November 7, 2008

Real-English videos

I have just become a fan of  Michael Marzio's website, which features ESL/EFL lessons using "authentic and natural videos of people speaking real English on streets accross the globe". 

I teach EFL in Brazil, where students have limited access to authentic and meaningful input, so I found Mike's videos to be very helpful for this teaching context. All videos have at least two versions, one with and another without closed captions. Also, all videos have grammar/vocabulary activities. And the best part is that everything is FREE.

It was only today that I watched one of his videos for the first time. I was looking for some interesting online resources to teach "clothes" to beginners when I found his lesson 38 video in youtube: 

I watched the video three times because, besides giving me ideas for my class, this video kept me thinking about about two concepts language teachers deal with: communicative language teaching and correctness.

The first one, communicative language teaching, came to my mind when I noticed that most people in the video, when asked "what are you wearing?", were somewhat surprised by the question, and some of them answer the questions laughing a little. This happens because the question "what are you wearing?" is not communicative, because we never ask someone we are looking at what they are wearing for the simple fact that we can see what they are wearing. However, in our so-called 'communicative' classrooms, we keep asking these not-communicative questions over and over: "what's your name?" (already knowing the student's name), "where is the book?" (everybody seeing it is on the table), "what am I doing right now?" and so on. With this video, though, we can expose students to the real reaction real people would have to our classroom questions. It is a way of getting a little away from the "let's pretend" environment typical of language classrooms.

Concerning the concept of correctness, I could also find in this video a reason for rethinking our concepts of what is correct and is incorrect in the target language, especially for non-native teachers teaching in a non-native country, which is my case. In a clothes lesson, when students started describing what they are wearing, something I would focus on would be the quantifiers. If they said "I'm wearing a T-shirt, scarf, hat, shoes and jacket", I would probably correct them and have them say "I'm wearing a scarf, a hat, a pair of shoes and a jacket". But why, if that's not necessarily how people would say it? With these real-english videos, though, we can, again, expose students to the real language real people use.

September 14, 2008

ProProfs vs Script-O

This month, my friend Erika Cruvinel and I are leading a discussion in the group Learning with Computers about creating and designing online exercises. In  this first week, I'll help participants create quizzes using two tools which I consider to be simple to be used yet extremely helpful: ProProfs and Script-O

I had alraedy used these tools, but haven't created anything new there for a few months, and, to my surprise, ProProfs has included a very interesting feature: the option of embeding the quizzes on webpages. Usually, these online exercises creating tools only give you a url for your quiz/exercises, but proprofs has just made the embeding option also possible. So now, I may link my quiz, the way I used to do, like this:

Or I cancopy the html code and emebed the quiz to my blog, wiki or any other webpage, like this:

Of course each tool has its own advantages, and there is something that I prefer in Script-O, which is a larger variety of question types. Whereas ProProfs only has 3 types of question (multiple choice, fill in the blanks and essay question), Script-O has 7 (true/false, single answer, multiple answer, simple cloze, fill answer, short answer and matching). Check out this example of a quiz created with Script-O.

So, it's up to the user to explore the tools and choose which one is most suitable for his/her needs. I, personally, like using both of them!

Stay tuned for my next comparison: Quia vs Hot Potatoes

You can also follow our activities for the Learning with Computers group by visiting our wiki, where participants will also fill in a table with advantages and disadvantages of each of the 6 online exercises creating tools we will explore in September.

May 19, 2008


Last week I learned what MEME is, and on the same day I was memed twice and today once again, so I finally decided to answer all three memes (two are the same) on the same post.

Quoting Larry Ferlazzo, the first one to tag me, "Meme is a term used to describe a question or series of questions that a blogger asks another. Usually, a blogger “tags” several others to respond."

Both Larry and Bertha tagged me with the same questions, and Carla Arena also tagged me, but with just one question. So I'll answer the questions here and then write a little reflection about it.

