Aug-10-2017

What’s On My Mind on 8-10-17

Wow, it’s been a long time since I did one of these, hasn’t it? Well, I felt I owed it to you guys to explain why I’ve been gone for the last month. The truth is that it’s a rollercoaster of things.

As some of you may know, I’ve been working full-time as a paraeducator for special education. July was basically summer school and I thought, despite the earlier wake-up time, that I’d have a lot more time and energy to focus on Fish and Cherries and my writing. Unfortunately, things got messy. At the beginning of the second week of summer school, I learned that one of my students had been shot and killed a few days prior. This knocked me for a loop something fierce and I had to grieve before I could get back into the swing of things, hence the rather cryptic message I posted a few weeks ago.

The week after that was Comic Con which, while fun, didn’t really leave me any time to watch new movies. Besides, I was busy seeing Mystery Science Theater 3000 live, stand up routines from Conan O’Brien’s writers, and a community theater production of Game of Thrones… the musical. After that, though, things took a sharp downturn. I won’t go into too many details, but several things made me realize that I was not physically safe at the site I was working at. Luckily, that situation has been rectified and I predict happier days going forward.

I hope you guys don’t think of this as an excuse. This website means a lot to me and I constantly want to do my best to see it flourish. But mental health is just as important as physical health and said mental health was in deep decline for a while. Now I’m back over the mountain and ready to catch up. I’m currently sitting on my reviews for Spider-Man: Homecoming and Atomic Blonde and I’m going to be seeing Dunkirk today or tomorrow. Until we speak again, stay well, take care of yourselves, and my the Force be with you.

Posted under Announcements
Dec-27-2016

Requiem For A Princess

It’s true… Carrie Fisher is now one with the Force.

I don’t have much energy to find the right words to send her off. It’s really painful that we’ve lost not only the third in a line of sci-fi icon deaths this year (the first two being Jerry Doyle and Ron Glass), but such an amazing woman in general. I hoped one day to meet her, but it looks like I’ll have to wait a lot longer. If you’re looking for a way to honor her, here’s something from a post going around Facebook:
– normalize mental illness and treatment
– take life a little less seriously
– destroy a fascist regime

See you, space cowgirl.

P.S.: We’ve lost the author to Watership Down and Ricky Harris from Everybody Hates Chris. I’m going to have some words with this year when I write my year-end list…

Posted under Announcements
Sep-30-2016

Snippet Delay

Apologies for the lack of Snippet this week. I’m trying something pretty ambitious and It’s taking a lot more effort than I thought. Next week for sure.

Posted under Announcements
Jul-27-2016

What’s On My Mind on 7-27-16

Ahh, Comic Con. The place I truly feel at home. I can’t even remember my first Comic Con, but I know that it’s made every July that I can remember something to look forward too. Of course, being the long-running con that it is, it’s had to change the way it’s worked to keep up with the times and the ever-growing popularity. Some changes are good, others are… yeah. With all that’s said, let’s take a look at the good and the bad from San Diego Comic Con 2016.

The Good

Badge authenticity has always been a concern for the Comic Con staff, but they have finally come up with a solution. Each of the badges now has an RFID code on it that gets scanned on entry. This was something that was implemented at Silicon Valley Comic Con and it makes the transition here without any traffic congestion. The scanners are even themed around The Walking Dead, so that’s pretty neat. On top of that, it’s structured in a way that doesn’t require a photo ID, so those who share their passes can breathe easy. But that’s illegal by Comic Con standards… and I would never tell you to break the law… noooooooooo, not me…

Then there’s the improvements to getting into the infamous Hall H, which is so popular that congoers have had to camp out overnight to get in. Well, now that have a wristband system. From what I’ve been told, if people camp out overnight, they get an electronic wristband that will let them know when their time to get into the hall is, leaving them free to explore the con until then. It certainly beats waiting in that line for 28 hours to get into the Marvel panel. Speaking of, apparently it’s so easy now that my godniece-in-law stood in line for only a half-hour before she got in and saw loads of stuff, including the Game of Thrones panel. And it was her second Comic Con ever. I still haven’t forgiven her for this.

The Bad

I’ve always had questions about how management at Comic Con worked in the past, but this year the right hand really didn’t know what the left was doing. Weapons Check was a total mess this year because of some new edict that came down that nobody, and I mean nobody else knew about. When I met to check my claws for my Wolverine cosplay, they said that I couldn’t take them into the hall, as there was a ban on Wolverine and Freddy Krueger claws and the like. That would have been nice to let people know beforehand in an email or something! Apparently they went as far as to ziptie people’s weapons to their costumes themselves, but this seemed completely arbitrary. In fact, walking the halls, I saw plenty of Wolverines and Freddy Kruegers that had their costumes intact and other weapons like that ones that got ziptied waving free. So either Weapons Check was asleep at their job or none of the other staff was aware of this edict.

