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Ditching School

I wasn’t actually breaking any rules by leaving campus early. I had a free period and an off campus pass. We were taking our finals and the schedule made it so I could leave school two hours early.

Despite the total legitimacy of my ditching I still left through the arts area, which had less security what with visiting all the former students who visit that area.

Once I was actually off campus I felt fairly safe but I still couldn’t help but suspect that every person in every passing car would see me and think “What a bad student. Skipping school like that.” It was then that I remembered how much I look like a college student. Most people think I’m at least a junior (I’m a sophomore and my teachers assume I’m a junior) and the usually assume I’m a freshman (or older) in college.

So, as I put my hair up in a manner that made me look more like college student then a scruffy high school-er, I began creating a plan for if the police stopped me and asked me about my age:

POLICE: Miss, aren’t supposed to be in class?
ME: umm… No. My classes are over for today.
POLICE: As I understand it, school is still in session.
ME: Wait a sec… You think I’m high school, don’t you? Jesus Christ, this always happens. I’m at the JC, ‘kay? I graduated high school LAST year. Class of 2010.

In my mind I was an art student trying to get her general ed out of the way before going to an arts college. I’d just finished my figure drawing final, which was a class I was taking to bolster my portfolio.

No one actually asked me about my age, but I was still well prepared.

I got to the costume store, where I was planning to pick up so stripped stockings for a cosplay outfit. The woman in the store directed my to the socks/stocking corner where I quickly found what I needed and bought it at the register and got out of there. My heart was still elevated but it was lowering now that I was far from the school.

My feet hurt and I was thirsty and hungry so I walked to the little private coffee house about a half-block down from the costume store. I ordered my mocha (“What can I get you?” “Mocha with whip.” “For her or to go?” “For here.” “Anything to eat?” “No.” “You’ll be sitting inside?” “Yep.”) and sat  down at one of the small two person tables. To my right there was a woman with a sleeping baby and ahead of me was a man with sunglasses drinking a cappuccino and typing on his lap top and in the corner was an actual college girl who looked like she was cramming for some sort of math final. You could hear the people ordering as the coffee grinders whined and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” played over the stereo. 

I pulled out All Things Bright And Beautiful by James Herriot and read about he and his future wife’s first kiss and about how he treated the dog belonging to a family of 14 while quietly sipping my pipping hot mocha and wiping whipped cream off my nose. When I finished my mocha I closed my book and put my dirty glass on the counter that said “dirty dishes”.

I listened to music as I walked passed the “Toad in the Hole” pub, under the overpass, and around the mall (I didn’t go through because I heard that they lick you out if your a student and it’s school hours) and to the downtown bus terminal so I could catch the #1 bus home. And as Gregory and the Hawk’s “Hard To Define” streamed out of my ear buds I thought about how it felt to just walk. To have no places I had to be. No homework to do. No adults I had commitments to. To have the freedom to go to a coffee shop and read for an hour with no disturbances and then be able to walk, free of burden, to the bus where it wouldn’t matter if I missed my stop.

I like it, on some level. I think that was the adult in me. The part that like independence and freedom. The part that wanted the responsibility for myself.

However, another part of me was scared. It wanted the structure and companionship of school. That part of me was scared of the same responsibility the other part desired.

And it was this conflict of feelings, this difference of opinions, that told what being a teen is: wanting the freedom of being the only one with control over your life, but not having any responsibilities that come with that.

It reminded me that no matter how much I can think and act like an adult, I’m still a kid. And I will be for a lot longer.


Quick post today!

Last summer I had a lot of free time on my hands and I wanted to take that free time and waste it. So I began watching a lot of weekly animes. One of these was Durarara!! which became one of my favorite animes almost instantly.

Durarara!! is about the Tokyo district Ikebukuro and all the strange happenings that occur there. The main character, Mikado Ryuugamine (who spelled that right? I SPELLED THAT RIGHT!), has just moved to the area right outside of Ikebukuro and is now attending school there with his best friend Masaomi. These two and their new friend Anri are pulled into the midst of a dangerous game in which only one person, the creepy and possibly insane Izaya Orihara, knows all the players. Some of the interesting entities in this show include a gang whose members are completely unknown, a man with super strength and a bad temper, and a headless motorcyclist who is searching for her long lost head.

