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Archive for November, 2013

Photography caption contest week three

For the second week in a row, cate b. has won our four-week photography caption competition. As the winner, once our contest is concluded, she’ll earn her choice of prizes for each of the first two weeks.

Now let’s get down to round three.

Reminder of the rules – leave your most creative caption idea, limited to one word only, as a comment on this post for a chance to win a weekly as well as overall prize. For all details on the contest please click the link above.

Week three photo:

country shed

Good luck!

Photography caption contest winner and round two

The first winner of the four-week photography contest is cate b. Congrats on your win!

So without further ado, let’s get to the next round.

Once again, the rules are that you leave your most creative caption idea, limited to one word only, as a comment on this post for a chance to win a weekly as well as overall prize. If you need a refresher on all the details, please see the link above.

Week two photo:

photography contest

New photography caption contest

Give us your best caption

A while back, this blog had run a few different photography-related contests for our readers. And right now, we’re bringing that effort back.

Here’s how it works. For each of the next four weeks, starting today, the Creative Dreamers Blog will be positing a single photo and asking our readers to come up with a creative caption. Sounds easy enough right? Well, here’s where the challenge comes in. Your caption can only contain one word. OK, we’ll give you a pass and accept hyphenated words. But that’s it. This should force your creative juices to flow.

Leave your caption submission as a comment on this and the other weekly posts and one winner will be determined each week. After all four weeks of the contest have concluded, we’ll choose an overall winner for the entire contest.

So, you might be thinking, “what do the winners get?”

Weekly winners will get their choice of:

Free promotion on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Google+ and here on our blog.

A free high-resolution copy of any of the photos from the Three Rivers Creative Arts website or their Deviant Art collection.

Overall winner will get the choice of: 

A free creative service listed here from Fiverr.com and their choice of either of the top weekly prizes.

A free custom sketch of their favorite celebrity or public personality and  their choice of either of the top weekly prizes.

Your first caption challenge starts with the image below. Good luck!

Flowers

Avril Lavigne’s new album show artistic growth while maintaining pop punk persona

Avril Lavigne is back with her latest album simply titled “Avril Lavigne.”

Avril Lavigne

Over the years, her fans have seen and heard Lavigne grow from a teen to a woman in both her life and her music. In her latest release, she seems to maintain a good balance between her signature pop punk sound and attitude  and a number of other qualities she seems to be experimenting with as well.

Several songs seem to continue her tradition of  punk rebellion and loud music. Others are more simplistic and emphasize the vocals and the an emotional connection with the lyrics. Some even come across with an extra edginess through more explicit wording and even some serious sex appeal.

I rank the songs as follows:

1. “Rock N Roll” – A+

This track has a cool beat with a rebellious tone. It’s loud, it’s fun and it’s classic Avril.

2. “Here’s To Never Growing Up” – A

The song is catchy and has a nice hook, one of the standard qualities of her songs.

3. “17” – B+

This one is a bit more poppy and comes across with a nostalgic feel.

4. “Bitchin’ Summer” – C

It seems to have a more stripped down quality and is pretty average overall.

5. “Let Me Go” – C+

This one is deeper and more emotional which may be due in part to the fact that she’s singing it with her husband of Nickleback fame.

6. “Give You What You Like” – B+

The track comes across with a bit of a slower, haunting feel.

7. “Bad Girl” – C+

It’s kind of a flashback to 80’s rock with a bit of a retro vibe.

8. “Hello Kitty” – C-

There’s too much emphasis on rap/hip-hop qualities. it’s highly unusual for her and very synthetic.

9. “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” – C+

This song features a pop rock sound and isn’t bad overall.

10. “Sippin’ On Sunshine” – B+

It’s a simple, fun and catchy tune with a feel good quality about it.

11. “Hello Heartache” – C+

This song focuses on vocals more than anything and comes across with a very sincere vibe.

12. “Falling Fast” – B+

The light, serious simplicity and pure vocals makes for a good song.

13. “Hush Hush” – B+

She closes out the album with a track that is both soft and sweet.

All in all, I would recommend this album to long-time Lavigne fans as well as those who might be interested in seeing a different side of this pop punk princess.

Top Ten Things Your English Teacher Got Wrong

Many of the things we learn in school or in another educational setting we tend to instantly accept as fact. But no matter how reasonable something might seem, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. This is certainly the case when it comes to some of the “rules” that govern the English language as you may heave been taught to understand them. From the simplest notions of proper grammar to the more complex idea of citing sources in research documents, chances are you have been taught to abide by several of these so-called facts that are either only partially true or downright false.

