How smart can you sound?

What is Twitter?

No, I’m not here to talk about the immensely successful IPO that they did earlier this month. But as a user, what is Twitter?

According to my Creative Writing for New Media class, here are the four basic things people tweet about:

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What do I think Twitter is for personal users? Basically, it’s like a test to see how smart you can sound in 140 characters or less. It’s a lot harder than you would think. Which is why my tweets usually go something like this:

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I guess it depends on who your target audience is. For me, it’s a random place for me to say something that I don’t actually expect anyone to read. I don’t have a lot of followers, so I don’t really have to keep a particular audience in mind. I use it to jot down either spasms of enlightenment or thoughts that I feel I must share on public– but not so public that it is on Facebook where people actually know me.

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But if you have really good one-liners in real life, it sounds like you’d make a great Tweeter.

At the same time, I sometimes forget the importance of what those 140 characters can do– and just how public social media can get. Here’s a list of people who got fired over what they tweeted. http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-fired-2011-5

Of course, aside from personal accounts, there are plenty of good ones out there. You guys ever read @RealCarrotFacts‘ tweets? This account never ceases to make me laugh!
Elliott Holt also did an interesting story through a series of tweets (from different fake accounts), and they can be read here in its compiled form on Storify. It’s like a murder mysteries game.

So how will/do you make your 140 characters mean something?

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– Karen

My First Award!! What Do I Do!?!?

I logged on to WordPress today and saw that little notifications alert was orange. I pressed on it and saw that Ash nominated me for the Sunshine Award! I am super excited so I am going to do the post now! (Despite being neck deep in assignments and final exam woes–but hey, this is a good distraction). Thank you Ash! I must say– I am probably just as surprised as her when she found out someone nominated her. The first thought that popped into my head was “Wow, someone’s actually reading my blog!!” So thank you for that Ash! 🙂 You brightened up what otherwise was a wet and dreary month, that bogged me down with midterm exams and projects! I would recommend checking her blog out, especially if you want to learn (or if you already do) how to appreciate manga and Japanese culture. She may not be Japanese, but she knows her stuff! 😀

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This award has two parts to it. I first answer ten questions about myself, and then pass the award on and nominate my favourite bloggers! So without further ado, here are my responses!

1. Who is your favourite philosopher?

It would have to be Confucius (unless if I am allowed to choose John Green. Then I choose YA author John Green. Go watch his videos on Youtube, you will see why.) Have you heard the amazing things this guy says? He is not only a philosopher, but he is so encouraging. I also find it amazing that a Chinese scholar’s influence can be found so significantly in Western culture.

“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”

-Confucius

2. What is your favourite number?

I actually do not have one. Here is a funny story though. When I was young, I thought you had to have a favourite number, and that it would bring you luck as long as you try to incorporate it into as many things of the things you do as possible. I chose the number 3. I would try to line up as the third person in line, take the third box of cereal in the supermarket, and would sleep with three stuffed animals. Glad I did not choose the number 97 or something. I would have suffocated from all the stuffed teddies.

3. What is your favourite animal?

My favourite animal…would have to be dogs. I love how loyal they are to their owners, and I also find a lot of them adorable. I have recently really taken a liking to pit bulls. They are the cutest thing ever. Sadly, I am allergic to most dogs, and I doubt I can persuade my family to allow me to keep a dog in the house.

NOPE, I am changing my answer. I love direwolves from Game of Thrones. They are huge, which will probably scare me in real life, but does not take away from the fact that I love them. The few direwolves that the reader encounters in the books show that they are very loyal to their owners. They also look pretty badass. I guess I liked regular wolves before I was introduced to direwolves, but once I found out about these larger and stronger wolves, I became a bit obsessed.

So that would account for my favourite type of animal. But I must say that if I had to pick one particular animal, it would have to be my late hamster. She was the only pet I have ever had (if you do not count the poor insects I trapped in plastic containers when I was young, foolishly claiming that they were my pets), and it is starting to look like she will be the last. This is mostly because my heart broke when she passed away. The worst part was not her actual death, but the days leading up to it. I cannot deal with loss, so I probably should stay away from pets.

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter?

My Twitter is fairly easy to find. I use the same username as my WordPress account: Kalyrical. I am not comfortable with sharing my Facebook, so this is all you guys get. 😛

5. What is your favourite time of day?

My favourite time of day is when the sun starts setting, and the world is right between being bathed in darkness and flooded with light. It feels like I am watching the world restart itself. Of course, this only rings true when we can actually see the sun in Vancouver. Otherwise, the whole day just feels like a lump of cloudy and grey sadness, and you really cannot differentiate between different times of the day.

