Sunday, December 30, 2012

The best of the year!

Since we're entering 2013, I want to share the 13 best things that happened to me this year.

In no real order, these are the best moments of my year:

He's home! (#1)
1. My marine brother coming home from deployment undamaged. No physical injuries, and minimal mental scars. Best Christmas gift possible.

Drinks with the girls (#2)
2. Drinking with BL and GD. Both nights were amazingly fun, I got to grab two boobs and slap someone really hard! Plus, there was the drunk Scottish boys ;)

3. Dating Paul. He wasn't the best boyfriend and a shitty lover, but it was nice to have someone and good to have stories.

Just one of the stories
I wrote (#4)
4. Getting hired as the intern for my university. I have had the best the time working in that office and it's made me feel so much sure of my skills. Submitting press releases and having them printed; writing copy for a magazine; editing copy; doing research; interviewing people - students, professors, and other professionals.

5. Storm chasing with SMC. It was crazy and not something I would have done alone, but it was super fun and I'm glad it happened.

6. Taking glassblowing. I'm not great, probably the worst blower in the class, but making things has always been a phenomenal experience and glassblowing is like seeing magic.

My birthday cake :) (#7)
7. Surprise birthday picnic in the commons. I totally didn't see it coming and BL and AW made my "perfect birthday" even though it was a crazy request. Ahhh, friendship really is magic.

8. Concert with my mom. My mom had only been to one concert her whole life (she's 55). At 22, I've already been to 15. She totally didn't like the show, but it was great exploring Boston with her afterwards.

The water isn't safe
anymore. (#9) 
9. Getting a shark's fin. See pics, but I think I invited a hair style and that's amazing. It also inspired a project. Plus it's badass and now I'm a predator. hahaha

10. Competing in the AAF regionals. Fuck man, working on a campaign for 9 months only to get beaten by the worst idea ever, really makes you feel like shit. But I loved that CG and her fiancĂ©e came and that was the first time I heard "Call Me Maybe." So it was a great day. Plus, I looked dapper with my blue tie.

Titanic style! (#11)
11. Going on a cruise with EL. It really solidified out friendship, being able to talk about boys and dancing with her. And I love being on a boat! haha

We saw deer, rabbits, fish
birds, and cats. (#12)
12. Visiting CG and spending the night with her. Again, it solidified the friendship and I loved seeing her town and her cats. It was also great to be back in a sorta natural place. I'm a child of the woods, living in the city.

13. Getting inspired to photograph again. Three years of not touching a camera was rough and crazy of me. The Jerry Uelsmann exhibit and doing action shots of hockey games were the perfect catalyst to restart that passion.
Uelsmann is called the
"Father of Photoshop"

Chasing the puck!

Here's to 2013. Hopefully I'll have 14 great moments to share next Dec. 31. Thank you all for being a part of my life. I love you.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Legend of Korra, the True Disappointment

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!!

Before I begin, I just want to state that I liked "The Legend of Korra" the summer squeal to "Avatar: the Last Airbender" (AtlA). Despite its faults, the plot was engaging, the changes in the Avatar universe were believable and refreshing, the bending battles were really cool, and it expanded the original characters' stories without relying on them. In short, the 12 episode-long story was worth the (about) 6 hours it took to watch.

However, as others have pointed out the season was not flawless. There were mistakes and dropped opportunities that had events gone differently, "Korra" could have been truly amazing. And while most of the reviews focus on failed plot points I think it's almost important to note a bigger failure in "Korra" i.e. the lack of social commentary.

For anyone who hasn't seen the shown (watch it!), "Korra" tells the story of Avatar Korra. A woman in her teens who can "bend" three of the four elements. When we meet Korra, she has mastered water, earth and fire, but is having trouble with air as well as the spiritual side of the being the Avatar - the only person in her world that can bend more than one element.

Realizing that the only way she's going to learn how to bend air is to travel to the large metropolis Republic City, Korra takes control of her destiny and travels to the large city. However, she quickly discovers that all is not well in Republic City. A cult-like movement headed by Equalists, is trying to rid the world of benders - especially the Avatar.

After 12 drama-filled episodes, Korra defeats the Equalist leader and (debatable-ly) fully realizes her Avatar abilities. However, in order to truly understand my main complaint with "Korra" we have to discuss how AtlA handled social commentary.

In AtlA, episodes tackled sexism ("The Warriors of Kyoshi" and "The Waterbending Master"), racism (any fire-bending central episode), holding grudges ("Jet" and "The Great Divide"), class division ("The Blind Bandit"), the concept of justice ("The Puppetmaster"), self-confidence ("Sokka's Master" and parts of "Tales of Ba Sing Se") and the effects of war ("Imprisoned") to name a few.

AtlA blends these very real social problems that viewers face/will face while advancing plot and not seeming like a Very Special Episode. A rare treat  in television programming that should be celebrated.

