Visit My Fashion Blog... and My Latest Blog!

Welcome to John's Blog Space (JBS)! Latest News/Notice(s):

(LATEST UPDATE: April 9, 2014)

• RIP, Nelson Mandela... - My thoughts and prayers go out in loving memory of the Ultimate Warrior. He was an awesome wrestler.

Welcome to "John's Blog Space!" This blog is best viewed in 1024×768 resolution and with JavaScript enabled. Use the bar below this blog's header to Get Social With Me and visit my links. You may contact me via E-Mail just to say hello or to send me questions/comments. Don't forget to Follow and subscribe if you love my blog. Scroll down with this box to see all news notices regarding JBS. Thank you for visiting!

• 2,000,000 Views and Happy (Belated) 4th Anniversary! - "John's Blog Space" has surpassed 2 million hits all-time (Blogger/Blogspot statistics) yesterday! Thanks to all of you for contributing to these numbers! Since Blogger/Blogspot unveiled its own stat engine in June 2008, very few blogs have reached the 2M view count. So I am very pleased to receive so much attention from such a worldwide audience. Can't say enough- thank you so much for contributing to this milestone for me! Also, my blog celebrated its 4th anniversary back on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.

• I May Be Idle... - ...but I am not "dead." I do contribute to my other blogs as well as just living life. So do remember to keep checking in to see my latest posts here on "John's Blog Space" and my other blogs.

• Over time, the "Car Style" label will not be discontinued, but posts will not take on the "Car Style" name. It was originally intended to be about how I think certain vehicles look. Because of spam comment concerns, however, I have not discussed this topic as much as I used to. Some old "Car Style" posts will be deleted with newer versions just to keep the topic alive on John's Blog Space.

• Some of this blog's old blog posts will be edited and/or deleted. Many of them are old Gran Turismo posts that will be moved over to "John's Gran Turismo Space." So I invite you to visit JGTS to get your fill of Gran Turismo commentary from me.

• My blog will take on a new theme in the near future. The current theme is called "Sea of Stars." The new theme will not really be an overall change to the look of this blog. However, I am working on something to give this blog some new life.

• Sidebar Updates - My Cafepress widget and Twitter widget have both been updated. Be sure to look at each of the items I've provided to you. Don't forget also to take advantage of any offers I have for all of you. Please help yourself now that you're here.

• New Search Bar - I am experimenting with a new search bar. This search bar will allow you to search for items not only in this blog, but in my others as well. Feel free to use this new search bar to your advantage. I may, however, go back to the old one and leave this newer one behind if I am unable to make the absolute most of it.

• Have You Visited My StyleSpace Blog Yet? - Visit stylespacebyjbm.blogspot.com to check out my fairly new blog devoted to fashion. StyleSpace is all about anything and everything regarding fashion. Diverse topics, diverse opinions... it is not your average "fashion" blog.

• Joined ShopSense - If you see any ShopStyle widgets, that is because I joined ShopSense, their affiliate program. This will help my fashion lovers to find more items based on relevant material in my blog posts. That leads to the next point...

• "An Important Amazon Note" is now "Affiliate Notes" - "An Important Amazon Note" now falls under a new name. It still has information regarding other affiliate programs I've signed up for. Even though it pertains to Amazon, it also includes other programs I've taken part in; and so I have to change up the info.

• Layout Changes - Incremental changes to the current layout will be made over a certain amount of time. The whole blog will have a much different appearance as the changes are being made. Forgive me if the blog appears to be messy- all I am doing is making changes in a slow and steady manner. The new Social Bar is now below the header (which I was trying to go for all along).

• "Like" Me on Facebook! - Have you "liked" my Facebook fan page? If not, and if you have Facebook, I have an easier-to-remember link. Just search "TheJohnMarine" on Facebook or just click this: http://www.facebook.com/TheJohnMarine to visit my Fan Page. Also, don't forget to add my Google+ page to your Circles. Links to all can be found at the top of my blog in the Social Bar.

• Important Note Regarding Comments Posted Here - Any suspicious comments posted on my blog will be deleted promptly. It makes no sense that the majority of comments posted here are mostly from non-genuine people (spammers, bots, etc.). It makes no sense that I get so many hits from so many people, but only so few (mostly spammers and loyal readers) actually respond to my work. So please- share your thoughts on anything I post. But with recent rough times for my blog and blogging work, I at least need some assurance that people actually care about my work. Anything that even just sounds like spam will be shot down immediately.

• Am I In Your Blogroll? - Do you have a blog of your own? Please feel free to add my blog to your Blogroll if you love "John's Blog Space!" It would be a great pleasure for you to link back to my blog if you enjoy my work. At least you can tell people how great JBS is if you love my work. After all, I'd love to meet new people who love my blog and its posts. So why not add it to your blogroll?

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Friday, April 11, 2014

"In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

-Andy Warhol

We all want to be famous and popular, but to what extent are we willing to go to reach popularity? How starved for attention are you, and how much attention do you want to get from others? Those "15 minutes of fame" are what many of us seek in getting ourselves noticed. There are even celebrities who do outrageous things and acquire all sorts of attention from others- just to get us common folk talking about them. Whatever the case, one goal remains paramount to most people- getting noticed and being talked about... even at any expense, including being perceived in a certain way by the general public.

This blog post is all about gaining attention and to what lengths some people will go to get famous or noticed.





--- Anything for Attention ---

Want to get noticed? A lot of people want to. Some will do anything to get any real attention. The goal for most people isn't so much to pull a stunt or do something to instantly garner attention. Instead, it is more along the lines of doing something that will get people talking. I usually think someone gets attention from the media for something interesting. What qualifies as interesting can mean anything from making something enjoyable or doing something that people can get to talking about. The ones who get attention may get attention for all the right reasons and all the wrong reasons.

In addition to getting attention, gaining attention may lead down a variety of issues. Among the biggest one is doing something to draw attention to be perceived in a certain manner. Because most people don't know you personally or know who you are as a person, the first impressions that some people will have of you probably aren't going to be very pleasant. So if you do something to garner some negative attention, and if you want to be respected or seen in a respectful way, doing something counterproductive or negative for attention will hurt your public image. Some people do things they are or are not going to be proud of. It still doesn't matter if what someone does is good or bad as long as they have attention being called to them. What someone does for attention subjects them to being perceived positively, negatively, or indifferent. Here are some examples:


Attention: Positive Perception.

Positive perception examples:

• A teenager may be hailed a hero for rescuing people and animals from a burning building.

• A person or a family donates loads of money and resources to help financially support a certain charity or cause.

• A person is severely injured or killed trying to save the lives of someone or multiple people.

• A stylish fashion blogger and his/her work is showcased on TV shows, magazines, and other websites.

• An entertainer makes an enjoyable performance that becomes wildly popular.

These are instances where attention is positive, and thus, is worthy of some positive attention.


Attention: Negative Perception.

Negative attention examples:

• A celebrity is accused or charged with assault and battery of either another celebrity or some average person.

• A dangerous animal is stolen or on the loose, terrorizing others until the dangerous animal is eventually caught.

• A person engages in disgusting, childish behavior to cause a scene and disturb the peace. For example- streaking at a sports event.

• A person posts offensive or controversial material (such as a tweet or a "selfie") on a social networking site that many people immediately lash out at the person for making such material available.

These are moments where gaining attention comes at the expense of being perceived as someone negative and hateful.


Attention: Indifferent Perception.

Indifferent perception examples:

• A shady and suspicious individual is hailed a hero and an inspiration despite one's shady or controversial past.

• A celebrity is asked about some popular issues or is asked for some opinion on something. What he/she responds about something affects certain communities in certain ways.

• A person gets a unique tattoo or has some other extreme body modification that draws attention.

With certain people, certain actions profiled by others either gets someone loved by one community, and loathed by another community.


Some people and the attention they garner operate differently. To delve further into attention and gaining attention, I invite you to keep reading.



--- Anything for Attention: Talking Points ---

Here are various talking points in regards to gaining attention. What do you think about these matters:


Attention... at What Expense?

Some people don't realize (or care) about doing something they aren't going to be proud of. Let's consider two different people- one good, one not so much.