So that is the simplest version of this plot which jumps from perspective and to perspective like a rabbit on caffeine. Mikado may be the main character but he is one of the people you know least about because the plot focuses on all characters in near equal amounts.

The animation in this series is wonderful. It's by the same studio who did Baccano and, just like Baccano, it has a very earthy texture and subdued colors. The movement is clean and realistic and the character design is subtle yet distinctive (as in, they all look different, but very few look ridiculous).

The one thing about this series I admire most, however, is it's uninhibited approach to fantasy. Realistically, if strange stuff happened on a regular basis it would eventually become normal and that's how Durarara!! is approached. Even though one of the characters has NO HEAD (I can't stress this enough) the series is never treated like fantasy and the other characters don't treat her strangely either. And even though another character throws vending machines, it's never suggest that this is unrealistic.

And it's not like the characters live in a different reality. This is OUR reality and these people where made to be like normal people. Even though, by our standards they're not.

The main character actually spoke about this at one point. I can't remember the exact quote but it went something like "I always wanted to lead an extraordinary life. I didn't know, however, that something that is unusual is only unusual for a few days and then it becomes normal. I can't live an extraordinary life because, to me, my life will always be 'ordinary'."

So that's Durarara!!. An ordinary tale about extraordinary happenings.

More info (and a better plot summary)  here. And if you want to watch it go here.

More Pictures!Collapse )

A Belated Post

I didn't post last two weeks. I'm sorry. My life has been hectic.

For one, I'm currently reading 2 books but up until recently, 6. They where Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (say that three times fast), My Name is Asher Lev by Chiam Potok, Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien, Pegasus by Robin McKinley, and All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot.

To be frank, I believe all these books are awesome, I just have some problems reading them all at once. I've finished G,G,&S, Asher Lev, Ship Breaker, and Pegasus, and despite all their difference (swear, everyone of those books is a different genre) I still love them.

I've also been busing with researching Emily Dickinson for a school project and studying WW1. So yeah: busy.

I have been able to scrape up a little time to read manga so here is a recommendation:

"Watashi-tachi no Shiawase na Jikan" (Our Happy Hours) is about the powerful relationship between a former piano prodigy and convict on death row. The main connection between these two is that they both want to die. The pianist has attempted suicide 3 times and the convict, 27. Through each other, this pair learn to desire life and live to the fullest.

This series is by Sahara MIzu, so it has beautiful watercolor art. The plot is poignant. Sad and, at times, heartless but I think it shows a lot about human nature as well as the true nature of happiness and despair.

I had forgotten until recently, but it was this manga that gave me the method by which I live my life. I read when I was 12 and it completely changed my out look. So I encourage you: Read on!

Also, I need an "adult novel" to read! Suggestions?

Also, A Drawing by MeCollapse )

How Harry Potter Changed My LIfe

So Hourou Musuko looks good, but I'm with holding judgment until I've seen a few more episodes. In teh mean time, here's little thing I wrote about Harry Potter.


Harry Potter changed my life. This may not be a new deceleration to many of you. And in some ways I feel that those who meet me will say I don't really have right to day this since I don't write fan-fiction, make fan art, or participate in the various fan-events that others, who are more obsessed than I, do.


But Harry Potter still changed my life. It changed the way I thought about the world, I thought about myself, and the way others thought about me.


From the time I was 5 to the time I was 10, I was bullied. And it wasn't beat-me-up-behind-the-play-structure bullying. It was the no-one-in-class-will-talk-to-me-except-to-comment-on-my-lack-of-looks-intelligence-common-sense-and/or-value-as-a-human-being. The type of bullying people don't see. The type that slowly eats you away and makes you believe everything they say about you. The type that lasts.


I would spend most of my time alone on the swing set, trying to be my own friend.


And it was during this time I found Harry Potter. I was about 6 when I started it and didn't finish the 4 published books until I was 7, but I was hooked.


I really hated and pitied myself then, but in Harry Potter I found someone whose home life sucked way more than mine and it put my life in perspective. I could be thankful, for once.


