THE RESIGNATION LETTER

J.Gi Federizo:

So funny!!! Couldn’t help but reblog. Thanks, Loi!

Originally posted on The Professional Heckler:

VICE PRESIDENT BINAYhas quit the Cabinet. Binay’s one-sentence letter to President Aquino was [probably] the shortest resignation letter ever written by a high-ranking Filipino government official. Evidently, Binay couldn’t stand to be part of the Aquino cabinet even for another sentence.

1Binayletter

The Vice President has submitted his irrevocable resignation effective immediately. According to Mood Meter, this news report made the rest of the Cabinet “jubilant.”

The President has reportedly accepted the Vice President’s resignation. Earlier today, at least five drafts of the President’s reply to Binay reached my Inbox. I’m posting all of them here. Exclusive!

No. 5:
15Noy

No. 4:
14Noy

No. 3:
13Noy

No. 2:
12NoyLetter

And No. 1:
1NoyLetter
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“The only real battle in life is between hanging on and letting go.”
~Shannon L. Alder

UP NEXT: Vice President Binay’s #Hugot Speech

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Jun 30 2015 – Leap Second

J.Gi Federizo:

What a comprehensive and interesting writeup!

Originally posted on The Science Geek:

On June 30 2015 an extra second will be inserted into the very end of the day. This extra second is called a leap second.

Leap Second

Why do we need leap seconds?

Although we take the average length of a day to be 24 hours, the mean solar day, or average “natural” day measured by the Earth’s rotation is now slightly longer than this. This is actually due to the slowing of the Earth’s rotation.  See Note 1. At this present time, in the early 21st century, it is actually around 24 hours 0.001 seconds. So, to bring the day measured by accurate atomic clocks in line with the natural day, a leap second needs to be added approximately every 1,000 days. These leap seconds have always been added at the end of the day on June 30 or December 31. The previous one was added on June 30 2012.

Problems with…

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Romeo and Juliet Fever #atozchallenge

M of A to Z“M” is for Musicals. Yes, I am a musicals enthusiast, if you don’t know me yet. I like to watch musicals on TV, film and stage. I only get to watch actual musicals once or twice a year due to either budget (many that I’d like to see tend to be costly for someone like me) or venue (they don’t normally show in places near me). When I do get to watch, I normally try to purchase playbills. I may forget about buying other souvenirs, but never the playbills! That’s where you get to know more about a production, its cast, etc.

And because I’ve been in a Broadway-mood lately due to my recent post, I would like to share to any musicals fans out there the full film version of the French “Romeo and Juliet: from Hate to Love” musical that stars Damien Sargue and Cecilia Cara.

Roméo et Juliette: de la Haine à l’Amour is a French musical based on William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, with music and lyrics by Gérard Presgurvic. It premiered in Paris on January 19, 2001…Since then, the musical has been performed in Verona, Rome, Canada, Antwerp, London, Amsterdam, Budapest, Szeged, Moscow, Vienna, Bucharest, Seoul, Pusan (South Korea), Taipei, Monterrey, Japan and Shanghai and has been translated into several languages, including Flemish, Italian, Hungarian, Russian, English, German, Spanish, Romanian, Japanese, and Korean.” (WikiPedia)

damien-sargue-cecilia-cara

Damien Sargue and Cecilia Cara as Romeo et Juliette

This is one of only two full film versions I viewed online. I really like this one — the voices (although Juliette sounds more mature for a girl supposedly around 14, but this is theater and she has a nice voice anyway), the costumes, most of the acting. The other version I saw, which I won’t say whose, I did not like at all. It looked like something performed in school rather than professional theater, and the acting! There are just no words! A few songs in and I gave up. It was hard watching them, really. Meanwhile, when it comes to the singing, I am also very partial to the voices of the Belgian cast. I don’t think there is any full online version of theirs, professionally filmed or otherwise, but I have the recording, as shared by another theater enthusiast.

Oh, let me share that there is a whole site dedicated to the R&J musical created by my fellow-Veerle fan, VeerleBub. Check out the Romeo + Juliet the Musicals Website. It’s not the musical’s official site, but it’s rather informative and a bit comprehensive, even including translations. I liked visiting there during my R&J fever years ago. Unfortunately, it’s not updated anymore and the owner lost the rights to the original domain, it seems. Think I’ll go contact her again if I can.