Also, let’s talk about the big complaint for this year: the new design for the bags. I was initially on board with them, but as time went on I joined the masses in disliking them. The addition of a flap makes the whole thing cumbersome and if you really pack the bag full, the velcro on the flap comes loose and it just hangs there like a limp tongue. A lot of people I talked to complained that it was harder to just reach back and slip stuff into your bag, though I’ve never been able to do that in my own personal experience. Another complaint a lot of people had was that they got rid of the poster holder, which I didn’t know they had, but enough people mentioned it that I have to lament with them. Suffice to say, the bags were not a hit.

***

Well, that’s all about the ups and downs of the experience. Come back next week for some previews of things to come in the world of geekdom.

CCILogo-R_Large

Posted under Announcements, On My Mind
Jul-20-2016

What’s On My Mind on 7-20-16

With San Diego Comic Con only a day away, I thought I’d give something to all the aspiring creatives that follow me. Aside from all the costumes, celebrities, and previews, Comic Con is a place where people looking to break into the creative world can learn about the trade from professionals. In honor of all of the ones who taught me, I want to pass something down that I’ve put together.

So you want to be a writer. That’s good, admirable even. The creative bug should spread as far as possible. However, there are a few big obstacles in your way, namely that being self-regulated is one of the hardest things to do. It’s easy to work for someone else, but working for yourself is a-whole-nother beast to conquer. Now, I may not be an expert on the subject, but after a few years of working for myself as a writer, I feel like I’ve obtained some wisdom when it comes to being self-regulated. Here’s three tips on how to be your own good boss when writing creatively.

#1: Beware of JOM

JOM is a nasty fellow who hangs over the shoulder of every aspiring writer. Nobody knows him by name, but everyone’s met JOM. Perhaps even you non-writers have met JOM too. To be sure, let me call JOM by his/her true name:

JUST
ONE
MORE

Just one more webpage of random facts before I get back to work. Just one more level or quest in this really engrossing video game. Just one more chapter of the book or comic I just bought. But that’s the thing about JOM: he/she keeps coming back. That webpage may link to another, more intriguing one or the next chapter could be a resolution to a great cliffhanger. Suddenly, just one more has become several more and that deadline is looking tighter and tighter.

So to stave off JOM, you should take heed of the next piece of advice…

#2: Time Your Breaks (And Be Sure To Take Breaks)

The reason our minds wander to other things while we write is that, like any muscle, it gets tired after prolonged use. Imagine if you lifted 100 pounds for eight hours straight. The muscles in your arms would be completely destroyed! It is omni-important that your mind be allowed to rest, even if this is your future magnum opus.

That said, you should be mindful of how long your breaks are. Newton’s first law of motion says that a body at rest tends to stay at rest; the brain is no different. This isn’t helped by JOM constantly butting in to distract you. The best way to get around this is to set alarms for when your break is supposed to end, letting you know when to get back to work. Nothing quite jolts the senses like an alarm bell.

#3: Don’t Force It — It’s Okay To Take a Day

Sometimes the writing just doesn’t come. Maybe the muse isn’t talking to you or you’re dealing with some problems weighing on your mind. Whatever the reason, you just can’t seem to write.

And that’s perfectly fine.

If the stories aren’t coming, even after some exercises and walks, there’s nothing to be done. Creativity can’t be forced any more than water can be squeezed out of a rock. Sometimes the river’s just dry. There’s nothing wrong with that, though; sometimes ideas need to percolate in the back of your mind before inspiration strikes you for the next part of the project. Now deadlines can make this step complicated, but necessity is the mother of invention and there’s no bigger motivator for that than last minute panic.

There is most assuredly more to this than just these three steps, but the the very least they’ll be a great foundation to build your path to the literary world. Take your first steps. Learn your own valuable lessons to keep you on track. But most importantly of all, never stop imagining and creating.

That’s all for now. For all those going to Comic Con this weekend, have a great time and I hope to see you there.

CCILogo-R_Large

Posted under Announcements
Jul-7-2016

What’s On My Mind on 7-7-16

I have somewhat of an inner confession. Not a sin or anything, just something that’s been weighing on me lately.