6. What is your favourite holiday?

Definitely Christmas. Sure, my family may not be Christian or Catholic, but I see it as more than a religious holiday. The atmosphere around Christmas time is amazing. I wish it was like that everyday. People are packed in malls, and everything is decorated beautifully. Families come together and everyone has a reason to catch up. There are also presents. Yes, presents are nice.

7. What is your favourite physical activity?

I like cycling. I hate that feeling you get when you get off your bike and start wondering why everything is moving past you so slowly, and then you have to adjust to the fact that you are no longer on a speedy bike. I like feeling the wind on my face as I race by the world on a warm summer’s day.

But other than cycling, I hate physical activity. I cannot run for more than a block or two before I start wheezing. Of course, that is probably due to my lack of regular physical activity, but still.

8. What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?

Either chocolate milk or Coca Cola (not Pepsi). I love chocolate milk–usually accompanied with a good novel. Of course, I like its hot counterpart equally, so depending on whether its hot or cold outside, I would either drink hot chocolate or chocolate milk.

Coca Cola is my go to drink when I am not sure what I want. Not Coke Zero. Or diet Coke. Or Coke light. And definitely not Pepsi. I like my regular Coca Cola thank you very much.

9. What is your favourite flower?

Classic red roses. I think that the world has reached perfection in flowers when it created the rose. All roses look nice, but I really love those deep red velvety petals on a classic red rose. I am pretty sure the roses I am referring to has a name, but I am not sure what they are actually called. You know which kind I am talking about. The ones that the guy always gets the girl when he tries to win her heart in movies?

10. What is your passion?

I have struggled in finding my passion for quite some time. I have always thought it would magically appear to me, and I would just know. Then came the first year of university when I had to start making decisions on what I wanted to do with my life. I started panicking because I did not know what my passion was, and had no idea which road I wanted to take on my academic journey. I believe I have found my passion in creative writing. I love writing fiction– always have, always will. I just did not think it would be an appropriate career choice. It seems so ambiguous and lacking in security to declare “I am going to be a writer.” I started taking Creative Writing courses this year at UBC and will be doing my minor in it.

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Now for the second part of my duties, I will now nominate several other blogs I want to pass this award on to! These are in no particular order.

1. http://nhanfiction.com
He frequently makes posts on one of my addictions: League of Legends. He also posts interesting pictures of quotes and bits of wisdom, most of which are motivating and just wonderful to see on your reader! Check him out!

2. http://nosajnawk.wordpress.com
I love the way he writes. It can be pretty sarcastic, but he hits the message home. This is a journal blog, and he explores topics that you can probably relate to, but was never brave enough to put it down in words. I say follow him, because he has interesting things to say 🙂

3. http://quieterelephant.wordpress.com
You never know what you’ll find on his blog. Some days, he may touch on serious topics, but a lot of the times he’s got some lighthearted reads that are pretty informative and fun to read! A lot of his posts also spark my imagination and gives me a boost of creativity.

4. http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com
He takes so really great pictures, and along with them, he will add a line or two of thoughts that we can take away. He is also super nice. Frequently, he reblogs interesting posts on other blogs, so he also provides a great hub for you to discover other bloggers!

5. http://itsthecookiemonster.wordpress.com
This girl is my real life friend, and her blog is filled with all these amazing pictures of baked goods that you can never have. But still, I would definitely recommend going to her page and drool all over your keyboard. Then you can attempt to recreate her cakes/cupcakes/cookies, fail miserably and cry.

I hope you guys accept the nomination! I found the questions fun to answer, and hopefully you guys will too!

-Karen

Musings After Sandman Volume 3– Gaiman’s Scripts

I felt the need to just ramble about how I felt after reading Sandman. And here are my unfiltered thoughts (though I edited for grammar)– just thought I would share it with you guys! You may notice it is a bit different from my usual style of writing, but that is because I was just pouring out everything that went through my mind after reading the volume!
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I have nothing better to do on this fine Tuesday afternoon. I have braved through all my classes, and am now waiting for my HR meeting.

Anyway, I was at the gym earlier (shocker!) and instead of bringing my usual iPad to watch an episode of Supernatural while I run, I read volume 3 of Sandman. The stories were okay. Like the first book, I found myself loving certain parts of the book a lot more than the rest. I remember for book 1, it was when we were introduced to the Sandman’s sister– Death. She is amazing. Dare I say perfect? We see her again in one of the short stories in this volume.

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I still don’t entirely get Sandman. But I respect Neil Gaiman as a writer– a lot. He has that dark vibe to him, much like how you would expect Tim Burton to write if you got a chance to read his scripts. What was my favourite part of this graphic novel was the very last section of the book. Gaiman told us he would allow us a peek behind the curtains of how he writes his graphic novels. Actually, I’m wrong in saying that. He explicitly told us that this was not the Neil Gaiman style of how to write graphic novels, but simply how he writes The Sandman.