Anyway, here’s the film version I promised. As always, ENJOY!

Little Dove: Cat of a Feather #atozchallenge

Ladies and gentlemen, today I share to you one of my most favorite stage thespians. I bring you…LITTLE DOVE. Oh, and all images and videos, unless indicated, are not mine, just to make it clear. Also, this was written circa 2006, just so you know.

From Gazet Van Antwerpen

This is Veerle Casteleyn
and this is my most favorite photo of hers. Photo credit: Gazet Van Antwerpen

CAT OF A FEATHER

Truth be told, there isn’t much to be said about Veerle Casteleyn… Uh, let me rephrase that—there isn’t much info available about this li’l lady, not even in the whole, wide world of the web. Any true-blue Veerle-fan knows that.

Her First Catwalks

Veerle Casteleyn was born in Vlaanderen, Belgium on March 6, 1978. ‘Veerle’ is Flemish for ‘feather’, which appropriately describes her to a ‘T’. Figuratively speaking, of course. Lithe and graceful on her feet, it’s no wonder. After all, Veerle is a dancer first before actress and singer, with quite a credible resumé in dancing tucked under her belt. She is a sweet/light soprano and wonderful actress. A fantastic all-around thespian…

Her official foray in the performing arts really started when she began training as ballet/jazz dancer at the Municipal Institute for Ballet in Antwerp, Belgium. She performed in “Joint Venture”, “Initiate”, “Fanfare”, “The Three Musketeers” and “Self-Made”. More roles came after school–an orphan in “Annie”, Liesl in “The Sound of Music”Sylvani a.k.a. Jemima (meaning ‘little dove‘) in “CATS the Musical” (she played the role both in the Antwerp and a London production), and more roles as understudy.

In 2002, she successfully essayed the role of Julia in “Romeo en Julia: van Haat tot Liefde” (R&J), the Belgian production of, well, you’ve guessed it by now. That was her first-ever lead role, complete with a CD release of the show’s songs where you can hear her sing, and believe me, as you will later find out, her voice before was and still is a subject of much debate.

What Curious Cats Ought to Know
veerle-casteleyn-as-Jemima

Veerle as Jemima in the film version of CATS The Musical

To those not familiar with Veerle, she is actually best-known (so far) as Jemima, the cute kitten in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s (ALW) “CATS The Musical” video, whose wisdom is far beyond her years; the kitten that made Veerle famous (to musical-lovers, at least). On second thought, Veerle made Jemima famous. Though she was first played by the great Sarah Brightman (best-known as the original Christine Daaé of “The Phantom of the Opera”, another ALW masterpiece), Jemima had always been a minor role and was not at all that noticeable until Veerle came along and immortalized her on video.

Veerle was only about 19 or 20, the youngest in the whole ensemble in fact, when she joined the production.  She would later play Jemima on a more regular basis in the West End, as well as do swing parts (a swing is like a bit player) and, more impressive, Victoria the White Cat and Rumpleteazer as an understudy. These two latter roles should tell you how great a dancer Veerle really is. After all, both require superb dancing skills and “Energizer”-charged moves. Not to mention, playful with a sensual flair. Vicky alone always gets to display her dancing prowess, often taking center stage.

veerle-casteleyn-ballerinaALW had to choose the best performers for the roles, especially since the show was to be shown in another form. Jemima’s role called for a “little, young thing with a wonderful, wide-open face” and Veerle was definitely IT.

Many viewers get enthralled upon seeing her sweet face and large, expressive eyes during her solo parts. Maybe it helps that she is, indeed, a lovely girl with an unusual charm even sans makeup. However, any other lovely girl would have been hard-pressed to pull it off the way she did in the film. Veerle obviously knew how to work it and project what needed to be projected. Besides, she was not all-face, too. She was the shortest but she wasn’t short in talent at all. She proved to be one of the giants, holding her own against or alongside other great talents like John Partridge (as Rum Tum Tugger) and Phyllida Crowley-Smith (as Victoria).

