Inforgraphics!

Infographics are graphical visualizations that display some sort of data and information to it’s viewer. Infographs can help a writer and blogger in many ways, and give a better demonstration and blog to view by an audience. Infographs can help appeal the blog to an audience and draw a reader in to the blog to read more of the bloggers posts. Sometimes there is some information that if explained in a text format, can become very confusing and difficult for a reader to understand. Infographs help the blogger get across the information he/she needs to in a way that best suits the reader. Statistics, percentages, data, graphs. They can all be read better in some sort of graphical way than just another paragraph explaining.

We see infographs everywhere we look and we don’t realize it a lot of times. Bus route maps, statistic charts, graphs during a presentation, pie charts of favorite games to play with groups, the list goes on and we see them everywhere. Infographs can even be seen at theme parks, in the maps that you pick up on your way in. Maps display the basic essentials one needs in order to travel around the park and find everything they’re looking for.

For me, I enjoy inforgraphs that are in the shape or form of what they are representing. For instance, this chart of population spread throughout America:

This chart does not only represent the information it gives, but it does so in a way that one can really see the differences. Instead of just having a standard bar graph with city names and number of people in each, it lays out the whole country with a neat way of displaying the information it portrays.

One infograph I became especially good at figuring out was Metro Maps. When I spent time in Paris this summer and last summer, I really had to learn how to maneuver my way around the city via the Metro, and the maps were at first very confusing, but once I got the hang of it, I became a pro at figuring out which stop to take. Here is the map of the Paris Metro system:

Now at first, it looks really confusing, but when you travel via the Metro, to save money and time, multiple times a day, you start to get the hang of it.

See, there are infographs everywhere we look, and they can be very helpful at getting information across in an easier, more understandable, and more fun way all at the same time. They are very helpful in writing, especially when a lot of data is needed. Readers will see huge paragraphs and be turned away, but if they see charts, graphs, or any sort of infograph, they won’t be so frightened of the piece.

Welcome readers in with a friendly infograph.

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iPhone 4S

The iPhone is an awesome tool and device. I absolutely love mine. Before I got it, I never really wanted one, because I was satisfied with the phone I had at the time and just my iTouch, but my brother kept telling me that once I got it, it would change my life. And change my life it certainly did. I use my iPhone all the time, I’m on it quite a lot throughout the day, whether I’m texting multiple friends at once, or playing my friend’s back in our Words With Friends games or trying to get past the next Angry Birds or SpyMouse levels.

The iPhone 4S came out this past week, and I am pretty jealous of those who have it. Granted, my iPhone 4 isn’t much different, the 4S has a better camera (much better as far as phones are concerned, going from my 3 megapixels to 8 mexapixels), a faster processor, and what I really like is the Siri program. Siri takes voice control to a whole new level and adds so much more to telephone technology. I didn’t know much about it when I first heard the name, but after looking into it more and watching the video for it, it looks amazing and I really wish it came with the iOS5 update, another new update that I love. With Siri, I could tell my phone to text my mom and tell her I’m going to be late for dinner, or ask my phone what the weather will be like in San Francisco, or to play a certain playlist or artist from the iPod. I can now tell my phone pretty much everything I need it to do. Granted, I can’t tell it to play my Angry Birds levels for me, but that would certainly be something I would love.

iOS5 is a great update, and I keep finding new things that came with it that I was not aware about when I downloaded it. All the new features keep blowing my mind and I keep accidentally doing something and am amazed at it’s effectiveness and capabilities that Apple installed with it. I love my iPhone 4, and I would love a 4S for the Siri capabilities, but am I being spoiled in wanting the newest technology? Probably a little more than I should be, but who doesn’t want the newest and best thing?

But at 200 dollars for starting price, I can pass on this one and wait till this phone dies on me.

Hollywood’s unoriginality.

I feel like Hollywood and the writer’s who keep writing movies nowadays are losing all sense of originality. Every movie that we have seen come out within the past few years has primarily been either remakes or reboots of series. We saw it with the Friday the 13th that came out a couple years ago, and then Nightmare on Elm Street, and just yesterday a remake of Footloose and The Thing came out. They are rebooting the Spider-Man series by making a new one slated for release next summer. They’re also re-releasing Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars periodically into theaters again so audiences can experience it in 3D. They did this with The Lion King and Disney has decided to do this with four of their other films (Finding Nemo, Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc, and Beauty and the Beast).

