A major milestone has been reached

Hello all, just a short post to tell you about an exciting big step in my writing career. Last afternoon (2/27/17), there was a pleasant surprise as my brother Travis informed me that a package arrived for me. I opened it and discovered that it turned out to be my first ever shipment of my book, The Month Of June!

It’s a surprise since I expected it to arrive on March 7th, as the website projected. But now that they’re here I can get to selling them sooner, and be able to get more money to then put into buying more books.

This really is a milestone for me. This started out as just a story I worked on in my notebook on my free time. And to finally see it materialized in front of me like this is amazing, and shows just how far I’ve come.

You can grab your own copy of The Month of June, too. All of the information about it is right here, with links to different purchasing options at the bottom. 

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The Wisdom of Crowds – a 1-week long experiment done by me

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” -Confucius

Ah, people. Billions of us have existed and communicated with each other for thousands and thousands of years. And arguably the most important parts of our survival as a species: knowledge, wisdom, and communication. Without those, we would be nowhere.

These ideas are the basis of the famous social concept, The Wisdom of Crowds. Developed by James Surowiecki, it states that if given a large quantity for people to guess the exact amount of, the average of all their guesses will be more accurate than any one individual guess.

It sounds crazy, but it actually works. A BBC documentary as well as a few TEDx videos have been done about this theory. The documentary even demonstrates the theory, when a professor tells students to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar. The average of all their guesses was less than 1% off from the actual number of jellybeans. Additionally, this was done in the early 20th century, where Sir Francis Galton was able to accurately guess the weight of a bull by averaging the guesses from 800 villagers.

Seeing this concept for the first time, it really intrigued me, and naturally, it made me want to try it myself. So that’s exactly what I did. Here is the whole entire process of me replicating this experiment, and analyzing the results!

(bottle of skittles) Continue reading

The Month Of June–Now available online and in stores!

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Hello all! I have some very exciting news to share with you. My book, The Month Of June, has been republished and is now fully available on Amazon and Kindle!

The book is a 112-page novella, best categorized as a teen/young adult contemporary romance. I wrote this back in 2013/2014 when I was going through a very difficult time in life. Hence, this contains a lot of sad or upsetting content that reflects how I felt during the writing process.

The Month Of June is the story of a teenage boy named Daniel. He’s lived in the same area his entire life. Through the several ups and the very many downs, everything went on in his town; his best friend Marcus, his favourite frozen yogurt store, and especially,his bedroom. That all comes to an end when he moves to a new town in a new state. It devastates him, and he shuts himself away emotionally to block out the pain. Then, after the move, he gets to know his new neighbor, a bright young girl named June. He starts off as he normally does; shutting her out and ignoring her attempts to be friends. But it turns out way differently than he expected, and the move turns out to be an experience that he will never forget.

This book was basically stagnant for a long time; I didn’t do much work on it since I had lost confidence. But recently, a few friends of mine read the book and strongly encouraged me to continue doing work on it. So I took the manuscript, reformatted it, and republished it to make it nicer, better, and overall a lot more accessible. I think it’s a very good book, and a good story that a lot of people will want to read! I hope all of you enjoy my work, and I greatly welcome any feedback or reviews any of you have.


Buy it on Amazon – For the average reader. Paperback, 6″x9″

Buy it on Kindle – For all you eBook lovers out there. Buy the physical copy and get the digital copy for only 99 cents!

Buy it on Createspace – This is a lesser-known purchasing option. But if you’d like to support me, this is the same cost as it is on Amazon, but I make a little more money for each copy sold.

Buy it on Ebay – Price is much higher, but it’s still an option!

Buy it at Barnes & Noble – The only way to buy it at a physical store right now! Order it online, or ask for it and have a copy shipped to your local store.

He Had A Dream: My speech dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

 

Hello all! As you might already know, I entered a contest wherein you must write a piece about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his life and philosophies. I wrote a speech and delivered it to a panel of judges on the 7th of this month. I waited anxiously to see if I made it to the finals, but unfortunately, I didn’t make it into the group of 7 that would be performing again.

It was a bit of a let down, but I still feel that I should post the speech here. It is MLK day after all, and it’s important to remember all that he did.

I take on an urgent, affirmative tone throughout this speech. Although I am NOT Christian, I felt like it was important to stick with the preacher-esque tone and insert a few biblical references. That would be good for the conservative-leaning panel of judges, and it would also connect to MLK and his life as a pastor.

The text below isn’t a word-for-word transcript of the audio recording; I rarely read things off exactly like that. But it is the final draft that I used during the speech and the audio recording, and there are a few minor on-the-spot modifications to make it easier for me your remember and recite.


 

Matthew, chapter 5, verse 46. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

Ladies and gentlemen of the audience, people who are near and far and everywhere in between, folks from all cultures and walks of life, I plead you to lend me your ear. I have an ever important message to share with all of you today.

