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Archive for August, 2009

I’m not one to talk about using my life life experience as the focus points on my blog. However, I decided these two events were too fail to not bring up. Plus, both of them are interesting enough to keep your focus. And both of them explain the point without a full rant. Most of the middle stuff is boring, so I’m just going to split this blog post up into two sections:

Walking into the train station – PEOPLE ARE STUPID

Today, after work, I decided to exchange my business casual attire for a t-shirt and jeans. To be more specific, I switched to my Cthulhu-BBQ shirt, which is probably my favorite woot! shirt at the moment (Kiss The Great Old One). But something interesting happened today while I was walking to the subway.

A man (for he must have been over 26) looked back at me and snickered, then said something to the girl next to him, which she didn’t seem to understand. He looked at me again, and said his statement again to her. Only this time, I heard it.

“That girl is wearing a shirt with a pussy on it haha!”

The girl started searching the crowd for me, while the guy tried (and failed) to sneakily point me out. I say failed because I saw him continually point to me, not because it didn’t get the girl’s attention.

Now, I’m not quite sure how you could mistaken the all powerful Cthulhu for a hole. And an all powerful Cthulhu holding a spatula and BBQ? Vagainas don’t hold spatulas, and they certainly don’t wear aprons that say “Kiss the Great Old One.” WTF.

Vagainas arn’t even blue.

Getting off the bus to go home – PEOPLE ARE ARROGANT ASSHOLES

When the bus neared my stop, I pushed the button which signaled “next stop” but the bus drove past my stop. I was a little confused, so I asked the driver why she didn’t stop. She said there was no stop there (my stop) and that the next stop was on 62 Road (3 blocks down). This is not unusual, since my bus stop had moved and the newer drivers were just getting used to it. Needless to say, I was a little bothered, but it was only an extra three blocks.

However, when the girl behind me (who was also getting off at my stop) heard, she flipped shits. And I mean, screaming at the driver, flailing her arms around and practically smacking her backs at the passengers around her. “You fucking incompetitent bitch! You should be fired! What kind of fucking driver are you? This is why blacks shouldn’t be MTA Drivers!”

She screamed a lot. And she almost smacked me over the head.

“What’s the fucking point in taking a bus, I have to fucking walk the same amount back!” She was livid beyond belief. All over three fucking blocks. I knew she had gotten on at the same time I did (our bus, the 23, drives straight down 108 street, and so I can easily tell when people get on or off), so I KNEW she was lying. From the train station stop to my house stop is a very healthy 20+ blocks. This girl was shrieking about 3 blocks. She wasn’t even carrying much, just two bags full of clothing (from what I saw.. she could have been hiding bowling balls for all I know).

3 FUCKING BLOCKS. This woman was too lazy to walk THREE BLOCKS.

“You fucking cunt! I’m going to report you! You fucking skipped right over my fucking house. MY HOUSE IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE FUCKING STOP.” She said this right as we got to the 62nd Road Stop (the stop after my home). She was STILL screaming on the top of her lung. I also happen to know that the stop is directly in front of my home. Directly. I will take a picture of it to show you tomorrow if you’d like.

She stomped off the bus and started bitching and muttering to herself about how New York is full of… *insert racial slur here* who can’t drive and such. Course, she has to walk the same way I do, but she’s at a much faster (and angrier) pace than I am, so she was ahead of me. At a point, she decided to cross when the walking light was blinking (this is the semi-dangerous street by Horace Hardingway). From experience, I know it’s going to turn green soon, so I stopped while she shuffled and bitched along.

Suddenly, the light turned green and she shrieked and ran (waddle-ran?) out of the streets and continued fuming home.

It was an interesting experience. I kind of wish I had the guts to punch her out myself. I could never be a bus driver if I had to deal with moronic children (who think they’re adults) like her. Bleh.

