As a writer I am constantly researching. If you looked through my Google history you would be appalled. And sometimes the subject matters writers research raise red flags. I’ve known peers and colleagues who have gotten a knock on their door from the FBI.
The great thing about Google is it has a whole bunch of hidden features. These features help maximize your search results. The first time I learned about them was in college, when I worked on a few investigative pieces.
I came across a handy little guide that I wanted to share so you too can find all your search engine needs.
Check out this page and have fun with the newfound tricks! You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy them! There are plenty more tricks you can learn beyond that, but we’ll start you on the basics.
I had been quite cryptic in my past few posts about a project I have been working on. Now that it has been published, I am sharing it with you here.
In December I attended a local comic convention and met a comic industry creator who I hit it off with. He was fantastic to talk to and gave me great advice. I emailed him after and the product of those emails is the work I will have on his comic creator news website.
My first article has been published – today actually. I interviewed Ram Devineni, the comic book creator of Priya’s Shakti. Priya’s Shakti is a comic book tackling the pervasive rape culture in India, but it’s anti-sexual assault message transcends borders and is a message for the whole world.
Please take your time to read this, I worked so hard and Mr. Devineni was an amazing person to interview!
I love how in most countries Sunday is the day for ultimate relaxation. Sundays always have a quietness about them, the timid day of the week. And in Italy, a quiet Sunday after a late night Saturday was well received.
Few people who travel get to actually experience it like the locales. Travel guides will always tell you to check out the local spots and visit local places, but that is not the same as returning to a home filled with family. Oftentimes, we romanticized the places we dream about going to. We imagine them as fairytales and as we wander through the storybook streets we miss out on our individual experience.
This trip, thus far, has given me a great insight to the lives my family here live. It’s not always that romanticized version, it’s similar to my life at home, the house chores and errands. And that’s what mostly this Sunday was about.
I woke up late again since my cousin, his friends and I had a late night. We went bowling, which is something a tourist (especially from America) would never do in Italy. As explained to me, Italians do like to bowl, especially in the winter when there’s little else to do. I’ve noticed my family spends a lot of time outdoors, which makes perfect sense since it is ridiculously beautiful. The wonderful (meraviglioso) thing about going bowling is that there is no explanation needed and the universal enjoyment precedes the language barrier. After a game, we went upstairs to the arcade. I played foosball which is something I’ve maybe played twice in my life. My skills were pretty bad but I started to get a better grasp at the end of the second match. We moved on to air hockey and to be honest I am quite dope at it. I can handle an air hockey table like no one’s business.
My cousin and his friends played a few other arcade games, from a sorry attempt of a DDR-like game and also a shooting game. I noticed all the arcade games were in English. Take note Italian companies, create Italian-language arcade games could be an untapped market!!
We left the arcade/bowling alley and headed back to Sora which has quite an abundant nightlife for young people. We grabbed a table in a piazza, ordered beers, and people-watched. There was a lot of people-watching to do because there were, of course, a lot of people. If there’s any generalization I can make accurately about Italians it is that they are born with two things: natural impeccable fashion sense and a built-in GPS for traversing the multitude of narrow windy roads.
Our drive last night was lovely. It was a bit foggy (nebbioso) and the clouds masked the mountains, but you could still see the little villages (borghi) lights. They looked as if they were floating in the night sky. A little piece of heaven.
We got back to the house just after 2 in the morning and even though I tried to wake up early, I couldn’t.
Sunday was spent meandering around the house, helping with laundry and other small chores, and plenty of time playing with the kittens. I also Skyped with my dad to wish him a happy birthday. My aunt and uncle took me to visit some other family, their house was even higher on the mountain. I regret not taking a picture but I’ll probably be back there in the next few weeks anyways.
Two things about this Sunday: No church and we had 3 meals. Now, personally I’m not very religious and consider myself more spiritual, but I know religion is big in the family so I was surprised when we didn’t put on our Sunday best and be on our merry way. And also, I ate 3 meals today, which every Sunday of my life I’ve had 2 because “that’s what we Italians do.” Well, perhaps no. I had breakfast; cereal, yogurt, and of course an espresso. Lunch was fettucini with mushrooms (i fungi) and meat, and for dinner we ordered pizza.
I want to wrap this post up because it’s getting too long, but I did want to make a quick mention of a conversation I had at lunch. Now, at every meal it is insisted that I just keep piling food on my plate, so today when I tried and failed to communicate that I was full and I didn’t want to gain weight, my aunt told me not to worry. She told me no one is going to judge you if you gain weight. That was nice. Hand me over those seconds (and thirds!).
Well it looks like my first NaNoWriMo is going swimmingly. I just reached 35k. Remember the goal to reach by November 30th is 50k.
I charged through today writing six thousand words. Tomorrow (technically today but it is only a little after midnight) is a busy day for me. So I won’t have much time to write.
Sunday I might actually be leaving for Arizona to visit my brother, his gf, and their pets! I hope my travel plans work out! My brother moved out of there about six years ago for college and he’s anchored down there. I’ve never been there.
That’s why I blitzed out 6k today! I need to be ahead of writing. I may print out the last few pages of my story and bring a notebook to add on a bit, but I don’t know if I can fit it in my carry-on.
