It’s That Time Again: NaNoWriMo!

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month, for those who don’t know) for years, but last year was the first time I participated. I wrote this love story I had been thinking about for a few years and I won NaNo (Winning means you wrote 50,000 words in the month of November) but I still, to this day, haven’t done anything else with my novel. I still have to re-write the ending and proof-read and edit and then start looking into publishing. I told myself at the time that I would take a break until winter break from College to do all of that, but I never did.

11215180_1007907115939419_2049633382029720502_n
See? I won! haha

However, this year, I’m going to do it again, and unlike last year, instead of an idea I’ve planned on for ages, I have STILL not picked a story idea! NaNo starts Tuesday and so far I’ve chosen a genre: Murder Mystery.

I’m a big fan of Murder Mysteries and especially the classic “murderer is picking us off one by one” stories that take place in an isolated location. I think this year, I’m writing one of those types of mysteries set in some sort of scientific research expedition. However, that’s as far as I’ve got. I have no real plot, no characters, no setting, and no idea what to write about.

Currently I’m considering possibly a polar research facility that’s cut off by an arctic storm while a killer takes his time picking people off one by one (a la Fortitude, the TV show that took a very different turn near the end than just a killer), or possibly some sort of research expedition camping in the wilderness and someone is picking them off one by one. I also thought maybe keep with the wilderness theme, but it’s like the classic ‘research facility up in the mountains miles away from civilization and someone cut all the fuel lines to the vehicles’ type thing.

I also thought of maybe a research vessel murder mystery where they’re on a ship floating around in the ocean and the radios are dead so there’s no calling the coast guard, but the problem there is that there are so many technological reasons that wouldn’t work. I had that same problem with the first idea I had where the murderer is picking off people living in a future space colony. Obviously, there would be no way a space colony wouldn’t have complete coverage from cameras and life support systems and just basic statistic data measurement devices to make that impossible.

Or who knows, I could go 30 Days of Night and have a whole town being ravaged by a nightly killer but, since they’re an isolated village, there’s not enough manpower from the police to protect everybody and find the killer.

I honestly don’t know what I want to do, but I’m closer now than I was before, because at least I have a vague idea of what I want to do. I know it’s a pretty tired basic plot, but I love it. I could read fifty different versions of this basic idea and still be entertained. I hope others might be the same. What would you guys suggest? Do you have any thoughts?

3-Frame Story

This week in my NMAC 3145 class, we approached the idea of telling a story through photographs alone. The idea is that you don’t use any words to tell your story, but I’m going to address the restrictions that caused me to have such a haphazard sequence of shots.

Simply put, I was going for comedy, so I made a choice about a GREAT idea and didn’t think up any alternatives. My original idea was going to be my sister Dallas standing at the base of a tree, then beginning to climb the tree, and then splayed on the ground after falling from the tree. However, both Tuesday and today, I didn’t get home until after dark, so that wasn’t doable. I thought for a while that I was not going to be able to get anything lined up to fulfill the requirements. Last minute, I got this idea and I rushed to my sisters’ room where Dallas was nearly asleep (Graysie was still up, but she doesn’t own heels so she wasn’t an option), and begged her to get out of bed and let me take just THREE pictures of her for my assignment. She really did mean just three photos, so this is what I got and what I had to work with.
I’m sorry that they aren’t better, but I edited the color and lighting so that they matched and they are framed as well as I could get them in one try. Here we go!

20161026_21381720161026_21385220161026_213947

Book Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Not really a review as much as a ‘hey, read this!’ but I just learned how to auto-post my Goodreads reviews to my blog, so this is probably gonna become a thing in the future! Hopefully next book I read will have an actual review to it besides “I loved this book, you should, too!”

The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Horror)The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an absolutely incredible thrill ride! The vivid imagery, the intense emotional moments, all of it is absolutely wonderful! A perfect book to read for October. So glad I finally read this.

View all my reviews

Photographed Shapes Project

This week in NMAC 3145, we had to take photographs of objects all of one shape and the shape I chose was circles.

Taking photos with a cell phone is hard.

