Cherished Memories and Love

….but most of all- cherished memories and love.

This photo was taken at meteor crater in Arizona as part of a longer road trip we took going to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, the Petrifyed Forest, and everyhting in between. We decided to make tinfoil hats to protect ourselves from the aliens… it worked. I thought that we’d be able to jump out of the car, put the hats on, take the picture, then put the hats back in the car. Instead, we had to carry the hats through the front gate security and the whole museum to take the picture. A family from Wisconsin took our picture and it was quite a laugh. ūüôā

By leigh smith

What do you see in Oklahoma “City”?

Designing a map was very difficult. It needed to be something that incorporated the invisible and the city in a way that made sense. My partner Finding a Neverland (also known as Blakely Knox) and I went back and forth with ideas until we finally settled on our final idea.

The two main problems we ran into was clarity and fufilling both the invisible and the map part of the assignement. At first we had the invisible all covered with a clever treasure hunt. After some discussion with Dr. Hessler though, we realized that we were lacking on the map part. Then we decided we would print a map of the city and modify the invisible onto it, but we soon found that our invisible was getting swallowed by the detailed street map.

Our final map turned out to be a pretty good combination of both. We condensed the detailed street map to just the main roads needed to navigate and reach the destinations. Then we carefully placed pictures along our roads where they would appear in real life. After numbering our destinations, we placed pictures to go with them showing both our invisible inventions and the city as it appears. The media on which we created our map is an old blue rag. We chose this medium in order to create an interesting and unique map for our AUM students to read. Hopefully they will feel like real explorers!

Before we created this map, we decided on a few main destinations we felt were important for our group to see/ experiance. The must sees were the Memorial and Deep Deucce. Then we began picking places and things to see that were located in the same general grid. Finally we settled on the Memorial, a cool looking and bright building off of Broadway, the blow-glass structure in the Oklahoma Art Museum, the mural painted along the wall on Gaylord Blvd., the Devon Tower, a grill and a church both in Deep Deuce, a cool statue and a stage both in the Myriad Gardens, and PinKitzel. Each of these has significance, is visually appealing, is fun, or is a combination of those things. We were abe to make each site magical or rememberable in some way. For example, King Kong is climbing the Devon Tower and the blow-glass structure in the art museum is actually Jack’s beanstalk.

Our stategy with our map was to make it simple to read and interesting to follow. We did so by condensing the streets into just the main roads needed to get from place to place. We also did so by attaching two layers of photos for the students to see the magical side and the City side. (Providing the actual picture of the place also makes it easier for the students and leaders to find where they are exploring.) We definitely had to generalize some things and leave some things out, but it was for the sake of clarity, interestingness, and visual rhetoric!

This map making was a struggle. But it was fun and exciting too. I hope that our map is able to guide our AUM students and leaders on a fun adventure giving them a taste of Oklahoma City and of “Oklahoma City.”

By leigh smith

One Hundred and Sixty-Eight Chairs

We visited the outdoor OKC National Memorial today and as I walked around and took in my surroundings, I had a couple of thoughts.

I sat on a wooden bench overlooking the Memorial and I¬†thought about the 168 people whose lives were so suddenly ended. I saw all the empty chairs but they didn’t look right. They didn’t feel right. The memorial looked nice. The sun was shinning. The grass was freshly cut. Everything was in order and beautiful. But what happened here was not nice, or shining, or beautiful. What happened here was horror and chaos and death. And it didn’t seem right that the memorial chairs, representing those who died, should have to stay on the very site on which people breathed their last breaths. I felt as if those killed¬†were trapped here¬†in this beautiful yet horrifying place. I thought about how I would go home today, about how I would go home everyday. But these chairs represented people who would never again go home. These 168 chairs would remain in the Memorial, day in and day out, forever trapped between 9:01 and 9:03.