Larry and Bertha's questions:
  1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Since I'm 25 years old, 10 years ago I was in the first of the 3 years of Brazilian high school, in Military School.
  2. Five things on my to-do list today: answers these memes, tune up my bike, write a post for the adolasl2 blog (which belongs to the youth group my wife and I coordinate at our church), grade some essays, continue preparing material for the practical writing course I'll pilot in a few weeks.
  3. Snacks I enjoy: pão-de-queijo (the literal translation would be "cheese bread", but it is not bread...)
  4. Things I would do if I were a millionaire: HELP, in all possible ways, but only people who really needed it.
  5. Three of my bad habits: procrastinate correcting and grading essays, use the computer for too long without stopping to stretch, not eat as much fruit as I know I should.
  6. 5 places I have lived: uh, boring answer, only Brasília (but planning on having this the list grow soon...). Boring because it's only one place, because Brasília is GREAT!
  7. 5 jobs I have had: English teacher (that one is enough...)
Carla's question:
  • How's my blogging related to my business? The original idea of this blog was to test things I was learning while taking the EVOnline session Becoming a Webhead in 2007. Later I started posting about new tools which I discovered, and now I feel that I have also been doing some reflective blogging - as this post will become in the next few lines. As a language teacher it is crucial that I be in touch with the most updated kind of language: the online one. Most of my students are connected, so I have to be connected too; and the ones who are not, I can help them be; after all, a language teacher not only teaches a language, but opens doors to new places, new cultures, new contacts, so why not new connections and networks too?
My reflection

At first I didn't feel like answering the questions , especially the first ones, because I thought they were too personal and would change the tone of my blog. But then I decided to go over the questions and answers again to make my mind whether I would go on with this Meme thing and, to my surprise, there was a lot of profit from it. The most important were:
  • learning a bit more about the people I read;
  • learning that there are people who read me (and are apparently willing to learn more about me);
  • strengthening my connections; and
  • (the most important) building new connections, i.e. at the end of a meme people say who they would like to hear from, this way I could discover some interesting blogs to begin reading and could even discover blogs of people I know but never knew they had a blog!
Who I would like to hear from:

Since I'm answering two memes on the same post, I'll tag people this way: I'll invite the 5 people Bertha tagged (Nina Liakos, Illya, Hala, Maria Cláudia, Susana Canelo) to answer Carla's question, and the 5 people Carla tagged (Cris Costa, Mary Hillis, Gladys Baya, Vance Stevens, Bee Dieu) to answer Larry and Bertha's questions. But please, do not feel obligated to respond.

May 14, 2008

Living collaboration

I have just had an unexpected and inspiring experience in the online world regarding collaboration.

Together with my colleagues Carla Arena and Erika Cruvinel, I'm involved in the piloting of online courses for Casa Thomas Jefferson, the English Institute I work for in Brasília, Brazil. In a couple of weeks I will begin piloting our brand new online course, Practical Writing; thus, after designing the course and thinking about the tools to be used, I decided to have, among others, a class blog and a class wiki.

I could easily create my practicalwriting blog at blogger, but when I was going to create my practicalwriting wiki at pbwiki, I discovered someone had already created one. I visited the wiki and saw that there was very little content added and that the last changes had been made 3 moths ago. So I contacted the owner of the wiki, hopelessly asking her if she could delete that wiki for me to use the domain.

I know I could use other wiki hosts, like wikispaces or wepaint, but I really like pbwiki and feel comfortable with it, and, for my surprise, the next day I received a message from this American teacher living in Korea, Alissa Hartig, saying that she tried deleting the wiki but that pbwiki informed her that, if she deleted it, no one else would be able to ever use that domain again.

I obviously thanked her a lot and told her I would use another host, then, on the same day, she sent me an email thread she had with pbwiki support - through Rachel Penning, who was so helpful - asking them to transfer the ownership of that wiki to my pbwiki account, and they did it!

So now I have my practicalwriting wiki at pbwiki and, after exchanging some messages with Alissa, she (and her Korean students) will be special guests in the Practical Writing course, interacting with my students through the blog, wiki and, who knows, maybe some lifelong communities. I'm sure my Brazilian students will be eager to learn more about Korean culture.

I wrote this post to register this amazing collaborative Korea-Brazil experience, to thank Alissa Hartig once again, and to encourage everyone to believe that there are good-spirited, noble people willing to help us out there.

Let Alissa be an example of educator to us all!

April 25, 2008

Animoto: education program

Reading Larry Ferlazzo's blog, I learned about Paul Hamilton's post, where he also mentions three other bloggers who all talked about this great opportunity animoto has just given educators.

I have already blogged about animoto because it is a great website that puts together photos and a song in a very modern flash-like presentation. The thing is that the free version only lets you create 30-second videos, and in order to have an all-access account, with which you can create longer videos, you have to pay.

