Monday, March 29, 2010


The dreaded Independent Professional Project Panels were today, and although many were left disappointed and must re-pitch their project ideas, I was one of the lucky ones who was approved.

My entire morning was taken up with rehearsing what I would say for my two-minute spiel at the beginning of my pitch. I went over it again and again during the drive in, coming up with as many questions as possible that may come up about the project.

Little did I know, this was all for nothing, or so it would seem. When I arrived and was seated across from the IPP instructors, my whole prepared speech seemed to be unimportant. I simply said a few small details about the project that were not included in the proposal, completely discarding my original speech.

The instructors began to ask some simple questions, and as promised, they found all the flaws my project had within it. A few minutes later, and it was approved.

The whole experience was great. I now know what problems I may face in the next year in doing this project, and ways to fix them.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Minolta MAXXUM 3000i

After a look around my dad's house a few months ago, I came across an old SLR 35mm camera. It had two lenses and a flash, but unfortunately, wouldn't turn on. I was set on getting it working.

After a week of struggling with it, and learning a lot about cameras in the process, I finally gave up. The camera found its place in a corner, and life went on.

This week, on I found an ad for a similar old camera, at the low price of $30! I was very interested and contacted the owner right away. The camera is not similar to the one I found at all. It was about 10 years newer, and was a more automatic camera than manual SLR.

Nonetheless I went and bought it. I just picked it up about an hour ago, so haven't had time to test it out, but it looks to be promising. anyway, here it is, my Minolta MAXXUM 3000i.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Feel Like Having a Quick and Easy Meal Tonight?

A great homemade meal doesn't have to take up a lot of time. Try out the following recipes, they are easy to make, and only take about 35 minutes.

Entree - Sweet and Sour Chicken (25 mins.)

Rating: Moderate

What you will need:

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 can of condensed chicken broth

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breast, diced into 1-inch pieces

1 can of pineapple chunks, drained

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of vinegar

1 green pepper

4 cups cooked rice

Putting it all together:

Follow the directions on the packaging to cook the rice. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet, add the diced chicken and cook until browned. While the chicken is cooking, mix together the cornstarch and chicken broth. Once the chicken is browned, add the broth mixture, pineapple, vinegar, sugar, and green pepper. Stir until it boils and thickens. Reduce to low heat, and cover the skillet for 5 minutes. Serve the Sweet and Sour Chicken on a plate over rice.

Dessert - Banana Pudding (10 mins.)

Rating: Easy

What you will need:

1 8-oz container of sour cream

1 8-oz container of whipped cream

1 package of instant vanilla pudding mix

2 cups of milk

1 package of vanilla wafer cookies

4 peeled and sliced bananas

Putting it all together:

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the sour cream, whipped cream, pudding mix, and milk. In a glass casserole or trifle dish, place a layer of vanilla wafers at the bottom, followed by a layer of the pudding mixture, then a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat the pattern until all the ingredients have been used. Refrigerate until serving.

Try This: Replace the bananas with another sliced fruit, such as strawberries, or peaches. Also, try using graham wafer crumbs instead of vanilla wafer cookies.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Mysterious Package

Rushing off to school at about 9 a.m. today, a knock came to my door. Flustered at who could potentially be making me a few seconds late for class, I (angrily) answered the door, signed for a couple of large boxes, and followed the delivery man out the door.

Fast forward about seven hours when I arrived home, and curiosity got the best of me. I opened the packages to discover a Bose Wave Music System, a small counter top CD player and alarm clock.

I have never thought Bose to be anything special, a very closed-minded view considering I have never actually heard one of these Bose stereos. However, because the unit's appearance is simplistic (boring), and because of the excessive marketing through infomercials and home shopping networks, I saw this as a shoddy item.

Of course, I had to try out the new stereo to prove or disprove my opposition to it. Popping in the sample CD that came with the system, I began to read the information pamphlet included with the CD. It directed to turn the volume up to 85, and sit back and listen for 15 minutes.

I was absolutely blown away. The brilliance of the sound quality, the deep bass, the distinct and undistorted highs, it was nothing short of spectacular, even at impressively high volume levels. The sample CD was loaded with excellent audio tests such as short classical compositions, fast-paced percussion, and a thunderstorm interpreted by instruments. It sounded as if the musicians were in the same room. I realize I'm starting to sound like the so called "real customers" featured in the infomercials, but they are right in this case, it is a pretty impressive system.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Social Networking and PR: Promotional Tools.

Social networking has become increasingly popular in recent years. The fast growth has provided a great place to quickly and easily get a message out to a very large audience. With the way each specific website is handled, different tactics of promotion can be used.