I’m not saying I don’t like this, because I love movies myself, especially Disney and horror films. However, Seeing trailers for movies that I saw years ago in their originality from the 80s, and loving those, I hate to see their names disgraced with bad remakes. The original The Thing with Kurt Russell was amazing and I loved it. I am very excited to see the new one tonight, however, I think Hollywood should stop making “prequels” that look more like remakes, and get their originality back. Yes, superhero movies are awesome, movies based on comics are awesome, because I am a huge comic nerd and love seeing them on the big screen. Movies like Captain America, Thor, and of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films are my favorite, and I am super excited for The Avengers to come out in May. However, there comes a point in time when Hollywood needs to stop relying on things that are already practically written for them and think of their own new ideas.

Yes, the new technology we have nowadays gives us a much broader and bigger chance to make movies and explore new opportunities that movie makers in the 80s didn’t have, but that doesn’t mean we should strip them of their originality. I really hope that there can some day be an original movie that isn’t a remake or a prequel, or a twenty year old sequel of something made before I was born, that I can love today. It’s only a matter of time before they decide to remake cult classics like the Back to the Future series, and I can pray that day never comes as much as I want, but I fear it is inevitable.

Till then, I’ll keep going to the movies and being entertained any way I can.

Why do we stand with our eyes fixated on the back of the cross?

I couldn’t get my mind off of this one question and thought throughout the entirety of chapel last night. It just kept sticking with me. I know that God was telling and teaching me something with this, and I knew I had to write about it and share my thoughts. I couldn’t get the picture of me staring at the back of the cross not being able to walk around and look Jesus in the eyes and see what I had been doing and forgive myself for it. I sat in the cushioned seat in chapel and kept seeing Jesus die in front of me, but me not having the courage to walk around and see Him in front of me, and instead I turned around and walked away, going down the same path I had been walking, a path that was not paved by God Himself.

Why do we find ourselves in this position so much? We cause damage to our spirit, we cause damage to ourselves, we cause damage to Christ, and yet, we can’t bear to see the damage we are doing so we just keep doing it and shrug it off our shoulders and say “next time, next time I’ll be better.”

We consistently stare at the back of the cross, the clean side, the side untouched by the perfect blood of the Lamb, and we can’t bear to walk around and see our King, damaged by the sins we have committed that He has taken care of for us already. It’s so difficult for us to walk around and see Christ nailed to the cross because we do not want to face what we have done, the brokenness that we caused by being sinners (which there is no escape from). We should not be ashamed of the sins we commit, but learn from them. Make sure that we learn and do not fall again, but if we keep walking the path we go down, we will continue to commit crimes against our Lord. Until we learn to do that, until we learn to accept what we have done and learn from it, and look Christ in the eyes and accept His forgiveness, we will get nowhere on our own.

It shouldn’t be hard for us to admit to God the sins we have committed and ask for forgiveness. He wants us to, it’s why He sacrificed His Son for us, so we could be cleansed by His blood and have a future of perfection with Him in Heaven. We need to learn to take our faults straight to Him, to walk around the cross and look Him in the eyes as we bow at His feet above us. We need to see the damage we have caused as sinners, and watch as the blood flows and cleanses us of our sins and makes us whole with Him again.

I’m sick of looking at the back of the cross, turning around, and walking with the devil on my shoulder. I’m done being ignorant to the One who made me a priority. I can’t live my life staring at the back of Christ as He shouts my name from the cross. I’m done not hearing His voice scream my name to the crowds of Roman soldiers in front of Him as I turn and walk away. He’s calling me more than ever now, and I’m shrugging the devil off my shoulder and walking around to face Him as He died for me. There is no greater love than that, than the love He shows for me and you. I’m laying my life at his feet so that when He rises again He can come to me and lift me back up and say to me “Well done, my son.” It’s time to find out who I am, it’s time to find out who He wants me to be. And the only way I can do that is by facing Him head on and chasing after Him, looking Him in the eyes and asking for more. More grace, more love, more blessings.

I know I’m ready to grow and face my demons as I face the Creator who made it possible to conquer them.

The question I have for you is, are you? Take the few steps it takes to walk around the cross and stand with the Roman centurions and watch as your sins die with the One who sacrificed His life to take them with Him. Because when He went to heaven and left earth for three days, our sins went with Him, but they left for eternity, never to be seen or remembered again. God doesn’t remember them, so why do we dwell on them? It’s time for action.

I’m acting.

James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

1 Peter 4:15- “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is one with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly live for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do… They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready too judge the living and the dead.”

Just Get Me to a Show

Personally, I love going to shows. Some people call them concerts, others shows. It really depends on the genre of music you’re going to and who you talk to about it. For me, going to any hardcore show is what really drives me and helps me feel better about anything. When I’m having a rough time, or going through a hard patch in life, shows help me release whatever negative feelings that are bringing me down. Not because I get frustrated and release all my anger out on others while moshing in the pit at a show, but because of all the positive energy that’s there in the crowd.