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Hello out there! Again, apologies for not posting often. I have been in a crazy rush to get everything done before I go back up to my college. I’m really excited for this upcoming year, since I’ll be taking a US Government course, and my first real communications course (journalism woohoo). It’s going to be a good year (I hope), so I’m pumped!

I also discovered I’ll be living in a single, which always makes things a little nice. I don’t have to worry about waking my roommate up, or making a mess, or forgetting to buy the milk. It’s all on me, and I kinda like it that way.

Plus, more space to do cosplay stuff.

In any case, the topic of this post is something close to my heart and a little longer (I think) than what I normally write. Enjoy.

Currently Listening For: my train to stop at my station.
Currently Reading: The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe
Currently Drinking: Pepsi
Currently Playing: Nothing
Currently Watching : Pandora Hearts, 30 Rock, Boston Legal

It is common knowedge that I am madly addicted to my blackberry. So it should not come as a surprise that my mp3 player is on my blackberry (as are my blog posts, stories, phone books and other works). Recently, however, my blackberry curve decided to commit suicide (I do not feed it often, but abuse the poor thing daily). Because of this, I’ve resorted to using my as-reliable,-but can’t-hold-a-micro-sd blackberry (an 8700), which cannot play music because it is incapable of holding memory. This has left me to options on how to entertain myself while en route to work.

The first is my nintendo ds, which is not charged. My other option, therefore, is to read. Today, I decided to read several short stories from one of my favorite short story authors (surprise, he’s American!), Edgar Allen Poe. And here is where we jump to the topic of today.

Journalism.

Or, in a broader scope, “the media.”

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a short story entitled “How to write a Blackwood article” about a person who learns how to write a Blackwood article. In the short story, the narrator essentially says that everyone dreams of writing a Blackwood article because they are highly regarded. However, she learns that these articles are full of fluff and roundabout messages that mean nothing. In fact, her teacher encourages her to use big, meaningless words to sound important and to relate everything to existentalism or something philosophical.

This got me thinking (doi) about my media. And, thus, my result:

— — — — —

I am always extremly bothered when someone complains about how the media is some secret government way of spreading filtered news to the sheeple of America (the man, they’re after us… man). For one, the government is not secretly oppressing us or putting us down. And for two, not every damn piece of America is a conspiracy theory. Odd things happen. That’s why they’re odd.

The more common complaint, however, is that the media will often put a spin on their information (politics), or that the media will sensationalize and drag out worthless news (tabloids, ect). And I agree, they do. But it’s not because they’re hell-bent on brainwashing us.

It’s because we want it.

Let me elaborate. Gathering news is expensive. There is travel cost, communication costs, sending it out, putting it together, and making it known to the public. This cost money, which comes from the public who watches. Therefore, it’s in the news best interest to publish or show what the majority of the public wants.

A clear example is the Michael Jackson stuff (honestly, I bank a lot of the tabloid stuff in a similar category, but this example is recent). I’ve heard plenty of people complain about how it’s drawn out, and milked to death. But, many of those people still research about him, and read articles about him and TALK about him. Even if it’s a disgruntled “I can’t believe he’s still famous,” it’s still TALKING about him. When you talk to other people, then you have to link to it anyway to explain yourself, thus giving attention to it.

This goes for a lot of celebrity news or reality TV shows. A lot of it attribute it to the media milking out news and trying the pull the most, but a lot of it comes from people who still want it (and, thus, demand it).

News broadcastings are also sensationalized in political talk. Look at Rachel Maddon, Glen Beck and other “pundits’ of politics. All of them use tactics to engage the viewer to watch more, like having crazy visual examples, and inviting guests for the purpose of harassing him/her, rather than asking meaningful questions.

But, of course, this is highly more entertaining than actually getting the news. A ton of people bitched and talked and complained about the senate meetings, address of the president and other things, but no one really takes the time to sit down and watch it. And, damn, these hearings and such ARE readily accessible to the public. The government does not hide this (unless broadcasting it live still means they’re hidden).