Perhaps I’ll get a little more down tomorrow night before I leave on Sunday morning. If you do not hear from me all week it is because I am enjoying the beautiful 80 degree Phoenix weather. Oh yeah, be jealous! It will be nice to revel in the warmth while in New York we are teetering on 40/50 degree days, and very chilly nights!
A brief reminder that my writing samples (I hate the term ‘samples’, they’re full published works!) are under the Featured Publications page. Pretty soon I’ll have a page up for self-published work.
So we find ourselves at the end of another summer. It’s a humid day here in New York, but rather than the balminess that usually accompanies this awful form of heat it’s complemented by a nice breeze. I enjoy these moments, sitting at my computer, listening to the ticking of the ceiling fan, the speeding cars on the main street I live on, and the occasional visit from my cat. Summer rolls, from heatwaves to thunderstorms, it’s a time of easy living. It reminds me of the two weeks I spent in Europe my senior year of high school. I learned more about the pleasure of a simplistic life than I have in my entire life. Summer is coming to a close, but just because we sip on pumpkin spice lattes and snuggle into wooly sweaters doesn’t mean we don’t have to stop our enjoyment and zest for life.
Hope you all enjoy the last few days of summer, autumn will be here soon. And life goes on…
My brother, the computer genius, is in town and did some tinkering on the back-end of my WordPress. Finally it is easier to use and allows me to manuever more on the site. While my knowledge of WordPress is functional, I definitely needed a re-instruction on a few parts.
I’ve definitely been checking out different outlets to write for. There’s a story in my head that I’ve been trying to get down for weeks but every time I sit down with a pad of paper the thoughts evade me. I may have to turn to my app Dragon Dictation to get it down for me. Sometimes just speaking out loud unfilitered and unhinged is the best way to extract ideas. Dragon Dictation is a pretty good app for that. It converts speech into text, although not perfectly accurate, and you do have to speak slower (I’m a NYer it’s hard to slow down and keep my thoughts afloat), it saves time and protects artistic liberty.
I’m also working on branding myself, creating a logo and template that really describes the essence of who I am and the talent I have to offer. I have a few designs in mind but nothing has come to fruition, I’ll keep you all informed with how it comes along.
Now, if you run a Google search on it, what you’ll see is a gaggle of annoying results. But, I fear none of these results give the audience the view of what it really means.
Okay, so right now I’m writing on a blog, but I’m also a journalist, WHOA NOW. That is Inception of the WEB, my friends. No, not really, but I’m working you into my point.
Blogs CAN(KEYWORD ISCAN) be viable sources of information. Most blogs are not. It depends on the author and the sources they use to get and distribute their information.
See, when I originally started blogging I made it a point to talk about the credibility of information. What I’m about to tell you is what I’ve learned in my Press in America and Mass Media Law classes.
People tend to choose the sites they visit based on their own perceptions and beliefs. This is fine, HOWEVER, people tend to ONLY view these sites and don’t background check where the blogger/writer is getting their info. I watched a documentary that was made that’s belief was that 9/11 was a government plot. The first 15 minutes of it, you’re thinking to yourself ‘how can I not believe this?!’ But then once you realize that the filmmakers were picking and choosing preliminary articles that covered 9/11 but did not post the information we knew coming in the next months after the tragedy, well, the documentary is completely false.
When you view/read/consume news with an ideological preference, you are seeing a one-sided or unbalanced view.
So, what do I want you to know about Bloggers vs. Journalists?
A blogger can be a good harbinger of news if they back up their arguments with credible (fair and well reporting/coverage). It is the same with journalists. Journalists are guilty of being one-sided, but they are never as drastic as a blogger can be. Keep that in mind also.
My tip to you is to keep your mind open, question everything, and don’t box yourself into your ideology. Sometimes finding out what you believe in is wrong about something absolutely sucks because no one wants to be wrong. But, it’ll make you a better, smarter person. I’ll promise you that.
The East Side Access Tunnel trip was incredibly fascinating and I learned so much. To reiterate, the East Side Access is a project connecting the LIRR to Grand Central Station. The LIRR only goes to Penn Station, which leaves many commuters with a long journey to work. Creating this project by adding three new tracks that will use the 63rd street tunnel, which was built in the late 60s and 70s and nicknamed the ‘tunnel to nowhere,’ even though it will be serving this project. The F train uses the two upper tracks of the tunnel, while the lower two tracks have been unused. They will be used by the East Side Access trains once this project is completed.
We first toured the Queens side, which is less complete. The Queens side is more complicated then the Manhattan side because they water table is only 10 feet below ground, which Manhattan is solid rock. They are working on finishing excavating the tunnels and then connecting them in the break section. We didn’t get a chance to see an actual tunnel boring machine (TBM) since our tour was running late. The TBM’s are apparently ginormous and its job is to excavate a circular cross-section. The excavation is then lined with gigantic concrete slabs, which serve as the basis of the tunnel. There’s about 2,400 workers and the project has been in progress for 10 years. Completion is not expected until 2019, mostly due to financial and budgeting problems. There has only been 1 death in
When we went to the Manhattan side, my best comparison is to an alien planet. It’s super dark and dusty, and completely muddy. The temporary lights only illuminate sections being worked on, and in every direction you can see the eerie glow of them, and some huge machine tearing through dirt, or drilling, or something else that needs to be done.