The “Text” in “Text Message”

Sometimes writers tend to go a little overboard in their obsession with writing the perfect sentence. For me, this obsession becomes clear when I send text messages to my friends. Not only are they free from abbreviations (for the most part), but they also have proper grammar and punctuation. There are some people who send text messages entirely in abbreviations and other shorthand, while majority of us use a combination of proper language and the occasional shorthand and abbreviation. With the rise of the text message, there are some who are adamant that language is being destroyed the more widespread it gets.

As mentioned, I use traditional language when writing a text message, though I must admit that I like to use the occasional “btw” or “atm”. I could say that I use traditional language because typing out the shorthand takes too long, but the whole truth is that I find the shorthand very frustrating. It’s hard to decipher unless you already know what the abbreviation means, and a lot of the time, autocorrect will change it to a similar word anyway. So, by the time you fix the abbreviation, you could have written it out normally and sent it already. What’s more important, though, is that it really does destroy language bit by bit.

You lose the emotion – or worse, get confused – without proper punctuation like exclamation points, question marks, or periods. Sentences run together in one giant text message bubble and you can’t tell where one thought ends and another begins, not to mention how the other person is feeling. You may unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings because you responded incorrectly to their text message filled with anger, which you had understood as excitement. Or, you didn’t respond to their question because you hadn’t realized they were asking one. These kinds of misunderstandings can lead to fights both on and off the phone, and could be prevented by correctly using a question mark or comma.

If you are texting on the run or trying to get a reply quickly, it’s understandable that punctuation and traditional spelling aren’t your biggest concerns. But, if you send texts entirely composed of abbreviations and no grammar what-so-ever for no reason other than not wanting to type the full word out, you’re missing out on the gifts that language can give you.

The most important one is that you won’t accidentally put shorthand into an essay or a grant proposal. You’d be surprised how easily they slip past your editing radar when you’re used to using them all the time. Secondly, you’ll remember how to spell more words and remember more grammar than the person who regularly uses shorthand. Lastly, you’ll have a higher chance of being understand and/or replied to by everyone on your contacts list because they won’t need Google to hep understand what you’re saying.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for shorthand, but generally speaking, traditional language and grammar will take you much further.

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Image Credit: icbengaynor.tumblr.com (via Google) A little dramatic, perhaps, but you get the idea.

All in a Day’s Work

Since I was about 13 I’ve had a strong attachment to my agenda. In the beginning of the school year I’d be more excited about getting a new agenda in homeroom than seeing my friends. When I got to University I’d pick an evening after the first couple of classes and put all of the essay deadlines and quiz dates in the agenda. It’s one of the most important things that I own and bring it everywhere. “Alright,” you may be thinking, “she likes to be organized…so what?” There’s more to it than that, though.

For me, my agenda is a journal. The color coding system and specific highlighters and pens that I use are all about preserving the memories that happen. For example, one professor changed the deadline of the paper, so the line of white-out that covers the “essay due” reminder has emotions attached to it: relief, because I already had two other essays and a midterm on that day; excitement, because I had already finished the research and half the rough draft, so I now could take my time with the essay; anger, because I wished I had known this would happen when I dedicated precious time to work on it, neglecting my other classes, etc. Never thought a streak of whiteout could say so much did you?

The same kind of thing happens with the highlighters. I’ll look at the note highlighted in pink or blue and remember where I was when I wrote it, both physically and emotionally speaking. Why? How? I have no idea, but everything in my agenda holds a memory for me.

My point in all this is that there’s no definition and how a journal or diary has to look or work. For some, it’s a traditional “dear diary” record. For others, it could be a daily food and/or weight log. Or, it could be a log of your personal and/or professional expenses. Maybe it’s a letter/photo journal, or a social media account. A journal takes on many different forms and means something different to each of us.

Keeping some kind of journal is an important way to remember all of the little moments, those quick bring – a – smile – to – your – face memories that didn’t require a camera. They’re still really important, precious times that you get to keep to yourself. For example, there’s an entire page of an old agenda that is covered and doodles and coffee stains, because a good friend and I had to kill an hour between classes so we got hyper on coffee and took turns making art all over my homework list. Seeing those sketches and coffee splotches still makes me smile even if I had a hard time figuring out what my homework was through the battlefield a stickmen and smiley faces.

So what if my friends tease me for panicking when I momentarily lose my agenda? Who cares if no one else understands why highlighters and color coding are so important to me? The point is that I understand the deeper meaning to the agenda pages that lingers within the facts that I write down.