10. You should always have one or more rough drafts

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that usually one’s first instinct is the most accurate one. This notion of not second guessing ourselves has been around for quite a long time. And recently, scientific study has weighed in on this matter.

In my opinion, this filters over into the practice of writing. While it is necessary to go over your work to correct errors and possibly make some wording and stylistic adjustments here and there, that by no means suggests an entire rewrite. And it certainly does not ensure that multiple revisions will be necessary.

9. Shakespeare wrote in proper English

There is no doubt that William Shakespeare was a brilliant writer with a masterful grasp of the English language. However, the man also “made up” more than 1,700 words. Some of these include the terms “arouse,” “fixture,” “majestic” and “negotiate.”

Imagine if we just randomly began to create our own words for letters, essays, research papers and more. Perhaps we’d even incorporate a bit of modern slang. This certainly wouldn’t be considered proper grammar or writing today and thus it wouldn’t have been in Shakespeare’s day either.

8. You must double space after a period

While in ages gone by when everything had to be hand-written, this was a non-issue. Only since the institution of typing machines (first typewriters and now computers) has this one even come into play.

When it comes to conventional typewriters, the sizes of the letters are slightly different. To compensate for this problem, it became common practice to add a second space after the period at the end of each sentence. But in this computer age, proportional font spacing has all but eliminated the need for double-spacing.

7. You should always use proper grammar

In most case, it is very important to use proper grammar. However, there are some instances in which a writer can bend or even break traditional grammatical rules for any number of purposes.

The famed twentieth-century poet E.E. Cummings provides a perfect example. In his work, Cummings frequently and intentionally used bad grammar to create a more dynamic effect while establishing his own personal style.

In other instances, writers sometimes use poor grammar in the speech of their characters. This is especially true when the author is trying to bring out cultural and ethnic traits such as the use of slang in an urban environment or the feeling of a Southern drawl.

6. You need a comma to separate every instance in a series

Separating small lists of items in a series does not necessarily require the use of a comma after each item. For example, according to many experts and style guides, the use of a comma before words like “and” or “or” to close out the series is actually quite redundant.

For instance, let’s take the list “red, white and blue.” Notice how there is no comma prior to the word “and.” The reasoning is that if we use a comma after the word “white” it essentially amounts to using the word “and” twice.

5. Paragraphs have to have more than one sentence

This is a long-held myth that can be easily disproved. All one has to do is look to the work of legendary author Charles Dickens. His famous novel entitled “A Tale of Two Cities” begins with a single paragraph that is also only one sentence long.

The truth is, as long as it meets the criteria to make a paragraph, there is no set number of sentences the writer must use. It can be as few or as many as her or she wants.

4. There is only one proper way to cite sources

While your teacher may have preferred the use of a particular style in his or her classes, there are actually several ways to cite sources in research papers and the like. Often this varies depending upon the discipline you are researching or studying.

A few of the more common style guides include MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) and AP Style used by many journalistic outlets. There are several others out there as well.

3. Always use a comma after the greeting in a letter

While using a comma after statements like ”Dear Ted” or “Hello Maggie” at the start of a letter is generally correct and seen as good grammar, this is not always the case.

In instances in which you are writing a business letter, the comma should actually be replaced by a colon.

 Commas should be reserved for more informal communication.

When it comes to the use of email, it is generally accepted that either of these two forms of punctuation can be used to fit the bill.

2. You should not shift tenses

Sure, shifting tense for no real reason is poor grammar and makes for poor writing. However, there are some instances in which a shift in tense is appropriate and even required to make things work.

If the time frame of something taking place in your writing moves from past to present, you have to change the tense for both correctness and to avoid reader confusion. The following two sentences provide a simple example. “I was so afraid to get on that bicycle as a young child. Reflecting back on that point in my life, I think it was more about the possible embarrassment of falling rather than getting hurt.”

As you can see, the first sentence focuses on the past and uses the past tense while the second one is amount my reflections in the present.

1. You can’t use “and” to start a sentence

Those who use “and” to start off a sentence have long been ostracized by those entrusted with teaching us the English language. However, this isn’t a criticism that is based in the reality of proper grammar.

While the use of “and” as the first word of a sentence can come across as rather informal and has the potential to make your wording a bit choppy and awkward, it’s not technically wrong. In fact, some language experts suggest that it can actually work better in some case that using more traditional terms like “however,” “therefore” and “furthermore”

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