I don’t have a lot of fun with fighting games. I enjoy them to be sure, but there comes a point where I stop having fun because it… sets something off in me. Whenever one of these games is particularly relentless or cheap, I get very vivid sensations from being ganged up on, either verbally or physically, by strangers and friends alike. Most of the memories involve being told how awful I am or how hopeless it is to play against a friend who has had more time and dedication to it than I have. It’s a general feeling of helplessness that really gets under my skin.

Because there’s some truth to the matter. As a good portion of you know, I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which affects the processing power of the brain. Things that start in the brain take longer to come out and as such, my reflexes are a bit slower than my peers. Sure, there may be a second of a delay, but that’s all it takes for someone to overpower you in these games. It’s always bugged me in subtle ways, the knowledge that I’ll never be as good at these competitive games as my friends, like a splinter of sorrow in my brain. And yes, it affects me even when I’m alone.

This has been my confession for the evening. Have a good one.

Posted under Announcements
Jun-23-2016

What’s On My Mind on 6-23-16

I’d like to address a trend that I’m starting to find disturbing. I should probably have a whole article on it, but I’d rather get this out while it’s still fresh.

There’s been an announcement that Cartoon Network is rebooting the animated show Ben 10 and, judging from the promotional poster, it will have a minimalistic art style and focus on hyperactive, kid-pandering elements. Now I didn’t actually like this series, but I know it has a large and very devoted fan base and it is for them that I feel bad. Why? Because Cartoon Network has already come out with reboots for Teen Titans, The Powerpuff Girls, and Scooby-Doo, all of which had minimalistic art styles and focused on the hyperactive, kid-pandering elements. Oh yes, and all of them have been consistently bad.

Cartoon Network is going down a very troubling path, focusing on grabbing the attention of kids in the short term rather than keeping kids coming with quality stories. Variety is, of course, key… and that’s part of the problem. So many of these shows seem to be copies of each other. No, that’s not true, they’re actually all a copy of one show: Teen Titans Go! Despite the bad reviews, it’s pulling in very high ratings and has a huge audience to the point where Cartoon Network arrogantly advertises it as “your new favorite show.” What we’re seeing is a follow the leader mentality, putting out more of the same rather than different types of shows. While they still have gems that can legitimately engross kids with nuance like Adventure Time and Steven Universe, I’m worried that they’re going to get drowned out by this cavalcade of copycats. And I’m worried that the generation below us will suffer for it.

I don’t have kids yet, but that’s what makes me care more because right now, I’m dreading what kind of world I will be bringing them into.

Ben10r11

Posted under Announcements
Jun-17-2016

What’s On My Mind on 6-17-16

Oh my… looks like I’ve got some big accomplishments to announce…

Let’s start with the first one: my mom and I were interviewed on a Bay Area public access show called Life on the Autism Spectrum hosted by AASCEND (Autism Asperger’s Spectrum Coalition for Education, Networking, and Development). If you don’t already know, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome from a very young age and have spent a long time coping with it. Believe it or not, Asperger’s has been a huge boon in my creative work and going on the show allowed me to talk about it, as well as The Fire Truck Who Got Lost and the Fish and Cherries website. Follow the link here and see the interview in all its glory.

And more exciting news — I just came out with my first published book review. The website SFBook published a review I wrote on a book called The Complete Double Dead by Chuck Wendig. This marks the first time that a piece I’ve written has been published by a third party before it showed up on Fish and Cherries. Check out the review here and read about what happens when a vampire wakes up after the zombie apocalypse.

That’s all from my end. I’m going to go off and watch the trailer from the new Psychonauts game. My body is ready…

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Posted under Announcements
Jun-8-2016

On My Mind – Delayed

Today’s On My Mind is being postponed for a later day. There’s something big coming in the week and I want it to be included in this week’s update.

Posted under Announcements
Jun-1-2016

What’s On My Mind on 6-1-16

Wow.

I mean wow.

$6,176 raised for The Fire Truck Who Got Lost.

That is over triple the goal and I don’t know how to really express my gratitude. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. Bringing Barnabus the fire truck to life has been a real journey and you have definitely helped it move along. It’s hard for me to believe that my first official book is going to be published to the world. I’m excited, Amber the artist is excited, our families are excited, and you can bet that Barnabus and company are excited.

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. The holiday was the reason I didn’t post a Snippet yesterday, but I’m going to make it up next week, possibly even give you a Classic Snippet tomorrow. For now, it’s back to the grindstone for all of us.

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Posted under Announcements