When I think of gaining attention, let me provide a bad example. Some people at sporting events often get onto the field either streaking or simply interrupting a sporting event by getting onto the field of play. Such people know they are going to get punished for their actions, so they do what they do knowing they are going to face some sort of punishment. Almost like, "I don't care. I just want my moment of fame."

Us bloggers and vloggers are no strangers to trying to get attention either. Some people have posted some absolutely poor material and made stupid points in regards to certain issues. I remember once learning of a young race car driver getting killed in a sprint car race in 2013. When I visited one person's blog to read opinions about it, this one person made some absolutely stupid points in posting opinions about the matter. I am going to disgust or sicken some of my readers with this next sentence... you've been warned. If that wasn't bad enough, the same blogger didn't believe there is a such thing as child rape.

Nothing angers me more than people who simply post certain opinions just to gain attention. I do trust that if it is what someone honestly believes, I am not one to debate on that. What sickens me are pathetic and sickening opinions that I think most people post just to rile us up. People can make unpopular opinions without needing to make a total joke of oneself. For example, it is like when some people refer to anyone transgendered as a shemale, thinking it is okay. Ask anyone transgendered, and unless they work in a certain field of the adult entertainment industry, calling a transgendered person a shemale is considered extremely derogatory to be called or labeled by someone. Some people still don't care less. So when trying to gain attention from others, some will stoop to various lows just to get noticed. Enabling this attention basically means someone got the attention they wanted at an expense or at expenses. Which leads to my next talking point on attention...


Got What He/She/They Wanted.

You know how people say "don't feed the trolls" when dealing with people online who cause trouble and leave others to talk bad about others or veer a discussion off-course? Well, people starved for attention look for the opportunity to do something that gets people riled up. Anyone whom has been on YouTube and looked at some popular videos may have seen comments posted by many people. Some comments actually relate to the video. Some other comments have very little (if anything) to the actual video. Some of those other comments may be something racial, derogatory, homophobic, and the like.

It seems sometimes like you can't go one day without hearing about certain celebrities in the news. To me, the one that fits the bill best as someone who you can't go one day without hearing in the news is Justin Bieber. I usually watch "TMZ Live," and in almost every episode, there is at least one mentioning of Justin Bieber. It is almost as if us common folk helped enable the gossip. When one enables such attention and allows for it to happen, us regular people helped enable and contribute to the discussion of someone or something.

Hating someone/something or being tired of someone/something helps enable gaining attention all the further. Being famous means you basically feel like we all should talk about you about almost anything. It probably helps the enabling process by talking about people in the news only in negative lights. Not everyone is as sugar-sweet as the likes of (for example) Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Miranda Cosgrove, Bruno Mars or whomever... but I'm sure lots of people would rather hear about non-annoying types than keep hearing about people the likes of Chris Brown, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, or almost any Kardashian.


Of Attention and Desperation.

Some realms and communities are notorious for generating attention. There is even one such controversial online destination famous for generating negative attention to certain websites and blogs. Here is a true blogging story. One fashion blog I follow was getting negative attention. Someone somehow followed my "StyleSpace by JBM" blog because I made frequent comments to (this fashion blog). Someone apparently looked at my comments and started to visit my blog as well as my fashion blog. The good news? I got a whole lot of hits to my views those days from that site. The bad news? I got loads of views from a negative/suspicious audience.

Some people would probably try to cheer me up by saying that I am at least getting views. However, that's a bunch of crap. I am never desperate to get attention to where... okay. Look at it this way. Would you rather get 500 views in a day from mostly organic traffic, or would you rather get 500 views from mostly spam traffic? It's still 500 views- just who or what would you rather have view and share your content? Look at it in commenting as well- would you rather receive comments mostly from organic traffic or from mostly spam traffic? You're still getting comments, but what crowd do you actually follow? Gaining popularity is rather done best with people who actually are attentive and actually (honestly) care. One of my most-viewed posts in any of my blogs was my review of the kiosk demo of Gran Turismo 5. I was fortunate enough to have a community like GTPlanet visit and enjoy my material. Other online forums even discussed my review. But at least these were real people and not spammers or other suspicious people.

That is why even though blog views have steadily declined for "John's Blog Space" and a number of my other blogs, I would still rather post whatever I want to discuss and grow my audience my own way rather than spend money or do something shady to gain attention.


"Ha Ha... Made You Gossip!"

Certain people and publications basically enable the attention-grabbing and the gossip. Here is another quote I'd like to share before I continue:

(indirect quote) "It doesn't matter if they talk good or bad about you- at least they are talking about you."

-Dale Earnhardt Jr.

There is also another dynamic to gossip. Here on "John's Blog Space," I once blogged about Rebecca Black, best known for one of the most horrible songs I've ever heard- "Friday." Many people understandably took this as an opportunity to thrash and negatively mention Rebecca Black. However, people had something to talk about. Gaining attention often times is the result of certain extremes. These extremes could be something outrageous in behavior or in some sort of creative works. In the case of Rebecca Black, it was an extreme of something extremely horrid to where people discussed a creative piece in a negative light.

There was an incident years ago about the capturing of Bigfoot. The whole incident was later conceived as a hoax. What I could respect about the ones who came up with this hoax is that they said they wanted to give people something different to talk about. At the time of this Bigfoot hoax, the biggest issue in America was the economic recession. So while this was a stunt to get people gossiping, I could respect this because it was something to discuss besides (at that time) economic recession.

Gaining attention sometimes even goes into the form of Internet Memes. This is where some people post pictures of things or modify pictures to include certain comical or offensive material based on certain things. You can go back to my Rebecca Black example. Attention through the means of Internet memes means someone may post a picture of Rebecca followed by some kind of comical or offensive message. Negative attention may also come in the form of demotivational pictures.

The main thing to take from all of this is basically about generating gossip- regardless of if something is liked or disliked by the general public-at-large.


Are you willing to gain attention and become famous by doing things you are or are not going to be proud of? It's just something to think about if you're trying to become famous in some capacity.



--- Anything for Attention: Final Thoughts ---

The quest to gain popularity and get noticed has more twists and turns than any race track. Some people are willing to be accepted or noticed by a vast audience and will do almost anything to achieve fame (or notoriety). How one becomes famous and what for lends itself to being perceived positively, negatively, or indifferent by others. Not everyone is going to feel the same way. Anyone aware of anything or anyone is subject to think of others positively or negatively. You will get in the good graces of some people, and some other people will perceive you poorly. All you mostly care about is getting noticed, even in pulling stunts and making opinions others are not going to like. Making yourself available in the public eye and in the collective hearts of gossip leads you to gaining attention for all the right and wrong reasons depending on who you are and what you do.

So go out and gain attention however you can. Just remember- your perception from others in becoming famous and gaining attention varies. Are you willing to own up to your actions that made you popular- especially any negative actions? Gain your attention wisely.





That concludes this blog post. Before I close this one out, let me ask you all:

How do you feel about gaining attention? Would you be willing to do things you may not be proud of in becoming famous or popular? What do you think about people so starved for attention?

Feel free to share your thoughts if you found this blog post interesting. I always want to try to post material that I feel will generate conversation and interest, even for niche topics. So feel free to share my content. Thank you for reading!

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Friday, March 28, 2014

"John's Shop Space" is no more as of this blog as of this post. This edition of "John's Corner" highlights on one blog's end and the beginning of another. I rarely promoted JSS because it was it was meant to be a secondary blog focused mostly on shopping for items based on relevant content from my main blogs. A number of factors led me to ultimately retire "John's Shop Space." Among others, I failed to find topics or items to showcase to keep it going. I also failed to find ways to extend its lifespan with new topics and interesting content. So in the end, and after a few people got on me regarding JSS like it was a spam blog, I decided to terminate "John's Shop Space."

All is not entirely lost, though. Welcome to another edition of...


Johns Corner

JOHN'S CORNER! This is my series of blog posts that are just about me talking to all of you one-on-one. NOTE: Click on the above graphic to see all the latest "John's Corner" posts, including this one.