If you recognize some of what I’m saying, then you understand the significance of a journal at its purest form: a place for you to save the important times with the emotion intact, and still be able to smile as you flip through it years later. Be proud of your journal– whatever form it takes – and cherish the memories that are tangled within it.

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Image Credit: http://www.pinterest.com (Google)

Lost and Found

I don’t know about you guys, but there are some days where I see a mitten lying abandoned in the snow, or a dropped bit of change in a classroom and I get really sad. Yes, it sounds mushy, but it’s as if I get sad for the objects! I keep thinking that they are personified and just sitting there waiting for their owner to come back for them so they can go home. In that light, I wrote a little cheesy poem to express my anguish over the abandoned hat and mitts:

Owner Mine

I didn’t mean to fall out,

but there was too much stuff in your pockets.

I got squished and crumpled,

now I am totally unrecognizable.

It has been a long time since I’ve been part of the world outside.

The world that you brought me to disappeared,

it left with a hand picking me up, a

“Ooops, where’d you come from?”

and then I came here to this box.

It isn’t a pretty box,

battered and broken just like I am.

There are other things here,

mittens and scarves,

but none of them is my partner.

No one likes to talk to me here,

they are all wrapped up in misery that I don’t understand.

They tell me I am stupid to expect you to come for me,

that all things come here to die.

I still hope that you are coming,

and sometimes I think I hear your voice.

But the box never opens,

and I don’t remember the sunshine anymore.

Have you forgotten about me, Owner?

Have you thrown out my pair and gotten new mittens?

I wish you’d come back and find me,

I am not far form where I fell down.

Please come say hello,

even if you don’t feel like taking me home.

I miss my pair,

will you bring her here too?

More and more mitts come to join me,

but it’s not the same.

Maybe today you will come for me,

maybe today.

Sure, I get that mitts and hats don’t actually feel anything, but I keep feeling that the box they are thrown in must get dark, full and depressing from time to time. When I lose a mitten, I search for it all over the place because it’s important to me to find it. A couple of times I did end up finding it in the Lost and Found box at school and when I see all those forgotten pieces in there, I just want to take them all home so I can knit new pairs for them (assuming I knew how to knit, of course).

Then again, I’m probably one of the only ones that think like this, as I’ve never seen a poster anywhere stating “LOST MITTEN”.

Image Credit: stock-clip.com (Google)

Image Credit: stock-clip.com (Google)

Why Zayed Will Steal you Heart

Since music so easily accessible in a world where you can download from Youtube, most of us music-savvy listeners have heard just about every sound out there. So, when we stumble across a new sound, one that is full of pep and yet still has that special connection with us that we can’t totally explain, we’re drawn to it and want to listen to it over and over again in hopes that we’ll be able to commit the power and beauty of it to memory. This is what it is like listening to the new single “Symphony for a longing heart” by Zayed Hassan.

The piece is one of those rare and powerful selections without lyrics that can either make or break a song. In this particular song, Zayed lets the power of the music speak for itself and successfully connects with his viewers that way by knowing how much to put into his song and what leave to the viewer. True art is all about letting the customer (in this case, the listener) put themselves into the situation and make it their own. The beauty of lyric-free music is that we all hear it a different way and don’t have to get past the sometimes cumbersome lyrics in order to connect fully with the musician and what he wanted. Zayed uses this information to create a strong piece that is all about remaining open to interpretations of all sorts.

Zayed’s creation is full of conflicting emotions and thoughts, which normally would result in a mess of different thoughts that just confuse the listener. In the expert way that this song is constructed, however, the thoughts and emotions, as much as they vary, are realistic to the typical human heart that is longing for something: happy, sad, angry, bitter, etc. The list goes on and on and really helps the listener develop a full sense of the emotions that go along with longing.

What is really interesting about this song, though, is that Zayed allows you to decide whether you want it to be a sad kind of loss that revolves entirely around missing someone that was once close to you, or whether it’s a loss that’s saying, “I miss you, but I’m doing what I need to do to be happy.” which is a very interesting kind of loss, and a great idea to put forward. There is also the interpretation that he puts forward that it can be both a happy and a sad loss, which is probably the most original idea to put in the song ever.

With the kind of grace that would make most musicians jealous, the different instruments are blended effortlessly together to create a full and non-obtrusive ensemble that gets your foot tapping and your imagination going a thousand miles a minute, picking parts of the song that you feel directly relate to your life. Any artist can make a song that is relatable to everyone, but it takes a very talented musician to create a piece that can be interpreted in a different way by every listener out there.