This Cat’s Meow

Undoubtedly, it is her duet with the Great Elaine Paige who reprised her role as Grizabella, that often leaves the biggest mark in most viewers’ mind. Paige is obviously way up there in the superstar department, having amazingly sung the most original version of ‘Memory’. Still, perhaps, part of the charm of the said duet is “Veerle’s” singing voice…

Now is the time when I have to address the issue of dubbing. In the credits, you will read somewhere that Jemima’s singing voice was dubbed by Helen Massie. That is correct. The long-standing issues here have been: “Why was Veerle dubbed?” and “Didn’t she sing anything in the film?”

The why has been answered time and time again! It wasn’t because she couldn’t sing, but due to her strong accent at the time of the filming that affected her English. Veerle may not be the greatest soprano around, and maybe she was pretty raw back then, especially with no formal voice training, but she delivered. Quite convincingly, in fact. As for the second question, it has not been properly addressed yet. Nevertheless, we who have seen the film more than we should can say that she actually did sing in many parts of the video. Where exactly? I will leave the fun of finding it out to you. [Ed. Meanwhile, CLICK HERE and HERE to hear her sing in “R&J” — these are my fave of hers from that musical, her first real recording ever, though the voice is really raw, but I think that’s exactly what made her perfect for the role of a young and naive protagonist.]

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The CATS DVD Jemima poster (sorry the feet are cropped out in this image I found)

As I said, Miss Feather made Jemima, so much so that when the movie was released, the wide-eyed, innocent-but-wise li’l kitty was a big hit. Soon, the movie’s off- and on-line release posters featured Jemima holding a “CATS” DVD, etcetera. Why not Grizabella? Or Old Deuteronomy? Or Munkustrap? Or Rum Tum Tugger? Or any of the major roles? The answer may have been “Why not Jemima?”

Jemima is also easily remembered now. The girls love to imitate her and wish they look like her, cat or not. The boys mostly drool at her (especially those who look for and find her unmade-up countenance). Let’s face it. She is easily one of the most beautiful cats in the show, if not the most, ’cause that, of course, depends on taste.

Let the Cat Play

Moving on…Post-“CATS”, Veerle did several plays/musicals onstage again. As mentioned, she did the London production. Then it was in various other productions for her as she toured UK/Europe, The Netherlands and her home country, Belgium: “Carousel” (as Louise in the UK tour),“A Little Night Music” (as Fredrika on the Netherlands tour), “R&J” (Belgian production…another girl acted for The Netherlands tour), “Fiddler on the Roof” (as Chava…great solo ballet sequence, I’m sure), “Alleen op de Wereld” (as the adult Remi), “Dracula” (as part of the ensemble), and “Mamma Mia!” (ensemble still).

veerle-romeo-en-julia

Veerle as lead in Romeo en Julia, together with Davey Gilles.

romeo-and-julia-death scene

Julia is devastated by Romeo’s death…In the R&J video below, you can see her with Davey at 3:43 and for about ten seconds starting at 8:42. Not sure why she was not interviewed (I am guessing she was too shy to get interviewed)

She didn’t always get the major parts. But that’s show business. Veerle knows that. Meanwhile, she also found time to make her TV debut in an episode of the police show “Flikken” (‘Police’, in the Sporen episode) as Elke de Brock, rape victim. Last year, she became part of the short-lived courtroom drama “De Wet Volgens Milo” (‘The Law According to Milo’) (2004-2005) as law firm intern Sonja who’s “youthful enthusiasm and ambition often gets her into trouble” (this is a loose online translation of the info I found on the show’s site). If that wasn’t enough, some people reported spotting Veerle in a commercial somewhere, but they’re just speculations.

The Cat of a Feather

Veerle knows she has yet to make a bigger mark to be really called famous, despite the fact that she indeed achieved semi-superstar status with a still growing number of fans scattered all over the globe. She has achieved something that most performers still only dream of. Yet, swell-headed she is not.