In case you didn't know, I started a new blog back on March 21, 2014 called "John's Creative Space." It is the new "red" blog in my blogging universe. JCS is a blog regarding my own creative works- namely art, music, literature, and more. It is a positive space where I basically have fun showcasing my own sort of media work for you all to enjoy. I feel very happy to be able to have a certain online medium where I can share these works in a more visible setting as opposed to my massive main blog- "John's Blog Space." Here is the motto/mantra for JCS:

"Get inspired. Get motivated. Get creative!"


Remembering JSS...

Thanks to everyone who supported my rarely-promoted blog. I had to pull the plug on it, eventually. So allow me to offer this brief summary of "John's Shop Space" and its stats:

• "John's Shop Space" reached about 121,679 views through its time online.
• There have been officially 88 posts to it.
• The most number of views in one day was 246 back on June 16, 2012.
• The most number of views in one month was 5,560 views back in September 2010.
• The highest observed number of FeedBurner subscribers for JSS was 36 back on October 18, 2011.
• The highest FeedBurner Reach I got was 59 back on June 27, 2011.
• The most popular post (notoriously, in my opinion) on JSS was my blog post there about swimsuits. Primarily because I discussed swimsuits for children; and that's what a majority of people were searching for, even though I discussed swimsuits for males and females- including children.

Now for the burial service for "John's Shop Space"...

"John's Shop Space"
Sunrise: June 4, 2010 ~ Sunset: March 28, 2014

Is there a lesson to be learned here? This is perhaps the best one to all of my blogging types:

Do not try to extend the life of something if it just isn't working despite your best efforts.

I actually worked to preserve all of the material from "John's Shop Space" so that I could implement them into edits across my other blogs and their posts. So you may see certain edits made to various blog posts in an effort to add more content to them. The edited content may consist of material I posted on "John's Shop Space" and then ported over to existing blog posts elsewhere. Yes- I saved all 88 posts from JSS into individual text files for archiving. It goes to show you how important I feel my posts and my presence online are. So you may see old material resurface and be put into existing blogs and existing posts.


Moving On...

With that said, I must move on as a blogger. That concludes John's Corner; but if you want to visit my new blog, you are welcome to do so by clicking on the graphic below:


Johns Creative Space


Feel free to Follow and Subscribe to that blog if its content interests you.





One blog is no more; one blog is still in its infancy. I hope you have a great day and that you continue to enjoy my blogging work. Thank you for reading!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

(UPDATED: March 18, 2014)

On Facebook, I asked my friends and fans for any topics they would want to see me blog about. Among a suggestion, one regarded photography. One specific element of photography was suggested. Commentary on that is forthcoming. For the most part, this is a commentary piece on photography rather than something real detailed.


In Case You're Interested...

I blogged about photography in fashion previously. My fashion blog, "StyleSpace by JBM" features a look at photography in fashion. You fashion lovers can read that post by clicking on the link below:

"Photography" (StyleSpace by JBM)
^ This post takes a look at photography in fashion.


LATEST UPDATE(S)/REVISION(S)

MAR 18 2014 - made various edits


Let's begin with this topic!





--- Photography ---

Anyone can take pictures of anything, ranging from "selfies" to professional-type pictures. Being adept in photography involves more than just taking pictures. People today are involved in social media with the likes of Instagram and Vine. They whip out their smartphones to take pictures and videos to share with others. While taking pictures can be fun, there is a proper science to taking memorable pictures.


Photography: Amateur vs. Professional.

There is a difference between taking casual pictures and professional pictures. Is there a difference between someone who casually takes pictures and someone who takes professional pictures? In no way am I someone who is any professional at photography. My mother tells me I take excellent pictures when she saw pictures of mine from certain events like the Houston Auto Show.

What is the difference between someone who just takes some casual photos and those who is a professional? If you ask me, the answer depends on the philosophy of the photographer. Does he/she feel a picture is more than just a picture? Does a picture have to be like its own song or its own book? Does the photographer feel pictures have to be able to tell its own story or make you think about something a bit further? I feel just like the finest musicians, authors, journalists, and various other professions; photographers have to be able to tell a story through the means of photography. You may be familiar with photojournalism- where the pictures tell the story. One who is adept at choosing pictures to tell a story are the ones who know the value of photography as a means of expression and engagement... which proves true this saying:

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

-Napolean Bonaparte

I think another aspect of casual vs. professional photography is in audience. Is a picture going to be seen by a bunch of friends and family or to a vast audience? Friends and family are likely going to enjoy professional-type photography, but what if you are trying to showcase impressive photography for a publication or a blog? You obviously want to give a vast audience a quality image with quality imagery.

Look at it this way- you obviously know I am a blogger. I blog about things for the world to read about. I don't just post material so friends and family of mine can read my material. No. I feel the world (and the world does view your material online) has to be interested in whatever I post. So because of this, I feel whatever I post has to be of value to as many people worldwide as possible. Same philosophy applies to photographers. Various photographers take pride in their work and want to provide the best-possible pictures to the masses in hopes of showing incredible pictures off to others. Who wants to photograph something that doesn't have any value or lacks appeal?

What qualifies as appealing or enticing depends on the photographer himself/herself and whatever kind of picture is taken. Something like a "selfie" is very casual, and thus doesn't require any serious dedication or detail... unless you just have no life and feel completely obligated to make your "selfies" as artistic masterpieces. A picture you feel holds massive value obviously has to be treated as if it had massive value. So your attention to detail really depends on the picture and what you want to share and convey.


There are some obstacles in being a photographer, both casual and professional. That's the next section.



--- Obstacles of Photography ---

With some pictures I've taken, I can properly demonstrate some of the obstacles faced in trying to take pictures. Before I discuss what makes certain images appear poorly, let me show you one of my better photogenic pictures:

photogenic
^ from: (my Past Houston Auto Shows album on Facebook) - I took a picture of this CL Class Mercedes-Benz at the 2007 Houston Auto Show. Look at the angle and what I tried to capture as best as I could to make this a great picture.


And now... [some of] the obstacles of photography:


Blurriness and/or Discoloration.

blurry image

discolored image
^ both from: (my Houston Auto Show 2012 album on Facebook) - Even though the picture is clean, its discoloration makes it.

To me, nothing really hurts than for one to have blurry images or discolored images. Having a certain white balance can make the difference between a great-looking picture and something completely forgettable.


Timing.

poor timing!
^ from: (my Wings Over Houston 2010 album on Facebook) - .

You want to take a picture at the best possible moment. Sometimes you get it right; and some other times, you get it wrong. Sometimes ABSOLUTELY wrong.


Photo Bomb!

photo bomb or photobomb
^ from: from my Houston Auto Show 2014 album on Facebook - Anything or anyone can come along and ruin an otherwise perfect picture.

Photo bombing is when something (usually unexpected) comes into what would otherwise be a perfectly good picture. For example, you may have a beautiful picture of an outdoor scene... when a grasshopper somehow appears on the lens of your camera, thereby screwing up what would have been a great picture. You may be taking a family photo or taking pictures of your friends when suddenly... someone or something comes along to screw up the image. Sometimes, you can even photo bomb yourself by having your fingers or something get in the way of an otherwise lovely photo you're trying to take.

Photo bombing isn't always bad, however. Some photo bomb moments can actually make pictures better. It all depends on the situation and the image.


These are among the various obstacles photographers and photography involve. How one gets around these issues depends. They are all proper and legit issues in trying to get the best possible pictures.



--- Photography: Cameras ---

Do you prefer proper cameras, devices with camera functions, or professional-type DSLR cameras? This is one of the first real things to consider when talking about photography. You can pop into a retail store and buy a one-time use camera for about $30 US dollars. Some devices have cameras and camera features- like smartphones. The best-possible pictures can be taken with either high-end cameras or DSLR cameras. What's best for you? I'll try to explain as best I can with as much as I understand the whole thing.


One-Time Use Cameras.

Some cameras are one-time use cameras. That means you can use them for one time, have the film developed, and the camera can't be used again. Why would you want one of these cameras? You basically get one of these in case you don't have a camera and want something to be able to take pictures.