Well, the good news is that animoto has just announced the animoto education program, which gives all-access codes to educators and their students, as long as they promise to keep animoto updated on the innovative ways students use this tool.

Here is an example of an animoto video I have created with the pictures of our school's (Casa Thomas Jefferson) Teachers' Day celebration (Oct. 15, 2007). Turn up the volume!

April 23, 2008

Some more google discoveries

I'm a big fan of Google. I love gmail, orkut, blogger, google general search, google image search, google maps, google docs, google reader, google page creator, picasa and youtube. And every now and then they add something new in the even more button, and, as a result, I have recently added two interesting features to this blog.

The first one, I found navigating the even more page: it's a customized search engine within my blog. With custom search, you can easily create a google-like search box that will search within a specified domain, in my case, my I hope it works blog. After you create the search engine, you can embed it to any page using the html code given, and the result is something like this:

The second one is something so simple, but that I had never noticed until I read about it in Sue Waters' blog, more specifically in her post "I've gone widget crazy and need help to control widget addiction". I have always wanted to have a blogroll of the blogs I read in my I hope it works blog, but I had never seen this option in blogger and felt I could not keep it updated if I just created a list of links. Then Sue Waters shows her readers that Google Reader offers this option (you know when you feel like, "why didn't I think of this before"?). All you have to do is click "manage subscriptions", then select the tab "tags", click the RSS symbol of the folder from which you want to create a blogroll in order to make it public (the RSS symbol turns red), then click the link "add a blogroll to your site" - voila, you just copy and paste the html code and you'll have an always-updated blogroll (like the one on the right of my blog), because every time you add a new subscription to that folder, the new blog will appear in the blogroll.

April 10, 2008

TESOL 2008 - NYC

I now teach at the very school where I learned English: Casa Thomas Jefferson, in Brasília, Brazil. I have never lived abroad and I use to tell my students that all my English is Casa Thomas Jefferson English, which they find surprising. You see, students (and many teachers!) in EFL contexts have this (sad) belief that you can only master a language if you learn it in the country where it is spoken, and I have always been proud to be a living testimony of the contrary. I like to talk about strategies with my students (especially advanced, and pre-Michigan and pre-TOEFL ones), and every time I start talking about it, I like to say that it is totally possible to be fully competent in a language even learning it in Brazil, as long as you put the right amount of effort into it.

Nevertheless, I know that, even though living abroad is not the only way to acquire a foreign language, having experiences abroad can only add to a teacher's knowledge, maturity and expertise. Well, I still haven't lived abroad (not yet!), but Casa Thomas Jefferson (CTJ) has helped me have an 8-day experience in New York City by providing me with a grant to attend the 42nd TESOL Convention.
The trip had two big positive points for me:

1. Interacting with people in New York City has made me learn a few new words, taste a few new dishes, listen to different accents and reflect upon some of our practices. The first reflection that took my mind was the concept of competence. I have already read a lot about this concept (Noam Chomsky, Dell Hymes, Michael Canale, Michael Canale and Merill Swain, Lyle Bachman, Almeida Filho, Allan Davis - to mention a few), but walking in the streets of New York a couple of days before the convention, and talking to an Egyptian taxi driver, buying hot dogs from a Pakistani guy, having a Russian waitress wait our table, or checking in at the hostel with a Puerto Rican man (not to mention the other nationalities staying in the hostel...) has made me reflect again about what communicative competence really means. Let's take pronunciation as an example: I love pronunciation, I am writing my master's dissertation about pronunciation teaching, and I believe I have good pronunciation, at least better than that of all those people I mentioned before. However, they all communicate perfectly! With their accents, or sometimes even wrong pronunciation, they can all live and work in the United States and have far more interactions with native speakers (thus getting a lot of input and consequently learning more words and expressions) than I do. Even in the convention this question sprang to my mind again, when I listened to Dr Suresh Canagarajah give this amazing talk but saying things like deve'lopment, which we so frequently correct in our Brazilian students' oral production. Of course I'm not insane (or naive) enough as to say that because of all this we shouldn't worry about pronunciation. I'm just glad that I could experience firsthand what I have read in so many papers: that communicative competence has many aspects, and what makes a speaker competent is a comprehensive, balanced and principled use of all features of communicative competence.

