corresponding opportunities and drawbacks.

There was additionally a discussion how “online audio” has surged in popularity, with millions of people around the world listening to podcasts (Norman, 2020). Suzanne shared some recording and editing software we can maneuver should we consider doing so. Smart speakers are also highly utilized tools and examples would be “Amazon’s Alexa” and “Google Home” (Norman, 2020). I personally listen to a podcast on a regular basis but never imagined producers/hosts using these kinds of speakers. Evidently, if I were to feature a podcast, it would most likely include interviewing people about books that have inspired them or had a significant impact on their lives.

 Amazon further uses the term “skills,” meaning “apps” (Norman, 2020). They have templates allowing people to make the desired content or “skill” and add it to a database, where other individuals are able to stream them, which I was completely unaware of until now.

Then, Suzanne gave us step-by-step instructions for creating “skills,” like games, through “Alexa Skills Blueprints,” a platform that does not need code (Norman, 2020). I think this could potentially be the next recurring aspect of Four Purple Walls. I have been exploring different channels I believe the audience will find interesting. I do want them to experience a more interactive side with my brand and what the following steps may encompass when going about achieving this feat are, initially, generating more creative ideas that involve means such as Alexa Skills Blueprints. Overall, I am very excited to investigate the many possibilities that I can incorporate onto my blog after the semester concludes.

References

Norman, S. (2020). Beyond Blogs [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from: SFU Canvas.

Week 12: Process Post

Since technology has continued to ramp up over the years, bloggers have expanded their sites and adopted other platforms to deliver content to their audience. Bloggers have had to adapt their content based on the way their viewers consume content as other platforms have overgrown in popularity in comparison to blogs. 

In my case, I’m primarily passionate about creating photos and videos for my audience and spend most of my time developing that part of my brand. However, my blog came in handy as it was a place where my audience could get to know a little bit more about me. My blog gives my audience complete access to my portfolio which contains photos that may have never been released on my Instagram, as well as every hyperlink to the videos I’ve created and posted on YouTube along with the creative reasoning behind them. My blog is primarily a way for me to tell a real life story from a written point of view.

On Instagram, I would normally let my photos speak for themselves as the platform focuses primarily on static visuals. On YouTube, I’m allowed to fully explain my creative concepts to my viewers, which for me is the rawest form of content I’ve ever created as I’m able to capture my voice and my thoughts in the very second they’re taking place. I’ve found that my blog has basically allowed me to tie my two other main platforms together into one. 

In the next few months I hope to start working on a podcast as I’ve always been interested in sound engineering and have taken many classes in that field. However, for myself, I’d primarily use a podcast to tell the same story that I would write on my blog but use a platform that allows my viewers to listen rather than read. Personally, I would much rather watch a video that implements both audio and visuals rather than just using audio but I’m still interested in giving it a shot.

Although the example I’m using isn’t a blog, I thought it was relatively interesting how popular magazine Bon Appétit implements brand extensions to their site. 

I had originally heard of Bon Appétit through their YouTube channel which gives viewers a step by step walkthrough, teaching them to cook extravagant dishes. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I found out that Bon Appétit actually originated as American food and entertainment magazine. After checking out their website, I found that Bon Appétit runs a podcast or “Foodcast” as they call it, interviewing chefs, writers and anyone else who has something to say about food. Bon Appétit has also created the brand extension Healthish, which focuses on providing healthy alternatives to people and Basically, which provides a written step-by-step guide to cooking. When Editor in Chief, Adam Rapoport (2019) was asked what Bon Appétit was, he said that it’s, “whatever you want it to be. Even a magazine.” 

References

Rapoport, A. (2019, March 26). Bon Appétit Used to Just Be a Magazine. Not Anymore. Retrieved from https://www.bonappetit.com/story/not-just-magazine

Small Town Living with Uptown Dreams

As the days go by, I’m finding myself in a love-hate relationship with this self-isolation thing. On one hand, a part of me is frustrated that I’m being cooped up inside, forced to sit and relax and the other part of me is stoked that I finally get some time to catch up on the hundred and one things I’ve been putting off. I’m torn.

Prior to the world being taken over by COVID-19, I used to meet up with local photographers and creatives on a weekly basis, all while taking a full academic schedule, making time to hang out with my friends, making sure I went to the gym everyday and forcing myself to get a reasonable amount of sleep every night. I have to hand it to myself, for the first time I was actually balancing my life pretty well (the best I ever had), but now I worry that with all this free time on my hands I might not be as productive as I used to be. I’m a very scheduled person, I need tasks and directions to fully function because without those I find that I have no purpose. However, I’ve decided to look at this situation as optimistically as I possibly can.

A part of me is actually really excited to take some time off to teach myself the things that I never had time to do like, learning how to play the ukulele again or the piano, I want to get back into working on flair (practice of bartenders entertaining guests), but I also want to continue expanding my brand in the ways I never could. Primarily speaking, I want to direct my focus from Instagram and bring it towards building an audience on TikTok as well as YouTube. I also want to reach out to local brands based both in Tofino and Vancouver in order to collaborate with them in the near future. And lastly, I have massive plans for my blog! Since this has been a space that I originally built for school, I am actually quite interested in moulding it into my own little space as I’ve found some free time. Generally speaking, I’m thinking I want to redesign it entirely, keeping the same colour palette but adding more to the menu, like an advice column and content not just relating to modelling, photography and videography but rather to beauty, health and aesthetics. 

I really want to take this time to reflect on all that I’ve done but at the same time continuing to stay positive and optimistic towards the future. Ideally, I’m really trying to focus on building a true fan base and increasing my viewership based on what I stand for rather than just what I create. My main goal is to start building a community of like-minded people who not only come to see what I create, but get inspired to create themselves. 

Although I’m incredibly heartbroken that I’m no longer living in Vancouver for the time being, I’ve realized that the city didn’t give me all the tools I needed to create, I already had all the tools I needed to create, I just needed to figure that out for myself. 

Even though it’s back to small town living for me, I promise you that I’m never going to forget my uptown dreams. 

Movie Series to Marathon Now: Self-isolation Recommendations

If you haven’t already, now is the time to revisit your favourite movie series — or discover new ones you haven’t seen before. And if you can’t think of any films, I’m here to give you EIGHT series that you can marathon — as well as the number of hours it will take you to watch them all. Since these are all quite long lists, I will be linking the Rotten Tomatoes collections to make linking much easier for me. So, you’re interested in watching any of these films — just click the links and you’ll find every one!


