Monday, May 7, 2012

Project Web Preface

Jose Segura
Professor Marca
English 113B
8 May 2012
Not So Fast, Food
Fast food over home cooking is the issue that my blog focuses on. Since this is a broad topic, my group and I thought that this applies to the general audience. This idea was brought up due to the interesting site visit that I did during the assignment project space – an assignment to de-familiarize a certain location for the purpose of writing a paper over an issue seen during the trip. It caught my attention that the reason why many people visited the place, in my case La Placita Olvera, was to purchase the foods sold there. Most of it seemed unhealthy and unsanitary. And that is how fast food came into play.
            First, we had narrowed our topic down to the point that it is culture that affects society with its foods. Unfortunately though, that wasn’t so direct. So then we narrowed our ideas even further until reaching an agreement that culture-food is another type of fast food. It was then that we started narrowing our ideas even further, until finally reaching the issue that fast food is taking over home cooking.
            Ideas came and went. We were stuck figuring how to deploy our blog. It wasn’t because we couldn’t do it; it was simply because there were so many important things to mention, and organization was very troublesome. This was an easy, but at the same time difficult topic to overcome. We had to portray the three rhetorical approaches of ethos, pathos, and logos in order for our advertisement to be successful. In addition, the theme, color, texture, etc. had to connect with the message of the advertisement. The process of this assignment was very time-consuming. It led to several in-class and outside discussions. We struggled, but managed to configure the display of our blog.
            To begin, we titled our blog “Not So Fast, Food.” The purpose of the title is for the audience to recognize that fast food is taking control over society; therefore, there needs to be an end to it. To top it off, we posted an image that’s relevant to the title. This is a picture of fast food running; however, it has a big red circle on top of it with a slash through it – just like those that you would see in a “No Smoking” sign. In addition to that, we displayed the title – with bold and capital letters so the tone could sound stronger – and an image in the left side margin where the color yellow is used. The purpose of using the color yellow was so that we could incorporate the same concept that traffic lights use. The color yellow in a traffic light signifies caution; to yield, to slow down. That’s the whole concept behind the title and the photo; we want to create an awareness that fast food is taking control over our eating habits; therefore, it needs to slow down.  
Second, we as a group came up with our own organization in order to make ourselves sound more credible. We called it the NAOHC (National Aid Organization for Health Conditions). It’s with credibility that an advertisement is considered successful. As an “organization” we posted a photo of ourselves. Therefore the audience has a better idea of who we are. We then typed a small introductory paragraph which describes both side of the issue and thereby gives the audience a better understanding of what the blog will be about.  Immediately after that, we posted a list of questions for the audience to read and answer. In relation to the introductory paragraph, this also gives the audience a better understanding of what the blog will go over. Because the audience is unaware with the message of blog, we transitioned into the fast food topic instead home-cooked meals; thereby, they have an understanding of how fast food affects society. Another reason why we decided to do this was so that it does not bore away our audience with facts about home cooking. Therefore, the attention of the audience is easily grasped.
To begin, we inserted two links followed by three images that explain the reasons why people prefer fast food over home-cooked meals. For this, we did not post any picture headings, but instead we typed mini-narratives. This was useful in order to not lose the audience’s attention. One of the images portrays a man who appears to be sleeping with a cooking pot and spatula on his stomach. This signifies that people are too lazy to cook. The next picture is an image of a restaurant menu that portrays cheap prices along with the meals. That is where Logos comes into play. Showing the price with the meal allowed us to go over the issue that people think it’s more convenient to eat fast food.  Finally, the third image shows the famous clown Ronald McDonald running with another man who seems to be on the go. The message behind that is that people don’t have time to cook because most of the time, they are always on the go. This is where ethos comes into play. The fact that the famous clown is running along with another person, makes it more credible.
As we moved on, we transitioned into the advertisements that the media displays to society. In doing so, we posted one picture and two video advertisements that are very common in our current television commercials. The whole purpose behind that is to explain or better yet for the audience to understand why many advertisements affect society. These videos portray erotic scenes which consist of half-naked women eating a hamburger in a sexy manner. It is ads like these that grasp the male’s attention. Adding that issue into our blog is useful because it plays the roles of pathos and ethos. It portrays pathos because the scenes expose some type of sexual emotion, and it portrays ethos by making many men believe that the food is just as hot as the model eating the burger when in reality it is not true.
            Going over the issue of false advertising from the media towards society, helped us transition to the real deal. By this we mean the reality of fast foods. For this part, we posted an image that displays both versions of a hamburger; the media’s version and the real version. We also posted a video that follows the same concept. This is where pathos comes into play. The use of that image and video creates unwanted revolting emotions and thereby a new perspective is set towards fast food.  Soon after that, we inserted extra links that show videos of how fast food is made. This is useful because it gives the audience a better understanding of why we stand for home cooking. In addition, it plays a powerful role of ethos, for it makes it more credible, looking at the real version compare to the one that the media displays.
            It is then that we transitioned into home cooking. But in order to make the transition, we had to follow this structure for the purpose of saying something like, “Yes, fast food can sometimes be convenient, but as we just mentioned, you don’t get the real deal; it’s false advertisement. On the other hand, you don’t see that in home cooking; for you are the one that makes your own meal.” In addition, we inserted a short music video that we got from which goes over the issue of fast food versus society. This short clip includes both logos and pathos. The lyrics of the song portray logos because it repeats various well‑known fast food restaurants, as the pictures display the results of eating those foods. Towards the end of the video, the flow of the song reaches its final remark. It reaches the issue of death. In doing so, the famous McDonalds quote of “i’m lovin’ it,” was changed to “I WAS Lov’in it.” This is where the rhetoric approach of pathos is revealed. In addition, the happy melody of the song begins to slow down. This is signifies that death is no joke. It’s from there that we moved into talking about the benefits of home cooking – which are: it saves money, keeps traditional family recipes alive, includes more balanced meals, contains less trans-fat, uses healthier ingredients, avoids food poisoning, maintains a healthier life, and finally, you lower the possibilities of death. To do so, we posted several images to better explain them. In the benefit of saving money for example, we inserted a visual of the famous food pyramid compared with a fast food pyramid; and both appear to have money signs around them. However, the difference is that fast food pyramid deploys more money signs than the actual food pyramid. This is where logos come into play.
Considering the fact that the pyramids are informative resources for one’s own health, is already enough logic. But by adding those money signs, it gave the image another meaning. The message behind it is that home cooking is actually more convenient, for it saves more money and decreases the possibilities of illness. It’s from then on that we focus on the benefits of home cooking. Soon after that, we created a “To Do” list. The purpose of that list was so the audience can be aware of different methods that they could follow to maintain a healthier life. In addition, we included a link for further information. This link provides a whole range of meal recipes that people could consider when cooking. After that, we concluded our blog with a picture that contains the two choices; fast food and home-cooked meals.  It’s up to the audience then to decide what food to consider.
After everything was done, we moved on and designed our blog’s display. We designed the theme with clear bright colors. The reason for that is to show how alive it feels to eat fresh home-cooked meals. We displayed a background designed with fruits. The border color where the images, text, and videos stand on is green. There is a significance behind that. Normally a fast food restaurant has its design with red coloring to attract customers; so that they feel more comfortable and hungry. However, the use of the color green portrays nature, and something that is good, fresh, and alive. And that’s the whole concept of this blog; we want to approach the audience and make them believe that home cooking is the healthier decision.

