General ‘How to …’

Graphical Imaging in Maus and American Born Chinese

In order to determine the success of the graphical imaging in Maus, and American Born Chinese, we were tasked with finding the major themes in the two graphic novels. My main themes were: ‘one generation’s past experiences’, or ‘actions affect the next generation’, ‘your culture is not a burden’, and ‘losing your culture means losing who you are’. These themes, I felt, were best conveyed when depicted in a graphic format, and were chosen from this list:

  • Your culture is not a burden
  • Losing your culture means losing who you are
  • One generations past experiences or actions affect the next generation
  • Racism in today’s society and immediate history
  • Abuse of Power
  • Relationships with other people
  • Loss of identity
  • The influence people have on each other
  • Entertainment at someone elses expense
  • Exclusion from groups or society
  • Relationships with other people
  • Difficulty adjusting to new environments
  • Feeling guilty for things that are out of your control
  • Segregation of different races
  • Nothing is worth changing who you are

In the video below, I discuss why the three themes I had chosen are best represented in a graphical format. However the video is long, so here is a brief conclusion of what is said in the video. Some of the themes would not have been possible to convey in a text format, because the pictures are what show the symbols, which in turn represent the themes. Also, I had a hard time piecing together what was happening in American Born Chinese with the pictures; so without them, I would have been lost. Lastly, some of the pictures helped set the atmosphere, and without setting the atmosphere, some of the stories’ meaning would be lost.

Here is the video:

Gyazo, Easy Screen Capture

Gyazo is a program that allows you to capture any image on your screen, regardless of what program you are using. The sleek design of the program allows it to use very little of your computers memory.

When you open Gyazo, it has no menus or popups. Your cursor simply changes to a crosshair, you select your field of view, and release. When this is complete the image is automatically uploaded to Gyazo’s servers, and a new tab opens with the link and image. With this, you can either copy/paste the link to send to a friend, or save the image to your computer for future use.

gyazo screen cap

To install Gyazo, simply go to and follow the instalation directions. The whole process should take about 3-5 minutes.

Hailey’s Oil-Free Vegan Apple Pie Muffins

Lately I have been exploring and creating new recipes in the world of vegan cooking. Not only are vegan recipes healthier, they are also suitable for people with allergies, as all vegan recipes are dairy free and most are gluten free, nut free, and refined sugar free. Now I know what you’re thinking, vegan? How will they taste good? Don’t I need really expensive and/or strange ingredients to make vegan food? How will they be moist without oil? Thankfully, this recipe only contains ingredients that you have in your kitchen already, they are unbelievably moist because of the warm apple mixture that is in the recipe, and I can assure you they are utterly delicious. If you don’t have some of the ingredients in this recipe, you can easily replace them with “ordinary” ingredients. (Ex. A flax egg can be exchanged for a real egg) I hope you enjoy this recipe I made a try!

Oil-Free Apple Pie Muffins

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat oat flour (if you don’t want to buy the flour, you can also grind up 2 cups of whole wheat large flake oats in a food processor until they become a flour-like consistency)
  • 3 tbsp + 2 tsp raw unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Handful of chopped walnuts (optional)

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/4 cups almond milk
  • 1 medium mashed banana

Apple Pie Mixture

  • 2 peeled granny smith apples (1 grated + 1 chopped)
  • 1/4 pure maple syrup (honey or maple agave is good too!)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 350 f
  • Mix flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside
  • In a small pot, mix the apples, maple syrup, lemon juice, and stir mixture and let it simmer on medium/low heat for 5-10min
  • In a large bowl, mash the banana and put all the rest of the wet ingredients (including the now-gelled flax seed) together and mix very well
  • In a smaller bowl mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly then combine the dry ingredients with the wet (after the apple mixture has called for at least five min), mixing well until there are no more lumps, besides the apple lumps
  • Chop up your walnuts and then add to the mixture and stir again
  • Bake for 21 min then let cool for 5-10 min

(This photo is not mine, but I swear the muffins in this recipe look the same, if not better! :D)

a) How to compose meaningful posts

Compiling meaningful posts

This diagram illustrates the different aspects that you need to pay attention to when compiling a post for publication.  The indictors (column 2) apply to posts of text only, as well as posts that consist of picture/video/animation with accompanying text.

In the schematic, follow each “w-word” from left to right to have a clearer understanding of what the w-word means.  Whenever you compile a post, use these indicators to ensure that your post is appealing to your reader and invites them to participate; remember, social media are intended to be social; we welcome comments and interaction.  The blog owner has control over which comments are shown and which are deleted, so do not be afraid to open your work for comments.

In order to compose a post that your readers will value and engage in, you need to provide sufficient information while keeping it brief  – unless it is an essay, you should try to write no more than 250 words, which is the general indicator for how much people are willing to read on the web before moving on (this post consists of about 250 words).  Have a look at the two posts directly below to have a clearer idea of how these principles work in practice.  Do you agree that the second post is better than the first one?

Some of these w-words are ‘old-school’ … can you come up with better alternatives?  If so, why not share your ideas by leaving a comment below.

c) Is it possible to fire three arrows in 0.6 seconds?

Browsing the internet over the week-end, I came upon this amazing video. I simply had to watch it a few times before I could believe my eyes! Lars Andersen from Denmark is an archery guru … his feats of firing off arrows in quick succession has caused quite a stir. Andersen claims that he was able to hone his astounding shooting skills after studying historical texts and illustrations to learn “the ways and methods of our bow and arrow-wielding ancestors”.

Lars’s claims are not without controversy, however.  A few posts on the web are crying foul, claiming that Andersen’s claims are historically inaccurate and his videos are cleverly edited. Some comments go even further, claiming his feats to a hoax.

What do you think … fantastical feats or clever deception?  If you think that the information in the video is historically inaccurate or a hoax, can you provide reasons to support your view?

405 movie – the possibilities are endless …

I know this is ‘old’ (circa 2001), but it is still one of the best amateur videos out there.  To think that that this film was not created by an army of special effects artists, it did not take years to complete, and it did not cost a million dollars.  ‘405’ was created by two people, in only three months, with the only expense being their time and personal home computers.

See how it was done here.