The shape photography assignment was an exercise in frustration. We all know how frustrating it can be to take photos of anything, but that was absolutely the worst. Using a cellphone to take photos is going the extra mile of frustration, because it is nearly impossible to take good photos of anything up close with a phone. I have never seen a cellphone camera that offers manual focus in any of the settings, so trying to focus on things up close is practically impossible, meaning that you have to take dozens of photos to find the shot you need. It drove me crazy.

I ended up taking about thirty photos and it was all multiples of the same items. The only thing that I took a photo of that didn’t end up in this set of six photos was a pumpkin, and I decided it wasn’t really a circle. I chose circles at random. I had no long, hard choice in choosing to photograph circles. I like them and I wanted to take a photo of things I had on hand, and my key chain of Captain America’s shield is a circle. I ended up finding plenty of other things that are circular that I just couldn’t get a photo of. Things too far away, for example. Things I couldn’t stop and photograph because I was driving or walking and running late. The things I ended up choosing where my Captain America shield key chain, the top of my vitamin bottle, one of the wheels on my car, the lid on a bottle of lemon soda, a cupcake, and the logo on my purple converses.

Honestly, the choice in which six photos I would choose came down to ‘which is the least blurry’, because after taking photo upon photo, there were some items I just could not get clear. They would focus and then when I tried to snap the picture, it would re-focus and blur. That happened so many times. There is a reason most of the things I take pictures of with my cellphone are full sized things that aren’t close to me. Maybe some people with better phone cameras have less trouble than I did, but I pretty much gave up and chose what was clearest without any further creative side to my choices.

A Day In The Life of Me: A Learning Experience In Cellphone Videography

In my NMAC 3145 class, we were tasked with making a short ‘intro to you’ video with a camera you own, meaning for most of us, our cellphone cameras. Now, having never used a cellphone to film anything that wasn’t going on Instagram of Snapchat, I was not super sure of myself in this one, and it shows.

I’m not the best cinematographer with a professional camera, nonetheless with a Samsung Galaxy S5 that I bought refurbished because I’m too poor to buy a newer phone, but I’m not entirely disappointed with my finished product.

My biggest issue was trying to film myself with my phone. I had only my own arm-length to use. I tried propping it up, but other than in my car, where there are softer surfaces that allow for propping more easily without sliding, it was very difficult. I had wanted to include some video of me doing yoga, since I am a yoga lover, but not a single place in my home has enough room to lay out my mat and prop my phone somewhere that it can film me.

Also, as you can see, I did not know that filming with the phone upright would make it do the vertical black bars thing. On Snapchat and Instagram, that’s how you film. Also, on the phone screen itself, if yo turn it on it’s side, THEN it has black bars.

All in all, it was a very good learning experience that I would love to try again some time with a different subject than myself so that I can film a lot better than just from arm-length.

Do you guys have any experience in cellphone videography? Be sure to comment and tell me how well it has worked out for you!

What Do Selfies Really Say?

In my Digital Media class this semester, we have just recently had a chapter on Selfies. I find it very intriguing to look at selfies in an academic or intellectual way. Here are a few selfies that I’m examining in the way the chapter on selfies talks about them, to try and contextualize what a selfie really says about me.

I must confess that, while I take loads of pictures to post online, I’m not a big selfie person. Most of my ‘selfies’ are ‘us-fies’ where I take selfies with people. I prefer photos of things, not myself. Not necessarily because I don’t like myself, it’s just that I know the people who follow me know what I look like, what I want to show you is everything else.

Selfie #1: The Stricken Sports Fan

screenhunter_649-jan-21-23-56
August 12, 2016

The only sport I really follow is women’s soccer. I love soccer, and I watch men’s soccer, but women’s soccer in America is where it’s at. This was the selfie I took after the US Women’s National Team lost in the quarter finals at the Rio Olympics. I took this photo and posted it because I tend to take selfies when something emotional is going on (something shocking on TV happens, I post an OMG selfie, ect) and I was sitting on my floor staring at the ceiling in shock. The #1 ranked team in the world would leave the Olympics without a medal at all for the first time since Women’s Soccer started to be an Olympic sport. I honestly don’t know why I take ‘reaction’ selfies. I don’t know anybody else that does this, but I like it. This selfie, like most of my selfies, doesn’t ‘stand up to time’. I don’t take aesthetic selfie soften, so this was like a tweet. It was for that moment in time, and later it doesn’t really matter much.