And even more than that, Harry Potter's “crappier than mine” life was saved. He went from being hated, ignored, and abused to being loved by everyone; honored and remembered by those he'd never meet. To me, that was a miracle. I was 7, so the idea that, when I turned eleven, I'd be taken away from here to a place where I'd learn magic and have friends and have the ability to know something more than all those brats who demeaned me, was what I wished for more in than anything else in the entire world.


Harry Potter became my salvation. It was my true home and it was made my life seem like living.


Then 5th grade came and with it, my next boon from the HP world.


At my elementary school there was a girl who could get away with anything. She was the Margo Roth Spiegelman (read “Paper Towns” by John Green! Read it!) of the whole kid world. As the only 11 year old with real boobs, she had many a schoolboy pining after her. She was tall, out-going, and intelligent. She had many varying interests. She could play music by ear (she used to play "Bad Habit" by the Dresden Dolls on the piano), sing with incredible pitch (she wrote a popular song on YouTube in 7th grade), write in a unique and entertaining fashion (she wrote a fan-fic in 6th grade that got featured on the HPFF website), and was, invariably, the most popular girl in school.


She also happened to love Harry Potter.


When her best friend transferred to a different school, she decided to create a new group of friends and used HP as the glue to bind them together. In the group was a tall, confident girl who loved Hermione, the two new kids (one, a scrawny, energetic girl with glasses who impersonated James, and the other spastic blonde who was nicknamed [for no apparent reason] Narcissa), one nerdy, fiddly white boy with a speech impediment, an Indian guy with a penchant for art, and me.


My first group of friends. We lasted for a good two years and they where the best two years of my life. We wrote stories, made recording, made movies, did cosplay, fan-art... oh, it was bliss. It was through this group I discovered the nerd community and I embraced it with all my might and never let go.


These people taught me about friends and loyalty. They taught me how to tell when someone was using you and how to tell when they wanted to be friends. I learned how to survive and now I'm more grateful for my friends than anyone in the entire world.


As I said earlier, we only lasted two years and are friends no longer. The Margo-girl grew faster than the rest of us. She became enthralled with theater and is now getting leads in Rocky Horror, Sweeney Todd, Chicago, and Hello Dolly. She denies a lot of her old nerdiness and lost a lot of her appeal (somewhere along the way, I grew about a half a foot taller than her and now when I see her I see someone who grew to fast and looks to mature for her mind). She's still great and all, just different.


The tall, confident girl is shorter than me as well now and is also my best friend. She grew with me into otaku-ism and it helped us stick together so that we grew into a larger group of friends that had wider interests. Scrawny, glasses girl, is now elegant actress with an abundance of friendliness that I value as golden. Spastic blond is now a ballet and modern dancer, who still loves HP, but it is subdued and more of an indie concert goer. Mr. Impediment hasn't changed too much, except for the change in his circle of friends, which I’m slightly grateful excludes me. Indian guy I haven't seen in years. I think he moved to Minnesota.


Anyway, all these people loved something. They loved something so much they let it shape their childhood and form their bonds. Although we where only so close for 2 years we used to say "God, those where the longest two years of our lives" and really, they where because of HP and the people who love HP.


So yeah. I love HP. I'm nerdy girl who loved something, not only because of itself but because of the love that surrounds it. Nerds provide people with immediate acceptance and assure you that you are awesome just for loving something. So nerds, keep on lovin'!

"I'm John Smith"

In my last post I told y'all that I had seen an awesome anime and that I would talk about it. So now, without further ado, I shall reveal what that anime was:

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Now I know some of you will be scorning me for not seeing it before now, but let me clarify: I watched the second airing/season and movie for the first time in this last week. I've been trying to find it for awhile (actually, I was trying to find it awhile ago and forgot about it until recently so yeah... That was stupid). To be honest I'm a Kyon fangirl (Come on. He's hot, smart, funny, sarcastic, and completely non-threatening, which I'm sad to say Koizumi is not) so the second season and movie were necessities for my fangirl archive. After all, it's Kyon's perspective and I knew for a fact there would be shirtless moments.