Link to blog:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Project Web Blog Post #2

                                                   Advertising, It’s Not That Easy
Throughout the process of my Project Web assignment I’ve come to understand how much effort and hard work is put into an advertisement. I’ve never noticed this, for I’ve always been the person watching them; not creating them. It is easy judge/criticize an advertisement, but it is very hard to make one. No matter how big or small the ad could be, organization and planning has to occur. Not only that, but also the use of critical and creative thinking. This is the lesson that I got out of this assignment.
            As appose to other assignments, this has been the most conflicting one. Why? Because it requires one to think critically of what exactly to put; so thereby it has a meaningful message. But what exactly do I mean by critical thinking? Critical thinking is when one follows a certain style in order to get through the objective of an assignment or dilemma; and in doing so; they generate ideas, imagine possibilities, and try relationships between different concepts. Well, that’s exactly what my group and I tried to do in our advertisement. We tried to focus on one topic first (the Fast Food topic) and then transition into the next one (the home cooking subject). In the process, we tried to create relationships between the different subjects within the topics themselves. For example, when we mentioned the reasons why people prefer fast food over hom-cooked meals, we immediately posted several examples that gives an understanding why many people are affected with the media’s advertisements. These are two famous Carl’s Jr. commercials that consist of scenes of women exposing a lot of sexual emotions while eating the meals. This is how many people, especially men, are attracted; by looking at the female’s anatomy.
            But in order for the project to go as planned, we needed to involve a lot of creative thinking. In other words, we needed to do use a lot of imagery. Not only are the pictures, videos, links, and text important in advertising, but also the visual display. Everything has to have a purpose whether it’s the color, font sizes, background, etc. We as a group decided that bright colors are adequate for our blog advertisement. Since the message of our ad is to make people believe that home-cooked meals are a better decision, we decided on a background that contains pure fruits. The purpose behind the colors and fruits is to portray happy emotions; thereby our message is more direct.
            Yes, creating an advertisement might sound easy at first; however, when it comes down to creating one, perspectives change. It definitely changed mines. It made me stop my judgment/critic over ads/commercials that normally I would consider boring.

