Saying It Well...

Khrystine's favorite quotes

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."— Mark Twain

Modern Muse

Modern Muse
Adriana Lima in Elle Magazine

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Visual Rhetorical Analysis

The website for Wells Fargo Bank ( appeals to current and potential customers-upper middle class families. It is a standard hypertext structure that makes it easy to find what one is looking for, as one can access information from many different points on the page.

The site has a lot of text, mostly about the services the bank offers, under various headings such as Banking, Loans, and Investing. There is also some drop-down menus and textual ads that have icons next to them. There is a separate section for those who already have accounts, with logos around the text, and a banner ad for the bank sits at the top of the page.

The website uses images of prosperity to create the feeling that they are a sound financial institution. The banner ad shows an upper middle class father and daughter. The daughter, probably about six, is relaxing on a white couch. She even appears to be coloring on some paper. My first thought is that the father must have a enough money to clean that couch often if he let’s his six-year-old draw on it. The father is working on finances, as implied by the text, but he seems relaxed-he’s barefoot. His clothes are “business casual” and his laptop is very shiny. There is also a photographed image that is a relatively elaborate representation of the banks usual carriage outline logo. The carriage is shiny red and yellow-it certainly has not come cross country, despite its appearance in a barren stretch of desert-and is being drawn by six horses. This once again represents prosperity, and it also alludes to the old romantic history of the West as a land of gold. It also lends some historical heft to the company. They are saying “We’ve been around forever. You can trust us.”

The web page uses visual design principles well. The topics are well organized; one can easily find what one is looking for. The organization is consistent; there are no random words or images. The images are clean, non-distracting, and minimal. However there are enough images that the site does not seem sterile or unapproachable. A frequent user of the site appreciates the division of topics. Advertisements and general information are grouped together for those who may be thinking about opening an account, while those who already have one are able to bypass the already known information to access their accounts. Someone who does not have an account yet does not immediately feel excluded from using the site.

This is very important as one may have occasion to visit this site whether they have accounts with Wells Fargo or not. One may use it to check the status of an account, open an account, or check average interest rates for such things as mortgages.

The site manages to accomplish its purpose; that is, it both informs potential users of available products and makes it easy for current customers who may visit it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Book Review!

Art of Darkness: Street Acting by Undercover Operators, Con Men, and Others Art of Darkness: Street Acting by Undercover Operators, Con Men, and Others by Sara K Schneider

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was lucky enough to receive this book as an early reviewer, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is dramatically entertaining, but also raises questions about the nature of identity-can it really be separate from what we say and do? It also has whetted my appetite for biography, particularly of the master con artists and undercover workers Schneider quotes throughout the book.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


It is five-thirty in the morning and I am watching my dog, Toby, try to stay awake. He will not be successful. The only reason he is awake is out of loyalty to me. It is the same reason he was struggling to stay awake at twelve-thirty this morning. No matter how quiet I try to be or no matter how many times I tell him to go to bed, Toby keeps the same odd hours I do.

Toby is an elderly pug I received from my brother. Stephen lived with me for a while last summer and when he moved out, Toby stayed. The Pug Dog Club of America gives the following information about pugs:

The Pug is of Chinese origin and dates back to the pre-Christian era. They were prized possessions of the Emperors of China and lived in a most luxurious atmosphere and at times were even guarded by soldiers. Records show that three types of short nosed dogs were bred by the Chinese. They were the Lion dog, the Pekingese and the Lo-sze. The Lo-sze or “Foo Dog” was the ancient Pug.

Toby seems to have inherited his ancestors’ taste for luxury. While a playful enough puppy, his favorite activities include luxuriating on pillows and sunbathing. Two floor pillows and one bean bag chair have been taken for the cause, and it is nearly impossible to get to come inside during the summer. Toby, unlike some who may descendents of royal dogs, does not demand to be the center of attention. He is fine being a little left of center. For example, he is fine with me writing this paper because I reach down to pet him occasionally. He doesn’t need constant attention. However, when I become a little too focused on my Spanish homework, he will decide to take a nap on the textbook and papers. He also refuses to sleep without his plush dog that squeaks. She is jokingly named Girlfriend. When forced to sleep without her, he will whine and cry until she is with him.