"Korra" does this to an extend, but not nearly as well as AtlA. And more often than not, the solution is a joke or worse, the problem is answered with violence. The very premise mirrors prejudice perfectly. Benders vs. non-benders. People are being judged and hated simply because of traits that they cannot choose. There's even a moment were some benders are abusing non-benders and a non-bender tells Korra that she "is their Avatar too."

This could have been a great time for Korra to grow as a character and try to understand life as a non-bender. To see a different side of an argument and to use that knowledge to try to close the gap between the two sides - something the Avatar should do. Instead she using her Earth bending to threaten the benders to leave the non-benders alone.

The same can be said of pretty much every time Korra interacts with an Equalist. And yes, drama makes good TV, and no one wants to watch two characters talk it out. However, there could have been a moment when a captioned Equalist shares his/her beliefs, and then the next scene is Korra mulling over what she learned. But that never happens because Korra defaults to violence and that attitude isn't healthy for real world counterparts to absorb.

Another problem is how homelessness is depicted. When Korra first arrives in Republic City she is surprised to discover a man living in a bush. This character later returns to help Korra and her friends go underground. Again, this could have been a great moment to discuss the very real problem of homelessness, but it's made into a joke. When the characters are forced  to eat "squirrel soup" it could have a statement about how desperate people below the poverty live. Instead we laugh at Asami's awkwardness.

To its credit, "Korra" does handle family dynamics really well. The father-daughter, brother-brother, abusive father-sons, and traditional nuclear family relationships are accurate and very real - an aspect missing from AtlA.

There is a second season of "Korra" coming, so maybe the show will tackle social issues more effectively in the coming year, but as I said, the first season was a bit disappointing.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Path Ways

Right now, I'm waiting for the pilot episode of "Cougar Town" to load. The show had its third season finale this May, and despite positive reviews, it never really caught my attention. That is until I read blog updates from this guy.

He was writing about the highlights from my new favorite TV show, "Happy Endings" and "Modern Family," which I also enjoy. I was only interested in the HE and MF section, but since the highlights for all three shows were lumped together, I figured why not? Reading never hurt anyone (hehe).

But now I'm wondering, what got me here? I wanted to see a specific dialogue of HE but I couldn't remember what episode it was in. I Googled and the Please Welcome Your Judge blog appeared in the results. That explains why I'm watching Cougar Town, but why was I searching for HE quotes. Well, I only started watching the show because it was on after MF and Eliza Coupe was in it. I started watching MF because I saw an episode with my cousin while talking to her mom and I know Coupe from "Scrubs" which I only started watching while living in NC because TV was my only friend. I was living in NC....

You can see where I going with this. No moment just happens. Everything is connected. This sentiment can be seen everywhere - from MIB 3 to Stephen King novels.

The point of all this: Stop what you're doing and take a moment to think about how you got there. Now marvel at the ripple effects one little change in your life can have.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Anime Boston

It was amazing. Everywhere I looked was something new and exciting to see. But if I stared too long at one thing, I was sure to miss another. This was my second time attending Anime Boston – a convention dedicated to everything and anything anime-related. The good panels are informative, fun, and worth the thirty minute line wait. The bad ones, notsomuch. But the real beauty in the con is the cosplayers.

Cosplaying is when someone dresses as a character from a TV show, movie, game, comic, etc. Some people go full force and act like their chosen character, while others are only wearing a costume, sort of like Halloween but in April and for a weekend instead of a night.

Strolling around the Hynes Convention Center’s three stories is a treat for the eyes. The colors alone inspire infinite ideas. It is as if a Crayola Crayon SuperPact box and a rainbow had babies. The darkest black of Batman could be standing next to the neon yellow of Super Saiyans with everything in-between only a turn of the head.

The people are just as inspiring as the colors. This year there was a Catwoman in skintight leather, and it was if skintight leather was invented for her. Not only did she have the body to rock something so bold, but she had the curves to fill the suit. I’m gay and proud, but even I had to say, “Damn!” There were treats for girls and certain boys too! Shirtless Mad Hatter (above) had everyone desperate for a photo and gave my cell phone a new wallpaper. There were some people in “did-you-really-think-you-could-wear-that?” attire, with buttons straining against rolls of flesh. But in the spirit of the con, you take a photo anyways.

Some outfits were obviously store bought, others painfully homemade, and still several that were surprisingly completed in living rooms. It didn’t matter though; every person helped fill the air with electricity.

The hallways were full of the scent of activity. Not the pungent smell of body odor (though that could be found), but the smell of passion and adventure. Similar to the morning of the annual beach trip, excitement flew from person to person, gaining momentum. It was easy to get swept into the exhilaration and ignore grumbling stomachs and aching arches. Those were trifle emotions; I fed off the energy in the building and every adventure needs a battle wound.

I couldn’t stop; there were too many pictures to take, too many people to talk to, too many memories to make.

All models over 18.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Where Lafeyette Crosses Holly Street

I’m going to die in that intersection. I just know it. One of these mornings, something is going to happen and my life will end. A car will run the red light as I’m crossing, someone on their phone won’t be paying attention, or a bus’ brakes will fail at the worst possible moment. Somehow, some way, I’m going to die there.

