The New MissAmberMay.com

Layout Changes

  1. Changing the background
  2. Changing the banner
  3. Making the banner randomly generate different images
  4. Changing the color of navigation menu from grey to white
  5. Changing the hover color of the navigation menu to blue
  6. Having the text of the current page be a different color than the rest of the text in the menu (Like if you were on the About Me page, the “About Me” text would be pink while the rest is still white)
  7. Changing the font of the 1st paragraph on the About Me page to 18px and adding a Cochin style
  8. Changing the font in the 2nd paragraph to 15px and adding a Chalkboard style
  9. Changing the 3rd paragraph to 15px and adding a Lucida Sans style

10. Having the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs be invisible until highlighted by changing them both to black text.

11. Changing the headers of all the pages to blue

12. Increasing the width of the black border holding all of the text so the text doesn’t end up squeezed together.

13. Changing all of the search boxes and comment boxes to pink

 

MissAmberMay.com has come a long way from the bus layout, just as I intended. In the beginning, my website was a barren wasteland that only consisted of a subdomain with only 1 or 2 blog entries. Once I began understanding how to use WordPress and CSS, I started to mold the site into a portfolio that suited my initial vision and one that I could be proud of.  Using 2 WordPress installations, I was able to separately control the appearance of the blog and main site and still have them remain connected. I want to first highlight the changes I made to the layout using custom CSS and plug-ins.

 

Before the guest enters the site, a splash page that shows pieces of the woman behind the site, greets them. Because it doesn’t yet show the full view of her, this just furthers the guests’ initial question of “Who is Miss Amber May?” Normally a splash page is a simple jpeg image, but in this case I decided to make it a gif.  Once the guest arrives on the home page, the most noticeable component that first catches their attention is the header. I got rid of the default Earth image and replaced it with a few of my own images. At first, I only wanted to have one picture of myself, but I ended up deciding to show the audience my many faces. This kind of mirrors the fact that I can freely perform many characters; which they will end up hearing on my Voice Acting page. To make the pages appear less boring, I changed most of the grey text into white and changed the hover colors of the navigation menu to sea blue. So the guest doesn’t forget what page they’re viewing, I went ahead and changed the text of the current page in the navigation menu to pink while having the rest of the menu items remain white. On the About Me page, I had the layout build into the context of the essay by having the text match the black background and only appear when highlighted, demonstrating how to see things in a different manner than what one is used to. The final significant change was that I changed all the search boxes and comment boxes to pink. There was no significant reason for this…Miss Amber May just likes pink. All of these changes are used to liven up the site’s overall appearance and to help the guests easily navigate the different areas.

 

I feel that the site is much more substantial than it was at the beginning of the semester, where it was just an empty layout with no content. I now have 2 extra pages on my blog, one to showcase my university projects and the other to showcase my voice acting skills. I’m really happy that I finally have the chance to display my demo reels on a platform that’s entirely mine, rather than having them hosted on someone else’s medium where it could possibly be taken down. By making this decision, I have created a designated space where I can send future fans or potential employers to view my handiwork. Although the vocal content is currently mediocre material that was done for fan projects, I can still continue to add to this space in the future as I improve my technique and become much more professional in the voiceover world. So basically, this material is just being used as a gateway into the real world; I have to start somewhere.

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Overall I am content with how this website turned out in terms of content and form. Just as I stated in my first identity blog post, I wanted to produce my own personal area in which I can effectively demonstrate my true online identity.  Of course I would never post extremely personal content to this site, or any site for that matter, because I would never really know “who” the audience is going to be. For this reason, I ended up using different social media sites for different objectives. This site, for example, talks about a few details of my personal life and goals in a professional manner, while my Facebook does the same task in a less professional manner where the majority of the audience is friends and family. However, ever since I learned that it is far from impossible for an employer to view their employee’s social media presences, despite the endless private settings, I now understand that in order to keep a “clean” online presence, I must be a responsible individual by displaying acceptable behavior on every social media site that I’m involved with.

“Condescending Wonka”

This meme is called Condescending Wonka. It is an image of Gene Wilder (From the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) patronizing the speaker and being sarcastic. In this image he bashes those who gloat about how many facebook friends they have, but have only met or interacted with a few in person.