Here is the link to my blog:

Project Web Blog Post #1

Advertising Depends on its Content
            Advertisements rule our world. We see them everywhere we go; whether it’s on a newspaper, television, computer, billboards, etc.  We sometimes don’t notice it, but many people are lured to the foods, products, or events; due to the content that the directors use. It might sound silly, but the truth is that content plays the major role. It all depends on the ad’s content to whether or not it could be successful. In my English class, we were asked to create a website/blog for the purpose of doing an advertisement. At first this assignment sounded quite simple; however, when it came down to narrow everything including the style of the web’s display, my perspectives immediately changed.

            Advertising seems to be easy; however, the truth is that it’s the complete opposite. In the process of creating our website, in other words blog, I was shocked with the enormous amount of brainstorming and commitment that was needed. Our topic was over the issue of fast food over home-cooked meals; that it is taking control of home cooking. Therefore, I believed that this was going to be done with so much ease. Boy was I wrong! Not only was organization of the content important, but also organization of style. It was important for all the content to be clear; therefore, we had to put our videos, images, and text in chronological order; but in order for the audience to take our content serious, creative style needed to be deployed.

It's the content that makes advertising successful; in this case sexuality.

Here is another example.

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Ethnography

La Placita Olvera
            Culture, has a different meaning among different people. To the Mexican population, it means tradition. They see, do, hear, eat, etc. many of the same things that one would see or hear about in a vacation down at Mexico. The day I went to La Placita Olvera, I felt like I was in a different world. The look, smell, and atmosphere were different than the one I constantly see in my neighborhood. Unlike my area, this place has a very unique look to it. The buildings have an antique look to them. The walls have that Mission look to them; just like those that one would see in Mexico. The floors seemed to be in bad conditions, mostly because they are made out of brick and cement. 
            As I walked by the vending aisles, the first thing I noticed was the different yet same‑looking booths that the vendors had. All of what was for sale looked Mexican related. Everywhere and everything I saw were Mexican related portraits (of historic presentations such as the classic Aztec man holding the woman in his arms), samples of Aztec calendars, flags, wrestling masks (like those worn in the famous Lucha Libre), candies, food, etc. What surprised me the most was the obsession that the people there have towards Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a famous traditional event that occurs around the same time that Halloween does. Rather than being scared of it, scared of death, they celebrate it by face-painting themselves death-related features.
            From an outsider’s perspective, I am quite shocked with what I witnessed that day. Not ever in my entire life, had I seen and smelled different Mexican food all at once. The variety of food descended from good-smelling to nasty-smelling. I was hungry at first, but disgusted later. My family is Mexican; however, some of the foods that I saw were new to me. The smell was not the same smell from my mother’s cooking. I guess that’s because I am not adapted to other Mexican cooking. The environment was surely a space full of grease. Many of the foods were overwhelmed with fattening ingredients. Take the tacos and burritos for example. Normally people talk about how good yet how unhealthy a taco or burrito is at Taco Bell or Del Taco. None of those compare to the once served at the placita. There, you get the real stuff. Not a fake American-traditional taco (with hard corn shells), but an actual one wrapped with a heated tortilla with an enormous amount of grease pouring down whenever someone takes a bite. Don’t let the food make your perspective change, though. This place despite of its small size has so much to discover.
            Yes, the environment has its ruins, but then again, each city does. Though it has a unique look to it, to some people (tourist for example) the environment still looks just like any other place in Los Angeles. The walls are fulfilled by graffiti. The floors are overwhelmed by severe cracks and bumps. A lot of the old buildings lack beauty; however, that isn’t an excuse for the people there. They see the beauty with or without fancy looking pavements or buildings. They see beauty through tradition such as mariachi or ranchera singing, Aztec dancing, and Mexican female dancing (where women wear those long fruity dresses).  This place is such a sacred place to these people. It is considered another Mexico; a mini Mexico if I should say. Here people can unite and sense what they consider home.

Videos of The Placita Olvera

Dia de los Muertos

Aztec Dancing

Mariachi Performers

Pictures of the Booths

Photos of the Buildings

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mini Essay 2

The City of Hope

            Many people think of Los Angeles as a bad environment to live, while others think the complete opposite. The media is such a very confusing appeal for many people. It has its own face towards society. It portrays negative thoughts towards this city to the rich, and it portrays the complete opposite to the poor. The media has a hypocritical mindset. It never sticks with one point of view. It is only people like me that have fully experienced this city that could make a final statement.