Proper Cameras.

proper cameras
^ Any number of proper cameras can deliver amazing photography.
Most of today's cameras allow for multiple uses as well as multiple storage options. Such cameras have such a compact size which allows them to easily fit into pockets. Those who purchase carrying cases will be able to comfortably and safely carry cameras wherever they go. Proper cameras offer any number of features like incredible zoom angles, video capability, auto-focus, and even Wi-Fi capabilities. Needless to say, the basic camera has come a long way from being bulky to a more pocket-friendly device.


Video Cameras and Camcorders.

A camcorder is primarily designed to take video rather than be any proper camera. However, most of these devices can evenly and easily take on both camcorder and camera tasks. The clunky camcorders of the 90s or so probably won't take that spontaneous picture you want to snap. Also, some video cameras and camcorders can be on the bulky side. You won't be able to keep some of them in your pocket and whip out to capture certain pictures.


Devices With Camera Features.

Devices like smartphones and tablet PCs have cameras to them. A lot of them may or may not offer features like zooming or flash, but some devices with camera features are just as able to take quality pictures. Don't expect them to replace any proper camera, though, because they likely will not be your camera replacement. I even use my Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 and my Hisense Sero 7 Pro tablet for taking pictures. Most of my pictures are taken with my SGP 4.2 for quick pictures. And since this is no proper camera, I don't even take pictures beyond 640×480 resolution.


DSLR Cameras.

DSLR cameras
^ The serious photographer who wants serious pictures need only discover DSLR cameras.

DSLR cameras represent the omega of photography. DSLR stands for digital Single-lens reflex. Let me offer this quote that explains it better:

"DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex: the word reflex refers to the action of the mirror, which flips upwards whenever you take a picture to allow light travelling through the lens to reach the sensor."

-from: www.digitalslrphoto.com (links to article)

DSLR cameras offer the crispest and most detailed images. Professional photographers usually tote around DSLR cameras to take some of the best-possible images at the greatest quality. Even those who are not professional photographers may have DSLR cameras for their images. For example, my blogging friend Lily of "Imperfect Idealist" has had her more recent pictures taken with a DSLR camera.

DSLRs are also capable of recording videos. YouTube vlogger and tech junkie Khanh Nguyen (better known as "akaKhanh") does her videos with the Canon T3i DSLR camera. If you have about 11 minutes of time, you can see this video either here or on YouTube. In fact, take a look at this video to know if you really NEED a DSLR:


^ "Why I Chose the Canon T3i"

DSLRs are worth the investment for those who want the best quality pictures.


From one-time cameras to DSLRs, I've essentially covered the alphas and omegas of cameras and devices with camera features.



--- Photography: Final Thoughts ---

When you want to capture a moment forever, look no further than cameras. It takes skill (and some luck) to snap the finest pictures. Photography is all about capturing visual moments and immortalizing them forever as an image stored in a camera or camcorder. Technology and methods have changed, but the main aspect of capturing moments in a picture still has its allure and its charm. Not everyone is photogenic or is able to take the absolute best pictures. Some photographers feel a picture is more than a picture- a picture should be a story being told and is paced like any good book or movie.

The level of dedication and purpose in taking pictures far outweighs whatever device you have. Finding a camera or camcorder to suit your needs has no real impact on how well and how motivated you are in taking pictures. Some people do just fine with a simple camera or some sort of video camera. More professional types feel the need to get it absolutely right, which constitutes the purchase of a powerful DSLR camera.

No matter what your level of dedication is and how important pictures are and taking pictures are to you, mastery of the art of photography is key in turning a simple taken picture into something special. You can be an amazing photographer even if not posting pictures online (like Facebook or Instagram) or for blogs or websites. Taking pictures is not just about taking pictures- the finest photographers are able to take pictures to help tell a story and even provide perspectives words can not express... or at least, not to express completely and definitively. Proudly showcase your shutterbug skills no matter what level of photography or dedication you have!


Cross-Promotion/Other Reading.

More posts from me related to photography...

"Photography" (StyleSpace by JBM)
^ This post takes a look at photography in fashion.

"Model Material" (StyleSpace by JBM)
^ An aspect of photography involves modeling.

"Selfies" (John's Blog Space)
^ I made mention to "selfies" in this blog post. So what is a "selfie?" Read my post on that.


Here's something to think about in case you want to comment:

What do you think is the difference between good and bad photography, and does it matter if experience and craft are factors in quality photography?


The next section and your involvement are optional. You can skip it if you choose to.





Thank you so much for your cooperation! If you want to support my work after reading this post, you can do so by taking a look at these items. I want you to be able to maybe jump start your own photography career or even look into buying a new camera. I would appreciate your business if you found something you liked here based on what I've posted. Just like in my other blog posts, your shopping involvement is voluntary- meaning you don't have to if you don't want to; but your business would be vastly appreciated.

Help yourself (or someone else) to a camera, as part of my thanks to you for reading my post. Take a look (NOTE: Availability of each item varies):

For cameras:


For video cameras and camcorders:


For DSLR cameras:



Happy shopping, and thank you for supporting my work! :)





I hope all of you enjoyed this blog post and my efforts to explain and expose photography to you all. Feel free to share your thoughts if you found my material of interest. Thank you for reading!

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blogging. Videos. Art. Music. Literature (sometimes). Most of what I do and enjoy evokes and expresses my creativity. I consider myself a creative person. I feel my greatest gift to society is to offer creative and expressive material to the greater public-at-large. So for this blog post, I want to talk about being creative and what creativity can do for someone.





--- Fueling the Creative Spirit ---

It pays to be creative. My life has mostly been predicated on having a vivid imagination and a love of the arts. A love of the arts has helped enrich me as a person. It helps me to better appreciate life and all the different aspects of life. It also makes me feel different ways about certain things.

Anyone who knows me knows I am driven by inspiration. It produces a stranglehold on my life that hardly anything else can match or better. At my best, I am in my sleep (or trying to sleep) planning my next sort of artistic expression. Only thing that has to happen next is actually executing what I've dreamt of. Now you know just how I am with a lot of my creative works.



--- Creative Expression ---

Here are some of the individual points I mentioned in my introduction of this blog post...


Creative Spirit: Blogging.

I expend most of my creative energy blogging. Even with some of the serious and negative topics I've discussed, I feel I am in a certain groove when I prepare posts. I am in a certain zone where I know I have a chance to make something great for the Internet. I often feel dialed in when I don't have "blogger's block" (my version of "writer's block"). There are some days where I am able to properly add to blog posts to help in getting them released online. There are some other times where I feel unable to add material that will eventually lead to a successful blog post I'm happy to release. Some posts just become works in progress through NoteTab (the program I use to type up blog posts as text files before releasing online). I do feel the creative flow in knowing that you can take typing up material to eventually make a unique blog post.


Creative Spirit: Videos.

For those of you who know of my YouTube channel- JohnMarineTube, I have plenty of experience in making and producing videos. Making a video and posting it online is a chance for people to see you and your craft at work. Video work is tricky. You will need to try to bring together both visual and audio elements seamlessly and effectively. In my past, I had no idea how to try to edit videos. So what ends up happening is that I have to get everything done properly in one take. One mistake too many means a video of mine will NOT be released or worked on any further. Some people always wonder why I take things so seriously. The fact is that I feel any video I create has to be of quality- just like my blog posts. I feel a certain responsibility and obligation to provide video material people can enjoy and that I can be proud to publish online.

My channel... in case you're interested: JohnMarineTube


Creative Spirit: Art.

Art has been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can remember painting a picture of a Jack O' Lantern in my Kindergarten days. I drew a picture of my mother as well as make a model of my mother using a bunch of label stickers and a few markers. I would draw many more things as I grew older. Most of my art influence was drawn from my brother, who drew some incredible pictures.

One of the most significant times of my time as an artist was when I saw a 3D cartoon called "Reboot." This made me want to get into computer animation. This was what I set my sights on in terms of a future career. I probably thought of myself maybe making motion pictures for the likes of Disney Pixar. However, none of those dreams came true; and I've never made any true 3D model. That holds true even today. I never made a single polygon model.

These days, I have somewhat experienced a Renaissance of art as I've been making voxel models using Qubicle Constructor. While polygon models aren't possible with Qubicle Constructor, I have found variable amounts of success making voxel models with this program. I have all of a sudden become a bit more interested in making more models and such to share online.