Ironically, this girl is a very shy individual in person, embarrassed by the amount of attention given her. Perhaps, too, she feels the pressure of living up to what people expect from artists they admire, or it’s possible she simply does not like being admired for her looks alone. Veerle has actually expressed surprise and bewilderment by all of this. She is so unassuming to the point of being unintentionally private; thus, we only have what little more personal information about her we have. This, by the way, does her real good. Stalk her not, please.

It has been proven several times that she isn’t a snob either. Veerle might be private, but she is definitely not a snob. Though the instances are few, accounts of her have been made, not any of them negative. Not yet. Hope not. If you’re lucky, she just might recognize and surprise you by linking arms with you at the parking lot (that is, if her shyness does not get to her first). She may visit your forum and leave a message even if only once. [Ed. Got proof of this, screenshots to follow.] She may meet up with you if she knows you’ve come all the way from across the globe just to watch her in a show, which dialogues you don’t understand anyway. Or she may spend even just a bit of time chatting with you online provided that you…

(1) will understand she types slow, being admittedly not-so-techno- and Net-savvy.

And….

(2) won’t go borderline creepy and scare her away.

And of course, ambush photo shoots with fans, that’s a given…

 

That’s about it when it comes to getting a bit more glimpse of what Veerle is.  And oh, did I tell you she has a very nice, curvy penmanship? [Ed.  Proof to follow, sorry]

Cats Sometimes Take a Bow, Too

veerle-casteleyn

At present, as of this writing, Veerle is already preparing—or maybe already rehearsing—for the role of Electra for this year’s Dutch production of “CATS”. Yes, you die-hard Veerle-fans, I hate to be the bearer of a really-not-so-“bad” news, but she isn’t playing Jemima. Veerle opted not to do her, a personal decision. I am not surprised. One can only do a routine role so much. She said it herself, she wants a new challenge.

Veerle Casteleyn may still be ‘a kitten still wet behind the ears’ (sorry, I just like saying that), but one thing is definite–this cat is not going anywhere but up! Kitty heaven, here she comes!!!

 

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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Okay, first, this is my  “L” post for the A-to-Z Challenge (so that explains the title more, hee…).

L

You can actually find this same article as The Veerle Essay, posted with my permission, at the Unofficial Veerle Casteleyn Fansite, which is owned by a fellow fan. There’s a mention of a certain “Gracie” as author — that’s me. You see, I wrote this first for my Multiply blog years ago, and around the same time, I joined the Veerle Forum, which I believe is already inactive (correct me if you know for certain that I am wrong, and then share the proper link, pretty pleeeease….). It wasn’t because of few members but due to technical problems that I believe, could not be solved then (on my part, I suddenly could not log in anymore, and still couldn’t when I registered with another name — must have been the locations-thing). But I’ve been a fan a few years before the writeup.

Anyhoo, I edited the article now here, seeing grammar loopholes, etc. (hope I got them all). But if you’re looking for more updated info, based on my current research, not much has been found out about her in later years, which saddens me a bit. I’ll continue my research, though.

Story of My Life…Not!

Okay, this is long-overdue, and I feel like answering questions again, anyway. Thank you so much, Christine, for this award! Woohooo!!! Sorry it’s taken this long. Still got one from you that I’ll “accept” some other time ;)

As blog awards usually go, there are questions to be answered. Christine asked me some and I’ve answered them all below. See for yourselves :)

1. Who are you? Where do you live?

I feel like there are several ways to answer that first one. Could be with something as simple as “I am Jennifer Federizo-Enriquez, but call me Gi. I’m from the Philippines.” Or could be with something like “I am a New Ren still on the journey towards self-discovery and finding The Way…” So, well, I’m giving you both answers.

2. Do you live in the same country you were born in?

Yes, I do. I’ve been here, like, forever…

3. What is the story behind your blog name?

I have answered this before, but I don’t mind repeating :)

“When I decided to create my first public Multiply account (all of my blogs before were on private mode, so to speak), I decided that it would chronicle my journey as a person, something that would be a reminder of who and what I was. It would be something that when my time comes to leave this earth, I would look back and smile and say it was all worth it. Maybe it won’t matter to anyone else especially when I am gone, but it will matter to me to see where my journey has taken me and how. So while I was thinking of my ‘end’ and contemplating on a blog name, a saying that I’ve always liked came to mind: ‘The end justifies the means.’ I decided to tweak it a bit to The End Justifies the Journey. What I will be in the end will be the result of my life’s journey, just like how it is going to be for everyone else.”