I know this because I feel it. Every morning I approach the crosswalk, my skin crawls and I become more alert. I feel pressure on my left shoulder and I have to shake it off. And even on the hottest day of the year, my skins breaks into goose bumps and a chill settles around me. I believe the universe is trying to tell me something, to warn me of the dangers – what else could it be?

It may be vain to think that the universe cares about what happens to me, but I believe it has a grand plan for everyone - we all have a destiny of sorts to fulfill. In the past, I have gotten signs and feelings that have led to big moments in my life.

Two years ago when I was interning in the Governor’s press office, I awoke unmotivated and considered using my only sick day to skip work. But that’s immature and inappropriate. To settle the internal debate, I decided to flip a coin. Heads: go to work, tails: stay at home.

A flick of the thumb and I saw Washington’s face. It wasn’t the answer I wanted, so ‘two out of three’ was invoked. Heads again. ‘Three out of five’ was used. Heads again! Thinking that maybe this coin could only land on heads, I changed the rules: heads goes to bed, tails gets to work. I palmed the coin and threw it in the air. Tails.

That day, my fellow interns called out last minute, three press releases were dropped and Senator Kerry’s antics made the front cover of every newspaper. It was the busiest day that summer and I handled every intern task alone. My boss was impressed and invited me to not only write a speech for the governor but to be present when he read it out loud. The final product was dramatically different from what I wrote, but he kept the opening and part of the closing. Words I wrote came out of one of the most powerful men in Massachusetts!

So call me crazy, say I’m being ridiculous, or whatever other small-minded insult you want, but I know I’m going to die in that intersection.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Use to Like Sad Shit

I use to be a robot. I didn't have laser eyes, super strength, and I wasn't hunting for John Connor, but I almost never cried. I felt emotions, I was sad when my grandfathers died within a week of each other but I didn't cry. I even did a marathon of "Grey's Anatomy" without crying, and for those who haven't seen the show, it has its sad moments - downright depressing at times.

Then my surrogate older sister went to war. She was a member of the National Guard and she was deployed to Iraq. There was a real possibility that she could die, war is notorious for people dying, and my armor broke. I would spend nights worrying and wondering what would happen if she died. Inevitably, this would lead the night to end with me crying myself to sleep.

In drinking, once you go pee you've broken the seal and must respond to your bladder when it demands. The same is applied to crying. Now, I can't stop myself. I watched one, just one, episode of "Grey's" and I was bawling like a drunken Father admitting he failed his children.

A Journalism professor said that this is good. It means that I'm no longer skating through life. That by allowing myself to cry, or more accurately, to actually feel something, I'm growing as a person. That I'll get to experience the full emotional spectrum and thus be grateful for the happiness I do feel.

I think that's bullshit. I was happy. Now I'm just sad a lot.

If only I had the money and technology to become a million dollar man. If only I could be rebuilt.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spelling A Victory

Do you know what a ryot is? What about an amu? Qat? I ask because less than a month ago, I had no idea these words existed. Now I am about them because I have an iPhone and more specifically, I play Words With Friends (WWF) and I play to win.

WWF is an app version of Scrabble. Instead of seating around with a group of friends, I can play this classic board game everywhere and at any moment. This means that at every moment my cell phone was battery life, I can be learning a new word. That’s how I discovered qat.

A friend played it against me and I was shocked. I knew there were ‘q’ words without the ‘u,’ but such a short one must be something she made up. I Googled it and qat is a real word meaning an illicit drug made from plant roots that can cause hallucinations. It is sort of like a natural version of acid, and a good vocabulary word. Plus, it’s worth like 20 points.

I learned ryot by happenstance. I had three letters left, a ‘y,’ a ‘t,’ and an ‘o.’ The ‘r’ was on the board and I knew I could spell rot, but that would have left my with a ‘y’ and that letter is hard to play be itself. I placed all my titles on the board and just starting trying any combinations I could think of. Luckily ryot was successful and even though I lost that game, I had learned that farmers in India who are bound to the land they till are called ryots.

I’m a Communications student, but in truth, I’m really an English major. I love words and this game is not only expanding by word knowledge, but challenging it. Quick, there’s a ‘w’ on the board and you have ‘a,’ ‘z,’ ‘t’ and ‘l.’ What word can you spell? Waltzing never seemed more important in my life than in that moment.

Amu is a scientific measurement of something’s mass. I cannot wait to write something involving that word. I don’t care what it is, but it will be glorious. I’ve lost a few games of WWF but adding these words to my vocabulary is the best part and well worth the defeat. Never have I had so much fun spelling.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Second Look At "Twilight"

This semester I am taking a class in the literary significance of mythical creatures, specially werewolf, zombies, and vampires. The professor has told us that these creatures appear in one form or another in every culture. These beasts are universal and therefore must mean something.

I’ve studied fairy tales before, but then I was focusing on how they have changed over time and how that reflects the culture of the teller. I’ve never even given thought to what the creatures might mean.