In any case, the bigger complaints about news in politics (that have recently delved into other news topics) is about how news reports are politically charged and, therefore, provide inadequate news reporting.

And, again, I say it is because this is what we want. There is a reason why MSNBC and Fox News are two of the biggest news broadcasting shows in America. Sensation and exaggeration will bring ratings, which is how these companies do so well. You laugh, because *insert ridiculous news cast here* is just too plum stupid to be seen as credible, but it’s quite an insight to what kinds of people watch what. And there are so many options, there’s bound to be one that fits your political viewpoints and interests.

And if you ARE that against a particular newscast, I’d file it under “political intolerance” moreso than a newscast being biased.

But really, what it boils down to is “if you don’t like it, don’t read/watch it.” And if you want an unbiased opinion, check out BBC. Do your own research. Nothing good in life is free. What makes the news any different?

Another complaint-on-a-complaint about how news reports are politically charged is that a newscast should not “mix opinion and fact to influence the reader.” What this says to me is that the complainer cannot distinguish between a fact and an opinion because he/she has not been taught (and/or did not pay attention in elementary school), or the viewer is simply too LAZY to know what an opinion is. It is NOT that difficult.

The one problem I have with newscasting is when the news outright lies. For example, saying this is the highest unemployment rate in the last 50 years (which it’s not). And even then, I do the research to know that they’re wrong. The public should be activly engaging in watching the news, rather than simply viewing it, and then blaming it for silly things that can be easily avoided with a little thinking.

On a semi-related note, the Republican news reports arn’t the only side that are responsible for adding opinion to news. The Democrats, for example, were over-sensationalizing the phrase “death panel” and talk about what the almighty President Obama is eating for breakfast (this is an obvious exaggeration, for all you nitpickers). And there are tons of resources that are Democrat-inclined. Reddit, for example, is very democratic, even though they claim to be unbiased because it “comes from the net” (Freedom From the Press my ass).

The news is news. When something NEW comes out, everyone’s going to have an opinion on something. What makes these newscasters and journalist any different? In the end, they’re still human. And as much as they (we?) don’t want to add our opinions to our work, it will happen. Everyone does it in every day life. Journalism just happens to be in the business of topics everyone has an opinion on.

Tl, dr: don’t bitch on the messanger cause he has his own opinion.

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So much for posting every day… it’s been a war trying to find an internet connection. And time, for that matter. But I still very much want to finish this set of blog posts (about picture books, if you haven’t been back in a while), so here I am, blogging away.

My Blackberry Curve also went bust on the trip to Alabama. It was quite depressing, but I still have it and will be returning it for a new (hopefully living) Blackberry Curve. I also discovered that WordPress.com has a beta app for Blackberries, so I will be testing that out asap. For now, I will be using my older blackberry (thank goodness I have it, or I’d be out of a phone).

Also, the health care topic has been all the rage since… pretty much its introduction. Know that I will… eventually… post about it. I feel I still need to piece out my thoughts on it, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.

Books that Mint would very much like you to read.

By Jo aka Mint

NOTE: I am not a teacher, author, professional writer, librarian or otherwise. I am just a very big fan of children’s books, whether I read them to myself, read them to others or have them read to me. Also, I’m limiting all authors/illustrators to the “Picture Book/Children Book” genre (aka: no chapter books, if that wasn’t obvious already)

Day 3 – Leo Lionni

Leo Lionni was my brother’s favorite children’s author, way back when my brother’s age was still sitting in the single digits, and so I would always read Lionni’s books to him. His favorite book was called Swimmy, which was about a little black reject fish who comes to find his place in a big, unforgiving sea. I didn’t particularly enjoy the book, but he would ask me to read it time after time (if he didn’t read it himself).