4. If you could live in any time period, what would it be?

That still would be NOW. We may think that this era or that era is best, but in every one of them, there will always be something terrible somewhere. I’d rather be here where I know what’s happening, at least. I don’t want to pretend to be knowlegeable, that I’m a history expert. One thing I can say, though, is I wouldn’t want to be living during any war and/or plague period or in any era where there is great discontent.

5. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

The power to cause world peace in a snap and maintain it. I think most of the world’s problems can be remedied if we only allow peace in our hearts — no hate, no selfishness, no apathy, no greed.

6. What is your passion?

My passion differs from time to time. Sometimes, I can be a little obsessive with something. I just let things flow until I outgrow it. But I never make it reach a point where it’s already controlling my life. Currently, I think I’m passionate about (well, obsessing over) my kids’ education. It’s what keeps me up at night sometimes.

7. Name one positive thing that you do to “lift your spirits.”

I pray and just try to think positive because I know that if I let all the negativity in, it’s going to be hard to kick it out and see the sunshine again. I know how depression ruins people. Others can try to help you, but ultimately, it’s up to you to choose between darkness in your own shell or the sunshine outside.

8. What is the biggest challenge you have overcome this past year?

Financial challenges and family (relatives) matters. Have not really overcome them, but still coping, at least. The financial challenges would be easier to overcome. The family matters? Nah…Next question, please!

9. If you could write your own life story, what would the title be?

For many years, I originally wanted to call it In a Nutshell, because it would be “summarizing” me in a way, plus, I’ve always thought of myself as kind of nuts, he he…But now, I think I’d rather use my blog’s title :)

aiza-seguerra

Me–I mean, singer-actress Aiza Seguerra

10. If someone were to make a movie of your life, what actress would you want to play you?

That would be Aiza Seguerra. She’s also short, chubby, and she kind of looks like me (she’s actually cuter…not that I am cute…I mean,…nevermind). I’d rather keep it realistic than have a pretty and sexy bombshell play Me. Besides, Aiza is a very good actress. She might hate the kind-of girly parts (I said “kind of” ’cause I’m not so girly myself), because she’s now a he, but she–er–he’s a stage thespian as well, so he can handle it, he’s trained well. He’s gotta cover up all those tattoos, though, and grow more hair or wear wigs.

 

Now that that’s done, I am not nominating/giving the award to anyone for reasons I’ve mentioned when I wrote Don’t Go Hatin’ on Blog Awards and based on the comments thread there. I have yet to find a good name for the award I am thinking about, though.

Anyhoo, for anyone willing to pass on this award, feel free to post the rules shared below:

The Rules

  1. Link to the person who nominated you.
  2. Add the reward logo.
  3. Answer the questions your nominator has asked.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers and let them know via comments. [EDIT: Gotta be girls by birth or gender preference, don’t forget!]
  5. Ask your nominees 10 questions.

 

Remember, bloggers rock!!!!!

 

The Art of Komikonation #atozchallenge

If there is one thing that I have come to realize in my adult life, it’s that I’m a late-bloomer in a lot of things. I need not go into more (read: boring) details about it, but in relation to my topic of the day, it is only now, in my later years, did I realize that I really, actually love comics.

K of  A to ZI don’t have hundreds in my collection, not yet anyway, nor do I have any of those cherished and expensive first editions of famous American comics or Japanese manga. I didn’t start collecting until several years ago when I learned from artist Jonas Diego that we actually hold local conventions now. Komikons, they have called these local gatherings, and they have successfully put “komikon” in the modern Filipino dictionary.

By that time, I was already aware that I could draw a little. Well, sketch, really. Learning about artists now gathering and holding conventions kind of made me regret I did not practice and improve on my visual artistry. Maybe I would be already joining them and marketing my own comics had I pursued learning the art, who knows?

Attending Komikon has become a part of my annual routine. I have been unable to attend some events in the past, but I have at least made it a point to be in one of the three major ones. I’ve been enjoying and, I guess, celebrating the new artists of this era who have made making local comics cool again.