Creative Spirit: Music.

You may have read my "John's Corner" post regarding my ambitions of possibly becoming my own music producer. I posted two YouTube videos where I made two simple loops with Linux MultiMedia Studio that lasted for about one minute. I have actually worked on some songs to hopefully share online. To make the most of my willingness to share my music, I'll have to join a certain community to share my music... and maybe even financially profit from my work.

Before making music based on trackers and sequencers, I was big on MIDI music from my keyboard. Most of the fortunate ones had Cakewalk. I've been using a program known as NoteWorthy Composer as my MIDI program. I was always into pianos and keyboards, and my brother has always been into guitars. I do try to mix up my style in music as much as I can. But sometimes, there is just something that you bring to music (or anything) that clearly defines you no matter how much you try to diversify your material.


Creative Spirit: Literature.

To be honest, I do not consider myself a good writer. I was never a good writer in grade school or college... or at least in the sense of formal writing. I actually don't consider myself a good reader either. That's why I love blogging- I express my own writing style through the means of typing. I don't actually "write" any of my blog posts. Most of what I do is mostly spontaneous and direct as I type.

Literature is something I sometimes take part in. While I am not as adept or indulged in writing or reading, I do find some great value in wanting to tell stories. But again, I am not any pro at this. I don't think I could ever come up with a book or anything to make myself any sort of celebrated author. With my Minecraft experience, I have been thinking of creating some sort of story-driven realm of Minecraft to where these stories are attached to the Minecraft worlds I'm playing in to bring some life to the Minecraft worlds. For example, the first Minecraft world I created through Minecraft Pocket Edition has a lot of structures unique to its storyline. Namely- a bunch of small shrines scattered across various biomes.

There have even been certain themed things that make me want to envision extra storylines. One of them involves a fighting game I thought of as well as recent thoughts on coming up with fictional sports teams.


No matter what, creativity drives me through anything I do. Anything to express and utilize my creative energy is enough for me to provide quality material for everyone. It is the best way I feel I can contribute positively to society among my abilities.



--- Fueling the Creative Spirit: Final Thoughts ---

Everyone has their own sort of ways to enhance and enrich their minds. My way is through creativity through arts and media. One should try to express creativity in a way he/she feels expressive and creative through arts and media. As with any hobby or interest, it pays to have love and dedication for what you do. I obviously have love and dedication for what I do- even to the point of wanting to start a new blog to showcase my work. So let your creativity shine!


John Asks...

This post is over. Here is a question for discussion:

How do you express your creativity? How do you fuel your creativity?

Have at it!





Please Follow and Subscribe if you haven't already. Help me to realize that my work DOES still mean something and that people DO still read my posts. Views and involvement have declined for my blog for the most part. All I'm trying to do is keep my work afloat with posts like this. Alright... enough about me. Just have a great day/night. Thank you for reading!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Plantronics .Audio 478 is a USB headset allowing you to enjoy voice chatting and hear clear sounds. I was compelled to get this semi-randomly at Wal-Mart instead of a Logitech headset I originally wanted to get. This blog post is a review of the Plantronics .Audio 478 headset with my thoughts and opinions of it.





--- Plantronics .Audio 478 ---

Here is a look at this headset:

Plantronics .Audio 478
^ from: www.amazon.com - This is the Plantronics .Audio 478 USB headset.

Here is a back story before I begin with the review. I have long wanted to get a new USB headset after having broken my old Logitech USB Headset. I saw the Plantronics .Audio 478 headset even as I was going to get the Logitech H390 USB Headset. I had no previous experience with Plantronics products, so this was a first from me to try out this headset. Could a little more money and a company's products you aren't familiar with make that much of a difference?

The .Audio 478 from Plantronics offers great sound quality with a comfortable USB headset. You can actually fold up these headphones comfortably and nicely. It comes with a pouch that you can easily fold the headset into. Attached to the cord of this USB headset is a piece that includes buttons to adjust volume, mute, and even a button to chat doing calls. This USB headset was designed for PC and Mac for voice chatting as well as to serve as an alternate sound card. You could even use this for voice chatting with gaming consoles.


My Thoughts and Review.

This USB headset offers a very comfortable package with great sound quality. It is unobtrusive in its design and is in no way bulky. Sound is clear and wonderful.

However, I've had serious problems with this headset that made me want to return it to the store I got it from. The biggest issue I've had was just how poor the microphone is. When I used this on my PC, the sound reception was very weak. Even with microphone recording volume set to max, the sound quality appeared very weak.

My disappointment was really magnified when I tried using this with my PlayStation 3- which is what I initially intended to buy a USB headset for. I have been infinitely unsuccessful trying to speak into the microphone when I hooked it into my PlayStation 3. I was testing out the microphone watching an online race in Gran Turismo 6. At first, I realized I had to activate it and enable it for sound. The PS3 will recognize the headset, but its microphone was basically useless, as I was unable to have ANYTHING be picked up by the microphone. I could be singing in soprano or doing one of those screaming rock performances, and this microphone was unable to pick up my voice. I even have the microphone settings on my PS3 at the maximum level- 5, and my Plantronics .Audio 478 STILL could not pick up my voice. So in other words... this USB headset can be recognized by the PlayStation 3, but its microphone input is almost nonexistent. It is not entirely compatible with the PS3.

Just so you know... you are not going to be able to hear in-game audio with this USB headset. You are only going to hear voice chatting, and you're going to be able to clearly chat with others. I'm okay with this. My old Logitech USB headset also allowed you to only hear just voice chatting as well as be able to chat with others online. This Plantronics .Audio 478 is just poor. The .Audio 478 retails for about $49.99 US Dollars at Wal-Mart, and the Logitech H390 USB Headset I wanted to get originally cost about $39.99 US Dollars. Proof positive that spending a little more money doesn't always mean a better product or a better experience. I was vastly disappointed with this headset for what I wanted to use this headset for. I took a chance on trying a different product hoping for a better experience, and I ended up feeling like I wasted my money.

I would NOT recommend this headset. I'm sorry.





Even though I don't recommend this headset, maybe you will disagree with me. Maybe you want to give these USB headphones more of a chance than I've given them. So it is only natural for argument's sake that I allow for my disagreeing audience to get this product if you disagreed with my review of the Plantronics .Audio 478 USB headset. So you can get this online by clicking on this item online:




Now a quick announcement before my closing. A lot of my past posts from my soon-to-be-defunct "John's Shop Space" blog will be coming over to "John's Blog Space." Product reviews will return to JBS. Expect to see more reviews like this one (and more) here in the future.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Many people readily associate pole dancing with adult entertainers. Pole dancing is usually associated with sleazy streetwalkers or adult entertainers. However, recent efforts have been made to promote pole dancing in a more positive way than how most people usually perceive it. It is because of its bad image that pole dancing will have a tough time being accepted by the general public-at-large. This blog post on pole dancing is more commentary than something informative on it.

WARNING: Because of a sensitive topic, there may be some material in this post that may not be suitable for all audiences. You are reading this post at your own discretion.





--- Pole Dancing ---

You know what I am discussing, but I need a picture to set the mood. So here you go:

pole dancing
^ from: guyism.com - Work that pole! Depending on who you ask, pole dancing is either as enticing as any other form of dance, or is incredibly sleazy and uninteresting.

This blog post will contain a combination of general thoughts and some commentary in regards to pole dancing. Feel free to agree or disagree at will.


Pole Dancing in General.

It takes flexibility and skill to work the poles. The art of pole dancing can very much be sensual, especially if dancing in such a way that you're aroused by the pole and want to do some hot dancing with it. Some people who watch daytime TV may have seen the Jerry Springer Show as far as poles are concerned. People who watch Jerry Springer may have seen Jerry Springer himself and certain guests dance with or slide down the pole. Most people usually think of sleazy women in regards to pole dancing. Even though that perception is prevalent in regards to pole dancing, there are more tasteful and less sleazy qualities to pole dancing. Some people are even trying to change most peoples' perception of pole dancing- emphasizing qualities opposite of the negatively perceptions of it.

Which leads to my next point...


Changing Perceptions on Pole Dancing.