1.) Star Wars (25hrs)

To me, this is one of the obvious ones. Although, there are a couple ways that you can watch these films. There is release date order — and timeline order. If you have never seen a Star Wars film in your life — I would suggest watching in release date order (option A). However, you also have the option of watching them chronologically (option B). Which would be when each film takes place over the timeline of all Star Wars films.

Option A.) RELEASE DATE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Episode 4: A New HopeEpisode 1: The Phantom Menace
Episode 5: Empire Strikes BackEpisode 2: Attack of the Clones
Episode 6: Return of the JediEpisode 3: Revenge of the Sith
Episdoe 1: The Phantom MenaceSolo: A Star Wars Story
Episode 2: Attack of the ClonesRogue One: A Star Wars Story
Episode 3: Revenge of the SithEpisode 4: A New Hope
Episode 7: The Force AwakensEpisode 5: Empire Strikes Back
Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryEpisode 6: Return of the Jedi
Episode 8: The Last JediEpisode 7: The Force Awakens
Solo: A Star Wars StoryEpisode 8: The Last Jedi
Episode 9: The Rise of SkywalkerEpisode 9: The Rise of Skywalker

I’ve chosen to not include the many animated TV shows, because that would just further complicate things (this article places each show in the chronologic order). However, if you’re watching on Disney+ I would suggest adding in the live action show The Mandalorian (in option A it would go between Solo and Ep.9, and option B between Ep. 6 and 7). It’s not necessarily essential to the overlying plot of Star Wars, but the show is so good (and that’s not just because of Baby Yoda!)

Image from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

2.) The Lord of The Rings (9hrs 18mins or 18hrs 3mins)

To me, the first series that comes to mind when I think movie marathon is Lord of the Rings. Similarly to Star Wars — you also have a couple viewing order options:

Option A.) RELEASE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGIC ORDEROption C.) SHORT CUT
LOTR: The Fellowship of the RingThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two TowersThe Desolation of SmaugThe Two Towers
Return of the KingThe Battle of the Five ArmiesReturn of the King
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Fellowship of the Ring
The Desolation of SmaugThe Two Towers
he Battle of the Five ArmiesReturn of the King

Having seen all three painfully long Hobbit movies in theatres, I don’t think they’re necessary viewing. They’re nowhere near as good and impressive as the LOTR, but they do provide context to the story as a whole so if you don’t mind the extra 9 hours— watch them. 


Thankfully the rest of the movies on this list don’t have complicated viewing orders — so you would just watch the following series in release date order!


3.) Harry Potter (21hrs 52mins)

Another series that comes to my mind almost instantly when I think of marathoning is Harry Potter. And one of my favourite things about watching them one after the other is that way in which you not only watch the story develop — but the actors grow! It’s also cool because the movies were being filmed as the books were coming out — so no one really knew the fate of their characters! 

4.) The Hunger Games (9hrs 8mins)

A personal favourite of mine — but definitely not one that many people think about. The Hunger Games is (i think) one of the very few successful YA book adaptations, especially with the second movie Catching Fire (which is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen). The Hunger Games are very close to my heart so I find it very difficult to not just ramble on and on about them, so just watch them. 

Image from The Hunger Games

5.)The Twilight Saga (10hrs 11mins)

Now, the Twilight movies are nowhere near as good as the other movies I’ve mentioned in this list. However, they are extremely entertaining. And so, I still decided to include them on this list (and they also have the best soundtracks ever, so listen to those afterwards!)

6.) Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049 (4hrs 39mins)

Now I will admit that this is less of a marathon and more of a double feature. If you have only seen Blade Runner 2049 I would highly suggest watching the original one and then follow up with the sequel. And if you’ve only ever seen the original — watch 2049, the only thing you’ll be disappointed about is the fact that you didn’t see it in theatres!

7.) MCU / X-MEN (50hrs 3mins or 24hrs 26mins OR 74hrs 29mins)

So, I kinda lied when I said that none of the other series on this list would have complicated viewing orders — but I wanted to save the biggest marathon for last. Yes, every single movie in the MCU. I’m sure there are many people who did this before Endgame came out last year. However, if you weren’t one of those people — now’s your time! Similarly to my first few picks on this list, you have a 2 options for watching these films. 

Option A.) RELEASE DATE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Iron ManCaptain America: The First Avenger
The Incredible HulkCaptain Marvel
Iron Man 2Iron Man
ThorIron Man 2
Captain America: The First AvengerThe Incredible Hulk
The AvengersThor
Iron Man 3The Avengers
Thor: The Dark WorldIron Man 3
Captain America: The Winter Solider Thor: The Dark World
Guardians of the Galaxy Captain America: The Winter Solider
Avengers: Age of UltronGuardians of the Galaxy
Ant-ManGuardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Captain America: Civil WarAvengers: Age of Ultron
Doctor StrangeAnt-Man
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2Captain America: Civil War
Spider-Man: HomecomingSpider-Man: Homecoming
Thor: Ragnarok Doctor Strange
Black Panther Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity WarThor: Ragnarok
Ant-Man & The WaspAvengers: Infinity War
Captain Marvel Ant-Man And The Wasp
Avengers: EndgameAvengers: Endgame
Spider-Man: Far From HomeSpider-Man: Far From Home
Image from Marvel’s The Avengers
CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
X-Men
X2: X-Men United
X-men: The Last Stand
The Wolverine
Deadpool
Deadpool 2
Logan

However, if you want to spice things up — you can add the X-men films onto your marathon. They aren’t part of the MCU, and don’t coincide with any of the events in those films — but this is the order in which you can watch those:

However! These films are not simple either! There are some alternate timelines in these films and thus different viewing orders because certain movies aren’t included in each timeline. if you want to know more, and perhaps watch the films accordingly, I would suggest reading this article (because I don’t have the time to explain the different timelines because it is confusing). 

And lastly, as you might’ve noticed, I didn’t include the many Marvel TV shows that have happened on various networks (Netflix, Hulu, FX). I didn’t include them because it’s somewhat unclear if they are all canon or not — so, if you want to watch those too, I’d suggest reading this article as it places them all in the MCU timeline.