I was not disappointed by the series or movie. The second season/airing was so amazing! It really helped develop the characters (especially the supporting characters like Koizumi, Yuki, Mikuru and, surprisingly, Taniguchi!) and gave more color to our hero's and there inner workings. Beyond that, it had interesting story arcs, like the "infinite summer" and the "movie-magic-made-real" plot lines which helped to, again, develop the characters as well as create interesting thoughts for pondering such as "what is the boundary between reality and fiction?". We are also introduced to a new theory on how Haruhi's powers work that is both interesting and valid.

The only downfall is that the infinite summer is eight episodes long and it can be rather tedious if you already know the climax (like me, who has read many of the manga adaptions).

Just like the original series, the art was clean and creative. Definitely well thought out by the animators.

The movie was also fun to watch. At times, to be honest, it was heartbreaking. For those of you who have not heard of the movie, I will tell you what it is about:

"The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya" is, predictably, about Haruhi disappearing. Kyon wakes up one morning to discover that Haruhi is gone and nobody can seem to remember who she is. Koizumi is also missing and Mikuru doesn't recognize who Kyon is and is bewildered by his questions about Haruhi. The most unsettling fact is that Yuki is acting like a normal girl who is confused by Kyon's panicking outbursts.

Most of the movie is about Kyon trying to find Haruhi or some proof of her existence. I won't deny that the movie is often more about Yuki than about Haruhi. It confirms many suspicions of her feelings for Kyon but it also reaffirms Kyon's feeling for Haruhi. We really see different sides of all the characters.

Like when Kyon gets desperate he becomes transparent and we see expressions that we've never seen before. He even has an inner conflict where his conscience talks to him in the really animated and vindictive manner that is extremely unsettling when seen. It's like "Wow. I did think Kyon's action's could be so... crazy. But that's not him. Wait. No, it is him, it's just his thoughts... What?"

And in both the movie and second season/airing we see a more selfish and more insecure Koizumi that is a very different than the one we're used to.

They also develop a contradiction of interest between Koizumi and Mikuru that is fascinating in that it portrays the more negative aspects of the pairs personalities.

Haruhi herself is developed as a character, though indirectly.

All in all, I say awesome series that you should all go watch, and if you don't know anything about the original series go here and watch it!

Also, Hourou Musuko is starting this week, so my next post will hopefully be of the manga and how the anime looks form the first episode.

Here"s the Hourou Musuko Preview (Subbed)!Collapse )

1 Week, 50 Books, and 100 pages

I've made it through the first week of the second semester! Yeah for me! *collapses from exhaustion*

This first week has been a little mad for me. For starters, I had changed my schedule so that I had a free 3rd period. I had done this with the intention of studying Japanese (my independent study class that is also going to be my language credit) in the library. But when I went to the library I had a little surprise.

ME: I need an off campus pass to use the library?
ME: Is the library off campus?
ME: Then why do you need an off campus pass!?
LIBRARIAN: *exasperated* Listen. I don't make the rules. I can't let you in without a pass.

So I dragged myself to the attendance office. Which is no mean feat, as our campus is huge. My high school is one of the oldest and largest in the state. We have over 2,000 students, 150 members of faculty, 3 halls (as in two story buildings) of classrooms and administrations, 12 arts classrooms (we have a large art department that includes everything from a dance company to AP Visual Fine Arts), a music/dance hall, an Agriculture department (I live in Sonoma county. We teach high school children to make wine and how to perform farm level veterinary care), an auto shop, a wood shop, a metal shop, a barn, 3 sports fields, 2 gyms, a theater that seats up to 1000 people, a cafe, 5 computer labs, and a library.

Again, I dragged myself to the attendance office where I was told that I wouldn't be able to get a pass without permission, and even if I did have the paperwork signed, the women who actually wrote up the passes was home sick. So they gave me a hall pass and scooted me back to the library where the librarian gave me a skeptic look (even after I waved my schedule in her face!) and begrudgingly let me stay through the rest of the period.

Then I went to history, where I was assigned 100 pages of reading in Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, which, despite it's interesting subject, is "as thick as peanut butter" (qt. Yukon Cornelius). The readings due on Tuesday and I only have about 20 pages read. Though that's mostly because of an extremely good book we're reading in English (My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, anyone?)