At St. Luke’s¬†United Methodist Church this past Sunday, Dr. Bob Long began his Easter Sunday sermon with “We are all going to die one day…” and I could feel my heart sink. Death was the last thing I wanted to hear about on such a joyful day.¬†He brought up some good points though¬†as he usually does. He talked about how Mary must have returned to the empty tomb of Jesus in the weeks and months following¬†Jesus’s resurrection. He talked about how, when she looked into that empty tomb, she must have thought about her own death that would one day come. He talked about finding comfort and joy from death.

So as I stared down at the 168 chairs, I began to shift and reevaluate my thoughts. The 168 memorial chairs represent the people who were lost on April 19, 1995. They are not actually¬†the people who were lost. For Mary, the empty tomb¬†must have been a place to think about life, but¬†also a¬†place to think about death. She probably grieved¬†there and¬†she probably found joy there.¬†Similarly, people come to the Memorial to remember, to grieve, and to find hope. Bittersweet.¬†A tragic and horrible event took place on the very ground of the Memorial. What¬†we mustn’t¬†forget¬†to see¬†is the beauty and the hope that also occurred on that very same ground.

When the dark comes, there is light.

By leigh smith

OKC National Memorial Museum layout

This mapped¬†layout of the Oklahoma City National Memorial can be found on the Memorial’s official website under the Symbolism tab of the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial Link. The origin of this map is significant because it is the overhead layout that the OKC¬†National Memorial has chosen put on their website for the world to see. Another great tool to use when evaluating this map is¬†the museum’s outside virtual tour.

When we look at the map, we see that all the wording represents a different aspect of the memorial. The various sections include the Murrah Plaza (Memorial Overlook), the Field of Empty Chairs, the Survival Wall, the 9:01 and 9:03 Gates, the Reflecting Pool, the Rescuers Orchard, the Survivor Tree, the Children’s Area, the Memorial Museum, and The Journal Record Building. Each of these areas brings a separate aspect or feature to the museum that is important to the overall experience. We are also able to see the streets around the museum, the entrances to the museum (including handicapped), parking, restrooms, and water fountains. The map is user-friendly to anyone who wishes to visit and is specifically directed toward visitors.

One detail of the map I’d like to point out is the Field of Empty Chairs. The map depicts each chair’s specific¬†location.¬†Seeing the locations from overhead is a view that one would not have standing on the ground. The nine rows represent the nine floors of the building and the people who died on each floor. As far as the spacing within the row, I’m not quite sure. But it’s intriguing. The map is sending a pretty powerful message. Each person who perished is not forgotten.

Near the survivor tree are five lines representing the terraces leading up to the tree. Because of the overhead view however, one may not be able to see that the¬†area between the lines¬†are actually elevated each level closer to the survivor tree. The thick yellow line behind the 9:03 Gate represents the fence on which people have left items and belongings to show love and support. The fence is represented, but it is not as prominent as some of the other features. The entrance near the gates are actually raised and lowered from the walking ground outside the gates. The elevation differences are not shown. Also specific parts of the children’s area are not visible.

A possible geometric generalization that can be found on the map is mentioned in the book How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monmonier. The arial map of the museum is shown on a flat plane when in reality it is not a flat plane. This type of map is known as a planimetric map. Planimetric maps generalize the locations and distances between spaces usually because of large vertical discrepancies between the two points. The OKC National Memorial is not quite as varied elevation wise so the discrepancies are not as large.

This map is a great way to get acquainted with the outdoor Memorial and is ideal for visitors. It shows the specific aspects of the Memorial with only slight generalizations.

By leigh smith


This map is found on the website promoting Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. And just at first glance, it looks like quite an adventure.

The book How to Lie with Maps¬†by Mark Monmonier¬†explains that “[A]ds must attract¬†attention..” (pg.58) The characterized and Prominent locations/ attractions featured on this Adventure District map do just that. The symbols for the locations are Large and pleasing to the eye. Smaller details to the map are omitted in order to not “confUse or distract” the reader. Everything that is not a location is a pleasant green instead of gray and brown for the buildings¬†that are actually occupying that green area. The highways are also exaggerated¬†in order to show the convenient locations. All the roads not necessary to reach these locations are omitted as well and filled in with that pleasant green. The highway exit signs are even prominent. Notice the beautiful random green Trees and bright colors.