So there we have it! Plenty of movies to keep you occupied throughout the rest of this quarantine! Some of these are nice and simple marathons, and some will take DAYS, so prepare yourself! and stock up on snacks while you can.

The post Movie Series to Marathon Now: Self-isolation Recommendations appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

A Spoonful of Vanilla Helps the Medicine Go Down! Peer Review #3

For my third (and final!) peer review I am going to be looking at the blog of Christina from A Spoonful of Vanilla

A Spoonful of Vanilla is a blog filled with recipes everyone and anyone can try at home — giving us recipes that are also vegan and gluten free ones too! With a simplistic and minimal theme, what really stands out and draws you in are the photos. The baked goods she makes stand out against the white background and almost beg you to try and make them yourself. And while each photo is of a different baked good — they all fit together cohesively to push the aesthetic of her blog as a whole. And that is seen even more so when you look at her instagram — made easily accessible through both the side bar and icon in the upper left corner. Her Instagram is filled with just as many photos of delicious looking treats. Baking is inherently visual, and so I think instagram is a great social media app to use alongside the blog. Because If you see a photo of a delicious looking cake on instagram, and the caption says: “there’s a simple recipe for this in the link in my bio” — I’m going to click the link! I also think this minimalistic theme makes it look very professional and clean — two things you definitely want from a baker!

One of my favourite features of this blog is that on each recipe you can easily adjust the serving size — which would make it about 100% easier to double or halve the recipe if you wanted to. And if you’ve tried to halve a recipe, you would probably know that it’s not as easy as it may seem! Each recipe also clearly shows the amount of servings it will make, the difficulty of the recipe, prep time, baking time, and then the complete time in which it will take you to complete the recipe! I really appreciate that this is at the top of the recipe — because it helps to know right away if you even have time to make something, or if it is easy enough for an amateur like me to do! 

Alongside her recipes Christina also sells her baked goods. This is easily noted by her “orders & pricing” tab at the top of her blog. And she clearly states that she works in a peanut-free kitchen— which is great. However, this feels much more like a blog — with a business on the side. Rather than a baking business — with a blog on the side. A suggestion I have is altering the bio on the right sidebar. And perhaps saying “I’m a baked based out of Vancouver, BC etc etc.” Which I think would put the business aspect front and centre! I also think adding an about me page could similarly help and make the site feel more personable — thus making customers feel like they know who’s making their cookies!

Other than that Christina has an extremely cohesive blog. It is clear that it’s about baking, and the mix of visuals and text are perfectly balanced. One of my hobbies I’ve begun to adopt in the last few weeks of quarantine is baking, so I’m hoping to try some of Christina’s recipes soon! 

you can find a spoonful of vanilla and Christina’s recipes here

The post A Spoonful of Vanilla Helps the Medicine Go Down! Peer Review #3 appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

Process Post | Beyond Blog

Reading about artificial intelligence (AI), I began to think of ways to implement this technology into my blog. One way is to import an AI chatbot app into my WordPress template and start an automatic reply chat area for readers. There several plugins to choose from including Botsify, Chatfuel, Flow XO, Landbot.io, Hubspot, Collect.chat and more. With plenty of YouTube tutorial videos available and my basic coding skills, I think it will be easy to manage.

The overall flow of the chatbot experience would be first greeting the audiences, like “Welcome to my blog! Are you looking for…”, then let them choose the pre-programmed choice of “Travel”, “Restaurant” or “Information”. Each choice will correspond to “Travel with Me”, “Eat with Me” and “Learn with Me” section of the blog. After choosing from these categories, readers will type keywords of what they are looking for and related articles will be listed. For example, if a visitor chose “Restaurant”, then typed the keyword “fish”, it will bring them to a result with restaurants that have fish dishes. In my current blog it will be the “Eat | Zauo Main Store”, “Eat | Umeyama Teppei Shokudou” and “Eat | Kane Hannosuke” posts.

Another feature can be having a “Knowledge of the day” selection within the chatbot. This will generate a result of a randomly picked post from the “Learn from Me” section. This function encourages audiences to check out different types of posts that they might not have thought of, but interested to read once provided.

The post Process Post | Beyond Blog appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Travel | Akihabara: Non-maid Cafes

In the centre of Tokyo, there is a famous otaku camp that houses all kinds of Japanese pop-cultures, aka Akihabara. There are tones of manga shops, gaming stores, anime figures showrooms and much more in the area. A really popular concept store that attracts a lot of tourists is the maid cafe, which I guess you have already heard of and got tired of it. Therefore, in this article, I will introduce 2 non-maid cafes that are even more attractive.

Shinobuza Cafe

Shinobuza Cafe staff

Shinobuza Cafe (n) is a ninja-themed cafe with all waitresses dressed up in cute and sexy ninja costumes. Similar to maid cafes, they serve their customers as “prince/mister” or “princess/mistress”. The interior design of the store is based on traditional Japanese style, bringing customers back in time to the Edo period. Other than the food and drinks catalogue, there are some wondrous items in the service menus such as shuriken throwing experience, flame torching with a ninja staff, wood board breaking performances and more. There is also an intriguing service item to let a ninja staff remove the cover and show her face under the mask. Ninja costume rental is also available on request, so you can wear a twin outfit with the staff!

NEWTYPE

NEWTYPE staff

NEWTYPE, in my humble opinion, is the most interesting cafe out of all. It features male staff, or transvestite, who enjoy dressing in clothes appropriate to the opposite sex. They look just like any other girls with long hair and makeup dressed in a one-piece, yet, as they approach and begin to talk, yup, they are guys. The overall atmosphere and service is comparable to a gay bar but more interesting and relaxed. This is absolutely the place to go to if you are into the transvestite culture.

PS: To all the girls out there, don’t feel bad about how the guy staffs looking prettier than you when they crossdress, all we treasure is inner beauty. 🙂

Rules and Manners

Whenever I am travelling, I want to take a selfie with everything I see, post too many Instagram stories that annoy my friends and experience the stupidest thing like toilets that automatically opens up when you step nearby. However, when visiting a maid cafe or any concept cafe with similar services, there are a few rules we need to keep in mind.