Starting off with one instrument and then building to the full sound that fills your ears as it reaches its climax, the piece is full of effective dynamics that are sure to make all ears turn and listen to this upbeat song that is full of life. The joy that he inserts into the chords dissolves into ones that hurt your ears, but only in a way because it is tinged with sorrow. This is where Zayed really shows his talent as both a musician, and a truly smart one that knows his job is to do whatever he can to connect with the audience. And he does this by putting himself into the song.

By that I mean that he makes himself vulnerable to his audience by putting his own longing and loss into the song. We can hear those dissonant chords and know that it is his own emotions and memories leaking into the song. He may not be aware of doing so, but that’s what makes this song so amazing. By doing this integration of his own emotions, that means that he is truly feeling the music and making it as full of passion as he can. None of this can be dissected formally, its simply a feeling that the listener gets when closing their eyes and just feel the song.

Music is all about sharing your life and memories with others around you in a way that is safe on both ends, but effective. Zayed does this so well that it is more about the experience of sharing your memory with him as you listen. Everyone enjoying this song is unknowingly broadcasting their own interpretations and memories into the environment around them: by everyone connecting with the song and sharing these memories, they are going into a collective memory area that is engrained in the song and connecting with one another. It is not a physical connection, of course, but it’s the feeling that you’re connecting with Zayed and then with his other fans, too, because all fans are connected by a collective fan base. Basically, Zayed extends a special relationship to his listeners, and allows them to feel connected all together through “Symphony for a longing heart”.

Overall, Zayed’s newest piece is full of memories and reminiscence for every listener, but encourages the good along with the bad. In connecting with them through every beat of the song, he steals your heart and makes you feel as though you are part of the song itself and therefore part of Zayed (in a totally non-creepy way). That’s the job of a musician, to share with his audience. Zayed’s skills are exceptional and his song clearly demonstrates his craft and style as well as his careful interaction with his valued listeners. You won’t regret listening to his catchy and relatable song, so go ahead and see how it grabs your heart.

To find out more information about about Zayed, check his page out on Facebook, or on Twitter!  You can listen to his song by clicking here.

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Home Sweet Boat: Houseboat Rentals in Amsterdam

In the cold temperatures that are attacking most of us and keeping us locked up with blankets and coffee, the idea of traveling somewhere balmy and snow-free is really appealing. There are frustrations with travelling, though, trying to figure out what clothes to take, where to go, what hotel to stay in, and – the hardest decision – what books to take with you. So, what if there were an option to take your entire house with you on your trip? No packing restraints, no trying to choose the right hotel, and great, home-cooked meals that you know and love? That option exists in renting a houseboat.

Houseboats are a great way to have an adventure, providing safety, lots of space, and convenience for the travellers. The expansive houseboats available today are packed with all of the modern amenities, ensuring that you will be as comfortable as possible in your travels. There is plenty of space for clothing, so choosing what to bring becomes an easier task. There is also space for more than just a book or two, making those bookworms like myself happy people. After all, a vacation is supposed to be a time when you can relax and unwind. If you don’t have all of the possessions with you that make you comfortable, how are you expected to enjoy yourself? Tastefully decorated and easy to access, a houseboat is definitely an option to explore.

So, you have the ‘what’ (an adventure) and a ‘how” (a houseboat) part figured out for your next trip, but you still haven’t figured out a ‘where’. Sure, there are plenty of amazing places in South America that you can visit that will provide you with the vacation experience, but if you’re going to use a houseboat as your home base, you may as well take advantage of somewhere that offers a beautiful experience with as much access to a houseboat as possible: Amsterdam.

Filled with beautiful architecture, intriguing culture, and excellent food, Amsterdam is a beautiful, action-packed location to take a trip to. It is exotic and full of adventures for both the experienced and unexperienced traveller. It’s great for a student, a couple, or the whole family. Designed to give everyone the best adventure possible in a location that is beautiful beyond words, Amsterdam is the perfect place for an adventure on a houseboat.

Sure, a houseboat is a strange way to explore, but isn’t that the best part about an adventure? Trying new experiences and making the best of them? Life is all about taking chances and living to the fullest, so what better way to do that than exploring an exotic location full of fun and adventure by day, and winding down in the beautiful, lulling houseboat by night? Go ahead and take the leap, you never know how much you’re going to like living on a boat until you try. Who knows, you may even decide to become a sailor!  So for your next holiday be sure to think about an Amsterdam houseboat.