I speak of the deep injustice and inequality that plagues our modern society. The same bigotry and hatred that one would think to be resolved by this day and age is still [emblazoned] into our lives and our culture, still slithers its way into every area of what we know. The black man does not have the same chances of getting a job as his white counterpart with the same credentials. In an ordinary church down in Charleston, a white man ruthlessly slaughtered 9 innocent black people, saying that he wished to incite a race war. And a man stricken with bias and bigotry went on to win the presidency of the United States of America. These things show how much work still needs to be done, and how regardless of the many individuals who don’t believe in it’s existence, the privilege of the white man still makes it’s home inside our government and our culture.

But yet, we have all come together. The blacks and the whites, the men and the women, the richest and the poorest; we have all joined forces and despite our differences have decided to fight the common evil that we all detest. Hate has waged a war, but yet, we have refused to stand down. Ever since the great and well-known efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we have gotten the hope, inspiration, and help needed to continue on fighting. He saw the problems in our society, and he did his absolute darndest to fix it. He had a dream. A dream that permeated throughout even the deepest corners of his world that was plagued with segregation and hate mongering. And more significantly that that, he ushered into an era of change and hope that is still going on today.

48 years ago, he had a dream. The dream to have the blacks and the whites live in absolute equality, to erase the existing animosity between the races. And here today, with all of you, we continue on with his efforts. We fight the good fight of the faith; we grab onto these wishes for freedom and happiness and equality, and we hold onto them. We never let them go for as long as we can help it. Today, we continue to live this philosophy, and we follow gratefully in his footsteps as we [create a world that he would be proud of.]

He had a dream. And he may not be alive today but by God that dream is still alive and well. I can see it wherever I go, with people fighting back against the negative things they see in today’s society. We are in a new era in humanity, one that has brought forth progress, love, peace and hope. We are creating a world that Dr. King would be very thankful to have helped created, and I believe that if we all have the same thought and dedication as he did, then this world would be a beautiful place.


It matters not whether I’m given an award for this speech, for my goal has been accomplished. I’ve gotten the opportunity to present this message of peace, love and acceptance to thousands of open ears, ones that I dearly hope will capture this message and spread it around to anywhere they go. And for myself, for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, for everyone who has been persecuted, condemned, or oppressed, I wish for this message to be shouted from the mountaintops, so that everyone in the world may hear it. Thank you, thank you all for your time and attention.

More content for you guys!

Hello, my dear readers. Now, I know that this blog is used as a hub for all of my creative content, and most of you guys enjoy my blog for my writing- and literature-related things. But that’s far from all that I do; there’s a whole other account that has a completely different scope of content.

That would be my YouTube channel. For those of you who want to see more of what I have to offer, or simply enjoy more than just reading blog posts, this is the channel for you! I post videos from my daily life, sort of like vlogs; clips from TV shows and videos that I like; and also some gaming videos occasionally. One of the main things I’m working on is a gameplay series for the famous computer game, The Sims 3. It’s very interesting and if you’ve heard of the game, I highly recommend that you watch it.

Other than that, my channel is very good for taking a better look at my personal life. It has several personal videos on there that I think you’d like. Please check it out if you get the chance!

A Sonnet About Heartbreak

Hello, my dear readers. I think it’s about time I introduce you to some of my actual literature and creative work. This is a sonnet that I wrote last Friday (Dec. 9, 2016) due to a sudden burst of inspiration. Two weeks ago, I realized that I had been focusing a lot on my long-term writing projects, and hadn’t taken much time, if any, to flex my creative muscles via poems and artwork and such. So I asked a friend of mine what I should write a poem about, and she said “heartbreak”. So I put that in my mental queue of things that I needed to write. I only started writing it on Friday, because that was the day before my 18th birthday, and I wanted to do something memorable to commemorate those last moments. I was thinking hard about what I would do, and then it came to me that it’d be the perfect time to implement the idea. It was originally gonna be a set of 3 poems, but that fell through, since I started writing too late. Anyways, here it is; I really put a lot of thought and meaning into it, so I hope you guys like it.

 


 

That what I thought we had leaves me remiss

And my heart cleft into these jagged halves

Still left, right where it’s situated at.

A beautiful thing that we had, a tryst

That let us feel like troubles don’t exist;

I wish you’d granted me a caveat

But you had not the wherewithal for that.

You stole away as if we’d never kissed.

Perhaps you never thought it was real

Or that secrecy made it something bad

But I’d like to know if the love was true.

Yet many things I’d still rather feel

Than to bring upon you anything sad

For deep in me, there is still love for you.

How To Turn Your Handwriting Into A Custom Font (with pictures)

This seems to be one of those things, y’know? One of those things that begins as a fleeting idea in your mind, and then you Google it to see if it’s really possible. Then, you find out that it is indeed very possible, and you end up bookmarking it, promising yourself that you’ll do it once you have enough time. One of those things.