  1. Do not take unauthorized photography of the maid in the store. They charge for photos, so you are stealing their business by taking your own picture.
  2. Any threats, including loud interrogation, are not allowed. Please be nice to everyone!
  3. No shouting of offensive statements is allowed. So if you are in the emergency to read out the F word, do it quietly so it is not disturbing other customers.
  4. Try not to repeat the same request over and over again when the staffs are busy. It only makes them anxious and makes you annoyed.
  5. Do not ask private or personal questions. And do not threaten them by telling them you know about their personal life.
  6. Do not exchange contact for dating purposes, and do not wait for or stalk staff when they are off work.
  7. No body contact is allowed. Not their hands, not their hair, not their clothes. No touchy touchy!
  8. Do not visit the store when drunk or feel uncomfortable.

Maid cafe and concept cafes is always interesting to visit especially when you find one that matches with your own hobbies. I obviously will visit NEWTYPE the next time I go to Tokyo and will write all full review on one of my eat with me posts. I am looking forward to it!!

The post Travel | Akihabara: Non-maid Cafes appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Peer Review Three

The site that I am reviewing this week is Marylou Villegas’s blog (http://marylouvillegas.com/). Marylou Villegas is a singer, songwriter and a silver award Youtuber with more than 100,000 followers. This blog is another platform for her to share her creativity and build up her brand.

The site has several compelling and recognizable branding elements, including the harmonious theme colours of natural earthy wood tones, warm white, browns and black. The consistent use of fairy light is also very interesting, giving visitors a more memorizable first impression. 

Marylou is doing a great job in terms of monetization as YouTube offers financial awards for successful YouTubers like her. She also has a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify account, allowing audiences to subscribe to her regular content updates. I believe that the major focus of Marylou is her YouTube channel since it is the platform that generates the most revenue. Other social media, including this blog, are some platforms for her to attract more subscribers and more importantly, maintain interactions with her current fan base. 

In the second peer review, Marylou was recommended to decrease the size of some header images to reduce scrolls. I believe that she implemented this suggestion as no big image header is found on the contact and PUB201 page. Content on the “Home” page and “About” page can be reached within 1 scroll, which works perfectly well. The second suggestion from the peer review for Marylou is to be more active on social media, which I definitely agree with. Knowing that her Instagram account has the biggest follow comparing to other social media, I would recommend an update on Instagram at least once a week and once a month for other platforms. This will keep her subscribers engaged and maintain a closer relationship. Marylou surely has her own style when it comes to posting videos and creating content, which explains how she made it into such great success. Yet, after browsing through the YouTube channel, I feel like I would also want to see more about her personal life, or maybe some processes behind all the creative works. These contents might be a good fit for platforms outside of YouTube.

I really enjoyed Marylou’s blog and her skillful use of all social media platforms. She is pursuing her YouTube business into the next level and expanding through all types of media. I really look forward to her next YouTube video!

The post Peer Review Three appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Blog Post #23: The Nest Review

Hi everybody! I hope you all are finding ways to be productive while remaining in isolation. This week’s review is on The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

The Nest is about the hilariously dysfunctional Plumb family who are awaiting the fate of a trust fund following their father’s death. As they anxiously watch its worth increase in correspondence to the stock market, Sweeney takes the readers on the journeys of each sibling during this crazy time. From Leo, the eldest brother, recklessly getting himself into a car accident a few months prior, subsequently placing the fund at risk, and Melody, dealing with a mortgage as well as future tuition fees for her two teenaged girls, to Jack, making a huge decision that would keep his antique shop running but may destroy his two-decade long marriage, and Beatrice, experiencing extreme writer’s block who can’t finish a novel she’s been working on, the story showcases how finances put the relationships between people closest to one another to the test.

Sweeney also designates various sections focusing on specific members of the siblings’ own families. For example, Louisa, Melody’s daughter, deals with an all-too familiar challenge of trying to figure out which post-secondary institution to attend after high school. Also, Walker, Jack’s husband, does quite a bit of reflecting throughout the book.

I remember when I first sat down to read The Nest. I was so captivated by all the characters that I just couldn’t put it down. One of the main messages I took away is how money can evidently bring out the worst in people. But sometimes seeing how they react to difficult circumstances is necessary to know if your relationship with them should continue on as it always has or even if the person is right for your life, period. The outcome might be heartbreaking, but a necessary step towards taking the best courses of action.

Overall, I thought this title was absolutely fantastic. Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is an incredible author who really digs deep into the challenges each character faces and created story as engrossing as they come. I hope to read more of her work soon.

Process Post #10: Taking another look at Google Analytics and learning about SEO

This week, Dr. Norman went into further detail regarding Google Analytics. She provided us with additional resources to help us learn more about it as well as explained how to access them. I was unaware these resources were available and really appreciated the time that she took during lecture going over the different demos, free courses, etc.

She also introduced the acronym “SEO,” which stands for “Search Engine Optimization” (Norman, 2020). When undertaking SEO, one of the main goals is having one’s site appear as close as possible to the top results when individuals are using key words to search for content, on platforms such as Google, directly related to yours. Overall, the ideal outcome is that it appears on the first page of the search results; however, if not, possibly “higher up in the search rankings” (Norman, 2020). In an informative video Dr. Norman shows, Common Craft (2011) explains using basic, analogous terms that search engines including “Google and bing are” like the “librarians of the internet” as they gather “information from every page” to assist people in “what they are looking for.” SEO essentially emphasizes improved visibility and truly knowing what makes your website/blog stand out compared to everyone else.

Dr. Norman then described the most crucial factors when discussing the most effective SEO practices, a factor in particular that I found interesting was “references to reliable sources” (Norman, 2020). The best way to go about doing so is to incorporate links to external, “primary sources” that do not compete with your brand. I am interested in taking a closer look at these strategies and plan to conduct research on how I can make use of the opportunity. MozBar Chrome Extension, furthermore, is an insightful tool because it possesses an analytical aspect, generating quantifiable data that allows its users to gain significant insight relating to SEO. I believe encompassing linking to other pages will initiate a more engaging viewer-experience as well and I look forward to creating this experience in the near future.

References

Common Craft. [Search Engine Land]. (2011, September 12). What Is Search Engine Optimization/SEO [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF515-0Tduk

Norman, S. (2020). Google Analytics And SEO Week Ten – PUB 201 [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from: SFU Canvas.

Assignment: Peer Review #3 (“Nick McKay’s Professional Portfolio”)

For the third and final peer review, I will be analyzing Nick McKay’s blog from a business/monetization perspective. To provide a brief summary, his website is a portfolio that showcases the various projects he is/has been involved in relating to interactive arts and technology. From what I have seen thus far, it truly showcases Nick’s passion for these kinds of endeavours. I enjoyed browsing through while getting glimpse into the effort and creativity that goes into them.

