Author: ldawg5

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…)

Pushed By The Wind, Pelted By The Rain (StokerCon 2018)

After having an awesome time at last year’s StokerCon, I decided to jump down the rabbit hole yet again and travel to Providence, Rhode Island for this year’s con. It wasn’t easy; I had to take two flights just to get there, all while hoping to avoid a looming nor’easter that could have left me stranded at an airport. Lady Luck was on my side, however. I arrived in Providence the day before the storm and left the day after it passed through. The storm raged outside throughout the entire con, which admittedly added to the atmosphere of a gathering to celebrate all things horror. I think attendance may have suffered as a result of the terrible weather, but that didn’t stop the rest of us from enjoying what StokerCon had to offer. (more…)

Visiting the Western Caribbean: Water, Water, Everywhere

Last December, I went on a cruise to the western Caribbean with a couple of family members — my cousin and her son. We sailed out of Miami via Norwegian Cruise Line and visited several countries: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. Sadly, we didn’t encounter any swashbucklers or mermaids, but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. As a writer, I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about the world by experiencing other places and cultures. I usually accomplish this by living vicariously through books. On the occasions that I can do that in person, however, I try to keep my eyes open for moments that may result in a creative spark or a change in perspective. The following is a travel journal, documenting some of what I experienced. (more…)