I know of people who seem to look down on local comics, whether they admit it or not. The problem is they don’t even try to consider attending komikons or to simply check out samples. They have become mentally colonized to even dare think that local comics are worth their time. They either have forgotten or have no idea at all that many Filipino artists have actually been a part of various DC and Marvel series. Ever the peaceful guy, a friend of mine said it’s just probably because they already get to read manga on the net for free. But he completely missed the point. That said, I was not about to lose friendship over it; I was not the one missing something good, anyway.

kiko-machine-sample-strip

A sample from Kiko Machine. What immediately drew me to this when I encountered the strip in the dailies was it not only obviously showed bits and pieces of the Pinoy way of life, but the campus scenarios, though made all funny, gave the artist away, that we’re from the same alma mater. It’s not really bias on my part, just that it’s like reminiscing your school days :)

cats-trail-sample-page

I read the copies my friend owns and am really hankering to buy my own copies of the series. I like the drawing, but I really appreciate the story-telling and the fact that they — the Damaso couple — create “rewinds” to give readers more ideas as to the background of the story. They have also created the comic book Dragon Breed, which I like as well

school-run-sample-drawing

From the site: “in the post-zombie apocalypse, just getting to school in the morning can be a real killer. welcome to the worst day in the lives of a school bus full of children.” I would love to see a movie version of this! Oh, and this was even before “World War Z” came out

If it’s not obvious already from my past posts, I already have several favorite titles that I like to follow: Kiko Machine, Cat’s Trail, Drop Dead Dangerous, Espiritista, Sulsi (and the other IKOS comics), School Run. I would like to follow Trese, Fallen Ash, Bathala, Dragon Breed, what else….? I really liked, too, the book Elmer and the short Ang Maskot that later became a short film, plus, Kapitan Tog provides comic relief, pun maybe intended ;)

alphario-team

The Alphario Team…Photo credit is theirs

Having bought a story from them, I think I should also try checking out titles from a certain group whose name escapes me for now. Meanwhile, I have to say that I really like the enthusiasm and the efforts the whole Alphario Team always puts into marketing and promoting their comics during the event and even pre-event.

Of all the titles, though, I really am very partial to Ang Sumpa (by Andoyman). Not only does the artist himself pours his heart into it, but so do I. When Andy asked me to serve as editor, I also ended up sharing my ideas, as far as the forensics side is concerned (expert-wannabe). That’s probably why it says “Story Assist by…” on the cover. Still, it’s his story, not mine, his characters, his plot. I, on the other hand, is just happy to be a part of the comics industry, even in just this way. Admittedly, I am now inclined to write my own story or stories — I can’t do the drawing, but I can write the story, right?

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They did not hold the usual Summer Komikon this year. But rest assured that the Indieket’s happening soon. I plan to go so hopefully, things will go as planned. If they do, see you there, folks! Support the local comics industry!!! Time to KOMIKONATE  :D

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For more Komikon-related posts, please go to COMICS TRIPS.

Firsts of JUNE #atozchallenge

J

Hey, it’s JUNE, and yesterday was its first day. June in this country means school time, almost all-work and no-play for kids during weekdays (sorry, kids!).

My new family experienced three firsts yesterday. We have a transferee in third grade and it’s his first day in a new environment; hopefully, he survives the year well. We have a totally new student in kindergarten and it’s his first day ever in a school; he seems excited going to school so I’m crossing  my fingers that he’ll stay that way. And there’s this new mother (Me) sending her kids to school for the first time; she’s about as anxious as…Well, I don’t know the perfect analogy to use, but yes, she’s anxious! And so is the father, actually!

I’ve always known that being a mother is tough, but this sure makes it all very real. You worry about a lot of things and your kids’ education is one of them. Are they ready? Can they cope properly? Will they learn their lessons like they ought to? How strict should I be about learning? Will I pass or  fail as a mother?…Oops! That just came out. Where did that even come from???