Challenges Identified in the Second Peer Review

I would first like to start off with the aspects Julianna mentioned in peer review #2 regarding what she believed could be changed. Julianna initially states how she saw that the links to his personal social media accounts are not very locatable as they reside on the bottom-right corner of his blog. While I personally do not think this implementation is a huge issue, I do agree with her in regard to possibly moving them or even simply enlarging the icons to enhance their visibility.

Another feature she found and what I noticed as well is if one were to click directly on “My Projects,” it brings viewers to a blank page. Individuals need to utilize the arrow to access a drop-down menu so they can view the different types of projects within the “My Projects,” category. However, when clicking directly on “My Writings,” as well as also having a drop-down menu, it does in fact display all of the posts placed under this category, indicating that Nick possesses the know-how to impose the same for “My Projects,” which I encourage.

Brand and Business Strategy

The site does present a compelling brand. Nick’s originally designed logo is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of establishing his unique identity. His business strategy is very persuasive as not only are his professional posts clearly representing the blog’s topic, they further encourage the targeted demographic to engage in a type of call to action. The term ““call to action” refer[s] to any ask or request that you make of a user on a site,” such as “shar[ing] on social media,” which is precisely what Nicks has executed (“Call To Action,” (n.d.)). He facilitates viewers sharing his content by having buttons linking to different social media platforms situated underneath posts following the words, “Share this.”

I also like how Nick exhibits work that involves relevant issues. An example would be undertaking projects supporting causes including designing a sticker for the “Marine Mammal Incident Reporting Hotline” and writing a report on the ethics of self-driving cars. The fact that Nick seamlessly incorporates these issues whilst simultaneously adhering to his website’s focus, he demonstrates a keen understanding concerning effective content creation practices.

                                                                            New Challenges Faced

In addressing the new challenges this blog faces and my observation is completely dependent on whether Nick is considering this undertaking for clarification, it might be difficult to utilize Google AdSense or any other ad-based monetization strategies due to the site’s layout and colour scheme without them seeming overwhelming or distracting. But as I said, the difficulty is only applicable upon his decision to do so.

Conclusion

The challenges stated above are no different to what Julianna elaborates on in the second peer review and in my opinion, are very minor. Overall, Nick has quality content that is presented really effectively on his website and I look forward to what he has in store for the future of this portfolio.

References

“Call To Action.” (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.optimizely.com/optimization-glossary/call-to-action/

McKay, N. (n.d.). Marine Mammal Incident Reporting Hotline. Retrieved from: https://nickmackayportfolio.com/2020/03/11/marine-mammal-incident-reporting-hotline/

McKay, N. (n.d.). The Trolley Problem Becomes a Reality: The Ethics of the Self-Driving Car. Retrieved from: https://nickmackayportfolio.com/2020/01/22/the-trolley-problem-becomes-a-reality-the-ethics-of-the-self-driving-car/

Blog Post #22: Let Your Fears Make You Fierce Review

Hi everyone. Hope you all are staying healthy and safe. This week’s review is going to be on a good one! Its Let Your Fears Make You Fierce, by Koya Webb.

Let Your Fears Make You Fierce is an all-encompassing motivational title about making the right choices for you to live as your best self. From improving your eating habits and incorporating daily affirmations to going after your professional goals and having healthy relationships with people, this book dives into the “why’s” and “how’s” of practicing personal wellness on a physical, psychological, and spiritual level, and provides meaningful guidance in every area of one’s life. Moreover, whilst addressing these levels, the overarching theme it tackles is being mindful, further containing advice on difficult topics including overcoming hurt and understanding the true meaning of forgiveness.

She additionally emphasizes knowing what or what isn’t nourishing your soul regarding establishing as well as chasing your goals/objectives/mission(s). However, one of Webb’s most powerful messages is encouraging people to choose “love-based” over “fear-based living,” meaning that you can choose to let your fears hold you back or utilize them in a way where you can grow.

Throughout, Webb draws upon her own personal experiences as well, such as beginning the book by describing a previous goal of hers that started in middle school of wanting to be a track star. She won a full track scholarship to Wichita State University and wanted to become a gold-medalist in the Olympic games. Unfortunately, following multiple injuries and years of intense training sessions that took a major toll on her body, she made the difficult decision to stop pursuing it. But trying yoga completely changed her life’s and eventually career’s trajectory. Webb chose a different path leading her to another passion and has since achieved massive success in doing so.

I’m sure many of you have heard of Oprah Winfrey’s “Aha!” moments. As I progressed through the novel, I think I had multiple “Aha!” moments in every chapter! What really struck a chord with me is when she discusses letting go of the past – something I still need to address in order to effectively work on myself.

A unique aspect of Let Your Fears Make You Fierce is that she actually gives readers space to write down their thoughts and responses to her prompts directly into the book. Examples would be “Say “I forgive you” for ________________” and “I am grateful for _________________.”

Overall, I was in absolute awe. I’ve learnt so much from Koya Webb and am grateful that I came across this book. To anyone looking for a solid work within the self-help/motivation genre, I highly recommend Let Your Fears Make You Fierce.

4 New-ish Movies To Watch At Home: Self-Isolation Recommendations

Self-isolation might be hard for some, but it is necessary. I myself am someone who actually prefers to stay in, but I will admit that i’m starting to get a little bit of cabin fever (sorry, not a good time to make jokes about fevers). However, one of the many ways I am keeping myself entertained is by reading a lot of books and watching a lot of movies. Because sometimes you just want to completely block out the real world and get lost in a fictional one that is much brighter and better than the one we are living in right now. And so, this is the first instalment in *drum roll*….. Self-Isolation Recommendations! I tried way too hard to try and think of a title that rhymed, but this the best I could do (if you say it fast it kinda rhymes).

I have to admit, one of the things that hit me the hardest this past week was the closing of movie theatres. For me, one of the many ways that I try to escape from the real world is to sit in a dark (often cold) theatre and fully immerse myself in a film. However, I will admit that the closing of theatres does make a lot of sense. Seeing as they are also riddled with germs and who knows what else. But, because of these theatre closures and general fear because of the impacted economy, a lot of movie release dates are getting pushed back (ie: No Time To Die, Mulan etc.). OR, they are being released to streaming and VOD early. And while it is sad that a lot of these films weren’t able to get the full run in theatres that they might’ve deserved — it’s nice to have some new content to watch while we are all stuck at home.