Another reflection that came to my mind is how close we, EFL teachers, are to teaching what is actually used in real life situations. Having an informal conversation with my friend Carla Arena,
we both agreed that there are some things that text books present and that are not the most common or most frequent linguistic sample used in real life. She has been living in Key West for almost two years and told me that she noticed that people used much more phrases like "take care", "have a good day", "see ya" or "have a good one" (which I have never seen in text books) when she was leaving a place than "good-bye" or "bye", which are so abundant in our classes.

Among the many amazing experiences, I just have to write about this incredible one: on Tuesday, April 1, I was in a hurry, a bit late to meet some friends for dinner, but in the middle of my running I just had to stop to listen to this excellent vocal trio singing in the Grand Central Station:

2- The convention was amazing. I was able to attend lots of interesting, insightful and resourceful presentations that will help me both in my CALL function at CTJ and in the writing of my master's dissertation. Listening to some people whose work I have been reading (like Elaine Tarone and Suresh Canagarajah) was very encouraging; meeting some of the Webheads in Action f2f for the first time was a blast; and simply walking in those hallways and knowing that there were close to 10,000 language teachers in that place willing to enhance their teaching was absolutely thrilling. I also had the chance to present a project my colleague (and coordinator of CTJ) Isabela and I carried out last year about "blogging the writing process" in the Electronic Village Fair.

These are just a few words to exemplify what I have gained from enjoying every single minute of my first experience abroad. The truth is that I could write about growing as a language teacher from the simple things I did, as analyzing the subway map to choose my routes, to the excellent opportunities I had, as listening to renowned scholars in my area.

Check out my New York Albuns:

NYC + CTJ and Webheads

NYC - Sightseeing

NYC - Museums

March 18, 2008

Voicethread and Splashcast - my own examples

Some weeks ago I wrote a contrastive review of Voicethread, Splashcast and Qlipboard, and now I've decided to post about my own personal and real experience using these tools with my students this semester (1/2008).

Larry Ferlazzo has come up with the great idea of a Sister Classes Project, where some teachers from different countries (8 countries are involved so far) develop (inter)cultural projects/presentations with their students and publish them at the Student Showcase blog for everybody's appreciation. Since I was already beginning a students' blog project with my 2 EFL advanced groups in this first semester of 2008, I was more than glad to join the Sister Classes Project. I also took this chance to spread the word about Brazil and to have my own personal student-generated voicethread and splashcast presentations.

What can't be denied is the power that tools such as these might have:
To prepare the first presentation, I first uploaded the pictures chosen by the students, and, two days later, took them to our school's computer lab for them to record their voices. In the mean time, without advertising the presentation to anyone, we already got our first comment, and it was from a regular voicethread user, not an English teacher and not an English student.
This gave a unique chance to tell my students that the project they were getting into was extremely meaningful because it would be out there, on the internet, for actual audience to appreciate, which made them really thrilled about it!

As soon as they recorded their voices, I published the presentation in the Students Showcase blog and, after some three weeks, I took them to the computer lab again so that they could answer the questions left to them by project partners' students. In order to get them evem more motivated about the project, I asked them to guess how many times they thought their presentation had been viewed so far. Most of them said a number under 100, and only one student was bold enough to guess 120. When I told them that their presentation had been viewed 426 times (on March 24. Today, March 25, it has been viewed 18 more times!), they were astonished and, I believe, began to feel the power of publishing on the internet.

I also hope this whole experience will give them a better sense of authorship and readership, for they are producing English (writing in their blogs and speaking in the presentations) for a real audience that is beyond the classroom walls, something difficult to reach in an EFL context. I also hope to help them see that this is the purpose of learning English, after all: to communcate!

Here are the presentations:
Feel free to leave voice, video or text comments in the shows!

This first presentation
was created by my teenage students using voicethread, and it is about the cities they considered to be the 5 most important cities in Brazil. This presentation was published, among other places, in this Student Showcase blog post.

This second presentation
was created by my adult students using splashcast - actually we recorded using
Audacity and then I edited a video using Windows Movie Maker and finally uploaded it to Splashcast. It is about students' favorite vacation spots in Brazil. This one hasn't been published in the Student Showcase blog yet because I still need to add two more students' recordings.