Then again, that’s what it really boils down to, isn’t it? As parents, we are worried that we may not be performing well as their life-long guides. What if they grow up wrong? Or maybe we are just too demanding as parents? Ours are just kids yet and already, I am worried I am not bringing them up well. Everyday, I resolve to be better and yet I feel like I’m not even getting near better…

Oh, anxiety, go away, will you?!!!!

Anyway, I guess I should always remember the fact that we never stop learning life’s lessons until we grow old. As our kids learn their lessons in school, so must I learn from my mistakes as a parent. So today, let me promise to myself again that I will try to be better. It’s never wrong to strive to be better, is it?

away-with-you-kids

He he, sorry, but this made me laugh a bit!

An Author’s Responsibilities by Aya Walksfar

I have been meaning to write an article about something but have not been able to. Coincidentally, I chanced upon this guest blog post over at The Jumbled Writer. It’s a very good writeup on author responsibilities from novelist Aya Walksfar.

I have decided to reblog it (with permission). Actually, I am unable to click “Reblog” so I just provided the link. Just click on the title or the image and…ENJOY!!!!

AN AUTHOR’S RESPONSIBILITIES

article-on-author-responsibilities

How to Improve Site Performance? Audit, for Business’ Sake!

Nothing but quality products, 24/7 customer support, a lovely website, excellent service overall. Discriminating customers demand for the best, and that’s what your business is all about. So now you wonder, after doing everything right, how come business is not picking up? Frustrating, I know.

Basically, what you need is to reach out to more people than the usual. Make your online presence solid and felt. That said, have you checked your site lately? Start checking!

A lovely website” needs to show brains and brawn, too, otherwise, you lose prospective customers. Perhaps, it’s time to hire a web content writer to help you.

Basic Auditing How-to

audit-your-site

I got this image from the well-known Search Engine Watch that incidentally has written a more extensive article on this topic as well

Site checking or auditing is essential. For a website to be an effective tool in your business, keeping it should involve critical analyses, content strategy and the right people to make it work. If you already have a writer in your stable, then good. Make sure she knows or learns how to audit sites as well.

Writers mainly take care of the articles, but the misconception is that’s the only skill expected of them. A skilled one helps take care of things beyond the articles. In the web business, content means a lot of things aside from textual information.

For a start, in auditing, you need to know how your site is faring in the online world. What is its domain authority and page authority? How many backlinks and by whom? On what pages do search engines list it when a search is done, if it gets listed at all? And so on.

Next, find out its existing page status problems and technical issues. Those maybe getting in the way of good user experience, therefore, visitors leave.

Then there’s the matter of whether keywords, optimizations, web designs and layout work or not. An SEO content writer with ample knowledge of web development and design would be a prize to find.

All of the factors mentioned, your auditor needs in order to identify and analyze problem areas and consequently fix them.

To be able to do this, she has to have enough know-how, especially in using helpful software and platforms like Google Analytics, OpenSiteExplorer, SEMrush, WhiteSpark, and ScreamingFrog. She has to be able to interpret what the results mean.

But the more critical part is the analyzing, the precursor to crafting solutions.

Questions to Consider for Review

site-health-check

Of course, you or your current employees can do this, provided you have the time and necessary skills. You can start reviewing the contents, design and layout of your site based on some of the questions I have gathered.

Contents

  1. Are the business names and logo/brand visible and clear? Where are they?

  2. Is there a header image?

  3. Where are the Name-Address-Phone (NAP) details in the site? Do they include emails and toll-free numbers?

  4. Is there a Google map at the Contact Us page? How about at the footer?

  5. Is there a working contact form in all the pages?

  6. Is there a navigation menu at the top? Does the top menu have dropdowns? Is there a navigation menu at the bottom?

  7. Are there pages specifically for Home, About Us / Firm Overview, Blog (if any), News, Resources, and FAQs at the navigation menu?