From Swimmy, he and I discovered a treasure trove of books that Leo Lionni published. At first, Lionni’s artwork reminded me very much of Eric Carle’s (the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar), but I found that Lionni’s art was far less sharp, and used a larger blend of colors. In fact, Eric Carle mostly stuck to cut up sheets of paper, while Lionni’s collages branched into stamping, felts and other fabrics or materials. For example, in Swimmy, a lot of the fish are shown via stamps. However, Federick seemed to be made out of felt, and the chameleon in A Color of His Own was certainly made out of multiple, vibrant, paint jobs. This element in his art very much separated me from another picture book artist who does collage-type art (Eric Carle), because Leo Lionni always displays a very vivid background that plays with the character(s). For example, in A Color of His Own, the chameleon is displayed with a lot of vivid, mixing colors while the background is very monotone or solid. The different textures also allow Leo Lionni to separate characters without having to draw actual lines, even though two characters might be of the same color (two frogs, for example).

Leo Lionni’s books always concentrated on animals (chameleons, insects, fish, frogs) and some sort of “searching” or “discovering,” which attracted me both as a child being read to and a teen reading it to someone else. It’s one of those “I feel curious… like the character!” situations, where the reader follows alongside the character’s curiosity.

As I mentioned before, my brother’s favorite Leo Lionni book is Swimmy, and my brother (when he was younger) tried to imitate Lionni’s art in Swimmy by drawing tons and tons of fish on pieces of paper, with a little black fish in the middle. Now, however, my brother draws exceptionally well and I can no longer make fun of his fish drawings because they’re significantly better than mine (or so I think… maybe we should have a draw-off). My favorite Leo Lionni book, however, is An Extraordinary Egg. This was the first time I had ever seen the word EXTRAORDINARY (and I think it’s a super-fun word to say), which is what originally attracted me to the book. It is about a frog that discovers this very beautiful pebble, which turns out to be an egg that hatches a… well. You’ll just have to read it (or look at the cover, hehe) to see.

Here is a list of other great works by Leo Lionni:

Inch by Inch
Tillie and the Wall
Geraldine, The Music Mouse
Tico and the Golden Wings
A Color of His Own
Fish is Fish
The Greentail Mouse
Let’s Play
Frederick
Tico and the Golden Wings
An Extraordinary Egg – my favorite
It’s Mine!
Swimmy – My brother’s favorite

For a mostly compiled list of his books, visit http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/lionni/books/ (not a typical address). Most to all libraries and bookstores will have Leo Lionni books (or a collection of them, at the very least).

Happy Reading!

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Hello everyone. With the start of a new day is the start of a new… blog post! I’m continuing with the series I started yesterday (Books that Mint would very much like you to read), so I hope you enjoy its new addition.

Beyond that, nothing much has happened. I will be going off to Alabama tomorrow, but never fear! I will be alive and (hopefully) sound enough to blog. Even if there isn’t an internet connection, I will use the power of my blackberry to write fantastical posts.

Books that Mint would very much like you to read.

By Jo aka Mint

NOTE: I am not a teacher, author, professional writer, librarian or otherwise. I am just a very big fan of children’s books, whether I read them to myself, read them to others or have them read to me. Also, I’m limiting all authors/illustrators to the “Picture Book/Children Book” genre (aka: no chapter books, if that wasn’t obvious already)

Day 2 – Shel Silverstein

I discovered Shel Silverstein many years ago, back in second or third grade, when my teacher gave me the book The Giving Tree. It remains, to this day, my favorite book by Shel Silverstein, but certainly not the only book that I have read from him. When I tried looking for him in my school computer, I was unable to venture into any site that had his named, and I learned in 5th grade that Shel Silverstein had written various articles for Playboy, which put his name in the “banned” section of our internet.