A Pug’s character is unique in that he is a clown at heart with a terrific sense of humor but at the same time he carries himself with great dignity. They are not too delicate for fun and games. A pug is anxious to please, anxious to learn and anxious to love. His biggest requirement is that you love him back.

The preceding description by The Pug Dog Club of America is very apt. While Toby, who is solid black except for a white patch on his chest and white toes, seems to think of himself as a rather distinguished older gentleman, he will sometimes show the enthusiasm of a puppy. Toby’s eyebrows, eyelashes, and chin are turning white and he is nearly eleven, yet if one asks him where Girlfriend is, he will disappear and return in a flash with the toy. He especially enjoys playing with her after dinner, when he will growl at her, shake her around, and then settle into a long session of licking her face off.

As Toby has gotten older, he has become more possessive of “his” things. He fancies himself quite the guard dog. Despite his age, lack of any respectable teeth to speak of, and general tininess, he will chase golden retrievers off of the property. He is quite pleased with himself afterwards, kicking the grass fiercely with his back legs. (He also does this whenever he finds ground loose enough to make dust clouds.) He does bark at strangers and seems suspicious of males in particular. However, once he has determined someone as a friend he will sound a series of whines and barks as if engaging in conversation. He will then be quite offended if they don’t offer him a belly-rub or back massage. He is also quite possessive of me, and becomes jealous of my little nephews.

Many pugs have problems with jealousy and separation anxiety. Toby is no exception and I believe these problems may have been exacerbated by my brother’s divorce. As far as Toby knows my brother’s ex-wife and “his” human disappeared one day and was never heard from again. (Actually this is alarmingly close to the truth, but I digress.) Toby becomes jealous of other dogs and toddlers (not infants for some reason) and is anxious to see me when I come home. He also waits outside the bathroom door when I shower.

The funny thing about Toby is that his likes and dislikes are just as strong as any person’s. He prefers my mother’s bed to nap on, my father’s chair to sit on, and no toy is nearly as beloved as Girlfriend. And then there’s his favorite sleeping position: paws near my shoulders, chin on my forehead. When he can get me to sleep, that is.

Quotes from Pug Dog Club of America

Obtained on June 11, 2008

Saturday, October 04, 2008


ColorQuiz.comKhrystine took the free personality test!

"Wants to make a favorable impression and be reward..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

My brother Stephen showed me this. It's accurate I think. It's stuff I don't want to admit...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Commentary (Written In June)

It has become essentially irrefutable that the United States government, including the president, has authorized the use of torture. It has also become clear that the government tried to keep this secret. According to Joseph Galloway, four years ago the Pentagon told Major General Anthony Taguba to investigate inhumane treatment of detainees. However, he was not allowed to investigate any military or civilian official who outranked him. Yet Taguba has since said, “The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture.” President Bush, as quoted by Major David J.R. Frakt, has said that the Geneva Conventions do not apply this time-that these detainees “are not legally entitled to such treatment”, that these methods are part of “military necessity” and will save lives. Perhaps one could believe this, if it were not for the innocent people, including a suicidal teenager, who have been tortured. In the case of said teenager, no interrogation ever took place. This goes against the Constitution-i.e. what constitutes-the United States. Not only is it hypocritical to set aside the Constitution when at war, it is completely irrational. The only part of the president’s job description that is not in the Constitution is to uphold the Constitution. Otherwise, the president could simply invade a country, throw out the Constitution, dissolve Congress, and declare himself dictator for life; making and breaking his own arbitrary laws. Our government should believe in its Constitution enough to set the same standards of liberty for all humanity, not just those “legally entitled”. If they throw it out for those abroad, they will surely throw it out at home. Without basic rights such as presumed innocence and habeas corpus, don’t be surprised if criminals aren’t the only ones who suffer. Under the misleading name “enhanced interrogation”, don’t be surprised if it becomes standard police procedure. We should think about that before we decide that it doesn’t affect us.