Let’s talk about Christmas

I saw a truly amazing video the other day by the talented Charity Croff  and feel inspired to write about it. Go ahead and watch it here. I’ll wait 🙂

Did you watch it? All of it? Ok, good! Let’s chat.

If you’re like me, you emphatically nodded at every point Charity Croff brings up, from the Christmas tree to the powerful influence from Rome. As a quais-Christian with an unofficial faith base, I always find the hyperness surrounding Christmas fascinating. I actually celebrate both Yule and Christmas, finding both an excellent way to honor our creator and usher in the new, fresh year, but many seem to have a different agenda with their holiday celebrations. Like Charity Croff, I am always saddened by how much waste there is at Christmas time while we attempt to honor gratitude and selflessness. Honestly, I don’t see the point of presents. We should appreciate our friends and loved ones all year.

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www.inverse.com

 

Go ahead, call me a Grinch. It’s actually fitting considering the Grinch shares the same ideology. As Jim Carey’s character in the 2000 revamp so eloquently says:

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? That’s what it’s always been *about*. Gifts, gifts… gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts! You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I’m saying? In your *garbage*.

And did you catch Charity Croff’s point there at the end? We could literally end world hunger if we didn’t spend so much money on Christmas and we would have money left over. Let that sink in for a moment.

We could end suffering, appreciate loved ones, and still have money left over to put into other worthy causes.

It’s crazy to me that consumerism rules us so carefully that people aren’t having and sharing this epiphany. While we’re complaining about the design on our Starbucks cups because it doesn’t highlight Christ (which, as we know from our lovely friend’s video, is not actually the reason for the season), we could be solving world hunger. Talk about the wool being pulled over society’s eyes. We’re so distracted by the minutia in our day to day lives to notice that the we could put that passion towards a much worthier goal. So when we worry about whether Christ is in Christmas, think about how we are effectively erasing Christian principles by obsessing about the holiday. Granted, I realize that a lot of people enjoy these rather detrimental pursuits because it makes them feel righteous and powerful .I’m rather like little Cindy Lou Who in that I would love to see everyone come together during the holidays, preferably all year round if I’m honest, to actually do some real good. So put up your tree, your altar, your menorah, or other holiday tradition, hug your loved ones, and better use those resources.

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Friends V. Fake-quaintances

The past two months have been an insane shit show, but I’ve already gained one interesting perspective reflecting on it all. When you go through something shitty, you realize that there are two types of people who know you; you know, the ones who “know you” and the ones who know you. The interesting thing is: people end up fitting into categories totally different than you thought.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain these categories. When I started opening up to people about what happened I got two responses: “Well you’re thin and gorgeous. You’ll be fine.” and “Holy shit. <hugs>” It almost goes without saying that the later is the appropriate response.

****Mini rant: Since when does being skinny or having facial symmetry (and being talented with a make up brush) determine someone’s happiness in life? Obviously being conventionally attractive has it’s perks, but guaranteeing actual happiness is certainly not one of them.End rant. ****

So two main things, among the plethora of others, are wrong with that first response. A). Thanks, I know I’m pretty. But wtf does that matter? and B). That is NOT comforting. In my case, the last thing I needed (and still need, thank you very much) was someone trying to downplay or brush off my pain because I’m relatively blessed in life. Stop making people feel guilty for being rightfully upset about something just because other parts of their life hold privilege (don’t get me started here, there are waaaay too many privileged assholes out there complaining about minuscule things. This is not one of those times).

Why is cursing and hugging the appropriate response? Because the people who actually know you know you aren’t superficial like that. They know that if you’re actually opening up about something, you are truly fucked up at the moment because usually you keep that shit well under wraps. Cussing is appreciated because it’s a raw, honest response and one that I’ve been thinking and saying too. I hate the people who gingerly pat your hand and say you are in their thoughts. Fuck them, even if it’s well meaning, because this shit sucks. And the hugs? Well that depends on your personal comfort level with being touched. I live for hugs and physical contact so a giant hug is always the answer. The other reason a giant hug is the answer? Because there is literally nothing anyone can say that is going to make this better, and hearing the various “comforting” remarks from people kinda makes me want to strangle them. This is also the best because it shows that they aren’t afraid to jump head first into this mess if you need them too. These aren’t stand to the side people, these are get right into the hot mess people. These are also people who respect boundaries and will not judge you for sitting in that hot mess and crying like a baby for a bit. They get that you need that and will be there to pull you out of it when you ask for a hand.