Obviously these locations and surroundings are not exactly as the map depicts, but the reader understands that when looking at the map. Adventure land looks like a great place to be and in reality, the places depicted probably are a great place to be. Unless you are allergic to animals and you go to the zoo or something like that.

This ad map is most certainly how Monmonier describes ad maps: “light-hearted” and “half-serious.”¬†(pg.59)


Where is Dr. Hessler’s Comp II class going for their adventure?


By leigh smith

nwod-edis-pu OR right-side up?

First off, I wanted to include this map because¬†when I first saw it, it struck me. I thought “It’s upside down!” but upon further thought I realized that it’s not really upside down, I just thought that because of how our society views right side up. This can tie along into what we are talking about in class- visual rhetoric and how maps can lie. This map makes a statement: there is more than one way to look at the world. And just when I thought I had seen enough perspectives of a world map to not be surprised, I was a little surprised to see this one.

This is an early map of the Carolina colony, one of the original 13 colonies. This relates really well to what we did in class on Monday- highlighting and picking out important places on the Oklahoma City Map. The drawer of this map started from scratch probably, so he charted in everything that he perceived to be important just as we marked everything we believed to be important on our maps. This map reflects territory and major geographical landmarks just as our map reflects the boundaries of OKC and what we think are important landmarks and sites. Whether intentional or not, the way in which we chart and draw a map reflects a little bit of ourselves onto the page.

By leigh smith

Places and People

I have lived in Oklahoma City my whole life. So when asked to trace my geographic origins, I thought, “Well, mine will be boring from a wide geographic point of view.” So instead of making little dots around places in Oklahoma City that are significant to me, I decided to chart out my travels. The places I have been, the things I have seen, and the people I have met have greatly influenced who I am today.

I found that the more I charted, the more attached to my map I got. I drew a picture of Oklahoma and starred the capitol as my home. From there I thought about my world travels which include Russia, Japan, and Mexico. Then I thought about where I’ve been in the U.S. and I charted a family vacation that took us from OKC to Las Vegas and back. Along the way we visited the painted desert, Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, the petrifyed forrest, Meteor Crator, and Las Vegas. I have great memories of those places my family and I traveled to. I also included the places I have been on mission trips to; Chicago, New York City, Texas.

I saw things that were new and exciting. I saw things that were not apart of my everyday world. I saw beautiful and wonderful things in my travels. I also saw saddness and heartbreaking things. The sunrise over the Grand Canyon was so beautiful it was as if all things were right in those moments. The hunger and faces of those we served meals to in NYC will never leave me.

What I remember and cherish most about the places I’ve been is the people I’ve met. They have made me a more open person.

By leigh smith

Socratic Experiment

You are the driver of a trolly car. THE brakes have gone out and there is no way to stop the car. If you continue down the track you are on, there are five workers down on the track who will die. But if you turn your wheel to Move your trolly onto a side track, there is one person down the track who will die. What do you do?

This was the question posed to us in class for our socratic experiment. We then tried a little experiment of our own and broke into groups to discuss the issue in a chat room. But unlike your ordinary chat room, our chat rooms had a designated “socrates” to help moderate and keep the conversation flowing. The following are some of the obserations I made about our experiance:

1. One of the first things I noticed was that the chat setting discouraged long speech-Like opinions. By the time a lengthy and opinionated text could be typed out, the conversation had moved on. Shorter, more focused conversation was encouraged. More people had the chance to get something across in a shorter amount of time.

2. Our group did not use the chat settings in order to color coat our usernames and so forth. Our conversation was plain blocKs of text. After looking at some of the other groups who did color their usernames, I wish we would have. It was more visually appealing to be able to see a little bit more organization. However, I don’t feel like color, or lack of color, of our usernames was essential to the conversation or really changed anything significantlY. It was simply more pleasing to look at.

