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February 16, 2006

The Art of Food

I am a big Food Network Buff. I love to watch people like Rachel Ray cut onions perfectly or whip up egg whites in minutes. I also like to cook on my own but I haven't quite mastered the skills of professionals. I wanted to make a fancy dinner for my boyfriend and I decided to cook lobster. When I went to the Food Network site and searched for a recipe, I came across "Lobster Thermidor." The recipes are assorted by difficulty and this one was an expert level. I have attached a link to this recipe but as you can see, it is very extensive. I would argue that very few people know what Spaetzle is let alone how to make it. The Thermidor Sauce has a huge list of ingredients, many of which may be unfamiliar to knew cooks.

As I have pointed out before, literacy takes many forms and the art of cooking may be just another one. Reading the recipe for Lobster Thermidor feels kind of like reading a dense text. There are unfamiliar words and terms. The material is not intended for the beginner. One must have a strong background in understanding food and cooking before they can attempt to conquer the reading it. Like a text, successfully comprehending a recipe can be rewarding but it takes a couple reads to reach full understanding. I think that I have made my point but never underestimate the routine. Even a skill like cooking can reach expert form.

Here is the attached link:,,FOOD_9936_32044,00.html

February 15, 2006

Company Errors

In my management class, we have been discussing the importance of understanding other cultures in today's global economy. The importance of understanding other peoples languages is key to effective advertising. In the textbook, we read the Chevy marketed its popular NOVA car to Spansih countries. The Nova which means, "no go" in Spanish, struggled to gain the same popularity as it did in the states. IKEA, a Swedish company which is known for some of its strange product names, has sold a children's bed which they label the "Gutvik." Gutvik, however, means "good fuck" in German and understandably, some people have been upset. Finally, sometimes even words in people's own language can have negative connotations and as a result, they struggle to gain popularity. When Toro introduced its SnowPup, a lightweight snowblower, customers did not but it because they perceived the name as a toy. When Toro changed its name to Snow Master, sales increased sharply.

February 14, 2006

Words as Motivation

I often run around the U of M campus and I have come across a lot of billboards from the Foundation for a Better Life. The Foundation is a non profit organization that "believes that capable people may also benefit from encouragement and reminders from time to time." As a result, they have advertisements that place specific emphasis on a single word or short phrase: examples are caring, overcoming, and team work. These words are intended to inspire people and make them live in a way that drives them to better themselves and subsequently, the lives of other people.

It is amazing that a single word can influence a person but this Foundation believes that effective advertising will serve as a catalyst for change. By displaying a word and then a face to associate with the word, a passerby is given a role model for a particular value. I have attached a couple of these billboards for your viewing pleasure. It would be interesting to see whether or not they have made an impact.

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February 12, 2006

Writely sounds right to me :)

In class, we have discussed technology comprehension as a form of literacy. It seems like in any job these days, you have to have some knowledge of computers. Information technology is a huge and growing field and supplies many jobs in all types of areas. I have found a web site called which blends tradtional written literacy with technological developments. Writely is like the new Microsoft Word. It allows you to type a document just like you would on any other word processor and also enables you to view and modify wherever you have internet capabilities. All you have to do is sign in to your account and you can access any of your your documents. You can even upload documents from word or post them directly as blog entries. The coolest aspect of Writely is a feature which allows people to share documents with others. That means that my friend could access a document that I have written and make additions or revisions to it.

Heres a story I published on Writely:

And heres what it looks like when your writing a document:
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February 9, 2006

Pictures as Words

I decided that specific emphasis should be placed on the symbolic literacy. I was inspired by the Big M of McDonald's because people may not be able to read the text underneath, but they can read the Golden M above. People immediately associate the symbol with McDonald's and often ignore the restaurant's title below. I believe that symbols are often paired with words, such as the red octagonal stop sign. These symbols eventually become greater than the words themselves so whether someone is literate or not, they can still identify the red stop sign with its command to STOP. Words are symbols as well so a shape or a single letter is just another way of interpreting and reading a simpler type of symbol.

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February 2, 2006

High Thoughts

I thought that it would be interesting to write down the thoughts that I experienced when I was high. You think differently so it is often difficult to express your thoughts into written words. There is a desperate need to remember because you forget everything so easily and a simple thought seems like a milestone.

These are only three...maybe I will have to get high again :)

My head feels like a rectangular when it should feel like a square
I am in the yellow zone with my parent’s love when I should be in green
AIM etiquette: if you are the one to sign on, you are obligated to say hello

Created Language

Tolkien doesn't have to be the only one with made up gibberish. I too have a few made up words of my own that my boyfriend and I use to the annoyance of those around us.

Chum Love
Plar Bear
Kiki Silly
Tinky Tiny
Wak What
Waki What is it?
Suko Stop It!
Larla Nothing Much
Wakipoo What’s up?
Grimply Big
Boomku Bottom
Slu Cool
Nur No