Where I’m From, In One Line


You can find my full “Where I’m From” poem from the beginning of the year on it’s page in my blog.  For this assignment, I had to select one line from this poem that most effectively sums up just exactly who I am and where I’m from.  The line I chose is:

“I am from dirt roads.”

I chose this image to illustrate this line because I wanted to make it as personal as possible.  This is one of my senior pictures, taken last year on one of the many dirt roads in my town.

Why do I love dirt roads so much? I’ll admit, through I stage in my life I thought they were a nuisance along with most sane people. When I got my new car, they threw rocks back and coated it with dust if I went a hair over five miles an hour.  But even then, dirt roads were teaching me something-patience.  You gotta be careful how you walk and how you drive when traveling down a dirt road.  There’s no quick way to do it.  If you get to running too fast, those treacherous rocks will throw you straight to your bloody knees.  If you drive too fast, you get nicks behind your rear tires, a splattering of mud or dust, or (worse case scenario) a trip to the ditch after taking a rocky curve too fast.  Once I finally accepted that I was going no where fast on my town’s dirt roads, I began to enjoy my leisurely trips along their winding surface.  It’s amazing the tiny details you notice walking instead of running, driving five miles an hour instead of twenty.  I found the ditches lined with Indian Paintbrushes and the trees blooming out green, red, and white.  I had more time to listen to the radio or my iPod, or the silence of the country.  Those long moments of solitude and slowing down my world became I gift I looked forward to.  Considering that nearly all of my old favorite places are on dirt roads, like the golf course; my house; the lakes; and my family’s farm, I got to enjoy these little moments nearly every day.


AUM Visit


I had soooooo much fun with the visiting AUM class!  I was kind of worried that going over all of these maps would be just analyzing all the visual rhetoric and get a little, well, boring.  But it wasn’t like that at all.  After the initial awkwardness of getting to know everyone’s name, we began bonding over our maps.  It was so fun to see what interesting and magical things the other students incorporated into their hometown maps.  I’ve never been to Auburn, but I feel like I have a much better understanding of it after seeing their unique and personal maps than I ever could have understood by just looking at an ordinary road map or satellite map.  The AUM students also seemed genuinely interested in my Magical Lake Hefner Map.  It was a relief that they didn’t find my claims of freshwater sharks or mermaids to be stupid.  We did incorporate a little visual rhetoric by writing memories and true/false things from our maps on the white boards.  But this task was also fun and allowed for a lot of giggles.

AUM visit=success!

Magical Lake Hefner!


Making my invisible city map was so fun! I’ll never look at Lake Hefner exactly the same way again.  I printed off a map of the lake I found on its website, and added on my observations and points of interest in pink and purple sharpie.  In purple, I drew a little symbol or wrote the name of the attraction, and in pink I wrote a little caption briefly explaining it.  With this map, I hope to give the AUM students a magical glimpse into a major part of Oklahoma City and into myself.

I found several magical and awesome things around Lake Hefner to include in my map.  First off, at the top right hand corner of the map, the words “Not for Navigation” were printed.  Why ever not?  Isn’t that the purpose of a map?? For navigation.  I’m befuddled. So I wrote underneath that that the AUM students should feel free to navigate until they simply can’t navigate any more.  Then I pointed out some restaurants that I love, my favorite being Red Rock Canyon Grill.  After that I tried to be a little more imaginative.  I pointed out the absolute best place to watch a sunset that I have ever found by the lighthouse.  I mapped out the previously mentioned sometimes-medieval park where the homeless people/wizards like to hang out and watch the jousting.  I show where the evil ball-snatching leprechauns haunt the golf course.  I point out mermaid bay, an area of the lake that I find just too pretty to not have mermaids.  Last but not least, I show where the sharks are.  Don’t you dare tell me there is no such thing as freshwater sharks.  I watch the Discovery channel.  And the sharks of Lake Hefner live just off the damn, and enjoy your left over turkey sandwich crusts.