I did not think that writing the script for a graphic novel would be so intense. It seems like it would take ages to finish a page (I’m sure it does). I know I breezed through the pages of the novel, spending 2-3 minutes max on them. But the effort it takes to write one of these pages is commendable. He included notes from both him and his artist, Kelley Jones, in the margins of the script.

Gaiman writes his script out in a manner similar to writing a letter. To introduce each page, he would write to Kelley how he wanted the page to go. Additionally, he would also add random thoughts that he happened to ponder on. One of these included how he had a strange phone call the night before and it freaked him out. I loved this. It personalized the script, and made it so much more inviting to Kelley (or at least I would think I would feel that way if I was him). You are no longer reading stone cold instructions, but something from a friend.

After taking Creative Writing 203, we were told that we were not supposed to give the artist too much directions in our children picture book drafts. I wrote my story (which I was not satisfied with– and neither was my TA judging from my mark), and the only instructions you could get from what I wanted the illustrator to do was which page I wanted the text on. It was important that you allowed the artist freedom. Gaiman’s approach was completely different..

If you could read how detailed he makes each scene, it really is amazing. He not only tells the artist roughly what he wants the character to be doing, but he goes as far as to say that outside the window, we should get a lighting that suggests “early summer or late spring”. Each page’s panels have about half a page of text instructing Kelley on what he should do. Gaiman also says that he’d send Kelley reference pics (which us as the reader does not get to see). Gaiman does say that he has to first know who his illustrator is before he writes his scripts, so I am assuming he keeps in mind what he believes Kelley can produce.
I think this is amazing, but of course, I am thinking through the mind of the author. I would love for my artist to paint exactly what I imagined in my head. I wonder how Kelley feels. I wonder if this is the approach many other comic book/graphic novel writers use when they write their scripts. Or maybe it’s because Neil Gaiman is a such a big shot, so he gets to do things this way. Or maybe it’s a neutral agreement between solely Gaiman and Kelley. It’s weird how I refer to Gaiman by his last name and Kelley by his first. But I like it like that.

Seeing the script, I no longer think of graphic novels as very short pieces with several hundred words. Sure, each chapter may come in a small little compact booklet, and yes, we may only see the few hundred words that the writer chose to express physically with words in font.
But it is so much more than that.

-Karen

A New School Year

“The liver made me leave home,” Scott says explaining how he dreaded having to eat liver as a young boy. We all laughed. “No, seriously.”

And that is my COMM 290 (Introduction to Quantitative Decision Making) professor. He really does remind me of my Financial Accounting professor, whose class I took during summer. They are both charismatic and able to capture the attention of their students. I really like learning about Microsoft Excel in COMM 290, because to me, Excel had always been just a cool place to put numbers in little neat boxes. Now I get to go beyond that and learn useful new skills! However, I have heard that this course gets quite hard, especially when it comes to is final exam, which makes me like this course less.

It has been almost a month since school has started. I am pretty satisfied with all my professors and I am happy with the way I organized my timetable. I definitely learned a lot from last year! I am excited to have an excuse to write this term, since I am the Editor-in-Chief of our faculty’s newspaper, The Cavalier, as well as being in a creative writing course. Our professor, Steven Galloway, is quite interesting. For all you Canadians out there, you may have read his books? Want a quote from him? Well you will get one anyway.

             “You can write about anything you want! Except unicorns. I hate unicorns.Steven Galloway

At first I had no idea how one could give lectures in Creative Writing. I mean, do you not just write whatever comes to you and go where your creativity brings you? I was quite curious as I sat down for my first lecture. Going through the course outline made me realize our professor was there as a guide, to let us know how we can get started. The syllabus also revealed that we were going to touch on different forms of writing. It is an interesting class, and I quite enjoy it. I really like the way how Steven tries not to constrict or influence us too much, and keeps things vague so that we can take our own paths in our writing. However, I am also quite nervous as our first assignment is coming up. My writing definitely feels rusty and lacklustre at the moment.

On to my not so favoured classes. Or rather class, because I really just quite dislike this one class: Managerial Economics. I am pretty bad at economics, and was pretty proud that I was able to get through first year. What makes this economics class extra horrible? Well, it is a mix of calculus and economics. Great. I am pretty sure there is nothing I hate more in this world than math. Also, the textbook is filled with little errors, such as referencing the wrong example in its text. You can eventually work out what they meant to say, but it is quite distracting. (Plus, I spent almost $100 on that textbook, so having it properly edited before they printed it would have made me less frustrated.) Sadly, it is a require course, so I have to take it. Hopefully I survive with a decent mark, seeing as how I need a fairly good average to choose my major next year.

Well that is my quick update! Hope you are all doing well, and that those of you who are also settling into the new school year are on track! If not, get it together! Midterm month is coming.

Wonder how many more of these sunny days we will get at UBC

-Karen