Good morning, all!  Short update this week because A) it’s my week off and I’m trying to let my brain and my typing muscles rest and B) this weekend is Katsucon.

I will be in National Harbor this weekend, giving a variety of presentations as part of the Japanese Cultural Institute, an intellectuals’ track for Katsucon.  What presentations, you ask?

2:30pm – Transformers: Differences between the American and Japanese series
(what happens if you throw logic, reason, and physics out the window?)
5:30pm – How the Meiji Era helped create the modern world
(you owe 15% of your modern lexicon to Jigoro Kano)
8:30pm – The History of the Japanese-American Interment Camps of World War II
(it breaks my heart how this panel gets more topical with each passing year)

10:00am – Intro to Martial Arts for Kids
(parents welcome if kid is prepared to vouch for them)
11:30am – Intro to Martial Arts
(kids welcome; it’s the same class, only with less giggling)
7:30pm – Legendary Swords of Japan
(less history and more oral tradition, but it has a Donald Faison cameo, so that’s something)
9:00pm – A Brief Biography of Miyamoto Musashi
(see how many times I can say ‘drunk’, ‘murder’, and ‘asshole’ in a one-hour panel)

10:30am – Myths and Misconceptions of the Martial Arts
(Get some background on the Horse Stance, Chi Sao, and why the samurai carried guns)

Of course, I will also be promoting all of my books, so come by the table and say hello.  See you there!

84 Days

I live in twelve-week increments.  I set training goals, business goals, personal goals, in twelve-week steps so that I have a clear deadline and I can break down the task to achieve these goals into their needed steps.  Most of my goals end up being writing and training, with a few professional and personal goals mixed in.  I try to keep my goals on the modest side because it is all too easy to get overambitious.  Plus, if I meet my goals halfway through the cycle, I can always do more. 

As I’m on the final week of the twelve (I take a week off in between), I look back and I’m kind of stunned by how much I got done.  The publishing of RocKaiju was a major (and long-delayed) accomplishment.  The completion and publishing of Proton and the 2017 Short Story Anthology were, likewise, huge steps.  I expect to release a 2018 collection, next year, but I am not yet certain what book will join it.  Rhest for the Wicked 2?  Proton 2?  RocKaiju 2?  Something totally new?  Continue reading “84 Days”

Five Lessons from Transformers

As many of you may know, I am in the process of reviewing the entire Transformers franchise, in an effort to ascertain the Top Ten Episodes (which I present as a panel at various conventions throughout the year; and I’m available for booking!).  The review process involves watching each episode in each series and measuring it against comparable series of the time, along a set of about eight different standards (art, animation, narrative quality, acting performance, etc).  In the previous years, I’ve watched the original series (Generation One), the Japanese Trilogy (Headmasters, Supergod Masterforce, Victory), Beast Wars and Beast Machines, Robots in Disguise (the 2001 version), the very poorly named Unicron Trilogy (Armada, Energon, and Cybertron), and have finally now reached 2007’s Transformers Animated, the series released in the wake of the initial live-action movie.

While each series is measured against its contemporaries and not each other (it would be unfair to judge a cartoon series from the 1980s against a series from the 2000s, what with the advancements in animation and voice recording technologies), it is clear that some series are just better than others.  But a Top Ten list doesn’t do a good job of exploring the entire franchise so I thought I might discuss some of my revelations here. Continue reading “Five Lessons from Transformers”

The Ever-lengthening To-Do List

Living in North Carolina, when snow comes, life comes to a grinding halt.  In a supposedly temperate climate, snow is a rare occurrence most of the time.  We get flurries every few years but a hard snow isn’t a reliable ordeal.  As such, when snow hits, it can take us a few days to recover.

Add to this the dawn of the near year, and having just come off of MAGFest and the publication of three books, I feel like the groundhog who is supposed to take a look around next Friday.

And lo, do we find the To-Do List.

Continue reading “The Ever-lengthening To-Do List”