  8. Are there pages for the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy? Are there links leading to them?

  9. Are there sidebars? Does your site need them?

  10. Are the images and videos posted in the site relevant and clear?

  11. Are there visible social media logos around the site?

  12. Do all the links redirect properly and to the right pages?

  13. How many fonts are used in the site?

  14. Are accreditation and/or rank seals added?

  15. Are there copyright details at the bottom? If yes, are they present in all the pages?

Design Principles

  1. Is there precedence (guiding-the-eye)?

    – position (where something in particular is placed), color, contrast, size (does it affect perceived order of relevance), design elements (largely based on what is added to the site and how it affects visitor’s actions)

  1. How effective is the spacing?

    – line spacing (affects readability), padding (putting space between text and other elements), white space (for balance, proportion, and contrast)

  1. How clear, easy and user-friendly is the navigation feature?

  2. Are there breadcrumbs in all the pages, sub-headings and a sitemap?

  1. How are the texts (typography) looking and working?

    – font choices (do they look good and appropriate for the site, how many used), font sizes (affects readability), spacing, line length (affects readability), color (must make sure the texts can actually be read by anyone), paragraphing (left-alignment is always suggested to avoid gaps)

  1. Are things aligned in an orderly and polished manner?

  1. How is the design clarity? Are the pixels creating problems?

  1. Does everything match (consistency)?

    – sizes, choices, coloring, styles, elements, etcetera

  1. Is the site aesthetically pleasing as well as useful?

  1. How relevant, clear, appropriate and useful are the pages and contents to the site?

  1. Are there unnecessary elements (music, flash, autoplay, etc.) that can be done without?

  1. Are the title pages/headings easily understood and logical?

  1. How informative is the FAQ page?

  1. Are testimonials included in the site? How many? Do they appear real or fake?

  1. Is the Call to Action clear?

    – contact forms, online customer service representative, registration feature, email address for questions and feedback, indirect action items like “learn more”

  1. Is the site selling something? Does it have an SSL certificate?

  2. How mobile-ready is the site?

I have given you initial ideas on how to audit your site. These are culled from research (like a Psdtuts+ article I found very useful) and my own auditing experiences. There are more to find and learn but the further research, I will leave to you. Meanwhile, your auditor must be able to work with your web developers and designers to incorporate changes.

In auditing, it’s not simply knowing what to look for. It takes a lot of common sense, an analytic mind, patience and practical approach—all of which, the writer hopefully has. If your current writer is not cut out for this, find another who is. Hire a web content writer who can.

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NOTE: I’ve been saying this for a year or so already. This was originally a guest blog that got published along with my byline. Unfortunately, the site soon became inaccessible for quite a while. It went back then I found that somebody else took my place as author. I tried every way to reach them and actually sent a message telling them to fix it, to no avail. I just checked last Friday and found the site missing again. So here it is, I thought I’d share here. It’s just fair considering that it was supposed to be a reciprocal thing. No one paid anybody and if the other party is unable to hold its part of the bargain, we have the right to take back what is ours.

ISAY & AUGIE #atozchallenge

A week after Holy Week, we got our little girl…Little girl puppy, that is. i of A to Z It’s the first time this house got a dog after a long time. Our last dog was Odie and that was when I was still single and unattached, plus my parents were still alive. He was our last because my mother would not allow another one. She said, “Who’s going to take care of it when you’re always away?” It was when my father already had the stroke and my mother was not really strong anymore. I was away on weekdays to work so all the responsibility of taking care of the house, my father, and the dog went to her. A dog was too hyper for her. Needless to say, I saw her point so I gave in. I’ve said this several times already after my parents passed away that I would get a dog again. It is only now that it has come true when I’ve got my own family.

isay-dog

Isay is one aloof little girl. Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

Ladies and gents, presenting…ISAY. I gave her that name, after the place she came from, Talisay. She was already around two months old, though, with certain behaviors that we’re trying to “undo”. She tends to be aloof even of us and has a love-hate relationship with her primary human, my husband. When she does become playful, she can become too playful and treat us aggressively like non-humans.

isay-and-bin

Isay with her main human. It’s not easy capturing her every time because she runs away. Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

More than a week ago, we got her a brother (well, brother until their relationship changes). The kids wanted to call him Augie so Augie it is. He is just a month old. Good thing Isay didn’t get jealous and was completely welcoming the other pup. Augie, on the other hand, is more friendly to humans. I present to you…AUGIE!!!!

SOo hard to take this picture!

So hard to take this picture! Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

More humans!!!

More humans!!! Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

Hope you like the pics!!! :)