Selfie #2: Voting Day Selfie

screenhunter_650-jan-21-23-58
May 24, 2016

This selfie I took, as I do every voting day, after casting my ballot in the presidential primaries. Political involvement is important to me, so all 5 times I’ve been to the polls in my life, I have posted a selfie of it with a caption about “Don’t forget to do your civic duty!” or something similar. I feel like, in the academic and intellectual sense, this selfie does represent something that is very ‘me’. It’s a selfie, but it’s less about my face and more about relating being a voter to myself. I wanted people to see that I’m actively involved in the politics of this country and I wanted to inspire others to get out and vote instead of not bother. It’s not even a very flattering photo, but it was a profile pic for a while because of the meaning behind it.

Selfie #3: Spontaneous Museum Adventure Selfie

screenhunter_651-jan-22-00-01
April 2, 2016

When we talk about motivation for selfies, people often cite preserving a memory as the motivation, and in this case, that’s exactly what happened. This was the day I realized First Saturdays at the Macon arts and science museum were free admission, and I love museums, so me and my siblings all decided to go together. The best part of any museum is the planetarium, so in this moment, we were all very excited. The show was starting soon, and we took a selfie of us in our seats and excited so I could post online and show all my friends what a fun thing my siblings and I were doing that day. I had forgotten about that day until this assignment, but when I looked at this selfie, I was reminded of how much fun we had that day learning about the potential for dark matter in outer space.

Selfie #4: The Nerd Side

February 13, 2016

Another type of selfie is the one where you show off a new thing you have, and that’s exactly what this one was. I had just bought this awesome Kylo Ren Star Wars mug! Since my friends and various other online followers are inevitably on the nerdy side, it was a way to show people “Look at this cool thing I have!” and how better than to take a selfie of me using my cool new thing? This is sort of like how people will take photos posing with their new car, only on a much smaller level. Again, it’s less about me and more about the fact that I now have a cool thing and everybody should be jealous. (Fun fact, I’m currently using that same mug as I write this.)

Selfie #5: Pet Selfies

screenhunter_652-jan-22-00-02
March 22, 2016

Anybody with a pet takes pet selfies. I would say that MOST of my photos, not just selfies, but photos in general, are of my cat. This is my baby boy, Tigger, who you already met in the first post on this blog. He’s 6 years old this year, and he is my precious little baby kitten and about the only person who loves him more than me is my daddy. This is the most stereotypical selfie I think I have, honestly. Artful composition (for a selfie), a heavy Instagram filter, the aesthetic posing of kissing the cat while taking a selfie so it doesn’t look so ‘selfie’ like, all of these are very ‘typical selfie’ things. This is one of my favorites, simply because I look alright and my cat looks great and who doesn’t want to show off their cat? (Except you heathen dog people *hisses* lol) This is one of those photos that, like the others, represents me through something I love.

In one way or another, you could say that my entire selfie style is showing things I love in some form or fashion. Selfie #1 was for the purpose of starting a conversation about my favorite sport. Selfie #2 was about energizing the voting base and getting people to remember that it was voting day even though all that we voted for was the primaries that day. Selfie #3 was like a vacation selfie, only we’re poor, so we don’t go on vacations (we spent ONE night away this last fall and it was the only family vacation we’ve ever gone on), in that we went to a fun new place on an adventure and wanted to document that day because I love the planetarium so much. Selfie #4 expresses my love for coffee and nerdy things, which are my two favorite things in the entire world. Selfie #5 was about showing off my cat, which is the closest to having a child I’ll ever get since I hate children and love cats.

Everyone has a different selfie style, and going into this, I didn’t even realize what mine was. But now I know! My selfie style is showing others what I love.

So, now that you’ve seen mine, join in and use a post with 5 selfies chosen at random to analyze YOUR selfie style!