Because of pole dancing's negative image, there are people who will fail to accept pole dancing outside of its sleazy image. Most people conjure images of a submissive young woman being seduced by the pole, as if the pole were a sexy and handsome man that the woman encounters in thinking of pole dancing.

In Season 6 of the MTV reality TV competition "America's Best Dance Crew," one of the finalists of ABDC Season 6 was called Jag6ed (pronounced how you'd normally say "jagged," it is just styled "Jag6ed"). Jag6ed was a dance team that tried to promote pole dancing in a positive way. They were unfortunately the first crew to be eliminated in that season. This example I provided is what I immediately think of in regards to trying to make pole dancing less sleazy.

IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED... Here is a video I found showcasing Jag6ed:


^ "JAG6ED - Week 2 - Sleazy - Kesha Challenge - ABDC6"


CAN Pole Dancing Be Acceptable?

I think pole dancing can very well be accepted. There is actually some skill and fitness involved in latching onto a pole and performing various gyrations or maneuvers. It is at least acceptable in the aspect of fitness. There is at least some incentive to pole dancing in that respect. I can see pole dancing as a good way of exercising the core and enhancing flexibility and balance. One can certainly look at pole dancing on these fronts.


So now that you have a little insight on making pole dancing, it's now time I try to offer my own thoughts on pole dancing.



--- Pole Dancing: Final Thoughts ---

Personally, I don't care about pole dancing. I don't like it or hate it; I just don't care about it or find any serious attraction to it. Since I don't really care for pole dancing, good luck trying to make it more acceptable. I do feel a lot needs to be done to make it more acceptable among more people. These efforts are helping, but pole dancing is still mostly taken negatively by the general public.

Even if this style of dancing is better accepted, I still don't care too much about pole dancing to accept it. I'd rather enjoy seeing go-go dancing or belly dancing instead. Good luck to those fighting the fight to clean up the image of pole dancing. Just don't expect me to care much about it or be awed about it any time soon.


Cross-Promotion/Other Reading.

The only post I can offer related to this is my old blog post on ABDC. So check it out:

"America's Best Dance Crew" (John's Blog Space)
^ I mentioned ABDC. For more about this show, click on the above link.


Discussion...

Here are some questions I'd like to ask my audience:

• What are your thoughts about pole dancing?
• Can it be made more acceptable to people?
• Would you try pole dancing (if you've never tried it)?



That concludes this blog post on pole dancing.





Be sure you're subscribed to my blog to see more opinions and such from yours truly. Thank you for reading!

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Yesterday, my family had a dinner at my grandmother's house a day before her birthday. What was to be just a little get-together ended up becoming a family reunion and lots of memories for me and my family. It makes me fortunate having a loving family and that we all came together for a day of fun- outside of filling our bellies with good food, of course. :) So this blog post is about reminiscing about the past with families and some other different issues.





--- Family Get-Togethers ---

You already got an idea of what I was discussing just by reading the introduction. But really, this get-together my family recently had meant much more to me than just some get-together.

My family usually gets together for certain lunch occasions and for things like Thanksgiving and such. What made this most recent get-together special was that there was really a sense of generational leaps as well as some reunions. People in families do move on with their lives and go elsewhere; but regardless, you still have family and loving family members. Friends come and go; family is forever.

Perhaps the best aspect of family get-togethers is in seeing generations come along. Some people you grew up with in your family moved on with their lives and had children. You then have your younger generation extending the family and family name. This is a fabulous time to see the past, present, and future of a family.


Fortunate Families.

I really think about certain families and why we should be fortunate. Think about families and family members who have a tough time bonding together and spend more time fighting each other (verbal and even physical) than coming together in a joyous setting. I watch a lot of daytime talk shows and see episodes where families are in crisis. Some families have issues of sex, drug abuse, neglect, financial issues, and things like that.

Besides having families, there are those who simply don't have a family- or at least don't have a loving and trusting family. A lack of trust and/or love is just as rough as not having a family at all. It means there is some sort of unrequited love among family members. It means some family members are unable to try to get along at all. When you feel your best friends are your family, and if you feel your family doesn't necessarily love you, you feel worthless. It therefore gets to be tough trying to bond with family members you don't feel connected to.


Bringing Families and Family Members Together.

It can be tough for families to come together when there is so much hate or no common bond that brings everyone together. The common bond for my family yesterday was in celebrating my grandmother's birthday the day before her actual birthday. Some families may or may not have something to bring everyone together safely and flawlessly. Some family members maybe just aren't around to come together for a certain occasion. It just isn't as easy for some families to come together for an occasion. Some families may even come together, but something may happen to where an argument or some sort of scuffle ensues.

Where is the love? Some families have love; some others don't. It all depends on the family members and how everyone gets along- IF they get along. Dysfunctional families will have a tough time to try to get together. Regardless, nothing is more special than families coming together, especially for something like a dinner or some other kind of positive get-together.


Memories.

Being at my grandmother's house and having this get-together, it really filled a personal void that brought me down in recent years. I missed those days when me and my family would all be at my grandmother's house for certain get-togethers and Thanksgiving and such. I would be playing video games against my family members. I would probably go watch a sports game on TV or something. I just mostly missed certain good times with my family. Also, since most of my youth was spent living with and being around my grandmother, I guess I also miss most of my youthful days. I was even chatting with some family looking back at the past. One thing discussed was how much times have changed- especially where children don't want to get out of the house and play anymore. We've come to the futuristic times where more fun is had at home with devices and TV rather than getting out in the driveway and doing things like running around on the driveway and on the front lawn. I even thought of TV shows I watched in my youth.

Another striking aspect of this get-together was simply about remembering what has changed between now and then. I remember just how much different my grandmother's house looked compared to now as well as what the neighborhood looked like back then compared to now. I even think about what certain parts of the neighborhood were like then compared to now. For example- there were parts of the neighborhood I recall for things like where my mother would park at to catch the school bus. I do still remember where the house my biological father was working on. I even still recall the path I took to walk from my Middle School to my grandmother's house one time. I mean, you feel reminiscent when you've spent a great deal of your life in one place and have so many memories to share.

I think this, more than anything, was what I enjoyed most about this specific family get-together as opposed to any other get-together previously. It was the combination of memories and getting together with others that made this outing special for me.





When doing family get-togethers, the most important thing is family. It is always great to go to places where you've spent a good majority of your childhood and for family to come together happily. Share the memories and perhaps be reminiscent. But always remember- family is forever. I hope all of you have great family get-togethers and that all goes well with your family get-togethers.


Want to discuss? Here's my question:

What do you admire or respect most about family get-togethers?

Feel free to comment. And once again, thank you for reading!

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Friday, February 14, 2014

People say certain things that make you feel great inside. I don't mean just "I love you" between a couple, but imagine a guy telling a girl something like, "I couldn't have found a more beautiful and caring girl than you." Sweet words that make people feel better about themselves are what this post is all about. For the various fashion blogs I follow, a lot of them often feel humbled by the compliments I pass along regarding their fashion style. But this post isn't about that. It isn't even about me. Instead, it is about saying (and meaning) things to help others feel better about themselves.

Offering such sweet words and thoughts don't mean anything if they lack genuine and sincere qualities. You are otherwise just speaking to someone and not meaning what you say. You basically just say something to reverse one's chain of thought rather than say something to empower and encourage someone. When I reached out to bloggers I follow, one person I wrote an E-Mail to said she read my words again and again when she felt down. It goes to show that you can use your words to heal others as much as one can use words to hurt others.

Not everyone knows the right words to say to try to uplift one's spirits or show how much someone means to him/her. Even I am careful with my words, because I don't want to say something to draw negative attention, especially of those who are taken. It is a delicate balance to try to offer sweet and generous words while not offending someone- including that person. Once you do get to make the proper words and the proper statement, all is well with the world, and the person feels better about himself/herself knowing your words made that person's day. You also improve your reputation with that person.

Up now are a few examples of positive material. Some material may link to past blog posts of mine, so be sure to click on them if you find certain material interesting.


Random Sweet Words and Thoughts.

Here are a few examples of how you can brighten someone's day with kind words:

• "There may be other men/women who may be more attractive, more talented, and more capable; but you're my favorite."