In any case, Shel Silverstein has given me many good hours under a tree. I find his art to be very simple and easy to comprehend, especially when I was a child. In a way, I felt like I could really understand the unrealistic/cartoon-ish art style that he displayed in poetry books such as Where the Sidewalk Ends and picture books such asThe Missing Piece Meets the Big O, and I had a certain appreciation for reading his rhyming words (which are very unlike Dr. Seuss’, in my opinion). There is always a sense of a satisfied conclusion or completeness in his books that do not necessarily have to be happy, but are filled with some sort of “finale” that makes me feel as if the story could not have ended any other way.

Shel Silverstein’s works always reach something deeper than the surface, even after I have read them over and over again (on the other hand, there is a particular college student I can think of off the top of my head who has read The Giving Tree for the first time in his life). They may not be as thought-provoking as the other books, but Shel Silverstein is incredibly good at leaving this “good vibe” feeling in you for a while, if not the rest of the day.

Silverstein is best known as a children’s book writer, but now that I am older, I am eager to see his other literary works (some novels/books and screenwritings have peeked my interest as of the late). When I went to Barnes and Nobles yesterday, I did make a vague attempt to search for his non-picture book pieces, but eventually went back to the children’s section (Barnes and Nobles Jr.!) to re-read his work.

As I had mentioned earlier, my favorite book from him is The Giving Tree, which is about a boy’s relationship with a tree, and how it develops over time (aka, as the boy grows up). I think it’s an incredibly touching and self-less piece, and I have read it to many kids (probably as much as I had it read to myself by others). My brother’s favorite book is The Missing Piece for the simple reason that the main character (an incomplete “circle”) looks like Pac-Man (it is a good read though).

Other books are included below:

Falling Up
The Giving Tree (My Favorite)
A Light in the Attic
Who wants a cheap Rhinoceros
The Missing Piece (My Brother’s Favorite)
Where the Sidewalk Ends
A Giraffe and a Half

For a full list of his picture books, you can find it atshelsilverstein.com (an equally surprising domain). I have yet to know of a library that does not have at least one of his books (usually The Giving Tree or Where the Sidewalk Ends), and if they don’t have it, it means it’s usually been taken out.

As always, go forth and happy readings! 😀

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Eh. Just keep reading. Nothing special to talk about today. OH, I did upload those cosplay pictures in the cosplay section of mint cafe, so feel free to look at them (and my other previous costumes).

Currently Listening To: Whatever is on the Starbucks speakers at the moment.
Currently Eating: Nothing
Currently Drinking: Green Tea Lemonade
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (finished the game, but didn’t max out characters)
Currently Working On: CKI Stuff
Current Mood: Calm / Relaxed
Picture of the day

I was in Barnes and Nobles today (in fact, I’m in Starbucks now, doing the writer thing and buying a cup of green tea lemonade while I blog), when I decided to go through the children’s section. This is something I do often at libraries and bookstores, because I like to see what kind of variety these bookstores/libraries have for children, and because picture books / children books hold a special place in my heart. I feel that, as adults, we can learn as much from children’s books as we can as kids, and it’s definitely worth a second glance when you’re 10 or 20 years older.

So, after flipping through some classic children’s books, I came to the decision that I would do my very best to encourage friends, family and readers of this blog to go to a local library or bookstore and pick up a children’s book to read. They’re very short and grammatically easy, but are filled with everything good in a book. And besides, we often forget as adults that we were children many years ago, and it is always wonderful to go back and read long-forgotten books. After all, we’re all children on the inside (or so I like to think… maybe some of us are still children on the outside :P).

If you are never going to pick up a children’s book every again (doubtful as that may be), please just do so this week. My original thought was to have a book per day, but there are so many books from a variety of authors, that it would take me at least half a year of daily blogging to satisfy me. And, as wonderful as that would be, there are plenty of other things I want to complain about (Economics, women, political science, men, history, hair, computer science, gaming, ect), so I decided to spend a day on a particular artists. On the last day, I’ll probably have a longer post to fill in multiple misc books from various authors that have yet to be named.

These are not books that you should or have to read, by any means, so a name like that would not be fitting. Instead, I have come up with the name you will now see below:

Books that Mint would very much like you to read.

