Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I'm starting a new blog

This blog is ending now. I'm starting up a new one today. Link here.

I wanted to wipe the slate clean and start completely fresh, for a lot of reasons. The new blog is probably going to be a lot more personal and less geeky, so follow me over there if you'd like more of that.

Thanks for reading this far, guys.

Friday, May 6, 2016

No more

I saw Captain America: Civil War tonight. In short, it was fantastic, and totally made up for everything Batman v Superman did wrong. In fact, it's almost literally the same movie, but with every mistake reversed and turned into something amazing.

It's weird: I've been looking forward to this movie for a long, long time. Not Star Wars Episode VII-long, but a while. And while I really enjoyed the movie, the moviegoing experience overall wasn't too great.

I ended up going to the movie by myself. I've gone to movies alone plenty of times before, but this was the first time I've been to a midnight showing (7PM, but still, "first showing") without anyone else. I didn't plan it that way. I asked a few friends, but either they couldn't, had already made plans with other friends, or just didn't want to. I put up a facebook post earlier in the week inviting anyone and everyone to come with me. I got tons of responses from people wanting to talk about the movie, but no one who said they wanted to come, and no one showed up.

While I waited in the theater for the 2.5-ish hours til the movie started, I looked around. A family was on my left. A group of twentysomethings sat on the floor a level below me and played Zelda Monopoly. Another family was on my right. There was one teenager sitting above me that was by himself. We ended up talking for a half hour about comics and video games. Then some of his friends showed up and he moved across the room to sit with them. A couple took his place. For two hours, I was the only person without anyone to talk to. I sat there and thought: this isn't fun. I hadn't even considered the idea that I'd be miserable by myself because I'd never really been in that situation before. And it's not something I ever want to relive.

Maybe it wouldn't hurt so much if not for the fact that I've seen every Captain America and Avengers movie with Andrew and Elisabeth. In that exact same room, first showing every time. But this time I sat there and had to deal with the fact that even if and when I reached out to people, I got nothing back.

I don't want this anymore.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Deadpool ♥

This Valentine's Day, I went to see Deadpool by myself. Popcorn and soda in hand.

It was pretty great.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Star Wars: A New Hope - A Comic Adaptation

I went to a Christmas party tonight that had a white elephant gift exchange with a $2 limit. I decided to buy a $1 Star Wars notebook and draw my own comic adaptation of the original Star Wars. This is what I made.

Oh, uh, spoilers for Star Wars from 1977, I guess....

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Have Courage and Be Kind

I watched Cinderella (the 2015 live-action movie) for the second time tonight, now that it's out on blu-ray.

It's so good.

Something that's been lost from pop culture in recent years (or perhaps just ignored) is the unrelenting goodness and joy of modern fairy tales. Watch classic Disney movies and you get a neverending message of optimism: no matter how dark life becomes, there will always be a door to the light.

Most fairy tales made today are fraught with the grime of "realism;" the insistence that fiction, fairy tale or not, must reflect real life, not aspire to be better than it. Realistically, this has always been the case. Cynicism is not a new invention. But Disney films in the past always carried a more optimistic outlook. Snow White is revived by a magic kiss; Pinocchio is made into a real boy by the Blue Fairy; Cinderella's fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a stagecoach. Today, even Disney films have somewhat changed sides. In Frozen, Princess Anna is repeatedly told that she shouldn't decide to marry Prince Hans after only having just met him. This is, of course, perfectly valid and wise advice. Frozen puts familial love on a pedestal above romantic love-at-first-sight. Its messaging is a bit too precisely worded, however, to be anything other than a direct (if gentle) response of disagreement to Disney films past.