1.) The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man was just released in theatres on February 28th. It performed quite well in the box office and received rave reviews — especially highlighting Elizabeth Moss’ performance. This film is a modern retelling of the classic H.G Wells story of the same name, where a woman’s ex-boyfriend “dies” and he proceeds to become invisible and terrorize her everyday life. I would exercise caution when watching this as we all might start to go slightly crazy from being cooped up at home for so long, and I don’t think police want us to start calling them and telling them there’s an invisible man in our living room.

2.) Emma

Emma — which is a movie I quite like the title of — is an adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel. Released in theatres on March 5th, it follows Emma Woodhouse described quite simply as “handsome, clever, and rich.” And while she is all of those, one of her favourite things to do is to meddle with her friends and family’s love lives and do some matchmaking. In a way Emma is the reversed Bachelor, whereas she picks who each of her friends should marry. And if you decide to watch this film, might I suggest you start a Jane Austen film marathon — she does do a very good job of making just a simple touch of the hand extremely sensual *insert Pride and Prejudice Mr.Darcy hand flex* — which might be exactly what some people need in these trying times of zero human contact.

a still from the 2020 adaptation of Emma

3.) The Hunt

Now, a film which is quite different than Emma is The Hunt. While this film was released on March 11th, it actually has an interesting back story because it was originally meant to come out on September 27th, 2019. The film was hit with extreme backlash because of it’s subject matter — seeing as it is about people who hunt literal human beings. Though it was announced that the film’s released date would be pushed back indefinitely because its original release date was close to the horrible Dayton and El Paso mass shooting which happened in early August. However, finally being released in March the producers said no changes were made to the cut of the film and it is the exact same thing that would’ve been released in October. This is yet another film that I would exercise caution when watching because if we are stuck isolating for much longer and we start to run out of food — this is not what I want people to first think of!

4.) Onward

And now, finally, one for the kids. Disney and Pixar’s latest collaboration is Onward, a tale of two brothers who try and bring their late father back from the dead using what little magic they have. This film was initially released in theatres on March 5th, however it’s now available to rent online and will be on Disney+ on April 3rd. This film also stars the voices off Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, so it seems that Disney either has a limited number of actors willing to work for them — or they make Marvel actors do at least one other movie with them.

a still from the animated film Onward

So there we have it! 4 movies that are (relatively) new and super easy to watch at home! I will be honest right now and say I haven’t watched any of them, but I can’t wait to! So sit back, (try and) relax, and enjoy the show(s)!

The post 4 New-ish Movies To Watch At Home: Self-Isolation Recommendations appeared first on [NOT SO] ELOQUENT EMMA .

Learn | Instant Noodle

Instant noodle, or instant ramen, is unquestionably one of the fastest meals to prepare which involves only a single highly skillful technique of boiling water (sorry for my sarcasm). It can be ready in 3 minutes and bring peace to your growling stomach. Instant noddle for sure owns its place on my comfort food list and I crave for this unhealthy, oily and salty carb junk food from time to time.

Origin

Chicken Ramen(Left), Ando Momofuku(Right)

Instant ramen was invented in 1958 around 10 years after Japan lost in World War II. During this post-war period, Ando Momofuku (安藤百福) was triggered to make the first-ever instant ramen “Chicken Ramen”, aiming to provide cheap, simple to make, safe, long storability and tasty food for the public. He industrialized the production process into 4 steps of 1) making noodles, 2) steaming the noodles, 3) flavouring and 4) deep frying, then began mass production in factories. It was marketed as the “magic ramen” and sales number went remarkably great. This recipe got adapted quickly throughout Europe and America, selling over 15 billion units within 30 years, which is more than 136,000 packs per day.

To perform worldwide quality control, Ando Momofuku gathered 10 largest makers from 10 countries in the world to start the International Ramen Manufacturers Association (1997), which is now the World Instant Noodles Association. In 2006, this association was officially recognized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and manage to place a “CODEX Standard for Instant Noodles”.

Fun Fact

The instruction on the instant ramen package usually suggests cooking the noodle for 3 minutes before eating, yet the purpose of this duration is not to cook the noodles till an al dente texture. The preciously annoying 3-minutes wait time is solely to make us wait. The manufacturer thinks that waiting for 1 minute does not rise our tension of hunger, yet 5 minutes seems too long. Hence, they came up with a time frame of 3 minutes, which is just right to make us feel hungry but not angry. There was once a “1 minute instant noodle” in the market, yet comments like “the soup is still too hot”, and “waiting for the soup to cool down makes the noodle soggy” has stopped production of this product.

Ranking

Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen

There are instant noodles from all over the world, but this 2019 ranking below focuses on Japanese instant ramen.
1) Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen ($6/ pack of 5)
2) Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen ($6/ pack of 5)
3) Maruchan Seimen Shouyu Ramen ($6.5/ pack of 5)
4) Maruchan Seimen Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.5/ pack of 5)
5) Shin Ramen ($4.5/ pack of 3)
6) Chicken Ramen ($9/ pack of 5)
7) Umakkachan Tonkotsu Ramen ($7.85/ pack of 5)
8) Raou Shoyu Ramen ($7.5/ pack of 5)
9) Maruchan Seimen Tonkotsu Shouyu Ramen ($6.5/ pack of 5)
10) Demae Iccho Sesame Oil Flavour ($6.5/ pack of 5)

*Prices are approximates got from Amazon.co.jp

I usually bring a pack of instant noodle from Japan as a souvenir for myself. It is possible to buy the exact same brand and same flavour in Vancouver, but the price markup is insane. And, sometime there are some “limited time” flavours or new flavour that are not yet sold in countries other than Japan. So be sure to check out a supermarket before you end you Japan trip!

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Week 11: Process Post

A couple of days ago I was asked to start a blog for a local brand. At the time I was completely overjoyed because I thought the company was interested in the type of content I was producing for my own blog. However, after getting a little bit more information on the gig I was told that they were only interested in developing a blog to increase their SEO (which at the time I had no idea what that was) and not interested in actually building a community. Unfortunately, the company wasn’t interested in what I was writing but rather telling me to, “write whatever you’d like, if you just write random letters, I don’t care just use the keyword we provide you with.” This conversation had me completely rethinking what I was getting myself into. It didn’t feel right that I was being brought onto a team not based on what I could bring to the table but for mindless work that any human could do.

