Welcome To My Reality

My current obsession with the video game, Overwatch, has been officially documented in a previous blog post. Everyone in my life, from parents to co-workers, cousins to friends, knows that I’m a fan. There’s been one unexpected side effect from my new fandom: the desire to watch others play the game. Yes, I love playing Overwatch — despite how frustrating it can be — but I’ve discovered that this game is just as entertaining to watch as it is to play. (more…)

The Raisin At The End of the Hot Dog (Iceland 2018)

Iceland has been on my dream list of countries to visit for the past 8 or so years, when the country started receiving a lot of buzz on travel blogs and websites. I remember searching for images and being enchanted by the rugged yet beautiful landscape shaped by mother nature’s whim in the form of volcanoes, glaciers, and strong winds. But the natural wonders weren’t the only reasons for my desire to visit. Iceland has been ranked the safest nation in the world 11 years running by the Global Peace Index; has been consistently ranked in the top 5 happiest countries by the World Happiness Report; and is one of the most literary countries, publishing more books per capita than any other nation in the world (along with a perfect 100% literacy rate). Those are some pretty impressive achievements. So when the opportunity presented itself this year, I decided to answer the alluring call to visit “The Land of Ice and Fire.” (more…)

Cheers, Love! The Cavalry Is Here!

When Overwatch was released in May of 2016, there was a lot of hype. Blizzard is an established icon in the gaming industry, and this was their first foray into the team-based shooter genre. I was a fan of the original Diablo and Starcraft. However, I hadn’t really kept up with Blizzard’s more recent offerings. I shrugged off Overwatch for a year until I saw the game for sale at Target and decided to buy it on a whim. I knew nothing about the game: the lore, the characters, the different maps, even the gameplay. I had previously read that it was some sort of FPS-MOBA hybrid (FPS = first person shooter, MOBA = multiplayer online battle arena), which piqued my interest. When I first entered the tutorial, I met the character of Tracer. She’s the cover girl and Overwatch’s representative in almost every medium and even had a cameo in the movie, Ready Player One. Her plucky personality immediately drew me in. For the next ten minutes, I learned the bare essentials of how to play the game. Little did I know that those ten minutes would lead into almost a year of play and a whole new fandom to obsess over. (more…)

Strange Things Are Afoot

For the last 12 years, I’ve been relying on public transportation to navigate the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles. Parking is at a premium, and maintaining a car is just something I can’t afford nor want to deal with. While the transportation system in LA isn’t up to snuff as some of its sister cities (i.e. New York, London, Paris), more buses and light rails have been added in the last decade to help ease the traffic jams. But as any Angelino can tell you, that doesn’t really address the other major problems, like why are parts of the 405 Freeway always slower than the line for Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland? It doesn’t matter what day it is or what time it is. There is always traffic on the 405 with no bawdy pirates to entertain you along the way. (more…)

Tranquilize the Mind with a Steady Purpose (ICFA 2018)

I attended ICFA (the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, operated by the IAFA) for the first time last month. This academic conference is pretty special; I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Eclectic is a good way to describe the vibe, as the attendees come from varying fields of study. There were undergrads and postgrads, professors and independent scholars, writers and editors, all specializing in topics like Indian science fiction, the portrayal of robots in Japanese pop culture, or monsters in Victorian literature (the theme for this year’s conference was the 200-year anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, after all). I’ll admit that it was overwhelming at times, and yes, exhausting too. I would have never survived without those revitalizing coffee breaks! The overall experience was so exhilarating and intellectually stimulating, however, that losing a few hours of sleep was well worth it. I walked away (or rather, flew away) from Orlando equipped with new approaches to literature and some inspiration for future projects. (more…)