• "I couldn't have asked for a better mother/father than you."

• "You make me better in my worst times and in my worst moments." For more on this topic, look at my past blog post "You Make Me Better.."

• "You can never fail me." -My mother told me this once, and I felt stronger each day being told this. That's why I included this quote in this post.

There are many more such words and thoughts that help. These were just a few examples to set the mood.


Random Positive Thoughts.

Get ready for a few positive thoughts I'll offer right away to help some of you feel a bit better...

• You may or may not be in excellent health, but you're still living. Make the most of your time and enjoy what life has to offer for you.

• You may or may not be of a healthy weight or an acceptable size. Just know that you are still handsome/beautiful regardless of your size and/or weight. For more on this specific topic, read my blog post "Love and Weight."

• Make the most of each day, even in defeat, even when down, even when short-handed.

The power of inspiration and encouragement pays high dividends.


Final Thoughts.

If there is someone you care about or love, it is best to share your admiration and respect with some kind and respectful words. Would you rather be supportive and encouraging or just sit back and not encourage the one(s) you care about? Do what you can to offer sweet and kind words. Sure- actions speak louder than words, but words can be just as powerful as any action. Use your voice and open your heart. How can you shape someone's life for the better?


Discussion Question...

Here is the discussion question for you all:

What is the kindest, sweetest, most encouraging, etc., thing you've ever been told? Was it told by a friend, family member, a loved one, or even a total stranger?

Making big text is something I've been doing lately to try to draw discussion from my audience. But anyways, feel free to respond.





That concludes another blog post on "John's Blog Space." Be sure to have a great day. Remember- saying something sweet and encouraging can help people when they are down. Never be afraid to make the day of someone respectful and honest-to-goodness. Thank you for reading!

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Normally, I try to avoid posting anything related to ethnicity or nationality. Something, however, has told me to do otherwise. I want to focus on Blacks in motorsport. At least someone gave these racers a chance. At least the expensive and dangerous realm of motorsport was enjoyed by these men and women who broke several color barriers. If you are to learn anything from this blog post, one thing to know is that anyone can be a superstar (let alone in motorsport) regardless of ethnicity or nationality. Welcome to another blog post of mine!

A Special Hello...

If you are a Black person who is in any kind of motorsport- whether it's stock car racing, drag racing, sportscar racing, rally racing, motorcycle racing, kart racing, drifting, tractor pulling, or whatever... I'd like to send a special hello to you. Maybe my post will be to your liking.





--- Blacks in Motorsport ---

Let's meet some of the Black Americans who take part in racing or have been in racing before. Please note that this post concerns various forms of motorsport. These involve names past and present (and perhaps future) that have taken part in one or multiple disciplines of motorsport.

Considering a lot of the different levels of segregation and prejudice among Black Americans, a lot of past racers haven't really had many chances and opportunities to excel in motorsport. Most others just didn't really have a chance to either get into racing or succeed in racing. That's why it's important that I think we should honor Blacks whom have competed in motorsport. Motorsports are both expensive and dangerous, yet there were those who gave Blacks the time of day and the chance to shine. Some thrived. Some didn't. Some could have reached unfathomable levels of success but failed to really shine. Speaking as a Black person myself, I created this blog post to highlight on some of the many different Blacks in various disciplines of motorsport.


Inspiration for This Post.

A lot of people don't really know of some of the Black racers in motorsport. I, myself, am a Black person. However, I always think of myself more as a human being and an American before labeling myself a Black American (or African-American). We usually designate February as Black History Month here in the United States. We honor and celebrate Black personalities whom have contributed to American (and even world) history. Though February is Black History Month, I did not specifically want to post this just because it is Black History Month. I actually wanted to post about this topic for quite some time, but never released this post until now.

Previously, I covered females in motorsport, because I want to make light on some of the females who are involved in some capacity of motorsport. I want to do the same for Blacks in motorsport. This is a chance to recognize various Blacks in racing.


Could There Be More Blacks in Motorsport?

I entirely think there can be more Blacks to get into motorsport. I don't know... maybe not as many are into racing so much or can't access racing so easily. Racing isn't as easily accessible as gridiron football or basketball among my people. Despite these challenges, you have to credit the ones who were given the chance and did their best to succeed in motorsport. So lies the premise of this blog post- a look at various Blacks in motorsport. I hope you enjoy this post.



--- Blacks in Motorsport ---

This post doesn't include all Black racers, but it does feature as many different Black racers from various disciplines of motorsport. Any personality with a hyperlinked heading has a website you can visit. They may be either official sites or some other kind of material. Be sure to visit them to get social with their work. Visit their sites to learn more about them. If there are some I haven't done enough to properly feature, you are free to use your favorite search engine and learn more about them yourself. Still, I will do as much as I can to at least introduce you to each of the various personalities.

Most of the facts and figures I've pulled up come from various YouTube videos, Wikipedia, and various other websites. I may add more names in future edits.


Willy T. Ribbs.

Willy T. Ribbs is one of the most influential figures in American racing. He was one of the first Blacks to drive a Formula 1 race car. His portfolio of racing goes through the likes of NASCAR, Indy cars, Trans-Am, and even sportscar racing. Willy has even taken on the challenge of the Indy 500. His first attempt at being the first African-American racer to successfully qualify in the Indy 500 was in 1985. He pulled out of the Indy 500 qualifying because he didn't feel right. Even though he pulled out, no Black racer has ever toured Indy before Willy T. Ribbs took his circuits around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Though he didn't feel right in 1985, he returned to Indy in 1991 and successfully qualified for the 1991 Indy 500. Unfortunately, his Buick engine gave out five laps in the 1991 Indy 500. To paraphrase LeBron James, Willy T. Ribbs took his talents to Europe to compete in the Dunlop Stars of Tomorrow, where Willy raced in England against the likes of future F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell. He won his first race in the Dunlop Stars of Tomorrow in only his second series race. He then went on to win 6 of 12 events that season. I would argue that he is perhaps among one of the top figures among Black racers about as much as Carroll Shelby has been one of the top figures in racing and automobiles. Any Blacks who want to be the next best racing superstar need only look at Willy T. Ribbs as primary inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, here is an interview of Willy T. Ribbs:


^ "An Interview with Willy T Ribbs"


Bill Lester.

Bill Lester has spent many a year touring different disciplines of motorsport. He is best known for his career in NASCAR. Bill Lester's racing career has even taken him through the ranks of sportscar racing. He even took part in the Rolex Sportscar Series (now merged into the United SportsCar Racing Series) racing a Daytona Prototype. The native of Washington, D.C. earned my full respect for being so talented as a racing driver. Bill Lester's non-racing credentials include being an engineer and a former executive for Hewlett-Packard (or HP).


Chase Austin.

Chase Austin was born in Eudora, Kansas. The (born: October 3, 1989)-year old has been racing in NASCAR in both the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series. He doesn't yet have a start in Cup (or as I'm aware). Chase Austin even has taken part in open-wheel racing by racing in Indy Lights.


Darrell Wallace Jr.

In 2013 at Martinsville Speedway, (born: October 8, 1993) Darrell Wallace Jr. became the first Black racer to win in any of NASCAR's top series since the late Wendell Scott in 1963. The Alabama-born "Bubba" Wallace is a young up-and-coming racer. He's had a number of victories prior to his breakaway win in NASCAR Trucks, as he's won several times in NASCAR's K&N Pro West Series as well as in karting. Watch Darrell Wallace Jr. take his historic victory at Martinsville with this video:


^ "Darrell Wallace Jr. Wins Martinsville - NASCAR Camping World Trucks 2013"


Bobby Norfleet.

The well-traveled Bobby Norfleet has been racing everything from stock cars to drag cars and even motorcycles. The native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA ran only one race in NASCAR's top series when he ran in 2000 in NASCAR Trucks. Sponsorship and some poor luck has made Bobby Norfleet not become as active in the NASCAR ranks. He even was a team owner in 2005. Lots of controversy surrounds Bobby Norfleet.


Tia Norfleet.