“A Screen Was All It Took”

“Amber! Stop watching so much TV! You gon’ go blind!” my mother would constantly tell me as a child. Aside from the fact that my vision DID worsen over the years, she thought I’d wasted my time “watching” the screen. “Watching?” In my vocabulary, “watching” something means you’re emptily staring at it, as if it’s going to do a trick or something. Honestly, anyone can sit on their butt, open a cool, refreshing beverage, and mind-numbingly stare at a TV for hours. What my mom didn’t understand was that I wasn’t “watching” the TV at all; I was listening…to every word that came out of a character’s mouth.

Saturday mornings, before school, after school, bedtime; every time was cartoon time for me. Up until now, I was puzzled as to why cartoons interested me so much. Was it the flashy animations? The zany music? The exceptional episode plots? Finally, the reason hit me when I was in the 4th grade. One day at recess, a few of my friends and I were pretending to be Powerpuff Girls. One of the girls decided to be Blossom, while the other one wanted to be Bubbles. I asked the girl who was playing Blossom why I couldn’t be Blossom, and she just laughed and said, “You have to be Buttercup because you sound like a boy like she does!” As both girls were laughing at me because of my voice, I strangely didn’t get upset at all. Instead, I smiled, flexed my nonexistent muscles, and screamed “Grrr! I’m Buttercup! I’m the roughest, toughest, Powerpuff Girl ever! Come on girls! Let’s kick some butt!” The girls cheered and told me that I sounded just like her! It was then that I realized I enjoyed imitating the silly voices found in cartoons. I began making others in my class laugh by impersonating different characters, and at that point in my life, I felt like I myself was a cartoon.

 

I was officially introduced to the world of voice acting when I was 13 years old after I was asked by one of my online friends to play a role in one of their video projects. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I was contributing to dozens of fan-based projects and voice acting contests. Although this was a fun experience to be apart of, I sadly realized that I had no original content to show if I ever wanted to become a professional. I am currently in my 3rd year of college, and I am beginning to pursue my dream by creating my own demo voice reel, taking a multitude of training classes, and building my webpage and business cards to spread the word about my talents. At the same time, I am always online searching for any original projects that may need some voiceover assistance. A few months ago, I personally received a bit of advice from one of my voice acting idols, Jim Cummings, about excellent ways to stick my foot into the business. One of the things he told me was to “explore every possibility out there,” words that I have treasured and taken seriously ever since.

Voice Acting is a highly competitive industry, but at the same time it is in high demand across the country. Voiceovers are everywhere, from airports and theme parks to commercials and radio broadcasts; literally everywhere a person goes, a voiceover is not far behind. To me, those unseen, hardworking people are more heroic and underappreciated than any regular actor one sees in a movie. It took hours of staring at a glowing screen and loosing a portion of my perfect vision for me to figure this out. Oh well…in order to gain something, one must give, I suppose.

 

*image drawn by a friend of mine

Actual Advice Mallard

This meme is called “Actual Advice Mallard.” As opposed to the Malicious Advice Mallard, this duck gives advice that is actually helpful in life, such as “putting chapstick on paper cuts to ease the pain.”

Inception Meme

This meme is called “Inception,” and it is based off of the movie of the same name. It parodies the fact that the actual movie tends to be extremely confusing in terms of the content, usually explaining a concept in the form of “a___within a___within a___”. It features Leonardo DiCaprio describing an idea that we learned in class about how one medium is just the object of another medium. I found this somewhat hard to grasp when we were first learning it, so this meme popped into my mind.

Nsync Analysis

Before the spring of 1998, not many people had heard of the amazing new boy band called Nsync. However, within a few months, Lance, Joey, J.C., Justin, and Chris became one of the most well known bands in the world. In just one week alone, Nsync sold over 250,000 copies of their very first album, and every single one of their worldwide concerts sold out in the blink of an eye. Nsync, without a doubt, was one of the best pop sensations of the 90’s, but how did they do it?

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Nsync is an example of an artifact from the music medium. The band consisted of 5 incredibly talented young men doing what they loved and sharing it with the four corners of the globe. They combined a stylistic mix of a capella and idiosyncratic rhythms with creative dance routines that gave a real meaning to the term “pop.” These 2 features tended to be typical to other boy bands of that time period, such as Backstreet Boys and New Kids On the Block. An atypical aspect of this band, however, was that the group was formed by the band members themselves and not produced by a higher-up management team. What is also atypical, at least by today’s standards, was that they were perfectly straight males singing pop music, which nowadays tends to be a female dominated music genre, which I will further explain later.