The 2015 live-action Cinderella, however, has a response of its own. In the new film, Cinderella is said to see the world "not always as it [is], but perhaps as it could be—with just a little bit of magic." One of the songs from the animated Cinderella (which also appears during the end credits of the new film) says, "no matter how your heart is grieving / if you keep on believing / the dream that you wish will come true." The new Cinderella continues a now-ongoing dialogue:

Cinderella (1950): If you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.
Frozen: You can't marry a man you just met. (because he's probably evil)
Cinderella (2015): See the world not as it is, but as it could be—with just a little bit of magic.

That "little bit of magic" referenced is probably the deciding factor: to believe that the world is exactly as we see it with our eyes, or whether we choose to believe that there's something more at work.

Just to cover my argument bases, I'm not saying Anna should have married Prince Hans in Frozen. But Frozen also exists in a world completely unlike that of Cinderella. Anna is a princess who Hans only wants for her royal status; the prince in Cinderella wants to be with Cinderella even if it means giving up the advantages of marrying royalty. The situation is almost completely reversed. But the point stands that miracles don't happen on a daily basis, and good things rarely fall into place quickly and easily. Even Cinderella has to endure years of mistreatment by her stepmother and stepsisters before things turn around. So what does one do in a world that often seems to contradict hope in the unseen? Once again, Cinderella has an answer: "have courage and be kind."

(If you caught my there-will-always-be-a-door-to-light reference, you are wonderful)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Name All My Cats After...

 This morning I was at Barnes & Noble, browsing their collection of anime merch. They've really expanded their collectibles department; it's slowly taking over the store. I approve. I came across a little plush figure of Luna, Sailor Moon's mentor/pet cat.
Can't seem to find a very good picture of the specific plush I found, but it's basically perfect.
It stands on its own four legs, is well-detailed, etc. I saw it and immediately thought of Rachel, the biggest Sailor Moon fan I know. I mentally bookmarked the plush and decided to buy it for her sometime in the future.

Later in the evening at the regular Saturday night families get-together dealie, Rachel gave me a couple of neat Zelda phone straps that she'd randomly ended up with. They're pretty cool, especially this one:
It's from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, where Link shrinks down and meets the tiny Minish people.
So basically, the little figure is a life-size Minish. I am pleased. Also, he matches my Club Nintendo exclusive Zelda 3DS bag.
So after randomly getting a geek gift from Rachel, I thought, "...hmm. I think I need to go back to Barnes & Noble and get that Luna."

So I drove to Barnes & Noble and bought the Luna. While I was checking out, my cashier said, "what is that cat's name? Luna?"
I was surprised. This lady was in her mid-50s, very bookish-type, with a reasonably thick country accent.
"Yeah," I said, "it's Luna."
She nodded. "I have a cat named Luna."
"Really," I said, "did you name her because of Sailor Moon?"
"No," she shook her head. "I name all my cats after astronomical bodies."
I had to fight the urge to actually laugh. "Wow," I said.
"Yeah, I have Comet, and Jupiter, and I ran out of planets with all the other cats, so she had to be the moon."

So that happened and it was awesome. Rachel liked her plushie cat.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Home Alone: Wandering Lost

I've had the house all to myself for the last week while my mom's on vacation in the Colorado Rockies. It's been kind of a weird experience.

On one hand, it's been nice, having complete control over my own home life. Since my mom is a light sleeper and her room is right next to the living room, the kitchen, the laundry room, and the garage—the front door is also in earshot. To keep from waking her up, I pretty much have to keep to my own side of the house after she goes to bed (between 9 and 10pm on weekdays). No cooking, no watching TV in the living room, no doing laundry, and generally no leaving the house through the front door or garage. Also, when she's home on weekends, she basically parks on the couch or in the kitchen, meaning that I can't be in the main area of the house unless I want to watch QVC, the Bachelor, or NCIS with her—which, surprise surprise, I never want to do. Another thing: my mattress is horrendous. Seriously, it gives me back problems and ensures that I pretty much never sleep well. My mom's mattress, on the other hand, is pretty great. So yeah, having the house to myself is nice: I can watch Netflix in the living room whenever I want, do laundry at 10pm, cook a pizza at midnight, sleep in a bed that actually lets me sleep, et cetera.