Speaking of books, I was thinking of taking on the 50 books challenge. I like to read and I read a lot, so it would be nice to set a goal like this and see if I succeed. I'd also like to review the books I read, because that would be fun. So what do you think?

If you haven't noticed, this post is more of an update. I've been a little crushed for time lately so it's a bit hard to write. I watched some awesome anime, however, and hope to review in the days to come.

Oyasumi! And wish me luck with Guns, Germs, and Steel!

How would you describe the last decade in one sentence?

The end of my past and the beginning of my future.

More Manga Recs!

I know I haven't updated in a week! I'm SORRRRRRRY! >.<

And it shames me to say that I don't really have much to offer you, but I'm hoping a little manga talk will make you folks happy.

In 8th grade we had to do this awesome report project. It was to be our final and it included a research report, a narrative essay, and an interview transcription. Why was this report awesome, you may ask? 

It could be about anything we wanted. Anything at all! 

So I decided to be nerdy and do a report on the development and spread of anime and manga world wide. And because of this I did a butt load of research and now I'm a quazy-expert on the subject of the cultural development of anime and manga, as well as the development of anime and mangas as mediums and consumer goods (don't I sound fancy?).

All anime comes from manga. The first anime ever made was made by Osamu Tezuka, the grandfather of anime and manga (google him), and it was based on his manga stories. 90% of all animes are based on mangas. The other 10% is based on games and novels or are independent stories which probably makes up about 3% of all anime produced.

So to talk about anime, you gotta start with manga.

I'm going to say tell you that there are 5 main denominations of manga: Kodomo, Shounen, Shojo, Seinen, and Josei.

Other lesser known denominations include Shounen and Shojo ai, BL (or Yaoi), Yuri, and Doujinshi, but I'm going to stick with the main ones.

The 5 main types are all based on age groups, with Kodomo (Japanese for "child") being manga aimed at children from the age of about 5-10 (ex. Chibikuro Sambo), Shounen (means "boy") being manga aimed at boys about 10-16 (exs. Naruto, Bleach, Death Note), Shojo (means girl) being manga aimed at girls of about 10-16 (exs. Fruits Basket, Ouran High School Host Club, Kimi ni Todoke), Seinen being mangas aimed at men from the age of about 18-24 (exs. Bartender, flat, Horou Musuko), and Josei being manga aimed at women from the ages of about 20-30 (exs. Amatsuki, Kuragehime, Gokusen).

It is interesting to note the similarities and differences between the genres, especially where the stereotypes are concerned. Shounen mangas and Seinen mangas are very different, where shojos and joseis are not. The ages of appeal vary as well, since many older men like to read shounens (and even shojos) where lots of younger girls enjoy seinens. Many women read joseis well into they're forties, while lots of young girls read shounen exclusively.

Shounens tend to be either battle based and involve cute girls who fall for the heroes or are comedic romances and involve cute girls falling for the heroes (did you see the consistencies?). Shojos are either romances involving adventures in mysterious and fanciful lands with smoldering boys who charm our heroines or are school based romances with smoldering boys who charm our heroines.

Joseis and Shojo tend to follow the same romantic guidelines only the guys and girls are all older and work for a living. Seinens are strange because they can really be about anything.

Here ends my basic educate on manga and I'd like to add that all these types of mangas are lovely and read all of them. Last time I suggested a shounen and shounen ai(ish) series so this week I'm going with a seinen and a josei. Also, I really like seinen so I'll be reviewing it often in the future.

My first suggestion is by my all time favorite mangaka, Sahara Mizu. Now you may know her as Yumeka Sumomo or Sahara Keita which are her other pen names. But she writes her seinen manga under Sahara Mizu, so that's the name I use.

This manga is none other than "My Girl" which is probably in my top 5 favorite series. It's a seinen, as I said earlier, and as such it is a lot more easy going and calm than you might expect form a shounen or shojo.

The plot is about a young man of 23 who works as a product designer at a novelty company. He doesn't date and has no interest in a relationship because he's still hung up on this girlfriend he had when he was eighteen. She was older than him and when he'd entered college she'd moved to america. They were going to keep in touch but she never told him where she was. Never wrote. Never called. He figured she'd just wanted to dump him without saying anything.