By Jo aka Mint

NOTE: I am not a teacher, author, professional writer, librarian or otherwise. I am just a very big fan of children’s books, whether I read them to myself, read them to others or have them read to me. Also, I’m limiting all authors/illustrators to the “Picture Book/Children Book” genre (aka: no chapter books, if that wasn’t obvious already)

Day 1 – Chris Van Allsburg

Van Allsburg has been, is, and probably will always be my favorite children’s book author/illustrator because of his beautiful artwork and interesting stories. I first discovered him in my 4th grade class, when we all read Jumanji (that’s right, Van Allsburg wrote the story), and rediscovered him in my 5th grade class, when I chose him as the concentration of my very first “Author Study.” I think my teacher did a double take when I chose the author, because the majority of my class had chosen other, more “well-known” authors, whereas Van Allsburg was not as “famous.”

In any case, Chris Van Allsburg is very big for having stories that are very “out of the ordinary.” His books always include an element of either magic or dreams (or both), and the main character often “discovers” something, or “learns” something through his or her experience through the magic that has been thrusted upon them in these books. For example, in The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, the main character must find a dog that has ran away. While searching, the main character realizes he must trespass/enter a magician’s home and, through his adventuring, the main character learns more about the existence of magic than he has ever hoped to.

One of my favorite parts of Chris Van Allsburg’s books is that I am always discovering, realizing or learning SOMETHING whenever I re-read his books. I have a completely different interpretation, or I pick up on some of his humor, which I would not have otherwise noticed. For example, I did not understand irony in 5th grade the way I do now, and reading his book The Sweetest Fig a second time definitely opened me up to the more complex side of Van Allsburg’s books.

Two of my favorite books from Chris Van Allsburg are The Widow’s Broom, which is about a widow who comes to possess a witch’s broom that is no longer able to fly but still has magic properties, and The Sweetest Fig, which is about an uptight dentist who discovers a fig that turns his dreams into reality (his sleep-dreams, not his aspiration-dreams). However, he has a variety of books, many of which have reached mainstream popularity in some way, shape or form. Below are some examples:

Jumanji – adapted into a movie (with Robin Williams and all)
The Polar Express – adapted into an animated movie
Zathura – adapted into a movie
The Stranger
The Wretched Stone (This is also a really great story, WITH MONKIES)
The Sweetest Fig – My Favorite
The Witch’s BroomKawarazu‘s Favorite
The Z was Zapped (an interesting visual interpretation of the alphabet)

For a full list of books that Chis Van Allsburg has written, visit his site at chrisvanallsburg.com (yea, real surprising domain). His books can be found in most to all libraries in a variety of amounts (in the Barnes and Nobles in Forest Hills, NY, there is only one book, but I know that the Flushing Library and Chatham Square Library both have most of his books).

😀 Happy Reading!

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Okay, this has been something that consistently has been bugging me for the past couple of days. WOMEN (and I put women in caps because it is not to be corrected into “people”) have been continually correcting other people (or me) when I make a generalize statement such as “women do this,” or “women are just like that.” And, in most to all cases, it is a woman who is changing it by quoting as the following:

people are just like that.”
😀 Fixed!

It is NOT fixing the fucking sentence. It is absolutely changing what the person is trying to say, and no matter how many time these damn WOMEN want to change it, it doesn’t change the fact that it CAN BE and USUALLY IS something that WOMEN do that MEN may not do as often.

It’s the equivalent of a woman shaking her head and saying “men,” and having a man behind her shout “PEOPLE, NOT MEN!” It’s just aggravating, downright insulting and, in no way, helps the situation/discussion at hand. And damn, the same women who do this (shake their heads and say “men”) are the same fucking women who go ahead and correct EVERY god damn sentence in EVERY thread that says “women are…” and I’m done with WOMEN thinking that’s clever. It’s not. It’s rude and does not contribute to discussion.

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