These are also the people who see the bigger picture. They get that when you suddenly get quiet and start to cry, it might not be because of the sad thing. It could be something else entirely, but you’re a hot mess right now so everything is sad. You could have just had the most powerful epiphany and you’re happy crying or you could be crying about a what if you weren’t thinking about until you saw that stupid commercial. And when you do go quiet and start crying? They don’t ask why because it honestly doesn’t matter. They just pull you into one of those awesome healing hugs again and wait to see if you feel like talking about it. And they’re ok if you never do talk about why. They’ll just wait until you stop crying and say “You good?”

But how does this separate the friends from the fake-quaintances? Because the people who actually know you know just how to respond. They know exactly what to do when the world is falling around you. They don’t stand to the side and comment and they certainly don’t offer empty suggestions. That shit’s like a band-aid on a bullet wound. No. They silently pull you in and try to transfer as much of their own strength to you as they can. They speak softly, grab you a comforting glass of whatever works for you, and gently coax you back to something resembling yourself. Then they laugh with you, they bolster your strength, and shout with you. They understand that they can’t pick up the pieces for you or force you to pick them up faster. Instead, they quietly stay by your side and offer assistance when you cut yourself on the pieces. When you start to stand too soon and collapse again. When your soul is crumbling so much that it hurts to breathe. Because when a shit show like this inevitably happens, you need a solider by your side, not a general barking orders or a civilian offering advice about things they can never fully understand.

So, to all my soldiers, thank you ❤

To everyone else? Fuck off.

I love Meghan Trainor but…

Ok, so y’all know (if you actually know me that is haha) that I LOVE Meghan Trainor and frequently jam out to her songs on a regular basis. One of my favorites, especially to sing at inappropriate volumes in the shower or at my desk at work, is All About That Bass. Every time I sing this song, the feminist in me cringes when I get to that one line. You know the one I’m talking about:

Yeah, my momma she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,
So, if that’s what’s you’re into
Then go ahead and move along

I’m sorry, what??

A). Let’s pause for a sec and talk about how no one should base their weight on what another person finds attractive. Ever. Base your weight on what you and your physician determine is healthy and happy for you.

B). People of every size are beautiful. The only person anyone should want to hold at night is the person whose soul they find beautiful. If the physical attraction is there, awesome sauce. That’s what we call an added bonus. If someone doesn’t fit your ideals for soul and physical beauty, go find someone who does and STFU.

C.) Skinny can be beautiful too. As a vegan fitness junkie with a high metabolism, it is near impossible for me to gain weight. Yes, I know. Everyone hates me for saying this. I am so tried of being shammed for being skinny; this is just how I am. Guess what? I do calorie count, but it’s because I’m trying to make sure I consume at least 3,200 calories per day so I don’t LOSE weight. Trust me, I eat. I eat a lot actually. We shouldn’t shame the skinny people who are naturally trim just as we shouldn’t shame people who are naturally thicker.

D). The main problem I have with this rhetoric is that it implies you should try to be something you aren’t to please another person, which is highly ironic considering the context is to encourage women to avoid doing just that.

So, will I continue singing this song? Yep. I love the beat, it perfectly fits my voice register, and it makes me laugh. Should we heed the message here? Hell no. You do you boo boo. Be the person you love and fucking brush off what anyone else says. If you’re anything like me, you’re better off loving yourself at night (yes, innuendo intended) than trying to gain or lose weight to better fit in a partner’s arms.

Engl 706 Info Graphic

Grasses, like Eel Grass

References

Givens, C. E., Bowers, J. C., DePaola, A., Hollibaugh, J. T., & Jones, J. L. (2014). Occurrence and distribution of Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus–potential roles for fish, oyster, sediment and water. Letters in applied microbiology, 58(6), 503-510.
Kaushal, S. S., Likens, G. E., Jaworski, N. A., Pace, M. L., Sides, A. M., Seekell, D., … & Wingate, R. L. (2010). Rising stream and river temperatures in the United States. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 8(9), 461-466.
Lefcheck, J. S., Wilcox, D. J., Murphy, R. R., Marion, S. R., & Orth, R. J. (2017). Multiple stressors threaten the imperiled coastal foundation species eelgrass (Zostera marina) in Chesapeake Bay, USA. Global Change Biology.
Shaw, K. S., Sapkota, A. R., Jacobs, J. M., He, X., & Crump, B. C. (2015). Recreational swimmers’ exposure to Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA. Environment international, 74, 99-105.
Urquhart, E. A., Zaitchik, B. F., Waugh, D. W., Guikema, S. D., & Del Castillo, C. E. (2014). Uncertainty in model predictions of Vibrio vulnificus response to climate variability and change: a Chesapeake Bay case study. PloS one, 9(5), e98256.
Woodland, R. J., Rowe, C. L., & Henry, P. F. (2017). Changes in Habitat Availability for Multiple Life Stages of Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) in Chesapeake Bay in Response to Sea Level Rise. Estuaries and Coasts, 1-14.