3. I guess everything has a flaw. I missed out on a lot of the beginning of the conversation becasue other’s comments were not showing up on my screen. But after some confustion and then some refreshing I was good to go.

4. A note about the actual socratic experiment itself- I had to Wonder, does what we choose to do in the trolly experiment say something about our character and who we are? I think it has to. We become our words and our Actions. Thinking through simple senarios like this may help us to look deeper into ourselves and find peices of ourselves. And what happens when we change the subject to underage drinking or gaY marriage? I think the conversation that comes from these questions, whether we agree or disagee, whether it is said or written, whether we participate or not, is valuable to all of us as humankind.


You are the driver of a trolly car that is actually a transformer and can turn into a space ship. The brakes have gone out and you can’t stop. If you continue down the track, there are five aliens that will die. Or you can turn the wheel onto a side track and one extra-terrestrial will die. Or you can slam the red button next to the steering wheel. What do you do?

And if you hit the red button, where does the trollyship take you?

By leigh smith


We come to the¬†end of the road and see a¬†– sign. That¬†MEANS the driver can go either way right? And the driver can go either way… he or she just can’t come back that way. Seems to me like an¬†arrow pointing in two directions should mean free travel both ways. So the yellow image of the¬†ARROW pointing in both directions is both true and untrue. Ironic huh?

At first glance, the signs seem absurd next to each other. They seem to contradict one another. How can a road be “one way” on two separate directions? But really the signs can make sense if we look at them in a different light. The driver can REALLY go one way in either direction.

As with irony, SOMETIMES the most absurd things can make sense in a strange sort of way.


If you choose to go right, what planet do you end up on?


By leigh smith

Space Base Memory Palace: Rhetorical Appeals

My memory palace is actually a space adventure through the STARS.¬†If you’d like to come along, you are more than welcome.

The setting: The route to get to my room in Walker beginning at the front door where the key swipe is.

The actual setting: The entrance to the National Space Base. Inside is a rocket ready for liftoff.

So we start at the key swipe at the entrance of Walker dorms.¬†I picture a giant green E for ethos that covers the doors.¬†It’s green because green means go. ANYONES‘ StarCard¬†will work to get them inside because we all want to be able to get inside right? It’s the National Space Base after all.

So then we walk into Walker¬†and head straight for the elevator. As soon as we push the round “up” button we automatically think Pathos! Why are we soooo¬†excited? because¬†we are about to get on a rocket ship that propels¬†us into outer space. The rocket ship (elevator) doors open and we get on and prepare for liftoff. (Make sure your backpack is on TIGHT!)

Now that we have entered the atmosphere, it is safe to leave our takeoff compartment (the elevator) and explore the rest of the rocket ship. The door we enter on our right is in the shape of an L for logos. This is because the long hall behind the door is actually a library full of space books. We enter because we want to learn more!

Making the memory palace was a lot of fun. I started out with the directions given in the memory palace article. First I picked a well-known path (the path I take everyday to get to my room). Then I picked out key points on the path. (The key swipe and doors to get in, the elevator and “UP”¬†button, and finally the door to my hallway.) Then I associated the¬†three¬†rhetorical appeals with them. I tried to associate the definition of the appeal to where I placed it in the palace.

Ethos was placed at¬†the key swipe and front doors because it had to do with the authority of those who can get in. We want to trust the author just as we all want to get into the Space Base. Who doesn’t want to get into the Space Base, RIGHT?

Pathos was placed¬†directly after the push of the “up” button.¬†Just as Pathos is emotion, we are excited because we are about to get on a rocket ship! Not just an ordinary elevator!¬†Pushing the button triggers the excitement.

Logos was placed at the door to my hallway. I can picture an L forming the left side and bottom of the door. I made L stand for library because books (especially space books) are full of logic. We can find all the information and knowledge we NEED here.

Instead of leaving my memory palace in Walker, I took it to outer space to make it more fun. And did you pay attention? What planet are we traveling to?


HINT: First letters of THESE words.


By leigh smith