Add Favorite Vacation Spot to your page

March 11, 2008

New Scribd

I have already written a post about Scribd one year ago, but I have to confess that I never needed to use it since then. But now I learned that they have improved their system tremendously.

Sribd is a web 2.0 tool where you can upload and share virtually any kind of document (doc, ppt, pps, xls, pdf, ps, odt, odp, sxw, sxi, jpg, jpeg, png, gif, txt and rtf). Besides reading the
uploaded documents, visitors can also leave comments, which are notified to you in your scribd account, or via email - you choose.

What I really liked about this new scribd generation is the fact that they provide us with the html codes of any document uploaded to be added to your website, blog, wiki etc. Here are two examples of how scribd documents look when embedded to a blog. I have just uploaded them and notice that the uploading process is extremely fast!

The first one is a Microsoft Word document (.doc) with a song exercise for advanced EFL/ESL students to practice crimes/law vocabulary. The second one is a Microsoft Power Point presentation (.ppt) that I created and used in December of 2007 for a workshop I gave to public school teachers in Recife, Brazil about the uses of IT in the classroom. The slide presentation looks like the ones uploaded to slideshare, so I'll probably write another post soon contrasting these two tools.

Example 1 (word document)

Read this doc on Scribd: Song - I did it

Example 2 (powerpoint presentation)

Read this doc on Scribd: IT Resources for Teachers

February 27, 2008

Evoca + skype

Hello everyone!

I have just learned that evoca has a new feature - a skype call recorder. I know that it is possible to record skype calls using Audacity (some people report having difficulties recording both ends of the call) and powergramo, but recording a call with evoca was extremely simple.

All you have to do it create an evoca account and add evoca-skype-recorder as your skype contact. When you are in a call, you add the evoca contact to the call, and that's it! Your call recording will be stored in your evoca account. The first time you use it, you have to confirm your evoca account through a link sent to you through a skype message (it takes a few seconds).

Here is my first skype call recording, it's me and Nina Liakos:

The only pitfall is that you can only record up to 15 minutes for free. To record more than that you have to go pro in evoca and pay $29.95 a year.

February 19, 2008

Which wiki? Which blog?

Following the idea of my previous post - a contrastive review of voicethread, splashcast and qlipboard -, here goes a contrastive analysis of wiki and blog hosts, but I won't do it alone...

During BaW08, I came up with the idea of having two collaborative google spreadsheets, one to compare blog hosts and the other to compare wiki hosts. So I set up the spreadsheets and wrote my impressions (following the idea of positive aspects in blue and negative ones in red). Then I sent an invitation to Bawers, for them to include their impressions too, and some of them did. Now I would like to open this discussion to all webheads and anybody else who ends up here. The idea is simple: write your impressions about the hosts already there, add any other host you would like and start writing the first impressions, and add your name as one of the contributors. Also feel free to use the spreadsheets in your classes, workshops, presentations, talks, or for any other purpose you would like, after all, this is the webheads spirit.

The spreadsheets' names - blog combat and wiki combat - were inspired in a kind of article a cars magazine in Brazil (4 rodas - 4 wheels) publishes comparing cars from different brands, for example Volkswagen Golf vs. GM Vectra GTI.

Here are the links:

February 18, 2008

Voicethread x Splashcast x Qlipboard

Voicethread, Splashcast and Qlipboard are all tools that unite pictures and voice in slideshows. In order to compare them, I created a virtual tour around Brasília (my hometown) in each one of them. The tour is the same: same pictuers and same narration, because the idea was to really compare all the features offered. So here are the results followed by my review. Positive aspects are in blue and negative ones in red.
If there is any wrong information here (or extra information which I did not initially include), it was probably because I didn't explore the tools fully, so feel free to tell me and I'll readily update the reviews.

You can also check my own personal examples using voicethread and splashcast with my EFL students in the first semester of 2008.

Enjoy your tour!

  • The easiest to use. Dashboard is really user-friendly, with simple functions like upload and record.
  • Comments can be left in voice or text forms
  • Voice comments can be added with a cell phone too
  • Comments are attached to specific pictures
  • Comments are added to the original narration
  • Pictures can be uploaded from your computer, flickr, facebook or you can just type their urls
  • Besides pictures, you can also upload videos and documents
  • Powerpoint/impress slides can be easily uploaded
  • You can embed full-sized or small-sized versions
  • There is comment moderation option
  • It lets you doodle with the images, but only while you're recording
  • You can create only 3 threads for free in the same account
  • You can only add voice by recording online. You cannot record first, add effects, treat the audio and then upload the mp3 file.
  • Visitors need to sign up for a voicethread account in order to leave comments.