After attending this week’s online lecture I know a little bit more about SEO and why it was so important to the company’s manager. SEO or Search Engine Optimization allows for one’s content to ascend the placement of the search engine based on keywords or “flags.” As 95% of web traffic happens on the first search page generated by Google, it only makes sense that it’s where you’d want yourself and your brand to be.

I was interested to see where I ranked on Google’s search engine so I conducted my own experiment by typing my first and last name into the search bar. Honestly, I was quite surprised with the results as my profiles were on the first page of Google. My Instagram link was nestled in at the 6th spot under several social profiles of a hockey player with the same name. As I continued to scroll I found that my LinkedIn page (which I didn’t even know I had) was sitting at the 8th and final spot of the first page. 


Upon looking at the second page of searches, my name was associated with the first five posts all highlighting the keyword, “Tyler Krueger,” and the top two suggestions were links to my blog. 

I continued looking at Google’s photos associated with “Tyler Krueger” and found that I was the 5th image on the page with many of my other photos popping up as I continued to scroll down. 

Google associated the search with places such as “vancouver,” “vancouver bc” and “tofino.” To my surprise, my face and links came up as the first seven photos listed.

Lastly, I found that my YouTube channel was the top two suggestions when searching under Google’s video associations.

From what I’ve learnt is that I have a relatively good SEO to even rank on the first page of Google. However, to continue to improve my SEO I plan on building my YouTube, Facebook and TikTok following as those platforms are also associated with my brand. As a higher SEO brings people back to your content, you want to make sure you have reliable, interesting pieces for people to browse, rather than using a keyword to bring people back to a blog post with a bunch of the same letters typed in a row. I realized that it was a much better use of my time and skills to build my own SEO rather than someone else’s.

Process Post | Data

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest things right now when talking about data and such. For my website, without doing anything yet, it already appeared as the very first search result when googled with the keywords “Nihon Shoku”. I thought it is due to my cache and cookies, but even when I open an incognito window the same result showed up.

This is actually the first time for me to google my blog’s name, and I am quite surprised by the result. I realized that it might be due to the uncommon phrase “nihon shoku”. It can be an advantage and prove that my blog has a unique name, but at the same time showing uncommonness of this phrase. I also learned the reason why my blog was visited by viewers from Malaysia with a very high bounce rate. It is because there is a Japanese restaurant in Malaysia named “JyuJyu-Tei by Nihon Shoku”.

Another round of googling was done by search keywords in post titles. As expected nothing from my post appeared in the search result, also meaning that no travellers will be able to reach my site by googling. This is a great loss for me since a lot of people research for their trips by browsing on Google, yet, my contents are not listed. The result has persuaded me to put online resources, like Google Academy, into good use during the quarantine period and work on the SEO for my website. Although it might not boost up my blog to a significant level, it is definitely a milestone that worth my time.

The post Process Post | Data appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Not a Goodbye, but a See You Later

Recently, there has been a whole lot of controversy surrounding the topic of going outdoors and meeting up with friends as we’ve all been encouraged to socially distance ourselves. Up until this week, I’ve been shooting up to three times a week with different local photographers, however I’ve decided to switch up my fast paced lifestyle and start slowing it down. At first, I didn’t see much of an issue with shooting as I’m not in close contact with my photographers, but with the vast amount of time I spend on transit going to and from shoots, I decided to rethink my weekly shooting routine.

Since SFU got shut down on March Friday 13th (quite ironic if you’re the superstitious type), all of my creative projects have come to a screeching halt. As I’ve been focusing primarily on photo shoots in the past few weeks, I’ve decided that I will also be self-isolating and reverting back to working on videos as that’s something I’m able to do from the confines of my dorm room. 

I walked into my last shoot on March 19th, on the SFU Burnaby campus (one of my favourite places to shoot!). I was shooting at golden hour with Nicolas Scott (@nicolasscott_), a photographer whom I’ve worked with on numerous occasions for his clothing line, Call the Girls Co, as well as our most recent Calvin Klein studio session. We kept our distance and shot as we normally would, but as we walked around the AQ pond, I felt a sense of emptiness wash over myself. The place was absolutely dead, so much so that you could hear the drop of a pin. Although it was my last scheduled shoot, without seeing other people around me, it really made me feel as if I shouldn’t be outside, or if I was doing something wrong even though Nic and I were far more than 2 meters apart at all times.

We wrapped up just after the sun had set on the top floor of the visitors parade. We said our goodbyes and I walked off into the milky sunset making my way back to Shell House. Although I was completely bummed out to be putting a stop to my modelling career, I tried to look at the positives of all of this- that I would be able to really start growing my brand and putting more work into marketing and management as well as producing YouTube and Tik Tok videos. Walking off into the beautiful blending of colours in the sky reminded me that now was the time to think outside of the box and really take this time to reflect and think about alternative methods to create. 

This is not the end, rather it’s the beginning of a new form of creativity. I can’t wait to show you what I come up with!

Week 10: Process Post

Monetization has been an ongoing topic I’ve been having with myself for about six months now. Although I’m a full-time student, I’m also a full-time content creator. In my two years working within the local creative industry, I’ve only ever made out with one single paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining…in all honesty I think I’ve been putting off monetization tactics so I don’t make money. On average, I participate in a photoshoot up to four times a week, as well as producing video content for YouTube and Tik Tok. On one hand, because I spend so much time and effort producing the best content for my audience, I don’t want to be paid as I feel that the content won’t be as authentic anymore. However, on the other hand, because I spend so much time and effort producing the best content for my audience, I do feel as if I need to be paid to keep producing that level of content. 

I’ve always told myself that the day I don’t feel like my true self online is the day I quit posting. When I was younger, it was my dream to be noticed as a “big” online personality, however as my numbers and views continue to increase, I’ve realized that being a face people know isn’t as glamorous as it seems. After coming to that realization, I’ve focused 100% on showcasing my authentic self on all of my social platforms as that is what I want to be remembered by. I don’t want to grow or create a fan base, I would rather create a community of like-minded creatives who support each other for their work, not their online personas.