Engl 706 Sign Design

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This is a sign for the my future (one can dream!) bakery and used-bookstore. The name is not trademarked or copyrighted yet, so please don’t steal it.

My current logo is a hipster/nerdy cinnamon bun which is a nod to the target audience, as well as the name in case people don’t get my odd sense of humor. I used a mixed of different fonts to add whimsy to certain elements while making essential information, such as event time/date, address, and website, in a clear and easy to read font. I picked cool tones for the color palette in order to present a calming affect. I also tried to pick easy to read fonts for those with vision impairments and designed colors that would not affect the design if the reader has color-blindness (i.e. viewing color is not essential to understand the message).

Engl 706 Annotated Bib #3

Iyer, E., & Banerjee, B. (1993). Anatomy of Green Advertising. Advances In Consumer                  Research, 20(1), 494-501.Retrieved from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.odu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=ebfdafbc6a1d-4880-8744-4430d225b453%40sessionmgr4009&vid=2&hid=4208

Iyer and Banerjee (1993) developed this research in order to create a framework for designing and analyzing “green” print advertisements based on green consumer needs and opinions. Because this was the first study in this particular area, the researchers adapted a form of grounded theory to create categories and coding methods in order to classify both the advertisements and consumer needs and wants.

The study focuses solely on print advertisements because the researchers determined form previous data that print advertisements provide more volume than other mediums and are more applicable and appealing to a mass variety of advertisers. In their analysis, Iver and Banerjee (1993) describe four main categories: ad target, ad objective, economic chain, and ad appeal. Each of these four categories was broken down further into subcategories: planet preservation, animal life preservation, and personal health preservation for ad target; corporate image and product service for ad objective; production, consumption, and disposition for economic chain; and zeitgeist, emotional, financial, euphoria, management, and other for ad appeal.

Iver and Banerjee (1993) discovered that planet preservation was used as an ad target significantly more than both animal life preservation and personal health preservation. In particular, Earth Day was determined the “most visible green event” and was used more than any other “green movement” in corporate advertisements. They also discovered that corporate image was seen as slightly more important than the actual products or services in these ads. In their analysis of economic chain, Iver and Banerjee (1993) note that emphasizing the production of “ecologically friendly” raw materials was key to the majority of the advertisements. Disposition was the second most emphasized caterogory, which the researchers attribute to the growing awareness of landfill wastes when the study was conducted.

Not surprisingly, ad appeal was highlighted as the most important variable. Because of this result, Iver and Banerjee (1993) use ad appeal as a comparison basis for the other two main categories and for creating the study’s accompanying charts. Out of the 173 green advertisements they analyzed, Iver and Banerjee (1993) found that 55 (31.8%) used zeitgeist and 36 (20.8%) utilized emotional. Guilt in particular was used 27.7%, the highest percentage, as the emotional appeal. Based on these results, Iver and Banerjee (1993) recommend that green advertisers should broaden their target scope, place less focus on corporate image as this affects credibility, avoid using trigger words like “safe” or “natural,” and place a higher emphasis on consumption as opposed to production.

I was elated to discover Iyer and Banerjee’s (1993) text because it finally provides a clear breakdown of what elements are essential to include and ignore when designing green advertisement in a print medium. Granted, their text is slightly out of date since it was published in 1993, but the data presented here is still valuable to my study. Though this study lacks a more formal methodology, Iyer and Banerjee’s (1993) taxnomny and coding system should prove helpful as a basis for my own visual rhetoric analysis even though they do not explicitly address design choices like images or font.

Engl 706 Timeline

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1996

When I was five, my family bought our first computer. KidPix was arguably one of my first design experiences.

2004ish

Sometime in the 8th grade, I started formatting essays in Word and presentations in Powerpoint

2006

Freshman and sophomore year I joined my high school’s environmental ad campaign and designed banners using Photoshop

2007

In my junior year of high school, I took my first web design class and learned basic HTML

2008

During the second semester of junior year and the first of my senior year, I became really interested in marketing. I gained experience in logo development, ad campaign design, and typography (I did a project on the history of Helvetica)

2009-2013

I earned my BA in Creative Writing at CNU in 2013. At CNU, I took more serious classes geared at web design and marketing before switching my major from business to English writing. I took my first technical writing class (document design, white space, etc.)

2013

I started my first professional job (by minimum wage!) as a research assistant for NASA Langley’s Office of Education. In addition to creating rather dry technical writing reports on studies, I also developed infographics and ads for their STEM and Space Camp campaigns (note the super cool, cheesy photo of me on the tarmac).

2015-Current

I am currently working on my MA in Professional Writing, with a focus on the transition from written communication to digital, which led me to take this visual rhetoric class.