  • Easy, but not as easy as voicethread. Dashboard is not as user-friendly because it offers more options, like designation of channels and players (which you need to create in order to get the html code).
  • Pictures can be uploaded from your computer, flickr, or you can just type their urls
  • You can record online or use any other audio recorder to make an mp3 file to be uploaded to one specific picture later
  • Besides pictures, you can also upload videos and documents
  • Comments are attached to specific pictures
  • Comments can be left in voice, video or text forms
  • Unlimited number of shows can be created for free
  • Comments are stored in a separate "comments" area
  • Visitors don't need to have a splashcast account in order to leave comments
  • You can't doodle with the pictures (which might be good...)
  • There is no comment moderation option (but comments can be easily deleted)

(online version):
The most traditional one is the offline version, which I
  • It lets you doodle a lot with the picture, with pen, highlighter and text options. You can also change the colors of your drawing and texts
  • There is no need to sign up for an account
  • It allows only voice comments
  • The most limited one because it doesn't create a slideshow connecting the pictures, but just one picture with voice narration

The idea of this review is not to make one tool look good and the other(s) bad. I believe their particular features fit different purposes. So the choice of which tool to use in an activity lies in the goals of the activity.

February 12, 2008

Creating comic strips

Pixton is a website that allows you to create comic strips. The fun thing is that they let you change some features of the stick characters and, in the advanced editing options (which doesn't mean "for advanced users" for it is very intuitive and user-friendly), they also have some very cool pre-set objects and backgrounds that can be added to the scenes.

Check out this one I created for Baw08ers that feel overwhelmed with the quantity of tools suggested and explored. You can also remix my comic strip!

February 11, 2008

A little more on slideshows

This one was suggested by webhead Rita Zeinstejer.

GifUp is a "gif animation" and "avatar generator" website. What I particularly liked about it is the fact that it creates a nice photo slideshow with pictures taken from your webcam, uploaded from your computer, or searched from any website (a flickr search is already included).

In this example, I used the "Create an animation from Flickr images" option. I typed the word "Brasília" (my hometown), clicked on the pics I actually wanted in my animation, and that's it! My animation was ready with html code and a link to advertise my animation. I probably spent some whole 2 minutes doing everything.

GIF animations generator

February 9, 2008

Photo slideshows

Here goes my first update in 2008!

Working with Carla Arena and Erika Cruvinel at Casa Thomas Jefferson as one of our website content managers, one of our jobs is to cover the events that happen at our school and publish them in our website. For a long time, we have been using free photo slideshows to do this, for example slide (my favorite), bubbleshare, picture trail, rock you (I know JA loves this one) and others. Here is an example of a slideshow of our Thanksgiving celebration we created using slide:

However, in mid 2007, through the LWC group (Learning With Computers), I discovered animoto - a website that creates a more modern photo presentation, and all you have to do is add the pictures and choose a song from their song bank (or upload your own song). Animoto already has a group of effects that are added to your video according to beat of the song used. You can create an unlimited number of 30-second videos for free, or pay (not much) to create longer videos. Here is an example of a video I created about CTJ's Teachers' Day party (Oct. 15, 2007). Turn up the volume:

After you create the video, you can send the link by email, get the html code to embed it (just as I have done here) or download it and use it any other way you would like.

Have fun!

I'm back!

Hello world (again)!

It's good to be back. I created this blog exactly one year ago as I was taking my first EVO session ever - Becoming a Webhead 2007. I created it as a place to test the tools we were working with, and now, as I am engaged in Becoming a Webhead 2008, reading people's blogs and wikis made feel like taking blogging more seriously. I've worked a lot with blogs with my students in 2007 (check links on the right), but I never had my own personal blog, so I decided to make this one my own personal weblog for edutech and other EFL/ESL experiences and issues.

Questions, comments, criticisms, suggestions and advice are all more than welcome. Also feel free to to subscribe my blog to your reader for I'm determined to keep it updated.

And if this is your first visit to my blog, don't forget to add yourself to my frappr map.