It is somewhat rare to have Black racers. Even more so to have a Black female racer. Tia Norfleet is the daughter of Bobby Norfleet. She is a black stock car racer. Even she knows what keeps racers afloat in today's landscape of racing- money and sponsors. The ultimate dream for Tia Norfleet would be to compete and start in NASCAR's top three series. With this level of determination, only time will tell whether or not Tia Norfleet will be a powerful enough figure to reach the pinnacle of NASCAR. There is controversy about Tia Norfleet, in that some say her racing credentials are overblown- stats and figures about her that are more than what she has actually accomplished. She is from Norfolk, Virginia, USA.


Nicole Lyons.

Meet Nicole Lyons- a Black drag racer. She became the first Black driver to compete in the NHRA's Pro Stock class. Besides drag racing, she even became the first Black woman to compete in and finish a NASCAR Modified Series race. Nicole Lyons Racing is capable of almost anything.


James "Bubba" Stewart.

James "Bubba" Stewart (also nicknamed JS7) is a supercross racer that races only one way- hard. He is one of the most successful motocross or supercross racers today, having won a couple of championships in AMA Supercross. I like James Stewart. This guy just brings it every race and is quite fearless. Even in defeat, he just seems impervious to fear. I would also say he's the most successful active Black racer in the world in any discipline of motorsport today. He was born in Bartow, Florida, USA. Just like myself, he is a Capricorn (born December 21, 1985). This video showcases some of his talent:


^ "James Bubba Stewart fights from last place to first"


Malcolm Stewart.

Could Malcolm Stewart be a champ like his older brother James? He very well could. Malcolm Stewart currently is an AMA Supercross racer in the 250cc class.


Rickey Gadson.

In the drag racing ranks, Rickey Gadsen is one of the fastest drag racers on two wheels. He has competed in the NHRA Pro Stock Bike class. Gadson is a ten-time drag racing champion and one of the winningest racers in NHRA history. He's been all over the world both racing and performing. In fact, I'd say that for as much as Willy T. Ribbs has been an influential figure in motorsport, Rickey Gadson is one of the most influential in drag racing.


Antron Brown.

Another Black drag racer is Antron Brown. Unlike Rickey Gadson, Antron Brown did his damage on four wheels rather than two. He was the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel champion. He raced motorcycles prior to joining the top fuel drag racing ranks. In his career, Antron Brown suffered a brutal crash in 2013 at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, CA. Even still, Antron Brown is the first Black American to win a championship in the NHRA.


Reggie Showers.

Reggie Showers is a drag racer who is also a double amputee. The native of Philadelphia, PA, USA suffered his injury after an electrical accident he suffered in his mid-teens. That didn't stop him from becoming a two-time World Champion in the IDBA (International Drag Bike Association). Reggie retired from drag racing to become a motivational speaker. If you have time on your hands, here is a video about Reggie Showers. You may want to turn the volume up a bit:


^ "The Powerful Story of Reggie Showers NHRA Pro Stock Bike Racer"


Malcolm Durham.

Malcolm Durham went where very few have ever gone- over 200 mph, that is. This NHRA Drag Racer was one of the first true Black superstars in the NHRA. He raced a handful of series ranging from Super Stock to funny cars to Pro Stock. Malcolm Durham left racing so he could get his sons into college. He would return in 1985 to do some more racing. Sadly, Malcolm Durham would pass away in 2006 due to a long-standing illness.


David Sims Jr.

Star of the future? That's what you want to believe with Californian kart racer David Sims Jr. He took his first victory in September 2006 racing in the Kid Kart class of the RAS sanction. David Sims Jr. captured his first karting championship in 2008 in the RAS California State Asphalt Oval championship. He would win a few more championships along the way in karting. Star of the future? Very much so, if you ask me.


Joie Ray.

(Born: September 29, 1923)-year old Joie Ray has raced in NASCAR and various forms of sprint car racing. He had raced between 1947-1963. The native of Louisville, Kentucky has been racing in NASCAR as well as in USAC. Joie was the first Black American to be licensed by the American Automobile Association (now AAA). To be honest, I think it's great he was fortunate enough to race in his era considering there was still a great deal of segregation and prejudice among us Black Americans. You have to give him some credit on this front. He is no doubt a true legend and a true inspiration. You even have to credit the team owners and such who actually gave him a chance to shine. Joie Ray died in 2007 at the age of 83 from pneumonia.


Jason Britton.

Jason Britton is one of the most grizzled veterans of stunt riding. The Speed Channel show "Super Bikes!" was where I first got to be introduced to No Limit Motorsports' Jason Britton. Prepare to be blown away by this dude with this video (SPOILER ALERT: the final part of the video is ruined):


^ "Jason Britton at 2012 Stuntwars Round 1"

Wow! That's all I can say! Needless to say- don't attempt any of those stunts!



Wendell Scott.

Danville, Virginia was where one Wendell Oliver Scott was born on August 29, 1921. He was the first African-American driver to win a race in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. His lone victory came in 1964 at the Jacksonville 200. He died in 1990 from spinal cancer at the age of 69. He was nominated into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012. The movie "Greased Lightning" was loosely based on the career of Wendell Scott, with Richard Pryor playing as Wendell Scott.


Cheryl Glass.

Cheryl Glass was a midget racer. She was born on December 24, 1961 (yay! Another Capricorn!) and is from Seattle, Washington, USA. Cheryl died on July 15, 1997. She has been the only real Black racer to compete in USAC as well as the first to win an A-Main in the series. There was potential for this Cheryl to race in the Indy 500 and perhaps even test the waters of Formula 1. Neither happened. Her winning of national championships in the midget sprint ranks speaks to the level of success she enjoyed.


Now for some Black racers NOT from the United States...

Lewis Hamilton.

Former Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton became the first Black racer to win the F1 World Championship when he triumphed in 2008. I personally remember this race and how crazy it was. Felipe Maasa won the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. Amid the exhalation of Maasa winning, Lewis Hamilton needed only finish 3rd or better to win the F1 World Championship. Despite the pouring rain, Hamilton finished high enough to win the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship. It was a crazy race. And to this day, I still think Lewis Hamilton is one of the brightest and most talented race car drivers today.


Axcil Jefferies.

Zimbabwean race car driver Axcil Jefferies won a great deal of races and championships. He's won in his native Zimbabwe as well as become the first person of color to win racing championships in South African. He made his American racing debut in Indy Lights in 2013 for Bryan Herta Autosports. He got a Top 5 in that race. I'd say he's Star of the Future material.


Tschops Sipuka.

Starting racing in 1998, Tschops Sipuka (Tschops pronounced like "Chops") has been around the world and competed in a number of different championships and races. Along the way, he has won many championships in his native South Africa and abroad. Tschops has been the first person of color to win a number of championships and certain races. To learn more about Tschops Sipuka and his racing career, visit his website that I've posted with this section.


I may add more personalities if I learn more about them. If you want to contribute, you may contact me online and let me in on some more personalities you think I should feature in this blog post.



--- Blacks in Motorsport: Honorable Mentions ---

A few others I want to make mention in regards to Blacks in motorsport in any sort of capacity...

• Michael Jordan - owner of Michael Jordan Motorsports, a motorcycle team that used to race in AMA Road Racing. Word has it that MJM is looking to compete in World Superbike or even MotoGP.

• Brad Daugherty - ESPN NASCAR analyst, NASCAR team owner, and former basketball star.

• Dhani Jones - former gridiron football player who was a host of Season 3 of GT Academy USA.


Special Consideration.

Just when I thought I was done completing this blog post originally, I realize one specific YouTube channel offered me more inspiration to post about and learn about more racers to fill this blog post. And so, I want to thank Starting Grid Inc. for introducing me to more personalities so I could fill up this blog post. SGI is an organization designed to bring more minorities into the realm of motorsports. It was founded in 1994 by Chris Miles. Here is a video profile of Starting Grid Inc.:


^ "FOX Sports profiles Starting Grid, Inc. and the Gary Community School Corporation"

For more information on Starting Grid Inc., please visit their official website at: www.startinggrid.com.


I may add more drivers and personalities to this list in future edits. If there are any other Blacks in motorsport that you think I should feature, please contact me online and tell me about certain personalities that I should feature in my post. Thank you!





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