On the flipside, though not exactly a negative, is the fact that I'm in charge of taking care of the house. I'm the one who has to feed and watch the cats (we have two cats now), I'm the one who does all the household chores, and I'm the one who decides what to spend grocery money on. It's responsibility, and it's not a bad thing. It's just different. I do wish I didn't have to take care of the cats—they're still rambunctious kittens but big enough to cause problems—because juggling them can be a hassle. But whatever. At least I'm not technically 100% alone in here.

That's the other thing. Being alone in the house is weird. I don't actually feel any more lonely than I usually do—though I sort of always feel lonely so maybe I've already hit terminal loneliness velocity—but it is weird to actually be the only one around. Normally if I'm at home and feel lonely, I feel like a victim of my circumstances. But when the house is empty and I'm the one in charge, so to speak, it feels like the responsibility for my loneliness rests with me. That it's my job to make social interaction happen rather than sitting alone at home.

So I see if any friends want to hang out. I don't ask that many people, because honestly I don't know that many people anymore that I can just call up and ask. Daniel is/was my only real go-to friend, though he's gonna be leaving for college in a month or so. I wonder what I'm gonna do then? Andrew is out of state at the moment, and we don't get to hang out much anyway. Sarah and Zach are gonna be leaving soon, but even they are kind of absent/busy a lot now anyway. Elisabeth and I aren't really friends anymore. I don't really know what to do, but I figure that I need to be making new friends by getting "out" into the world. On that note...

I went to Barnes and Noble earlier tonight to read some comics. I planned on reading some Batman, but ended up discovering this indie graphic novel called The Sculptor.
It's a super-thick (500 pages) one-off along the lines of Blankets. It's about a 26-year-old artist named David whose life is a terrible trainwreck: his family members have all died tragically, his few friendships are complicated, and his huge artistic potential is buried under layers upon layers of depression. I found it a little uncomfortable how much I felt like I could relate. David ends up meeting Death himself, and makes a deal: David will only live for another 200 days, but he can sculpt literally any material however he wants, making his sculptures essentially only limited by his imagination. Over those 200 days he learns about life and has an epic ton of drama. The sculpting superpower angle is actually one of the least important aspects of the story; it's really just about a man trying to figure out his life and what he wants out of it in the remaining 200 days he has left.

While I was reading, there were some 18-year-olds sitting next to me having fun, mostly trading opinions on books, movies based on books, each others' original writing, etc. I talked with them a little. I think they were the kind of people I might've been friends with if I'd been in their social circle (and maybe a little younger). It made me miss having friends like that to hang out with. But on the flipside, I caught one little exchange between them that I found interesting. Toward the end of the night, one of them said, "we have to promise each other that after I go to UNT, we'll get together someday and have lunch or something." The other two nodded and agreed. But the implication was that this group wouldn't be together for much longer. I'd spent a good portion of the night sitting next to them wishing that I still had friends like these three had each other—and yet even this group was soon going to break apart.

And I don't really know what lesson I should take from that. That nothing lasts forever? That it's always best to keep moving forward instead of holding onto people from the past?

If I had to guess, I'd say that I haven't been looking for friends lately so much as a family—the kind of people who won't go away, no matter what. Of course, then again, half of my family died in my teens anyway, so maybe even family isn't that permanent. But it should be, right? I don't want to be demanding, or to expect the impossible. Just as long as I don't have to sit inside the house by myself anymore.


As I decided on a title for this blog post ("Home Alone"—look at me, everybody, I'm clever...), I fell across the words "lost" and "wandering" (no doubt because of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York), and the Tolkien part of my brain remembered the line "not all who wander are lost." I googled it to remember the full context, and realized that it's actually part of a larger poem that refers to Aragorn and his destiny:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king
Well. Isn't that nice.