Image Credit: id-reel.blogspot.com (Google)

Image Credit: id-reel.blogspot.com (Google)

LeviTrap SP

We’ve all taken those terrible road trips over dirty, dusty roads that make us half wish we’d stayed home. So, if an option existed enabling you could take those beautiful old roads dust-free, would you be interested? Of course.

LeviTrap SP is a newly developed heavy-dust suppressant that can help those dust-free dreams come true. This product is used in trafficked areas that are prone to lots of dust. The product is applied onto a road by a sprayer, either handheld or machine, and that’s it! Simple, right? The complicated part is in the science behind LeviTrap SP.

This whole process is similar to the effect of a sprinkle of rain on a dirt road. The dust is suppressed due to the water, but as soon as the sun comes back out, the water is gone and the dust returns. This product, however, ingrains itself into the particles of dust that would normally bounce up into the air. Unlike water, it does not evaporate, and thus keeps the dust locked up tight on the ground.

The truly amazing part of LeviTrap SP is that there is little need to apply maintenance to the product once it has been sprayed. Occasionally at intersections, a small amount will need to be reapplied to ensure the dust stays in its place. Users will tell you that one application of this product can last years without maintenance, and the only places that will need replenishing will be locations where tire wear is the highest, such as intersections, as mentioned above, or curves in the road. Luckily, there is no shelf life for LeviTrap SP, so there is no wasted money on an expired product, which always makes for a happy customer.

Other than regular wear and tear, dust can sometimes be seen in areas that were previously sprayed, but this is only because the dust came from somewhere else and was deposited in that location. In these kinds of situations, the owner would just need to apply a bit more of the product, and the new, “foreign” dust would be trapped along with the old, previously taken care of dust.

In high, heavy traffic locations, LeviTrap SP helps in keeping dust down, but also eliminates mud as an added bonus. This is because once the product is spread, there is no need to spray the dust with water in order to keep it down, so there is no water to form mud. This makes for a safer environment that is easy to maneuver in.

All in all, LeviTrap SP enables drivers to have a dust-free environment, whether it is for work or play. Since it is not regulated by any particular agency and is 100% eco-friendly (can be contacted here), there is no difficulty or reason not to apply this product where needed. It makes for better vacations and thus, dust-free memories. 

The K.T. Foundation Gives Back

Every year, there are children who do not wake up Christmas morning with a brightly coloured presents from Santa under the tree. In fact, Christmas can be a hard time of year for many families when money is tight. Children expect many toys from Santa and often the parents can’t deliver. In times like these, the real superheros come into play, like The Knights Thriving Foundation Inc, otherwise known as the K.T. Foundation. This group was created by Rayland Van Blake , Rege C. Lewis and K.T. Nelson and is based out of Harlem.

This year, the foundation co-sponsored the annual toy drive put on by Denny Moe’s Barbershop. Along with Carl Banks, the Superbowl winner, the toy drive allows less fortunate children to have toys and gifts they normally wouldn’t be able to afford. The drive was able to bring in over 250 toys which ensured that each child would have several toys waiting under the tree for them on Christmas morning.  The drive is made possible because of Shaun Derik’s holiday party and some of Broadway’s best came out to support this worthy cause.

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The organization collected toys during the annual Good Night Holiday Jazz party, and the crowds of children, many of which were brought by family services, eagerly spilled into the venue to join the celebrations. The night was one full of cheer and uncontrolled excitement for the children that have so little of their own, but also for the organizations and volunteers for the toy drive. After all, who doesn’t love spreading a little holiday cheer?

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To top off the whole event, the children were treated with a visit from Santa himself and after the toys were handed out, he sat down and read them a story, much to the delight of the parents, volunteers, and children. After this wonderful event, K.T. Foundation continued sharing the holiday cheer by donating more toys from the overflow of the toy drive to the sick children at Harlem hospital, helping ensure that no child would miss out on the Christmas fun. The last of the toys went to the National Action Network Toy Drive which took place on Christmas Day.

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The Christmas season is all about sharing with one another and helping those who don’t have the means to make Christmas special for the young ones. K.T. Foundation Inc, along with their co-sponsor and Denny Moe’s Barbershop, helped make Santa real for many little ones who feared that he wouldn’t find them this year. Christmas is a magical time for everyone, and all children deserve a chance to feel that magic, so they can pass it on to the future generation. To find out more information about K.T Foundation Inc, please click here!