            The fact that the city looks like a mess, doesn't mean that all of L.A. is the same. There are some locations within this city that are nice-looking. I believe that every city not only in this nation, but in others also, have their different sides. They all have the new side and they all have their old side; just like we have our old side that most people consider the ghetto such as McArthur Park and South Central for example, New York deals with the same thing. It has its new side such as Manhattan the place where many movies take place whenever it deals with a chick flick love stories, and it also has the old side which most commonly is referred to as the Bronx; which is where violent movies with the theme of gangs would take place in. Despite of what the media has to say; despite of what others may think about my city, nothing changes my thoughts towards it. It might be a city with a lack of fashion; however, it is a city with hope. It has the power to change a person's mentality once you fully experience it.

            In the story Only Heaven by Marjorie Gelhorn Sa'adah, there is a portion that mentions luck within this city. She says that "sometimes you would just consider yourself lucky." This grabbed my attention and from then on began reflecting on it. I never took the values that this city has into consideration. This city unlike others has an enormous amount of resources to offer. It's given me the opportunity to complete my studies up till High School and also the opportunity of currently experiencing the "college life." It's given my family the opportunity to become not only residents of the United States, but also citizens.

            Most of my childhood was spent complaining about my environment. I used to spent time thinking why I was the one with bad luck; why was it me the one who had to live in an ugly location. I was very dubious. It is until now that I comprehend that luck is not defined by what the area looks like, but for what it has to offer. This city has done so much for me. Right now I am in other words, going to school with a free admition. My fee is already taken care of by others thanks to the financial resources that this city has. Now that I think about it, I am the one that should consider myself lucky. I’ve seen the world in a different perspective.

            Let this city be a part of your life. You can’t go wrong with L.A. It has so much for you to explore. It has so many paths to discover. This is a city with hope. This is a city of miracles; this is perhaps the reason why this is called “the city of angels.”


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Project Text Mini Essay 1

Los Angeles

            Los Angeles, the topic that's being discussed throughout the process of this assignment, Project Text, has been by far great. There's been interesting topics discussed such as what people think of Los Angeles and the media being a big part of it. There are pros and cons in this city; however, everyone sees this city through a different perspective. We could see this in some of the stories we’ve gone over. Being born and raised here in Los Angeles, I could reflect upon a time in my life and agree or disagree with some peoples thoughts.

            Cons, is what's most emphasized throughout the lectures and discussions in class. If we take a look at some of the stories such as Los Angeles and Interesting Times, the main focus that's portrayed are the Cons of Los Angeles; Cons such as the ugly and ghetto fashion that the city portrays; on how bad the lifestyle is here in this city. When reading and hearing this, I come to think of an environment where complete disorder is portrayed. A place so dam nasty that not even homeless people would want to live. But as I come back to the real world and analyze my surroundings, I could honestly say that it's actually not that bad. I've lived here in the San Fernando Valley, the outskirts of Los Angeles, my entire life and I could frankly say that not all of L.A. is ugly.

            There are definitely some Pros here in this city such as everything that it provides. It is a big city and there is always something new to discover. Yes indeed, there are some unattractive environments, but nothing that much of a deal. I guess the media has to do a lot with this. Sometimes the media portrays the nice-looking sides of Los Angeles and sometimes they show the complete opposite; it all depends to which audience they are aiming it to. This city has shaped me as an individual. It's made me the person I am today. Some of these discussions we've had in class have disturbed me a little, but it’s only due to the fact that to most people, this city is known for its Cons such as the ones mentioned. Other than that, I believe that all these discussions have been interesting.

            It's interesting to know what other people think about my city. It's interesting to see how much the media can affect the mentality of those who've never been to this city. We could see this in the story Interesting Times and Magic Hour. Both characters in these stories come to L.A. with the hope of being successful; however, they end up living in what they didn't imagine. It was till later that they were able to appreciate everything that the city has done for them. After reading these stories, I began reflecting to the time that my father told me his life story; about the experiences that he went through when he first came to America.
            My father just like the characters from the passages came to this country; to this city, with the hope of a better life. He hoped of being successful. My dad was not in the best situation money-wise. He heard from the media and/or friends or family members that life over here is easy; that everything is given to you. So on my dad goes believing everything he heard and leaving everything behind; his family and friends back in Leon Guanajuato, Mexico. My father came here as an illegal, and as one he worked hard so he could to stay financially up to date with the low income that he got. That myth that my father once heard; the one they said that life was easy here, became a lie to him. Just like the character from Interesting Times, he had trouble adapting to the lifestyle here in Los Angeles. It was till later that he was able to analyze all the good things that this city has done for him. He met the woman that is now known as his wife. Here is where they established a family. Here is where he experienced life in Interesting Times.