Ever since the band New Kids on the Block arrived during the mid 80’s, America, had been swooning over male pop bands. The young, mainly female, fans shared the same values, which were the fact that they loved suave, handsome heartthrobs singing to them. Occasionally during Nsync’s concerts, the band would select a random female from the audience to come on stage and have them sing to her. The majority of their lyrics consisted of flattering words that made women love themselves and not be afraid of their insecurities. In other words, the boys made them feel beautiful. Fans fantasized about having one of the band members be their perfect boyfriend who would, as their hit song Girlfriend says, forever be their “shining star.” This was another reason their albums sold so quickly.

Back when Nsync originated in the 90’s, the prime technological developments required to admire this band were CD’s, cassette tapes, radio stations, and television.  Other less technological ways to listen to them were to actually attend their concerts. Nowadays if an individual wants to listen to this band, or any band for that matter, they only have to type it into Youtube to find clear audio or video footage of the group’s concerts. Because of today’s technological advances, it is much easier to distribute different forms of entertainment and effortlessly share them amongst others.

In the late 80’s through 90’s, it was common to see males singing sugary pop tunes to their teen fans without fear of mockery. Nowadays, as I stated before, the pop music industry is mainly female dominated, to the point where if any male or boy band decides to deviate from this norm on his own, he is sadly perceived in the social world as a flashy homosexual. A good example of these subjective views is the ongoing network of prejudice towards Justin Bieber and his rise to fame. On many social media sites such as Tumblr, Facebook, and Youtube, Bieber tends to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. What is peculiar about this collective loathing is that Bieber is just a duplicate of the earlier pop sensation, and teenage heartthrob, Aaron Carter who made his successful debut in the late 90’s. Another example of the shift in musical taste is the appearance of the band One Direction, which is just a mere shadow of the Backstreet Boys whom also appeared in the 90’s.  The unfortunate boys of this band are also mocked online, often being called derogatory sexual phrases. If Justin Bieber and One Direction were to make their first appearances during an earlier decade, where it was more acceptable to see males popping and locking on stage, then there may have been a bit less ridicule. Current trends are one of the main factors that determine the success of a music group.

When Nsync made its revolutionary debut, they forever opened the floodgates to a new world of music that one did not need any prior knowledge to enjoy. Their fantastic voices, brilliant dancing, and unmatchable personalities had all of their fans screaming for more. Although this band is not together anymore, they have forever left their footprint on the music industry, so they never will have to say “Bye Bye Bye” to their fans.

Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/*NSYNC_%28album%29

Bierenfeld, Sarah. “Women in Music Videos.” The Good Life: The Effects of Women in Music Videos. N.p., 2 2011. Web. 23 Nov 2012. <http://womeninmusicvideos.angelfire.com/index.html>.

CONSIDINE, J.D. “‘N Sync smashes sales record.” Baltimore Sun. 30 2000: n. page. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2000-03-30/features/0003300267_1_boys-millennium-backstreet-boys-album-millennium>.

How to Fight Speaking Anxiety

Why does speaking anxiety occur, and how can one overcome this problem? Speaking anxiety arises for five common reasons: we feel we aren’t ready to execute the traumatizing speech; emotions make us feel overwhelmed or pessimistic; we know and feel the negative responses to anxiety, such as blushing, shortness of breath, or rapid heart rate; we realize that the audience is always judging us, which causes us to strive for perfection. These five reasons are explained in the acronym B.A.S.I.C. (Behavior, Affect, Sensations, Imaginary, Cognition).

There are 4 simple ways to overcome the dreaded speech anxiety. Step one is to practice the speech over and over again. Practicing in the classroom or auditorium where you’re giving the speech will help you become familiar and feel comfortable with the surroundings. You could also practice your speech in front of a group of friends or family to help you get used to people watching you. Step two is to visualize yourself in a positive way. If you imagine the teacher at the back of the room holding up an A+ and the audience cheering for you, you are more likely to believe in yourself. Step three is as simple as breathing, literally. Breathing from your chest causes shortness of breath, which makes you more likely to faint (that’d definitely be a memorable presentation.) Breathing from the diaphragm, however, calms your body and makes oxygen flow more smoothly through your bloodstreem. The last step is to firmly plant your feet to ensure confidence. If the audience sees you swaying side-to-side and staring at the ceiling, they’re more likely to judge your appearance.