Going to a show is the best way for me to worship my Creator, especially when I go to any August Burns Red show. Their music has impacted my life so deeply and positively that when I’m at a show, ‘singing’ along to every word with Jake Luhrs, my hands up and raised, I feel God’s presence more than ever before. Going to shows helps me feel so much better. Moshing, running around, slamming into other people, it may sound strange and negative and frustrating, but there’s just something about it that makes me feel so much better and have so much fun, especially when I’m there with my friends.

There are times when I go through “show-withdrawal” as my friends and I call it, and I’m in one of those times now. I just keep reminding myself that I’m seeing Underoath in six days and all of that goes away, and I absolutely can’t wait to go to that show because I need it more than ever right now. I need to be in the pit, moshing with others, body checking others and running around, sweating, bathing in sweat that doesn’t belong to me, screaming along with hundreds of other guys and girls to every word.

I need shows to survive, shows help me get through life, and without them, I don’t know where I would be. Call me crazy, but that’s who I am. A crazy hardcore kid.

Being front row during stuff like this is why I’m alive.

Guest blog! “Can I add a little somethin’ somethin’?”

This week, I have decided to do a guest blog for our Topic of the Week. I have chosen to partner up with my good friend Tara Duffy, cause she’s awesome and a great writer and writes awesome stuff that I like a lot. Here is her post, which can be found here.

Once upon a time there was a man who would state his opinion and people would take it as fact. There would be no questioning of his theology or where he got his information. What he said was true and could be questioned. Then along came this younger man who had great ideals and a curious heart. After the first man would give out his information, the younger man would ask a question and cause those around him to think constructively and figure out together what the truth was. At first there was conflict. ‘Who does this guy think he is questioning this Man?’ started being asked by the people who sat and listened to their dialogue. Only after these questions were asked did the people see that they were changing themselves. No longer were they an audience of life, but participants of debates. The older man was quite stunned what a simple question could do to the vast majority. Never in his life have people questioned his word, and now he would have to defend his statements. He was being stretched in ways that never wouldhave occurred if this young man hadn’t showed up. Soon the older man would have talks and the youngimageman wouldn’t say anything, but the others would ask questions. They took up the idea and ran with it. After more talks ensued and were being debated, the young man decided to leave. There were other towns that needed someone to ask questions. He went to find them and say what others couldn’t.

Our opinion is so important and really can change the way things are run. I believe that everything that is count as fact should be investigated until proven correct. I know that there is a faith-based belief that may go against my rational, but Jesus said to test and make sure you believe what you actually believe. I think that commentsare almost as important as the subject being talked of. Your comments can bring about a new perspective or correct what might have been construed as something rude. Use comments to further knowledge and bring about understanding. If you use them more for correctness than understanding, you are missing the point.

Headlines. Read all about it.

Headlines are vital to any blog or social media site that posts articles  or pieces of written material for the audience to read. Headlines can be the most difficult part of a post to think of, create, and write, as they are the most important in getting the reader’s attention so that they will want to read your post, and then go on to sharing it with others so more people see what you wrote. Here are some ways to improve your headlines and insure that you will get an audience who wants to read what you have:

1. Be clear and creative. Headlines shouldn’t beat around the bush as to what the post is going to be about, and at the same time you want to be creative so that people are actually interested in continuing to the post, clicking the link that will take them to it to read more.

2. Make sure it’s enough characters to be shared on other social media sites like Twitter. Twitter only allows 140 characters, so you may want to keep it under 100 if tweeters want to add hashtags and other information about it in their tweet.

3. Spell check is key in headlines. If one sees a headline that has a basic grammatical or spelling error in it, they won’t think too highly of the writer and will skip over it. Think about it, if you saw a headline that had a misspelled word, would you think you’d want to read the rest of their post based off of the first impression?

4. Going off of 3, first impressions are key. Make the headline outstanding, funny, and interesting.

5. Don’t use a lot of “a”, “the”, “and”, etc, articles. Use as few as possible when writing a headline.

6. Make the headline what the article is really going to be about, and the most important information. Don’t add extraneous info that you can put in the article and save space for in the headline.

7. Make sure your headline excites people enough to see it and show it to others before they even get a chance to look at it themselves.

8. Subtitles are great. That way you can make your headline short and to the point and then you can add more about it in the subtitle.

9. Make your headlines bigger than the font of the article, and the font of your website. That will make them more attractive to the reader and more eye catching.

10. Use good and strong verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc. They will lighten up the headline and make it more appealing.