That happened with me, honestly. As with many things, I put this on the back burner, hoping to do it once I had some time–but I never did. I pretty much forgot that this was even a thing, and so I never got around to doing it. Until today, that is. I was thinking about something interesting that I should do, and I remembered about this idea, the thought creating your own font using a pre-printed template. I looked into it more, and as it turns out, it’s a LOT more simple than I thought! The whole process, from start to finish, took me less than an hour in total, and the results were better than I thought they would be.

Perhaps you have wondered about this yourself. Maybe you have been curious about what your handwriting would look like if it were typed on a computer screen, or to try to trick someone into thinking a typed essay was handwritten. I’m showing you this guide so you’ll all know how easy it is; hopefully you won’t have any reservations, and maybe you’ll even try it out yourself!

Step 1: Print out your template

For this entire tutorial, I’ll be using a website known as MyScriptFont.com. This website is very specifically dedicated for this exact purpose–for creating your very own customized font. I’ve heard about this site from a few different sources, so I decided to go with it.

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This is the page you will be directed to. The first thing you have to do is to get one of their pre-made templates. Basically, all this does is it tells the website what each letter is supposed to look like. e.g., whatever you write in the box labeled “E”, it’ll let the website know that that is what the letter E is supposed to look like. Simply click on either one of the template links (I prefer the one that says “PDF”, although for some it doesn’t make a big difference) and download it like you normally would.

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This is what the next page should look like. Each one of the squares has a watermark made to show which box corresponds to which box. It starts with the uppercase letters, then the lowercase letters, then the symbols, then the accented letters. All the characters that you’d need on a regular basis, really.

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This is what my hard copy looked like. My printer was out of ink so I used the public one at my school, but any printer at all will work, so long as it has a good amount of black ink and it prints nice and evenly. See how the letters in the boxes are really light, barely noticeable so that you can only barely make it out? It’s supposed to be like this, actually. This ensures that the only thing that scans is the letters that you write, and not the watermarks themselves.

Step 2: Fill out your template completely

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Now, fill out all of the boxes with the correct letters. Again, the watermarks should be very light, but you should still be able to see them well enough to make out which ones are which. Use a black felt pen for the best results and dark, uniform letters. I decided to use a regular black pen, but if you happen to be a perfectionist and want your font to be real solid, then a felt pen would be the way to go.

Step 3: Scan your template

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Once that’s all done, you simply have to scan the template, in order to get the information back to the website. For people who don’t do it regularly, scanning may seem like something difficult or foreign, and you may feel tempted to push something aside once you find out that it requires a scan. That’s far from true, though; this is my first time scanning something myself, and it was actually pretty simple.

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The process varies depending on what computer you have, what programs are available, and what scanner you used., but if you already have things set up, it should be a breeze. I simply went into Microsoft Paint, selected the “From scanner or camera” option in the ‘Files’ drop down menu, and then clicked “scan”. If your template is aligned right on the scanner, then it should pop up in your previously blank MS Paint document, and at that point, all you need to do is click “Save”.

Step 4: Upload your template

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Now, here’s the fun part: where you actually get to see what your new font will look like. Click “Choose File” and then find the file that you saved in the previous step. Oh yeah, and the awesome part about this step? You get to name your font, too! I chose “Times New Hayden”, since that’s what I’ve always imagined that I would name my font, if I ever were to get around to making it. Anyways, once you name your font, click “Start” (don’t mess with the output format, by the way), and it should lead you to a page that shows you a preview of what your font will look like. It should show some or all of the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. If it all checks out, then click the blue text there at the bottom and download the file. As you can see, my lowercase ‘0’ is a little too far to the right, but it’s manageable.

Step 5: Install and start using your fontfontcreationsteps2

This is the final step you have to take before you can finally use your font. Go to your document in the File Explorer, or, to make it easier to find, move the file onto your desktop. However you do it, you now have to right click on the file and select ‘Install’. This just tells the computer “Alright everyone, this is a legit font. Let them use it whenever they want”. It does require the administrator password though, for me at least. After that, the font is officially installed on your computer and is ready to use. All you need to do now is test it out…

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It works!! A completely new font was just created from scratch in a relatively small amount of time. I’m very pleased with the results; I expected to have many problems that would require a ton of troubleshooting, taking up at least the rest of my afternoon. But that, in fact, was not the case. I had minimal problems with the maximum results–something that is great to have with projects like this.

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This is how Times New Hayden looks compared to my actual handwriting. Pretty neat, right? This is a fun project that I strongly recommend doing, for anyone with a little bit of free time looking for something cool to do on the Internet. The possibilities are endless!

To download and use Times New Hayden yourself, click here. Otherwise, feel free to comment below with what your experiences were like with this project, or any tips, advice, or questions you might want to share.