When I first started in the industry, my parents had a lot of doubts as I was putting in the time and effort, but I wasn’t getting paid. Over the years, more and more people- creatives and non-creatives alike have asked me why I’m not being paid for what I do. In all honesty, there was time before I was creating that I thought that I could make millions on content I produced. Back then, I wasn’t passionate about my craft, nor was I in the correct headspace to even create. When I let all of that go and stopped thinking about how great my creative destination could be, I picked up a camera and began on my creative journey. Since then, I haven’t thought about being paid or expecting any form of payment whatsoever. I’ve found my passion and I would much rather be myself online and never make a dime, than make a bunch of cash but hate what I do.

For the day when I do decide to monetize my business, I will be starting with YouTube as I’ve found that when I’m interrupted by paid advertisements, it doesn’t stop me from watching my favourite creators, but on a platform like Facebook, I tend to leave the content when an ad pops up. I’ve decided that I won’t be monetizing my website as it’s primarily visual, and I wouldn’t want the advertisements taking away from my content. 

I believe that later down the road, I will be implementing a freemium model when producing content, so my true fans can view special/exclusive content at a reasonable price. However, I believe that until I reach that point, I’m much better off getting to properly know my audience and build what Kelly (2008) calls, “true fans.” Without them, I won’t be able to progress my brand in the ways in which I would like- starting a clothing line, producing music, and writing a book. In order to build this true fan base, I need to keep working on my craft, building up Stanford’s (2015) 4 emotions associated with neuromarketing. Not only do I need to focus on building trust with my audience, but I also need to build that level of trust with myself through self-acceptance and self-admiration. As my brand showcases myself, I can’t expect my audience to feel the four emotions- joy, trust, anticipation and surprise if I myself don’t feel those emotions whilst I’m creating. At the end of the day, I want to create in order to help others and help myself by being true to themselves, whether I’m monetized or not.

References

Kelly, K. (2008, March 4). The Technium: 1,000 True Fans. Retrieved from https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

Stanford, D. (2015).  “Neuromarketing” Is Becoming A Much Stronger And More Relevant Trend.” Retrieved from http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2015/12/current-trends-neuromarketing/

The Force Is Not So Strong With This One – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming to dvd, digital download, and Disney+ this week, I decided to finally post the review I wrote for the movie 3 months ago. I never posted it because I felt very frustrated by the movie, but alas… here are my feelings.

The time has finally come, the final instalment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy and (apparently) the last film in the Skywalker saga has been released and i am here to talk about it. I myself am a big fan of the Star Wars films, and have been thoroughly enjoying the sequel trilogy since it’s debut with The Force Awakens back in 2015. Written and directed by J.J Abrams TFA was able to bring old and new fans of the Star Wars movies together, enjoying the return of old characters and introductions of those who were new. That was then followed by the second movie: The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson. This movie was met with both extremely positive and very negative reviews back in 2017, pretty much dividing the Star Wars fandom by those who either loved or hated The Last Jedi. I myself was indifferent to The Last Jedi, and most certainly didn’t feel the extreme love or hate that others did. Though i was very excited to see what J.J Abrams would then do when he ultimately returned to write (alongside Chris Terrio) and direct the final film in this trilogy.

The Rise of Skywalker picks up about a year after the end of the last film. With Rey training with Leia, Finn and Poe flying with BB-8 to gain first order secrets, and Kylo Ren seeking out the rumoured now-alive Palpatine. Though as the movie begins to gain way, it feels as though all character and story development from the last film has been ignored. Ultimately sending the story downhill.

Rise Tico, played by the wonderful actress Kelly Marie Tran, has been almost completely pushed to the side lines. Almost never leaving the rebel base or saying more lines than i can count with one hand. She actually had a pretty major role in The Last Jedi – having saved as well as kissed one of the main characters (Finn), she also said a line that could pretty much encapsulate the entire franchise: “that’s how we’ll win. not fighting what we hate. saving what we love” Yet in this film she has a screen time of 1min 16 seconds, and her interactions with Finn (wherever they are) feel as though they are between co-workers, rather than romantic interests.

Rose Tico in The Rise of Skywalker (Lucasfilm)

While I can admit that there are certain moments where i felt a sense of nostalgia and excitement as a Star Wars fan, i couldn’t help but immediately be caught off guard by them as well. As much as i loved having Billy Dee Williams back as Lando Calrissian and seeing him command the Millenium Falcon again — it felt forced. There was no real reason he was there, other than to please fans and make us feel nostalgic. But there was also no explanation as to how or why he was where he was. How had the resistance never come into contact with him before now? does he know about Han? We witness Leia training Rey, because as we know from TLJ, Luke is now one with the force. Although, if Leia is strong enough with the force to train Rey, why did she not train her son herself rather than send him off to Luke? And why did we not know more about Leia’s force abilities until now? Then, with the return of Palpatine, there is no explanation as to how he survived, or how such powerful force users such as Luke Skywalker (or even Kylo Ren for that matter) never sensed him until now. While it was cool, it would’ve been cooler and made more sense had it been introduced sooner or been established well and properly. This makes it quite obvious that there were no prior plans to have Palpatine return, and thus makes the entire trilogy feel like each writer/director was blindly moving the plot forwards with no clear idea of how it would ultimately end.

Poe, BB-8, Chewie, and Lando in The Millenium Falcon (Lucasfilm)

Instead of nicely concluding the saga, it felt as though Abrams and Chris Terrio (co-writer), tried to write the screenplay by piecing together all of the different fan theories and predictions they could find on the internet, resulting in a weird mish-mash of fan-service and retconning. While I have no problem with catering to fans now and then, it only works when the plot lines actually make sense and line up with one another. In this instance it felt like the writers wanted to please each different group of people watching. Their attempt to fix the divide that The Last Jedi made only resulted in many more upset and frustrated fans. I would much rather the plot make sense and be not what i wanted, instead of it be a weird mess full of plot holes and questions left unanswered.

All in all i found The Rise of Skywalker to bring me joy at parts but then completely take it away. Like giving a baby a piece of candy, but only letting them have one bite. Each time i thought it was getting better it ended up getting worse. Adam Driver as the interesting and complex Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is what ultimately saves this movie for me, playing one of the best Star Wars characters we’ve seen. Although this ending (and his to be specific) left me unsatisfied and frustrated, and as a Star Wars fan — i think it’s safe to say the original trilogy is the best and only trilogy.

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/