The Valiant: Boldly Bearing Calamity

Last summer, the Overwatch League (OWL) finished its inaugural season and crowned the London Spitfire as its first champions. My favorite team, the Los Angeles Valiant, fell to the Spitfire in the semi-finals but still had an incredible first season. They were Stage 4 Champions, Pacific Division Champions, and finished second overall in the league behind the New York Excelsior. During the off-season, when the official OWL streams ended and teams went on break, I realized how much I missed seeing the Valiant play on stage. Off-season events like the California Cup co-hosted with the San Francisco Shock helped fans from both teams deal with the lull, and individual players streaming on Twitch helped to bridge the gap, too. As Season 2 approached, there was a palpable feeling of excitement among OWL fans, me included. I was so hyped to see the Valiant back in action. Having been a fan since the roster reveal, I’ve witnessed some rough patches. Stage 2 was not a particularly good time for us, but the team fought back after making some big trades and coaching changes. They ended Season 1 strongly.

Expectations were high for Season 2, and then… the Valiant hit the roughest patch in the team’s young history. They went 0-7 in Stage 1. There were lots of memes and mean-spirited comments being tossed around. I did my best to send positive tweets to the players and help uplift fellow fans. Little things, really, but maybe it helped someway, somehow. During this stage, I came to the realization that my loyalty to this team would remain steadfast, no matter what happened. Initially, I couldn’t figure out why. How did this happen? I’ve never felt this way about any other teams I’ve been a fan of: the LA Lakers, the 1990’s Chicago Bulls, even my alma mater, the UCLA Bruins. And yet, here I was, feeling every one of those 7 defeats like a sucker punch to the soul. So again, I asked, why? What makes the Valiant so special?

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The Deep Heart’s Core (Visiting England & Ireland 2018/2019)

My favorite time of the year is fall/winter because so many holidays come rushing forth: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s a time to be reflective and thankful for the good things in our lives. It’s an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, both friends and family, that we may not always get to see throughout the year. And if you’re someone experiencing a strong case of wanderlust, it’s also a chance to travel the world and see something new. The day after Christmas, with carols still ringing in our ears and visions of sugar plum fairies still dancing in our minds, my family and I caught a non-stop flight to London. Thankfully, Her Majesty was forewarned, and there were no diplomatic incidents when we arrived (that we know of, anyway). (more…)

New Strength, New Thoughts

For the first time since I began this blog, I failed to make a monthly post. December was such a busy month for me — the holidays, preparing for a trip to Europe, wrapping things up at work — that my usual blog post fell close to the bottom of priorities. I actually stressed out about it. Writing is always on my mind, and the thought that I’d miss a monthly blog post gnawed at my conscience. But if 2018 taught me anything, it’s that self-care is important and that failures, both large and small, shouldn’t be a source of stress. Rather, they should be sources of determination, and I’m determined to make 2019 a more fruitful year than the last one. (more…)

Ideas Are Like Rabbits

My writing process is best described as “scattered.” I don’t always follow one tried and true formula. Rather, I tend to let the story dictate my approach. If I know the ending, then I’ll write toward that goal. If I know how the story starts but not how it ends, then I need to explore the different directions it could travel before determining the perfect path to a satisfying ending. As you can probably guess, I’m mostly a “pantser.” I love writing without plot points and seeing what happens. I lose more words this way during edits, but I enjoy the freedom to discover unexpected gems. Don’t get me wrong; I do use plot points on rare occasions when working on longer stories. Even then, I don’t have every detail laid out before me. I leave just enough wiggle room to let myself color outside the lines if the situation calls for it. While I tend to be all over the place when I write, I have noticed one aspect that stays consistent: I always begin the process with one core idea. I think that’s true for all writers. Every story grows from a single idea, concept, or premise. But where do they come from?

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The Beast About To Strike

Tonight is Halloween. The veil between the human and spirit worlds grows thin, allowing all sorts of mischief and mayhem to crossover. Many of us revel in the one day out of the year where scary things are accepted, celebrated, and allowed to roam the streets looking to score a king-sized Snickers bar. As a kid, I loved joining the colorful processions passing through the neighborhood. I’d laugh nervously at the screams coming from “haunted houses,” while anticipating my own shriek when a vampire would pop out from a coffin, or a zombie would reach out and grab my leg. Now as an adult, I prefer more subdued Halloween celebrations. I won’t be frolicking outside in the cold weather amongst the hobgoblins. Instead, I’m going to turn out the lights, burrow in the covers, and play some video games… scary video games! Here are five of my favorite horror games, perfect for a screaming good time on All Hallows’ Eve: (more…)