According to psychological studies, Americans fear public speaking more than death itself. If one thinks of the worst case scenarios before the day of their speech, it turns out that things could always be worse than what they visualized. The simplest way to defeat it is to recognize how you respond to the anxiety so you can learn to overcome it. The audience may be judging your every move, but if you yourself know that your giving it the best you have, then their opinions don’t matter.

Image source: http://healthy-lifestyle-news.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/PublicSpeakingAnxietyInformation-350×270.jpg

Water Conservation

“Drip,drop,drip,drop.” Do you hear that? That is the incessant sound that lurks in your bathroom or kitchen while you’re watching TV or sleeping. That, my friends, is the sound of opportunity and privilege being wasted. A sound that we 1st world countries hear all the time, but do nothing to fix due to laziness,cheapness,or simply nonchalance. That is the sound of gallons of water being wasted and taken for granted. According to the Huffington Post, “about 95 percent of the water entering our homes goes down the drain.” This wasted 95 percent could be used to aid the less fortunate countries who are suffering everyday from drought and dehydration. As I said before, the main villain in this situation is sheer nonchalance or ignorance to the issues outside of our thriving country. As a prosperous country, it should be our job to send help to those in need and use our wealth to come up with more efficient ways to conserve water. I know that some of us are thinking “I’m not a scientist, so I can’t create a machine that magically creates water for the human race,” but one does not have to be a scientist or engineer to help fight for this cause! By simply reducing the amount of water you use by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth,switching to energy efficient toilets, or reducing shower time, in just a matter of days you’d not only be saving water, but you’d be saving money! So next time you hear your sink saying “drip drip drip,” think of each drop as a drop of cash: “cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.

Image Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ornuRREMseI/SUKT_wSZ4aI/AAAAAAAAAAc/qrDqKps5TZ4/s320/Sink_Running_Water.jpg

Political Cube Runner

PLAY HERE: http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/amay3/2890121


Instructions: Use the mouse to move Gary Johnson’s head left and right to dodge the donkeys and elephants for as long as possible. Collect dollar signs and pot leaves to gain ammunition(it takes about 3 seconds for the ammunition to load), then press the space bar to create a path if you’re stuck. (Obama and Romney heads cant be destroyed because of their thick skulls)

This is a game I created in Scratch called “Political Cube Runner” for ENGL202. We were discussing the composition and concepts of games that express deeper meanings.
This game is meant to symbolize the third party candidates’ inability to get onto the presidential ballot. The sprite that the user controls is Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, and he desperately tries to make his way into the White House without getting overshadowed by the Republicans and Democrats. The dollar signs he collect represent the funds that his supporters donate to his campaigns. Because he believes in the legalization of marijuana, the marijuana sprite doubles his funds, representing his supporters’ agreement. Overtime, the playing field speeds up, making it harder for Johnson to dodge the 2 parties. Eventually, the player has to be defeated because, for third party candidates, it’s just seems to be a futile attempt no matter how hard they try.

Youtube Interactive Videos

Psh! Why just watch Youtube videos when you could PLAY them? Rather than just staring at the computer screen, new kinds of videos called Interactive Videos encourage users to interact with the video by clicking on the embedded annotations. This fad started around 2008 when annotations were first created, originally used for commentary purposes. Videos like these are like the modern day “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories because they let the user determine how the story is played. The videos work by presenting the user with different choices, and whatever choice the user clicks, the video skips to that specific time segment or it jumps to a different video altogether. The videos visited are based on what paths the user follows.

This interactive game called “Luigi’s Mansion Interactive” contains over 20 videos. The user must help Luigi save Princess Daisy from the evil clutches of Waluigi in the haunted mansion. Over half of the videos in the whole story are complete nonsense that is meant to stall time (oh god…there’s one that is over an hour long). The others are videos that make you lose the game and start from the last point. Also with this game, the user is given a mini assignment along with the original quest, and that is to find all of the mushrooms in every video. The ones who find all the mushrooms win a free t-shirt from the producers.