The use of Facebook and Twitter in particular are popular ways to begin promotions. These ways do, however, have many differences in how they can be used.

Because of the 140-character limit per message on Twitter, it makes a great way to put out small, easily consumable lines of information. Any messages sent out on Twitter are going to be directed at the target audience, because all the followers will likely be in the audience to be targeted, and would be interested in what the promoter has to say.

Where Twitter falls short is the reach of messages. It is pretty well limited to the followers on Twitter; the message or information doesn't go past the small group of followers.

Facebook on the other hand, does not have character limits on messages, and there is the option to include audio/video and images with messages.

Although Facebook faces a similar problem with reaching people outside of the group of followers, the possibility for the group to expand is better. On Facebook, there is a news feed displaying friends' activities, such as status updates, comments on photos and videos, and recently joined groups. Chances are if one person joins a group of interest to him or her, an amount of friends would share the same interests, and may join the group having found out about it through the news feed. This is a lot like how information spreads by word of mouth, except on Facebook, the action to join or get involved is readily available and makes it easier.

Twitter can also reach new followers, but, in my opinion, it is less effective than Facebook. For a tweet from a company to reach more than just the followers, a follower will have to re-tweet it. This is completely at the discretion of the followers and is very selective as to which messages will reach more than just the company's followers. Facebook would automatically post that the group was joined and send it to all of the joinee's friends.

Facebook, however, will not update a new message from the group. Depending on the type of message, it may not even alert the group members.

Both forms of social networking can be effective promotional tools, and both have their own advantages and disadvantages. The key is to use them to their full potential.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Trouble With Radio Drama

As an assignment for Creative Writing, my group and I had to come up with a radio drama idea. At first it seemed simple, a few log lines, and a couple characters. It was going to be a piece of cake!

Once we began throwing around ideas, the problems began. For some time, the best idea we had was Somalian pirates that steal a fancy modern yacht. An hour of debating later, and we had it: a maid and all her servant friends gossiping about what happened during the week.

The idea seemed simple enough, but as we began to throw around storyline ideas, and created different characters, it proved to be more complex than anticipated. The story did eventually start to take shape, and we tweaked the last little bits to make it all fit together.

The story was, 5 servants for a family get together every weekend in their employer's home. The family goes away every weekend to their beach house in Long Beach for family time, so all the 'help' have the house to themselves. They play poker over drinks, and gossip about the things they saw or heard about the family. The real storyline is in what the family does over the whole timeline.

The most helpful part in writing this drama, I think, was the fully developed characters. We spent a lot of time creating a background and personality for each character. It made it easier to write because we knew more how each character would react to the different twists that came up, or how they would speak. Having them so developed definitely made the story more interesting too. Everyone was sort of unexpected, like the young gardener and pool boy was in a gang for years, yet sees the little girl of the family as a sister and looks out for her. Another character, Olga, is unexpectedly a very attractive woman with no German accent like the name may suggest.

After a while of working on the project, it started looking like a soap opera, mostly because of the mandatory cliffhanger at the end of each episode. Some were a bit of a stretch to set up the next episode, but I found them fun to write.

Another challenge in this assignment was remembering it was for radio. Some scenes became confusing because a visual would be needed, so a fair amount of editing had to be done.

Overall, I think the whole project went pretty well. We had a pretty good story set up and were eager to write more of the scenes. Although I'm proud of it, I think the whole thing was pretty confusing. It took a week for just my group to understand what was going on. There were definitely too many characters for a radio drama. We had 9 characters in total that were in just about every episode. Each episode would have several scene changes in it too, although separated by a flashback sound effect, would be difficult to understand.

Tips for writing a radio drama (learned from my mistakes, and comparing to more successful dramas):
  • Keep it simple. Limit it to only a small number of characters.
  • Keep the setting simple, and somewhere easily recognisable by sound.
  • Have a complete storyline in each episode, with a good cliffhanger at the end.
  • Give characters unique/identifiable voices.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Colour Scheme Solution

Can't find that perfect colour? trouble finding a scheme that solves your design problem? Relax. There is a solution for you! It's called Color Scheme Designer, and it can create a unique palette for your specific design problem.

You start by picking a base colour (the toughest part) then go on to choose the rest of the colours. Options include complimentary colours, triad, or analogical. It then displays a window with the colours it chose, and the tint and shades of those colours.

Another excellent feature the application offers is to view the colours it found in a mock-web-page with greek and generic pictures to make up the page. It offers the option to change the colours around on the page, so you can fine-tune the overall look.

The makers of the application have thought of everything. There is the option to set the saturation and levels of the base colour, and each individual colour to make the scheme your own.

I hope this program can help everyone else out there having colour scheme challenges.