I really focused on using color and content with my map.  I wanted to make it fun and insightful, but not overwhelming.  I hope that just using two colors that each had stated purposes spacing out my symbols and captions made my map functional, fun, and easy to use.

Invisible City Project Progress!


This is the map I decided to use for my Invisible City project-a map from the website for Lake Hefner that includes it’s surrounding parks.  I chose a map of this area because, aside from campus, it’s the area I know best around OKC that could in any way be interesting to our visitors from Auburn.  I plan to print this map out and add on very cool, secretive, and possibly magical places I have sniffed out myself.  I hope to make it very colorful and interesting.  It will be in paper format when I give it to my recipient from Auburn, but I may scan it in to use in my blog as well.  Hopefully it will provide these visitors with valuable insight in an area of OKC that I feel has been overlooked, and maybe a little insight into who I am as well.

I decided to do this projected solo.  The simple reason for this decision being that the topics I was hearing from many of the groups that were forming during last weeks class I just didn’t know much about, or didn’t find interesting.  I’m a very outdoorsy person, and since the weather is looking to be beautiful during their visit, maybe some of our guests would be interested in doing a lot of things outside too!

Lake Hefner is interesting to me because of all the hidden little parks and places that you would never know about unless you took the time to drive all the way around the lake.  For example, there’s an awesome little dog park on the back side, and the dogs can secretly read your mind.  On the front side, there’s a larger field area where a medieval festival is held every year, and you can often see such gallant knights practicing their sword fighting.  A wizard lives in these woods, he likes to watch the sword fighting too.

As you can hopefully tell, I’m not crazy.  I am hoping to make my map seem “magical” however.  I hope to use enough color to make it interesting, and I think I will use color to establish what is “real” and “not real” on my map.  I wish I could go through and take off all of the numbers on the lake, however.  I think they are meant to be used for fishing or sailing, and they aren’t really relevant to my map.  This will probably mess with the content aspect part of my visual rhetoric, but I think I can work around it.

Visual Rhetoric Analysis Paper


Monday we were supposed to give a sneak peek of our visual rhetoric analysis paper.  Well Monday I was still juggling around two different ideas in my head.  At first, I was dead set on continuing my obsession with the Middle Earth map from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  But, after some deliberation, I decided that I had already beat that horse to death.

So there I was, pointlessly going through maps on the internet, when I searched my hometown on a whim.  I found some inspiration here.  I was directed to a Google satellite map of Chandler.  That’s when I realized that the citizens of Chandler have different names for many streets, buildings, and landmarks than the official map does.  Voila!  I had a project.  So, finally, here’s your sample of my paper!


I am not comparing these two images.  I just chose to zoom in on the two lakes because we have very different names for things in this area than are what is shown.  The second image is of the whole town except for the lakes, which are north of town!



I had a hard time coming up with two maps to compare for this juxtaposition.  I ended up with two maps of OCU, one from OCU’s website, and one from Google Maps.

The map from Google is obviously incredibly different from the one OCU provides on their website.  I believe OCU made their own map instead of using one from a satellite for two reasons; they wanted their map to be used to find specific buildings or landmarks on campus, and they wanted their campus to appear much more clean cut and orderly than it actually is.

The map from OCU’s website uses very bright, vivid colors.  The first color I noticed when I looked at it was green.  Just imagine walking around a campus covered in such luxurious green grass! That, of course, is unrealistic.  When you look at Google’s satellite image, you can see many brown patches where grass simply cannot be coxed into existence.  The color green is also associated with being a calming color, so perhaps OCU included so much green in their stimulated map in an attempt to present their campus as having a relaxed atmosphere.

The Google map of OCU’s campus focuses more on street names instead of building names.  I think it is probably intended to be most helpful to a person trying to navigate our campus in a car.  Whereas the map from okcu.edu is aimed more at the pedestrian taking a walking tour around campus.

Now that I know my way around campus by foot very well, I find the Google map very interesting because it shows our campus in context with the city around it.  It sort of helps connect our little island of learning to the rest of the bustling civilization outside.