A New Discovery of an Old Master: Yoshihiro Tatsumi

In my library system, there are one seven books that pop up when you search “Adrian Tomine,” the famed New Yorker illustrator: New York Drawings, Shortcomings, Killing and Dying, which are actually written and illustrated by him; three collections of comics and illustrations from various publishers; and Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Tomine edited it.). Initially, I was resistant to picking up Abandon the Old in Tokyo because I wasn’t interested in someone else’s work. I didn’t want to know what Tatsumi had done, and I didn’t consider editing truly reflective of Tomine’s work. Fortunately, I’m a bit obsessive and couldn’t resist the opportunity to read a Tomine introduction. And thus, a new obsession was born. Continue reading

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A Hard Look at My Personal, Political Bias

Recently, a friend accused me of a reporting bias, saying that she didn’t see me reporting on some of the negative things going on from both campaigns (i.e., Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’). She thought I was unfairly attacking Sanders’ campaign, especially since I recently posted the “Daily WTF: Bernie Supporters Harassing Superdelegates” article. She wasn’t rude about it, and since we’re both reasonable people, we quickly reached an accord. However, her claim did make me wonder: how biased am I against the Sanders campaign? Continue reading

Neko Atsume: Tamagotchi for the 21st Century

In the late 1990s, Tamagotchis were all the rage. Their colorful plastic eggs swung from Lisa Frank and plastic see-through backpacks, and well before smart phones, they were the electronic you hid under your desk during class. The originals featured little blobby monsters that would dance in non-player mode and that you had to feed, clean up after, and take care of during the day. They were often the last thing you’d do before going to bed and the first thing you’d do upon waking up. As soon as your alarm went off, you’d fly to your Tamagotchi, worried that it had died during the night. Fortunately, they were just surrounded in their own poop.

Since the initial rollout in 1996, there have been many similar toys. Tamagotchi eventually came out with different iterations such as dinosaurs, dogs, and cats. We had Pokémon and Digimon. There were the Sims and Neopets. None of them were quite the same. There were so many different varieties to choose from, and the purpose wasn’t so much to help something grow but to establish an entire life. You might also have to battle other people or search for lost items or design a house. There was nothing quite like Tamagotchis.

Until now. Continue reading

Dead 7: A Disappointing Clusterfuck

When Syfy and The Asylum announced that ‘90s boy bands The Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, 98 Degrees, and O-town would be joining up for zombie/spaghetti western Dead 7, no one thought that it was going to be good. Not for a second. But we did think it would be entertaining. We gleefully hypothesized about coordinated zombie-killing dance numbers and West Side Story snap battles between N’Sync and The Backstreet Boys. We hoped that the boys would appear from white, over-saturated light with dry ice billowing around them. We wanted someone (probably Howie Dorough or Joey Fatone) to see a zombie and scream like Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead. We wanted Nick Carter to croon at a zombie, settling its animal rage. What we wanted, essentially, was a return to the feel-good ‘90s with a film that was reminiscent of Spice World, Home Alone, or the music video for “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).”

What we got was another low-budget, poorly written Syfy movie that, most damning of all, had nothing to do with the boys. No one quipped song lyrics or titles at each other. No one went by their real names. No one danced or sang. They just pretended that they were all real actors and that the network hadn’t used their fame and fans to boost ratings for a movie that wouldn’t have gotten half as many people to watch it. Continue reading

There Will Be Awkwardness: On Writers’ Personalities and Meet-Ups

* Photo taken from The IT Crowd

Writing is a solitary pursuit. Writers come up with ideas and then force themselves to sit and think intensely about them while intermittently plucking away at a keyboard. We listen to our friends and family just outside our doors cooking dinner, watching TV, and gossiping about the day, and we make the choice to divorce ourselves from that – at least for a little while. Then, and this is perhaps the harder of the two tasks, when we’re done, we have to go out into the waking world and forget what we just did.

You see, when you’re not writing, it doesn’t exist. No one else knows what you’re doing. No one, to some extent, really cares. Even when you try to explain it, you’re not going to be able to do the work justice – that would require them to read it. And, unlike most work, it’s not always possible to see what the writing will become in its incipient stages. Too often, when we start something, we have to tear it down completely – the equivalent of building a house and demolishing everything but the fireplace. Continue reading

On the Importance of Pi(e) Day

A sad fact of aging is that we often lose interest in what enchanted us as a child. Old stumps and rocks degrade from being fairy rings into compost. Beloved security blankets smell, fade, and disintegrate in waterlogged boxes. Holidays morph from magical, joys events into financial burdens and family dramas. Unless we have another person to work for, we simply can’t maintain the level of excitement and hope needed to keep these things alive. Which is why we make new traditions.

While many people love Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July, my favorite holiday happens on March 14th. Every January when I buy a new calendar, I flip right to it and mark it with stars and exclamation points. For weeks in advance, I anticipate it by scanning my favorite food blogs and cookbooks. Without fail, I bake at least one pie extravagantly decorated. Why? Because it’s Pi(e) Day. Continue reading

The Implications of a Sanders “Whites-Only” Revolution

Image taken from https://revolutionaryds.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/sanders-campaign-shell-game-to-save-the-two-party-system-or-potential-third-party-breeding-ground/

Bernie Sanders’ first major political rally in Burlington, Vermont began with the words, “Today… we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally.” He has since revisited that theme numerous times, most famously in his New Hampshire victory speech when he proclaimed, “What began last week in Iowa, what voters here in New Hampshire confirm tonight, is nothing short of the beginning of a political revolution.” And while it is true that in states like New Hampshire and Kansas he’s achieved record youth turnout, he’s still struggling in states with high black populations. In South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, and Louisiana, which all have a black population of approximately 20% or higher, he’s lost by about 30 – 60 points. So if Sanders isn’t winning states with large black populations, does that mean his “revolution” isn’t resonating with black voters – or worse yet, isn’t for them? Continue reading

Gun Laws, State by State – New Hampshire

Note: As mass shootings gain more media attention, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day).

So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.

Previous post: Georgia Continue reading

Gun Laws, State by State — Georgia

 

Note: As mass shootings gain more media attention, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day).

So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.

Previous post: California Continue reading

The Process of Pitching

One of the greatest upsets in my writing life was learning that real, working writers pitch, write, and sell articles on a regular basis – that it is in fact necessary if they want to not only be “real, working writers” but “paid, not starving, non-homeless writers.” In my nebulous understanding, I figured that you either wrote books and were a writer or you didn’t and were not. If you were still waiting for your book to be written or sold, you sucked it up and got some “stable” job to support you. However, if you had sold that book, you could basically count on the royalties to support you and go on about your life, working to write your next book.

Unfortunately, even when writers sell books, those books don’t always provide them with enough to live on for a year (let alone a lifetime). Said books also don’t always provide them with the level of expertise and notoriety that the authors need to be relevant and sought-after in the field, thus making it necessary for writers to pitch articles. Pitching articles is also an alternative to working an office or retail job and in fact helps you gain contacts in the industry – contacts that can help you when you do have a book you want to pitch.

Plus, you can get paid. $$ Continue reading