He doesn't hear anything of her until he's 23 and is told by the girls mother that his old girlfriend died in an accident in the states. Whats worse is that she had been with her 5 year old daughter at the time. The girl was thankfully fine.

He doesn't really figure it has anything to do with him until he finds out the daughter is his and the family wants him to adopt it. He says no, not believing the girl to be his.

That is, until he meets the child who gives him these letters her mother wrote to him, but never sent. He decides then that he'll take care of this child.

I know it sounds kind of dramatic and mopey, but it isn't really. The main character is rather resigned and although the series has a depressing premise of daughter and father wading through they're grief, the actual story involves a lot of learning experiences for the main character who is learning to be a father. It comments on the attitude towards single parents in japanese society and manages to portray children in a fairly accurate manner.

Another reason I absolutely love this series is the water color art.

Here are some examples.Collapse )

Can you see what I mean? I'm always trying to emulate this in my watercolor experimentation but it's almost always a fail.

Anyways, it's a beautiful story written with beautiful artwork and if you're burned out an all the drama and tension of most manga, this is so totally your thing.

The next manga I'd like to suggest is the josei "Kimi wa Pet" by Ogawa Yayoi. This another one of those series I avoided and then ended up loving. I said it happened often. This one I avoided because the picture that was the thumbnail used to be rather provocative and the description also makes it seem kind of dirty and inappropriate.

I'll tell you now that there is nothing dirty about this manga (except some brief sex scenes that are more for comic relief or plot development than for sex). It's a romantic comedy that is so awesome that I've read it no less than three times which I almost never do with manga. In fact, the only other manga I've read all the way through multiple times is Frutis Basket, which is my all time favorite manga. And I have to say this is a close second.

The story is about a 27 year old women named Sumire who is a single career woman. She is tall, work centric, and pretty. Imagine the girl from Cake's song "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" and that Sumire. Only Sumire isn't as confident as she appears. She acts mature and collected when her boyfriend knock up another girl and appears to be dealing with all the rumors that it's understandable since she's so intimidating. She can't seem to say that it hurts that she can't make people comfortable and can't be nice to others.

So she's coming back form work, riled up and frustrated, and she kicks a box that's outside of her apartment building only to find that there is an unconsciousness young man inside. She starts freaking out and panicking so she brings him into her apartment and takes care of him.

When he wakes up, the boy has mannerisms that remind Sumire strongly of the dog she had as a child. Over the time it takes his arm to heel Sumire finds that his presence calms her and makes all the stuff that's happening at work less important. She thinks this is because he is so similar to her dog. So when he asks to stay with her, she says that he can as long as he acts like her dog and does what she says.

The interesting part of this series is how asexual their relationship is. Throughout most of the series Sumire goes out with this really nice guy. He's funny, sweet, and honestly loves her. It is extremely common in shojo and josei series to have any opposition to the main pair's inevitable relationship be evil or rude. But this guy is great and there is a lot of regret and wishing things could have worked out when they finally split (I don't feel like I'm spoiling. EVERYONE knows that the boy and Sumire are going to get together).

And beyond other romantic relationships, Sumire really doesn't feel attracted to the boy. She sees him as too young, as he's almost 10 years younger than her, and she also only thinks of him as a pet. And after all, who feels attracted romantically to their dog? 

I will say that this series has made me laugh uncontrollably and cry unendingly. It has some of the best characters I have ever read anywhere. Really. Read it. (also, if you wish to buy it, it's under the title "Tramps Like Us")

I shall make a holiday post post holidays. It will be more complete then.

Holy Dinner!

I love manga. I hope this is obvious by now, but in case you didn't know. I love manga a lot.

And as I love manga, I read an awful lot of it. And because I read a lot of it (I'm reading 93 series curently) I thought I'd tell you about two that I just started and think are rather good.

The first is "Holyland". I was a little surprised I liked Holyland. It's not my usual thing. The cover art is more contrasted than what I usually go for (I know. Judging a book by it's cover. Scandolous!) and the story is gory, action filled, and angst-tastic. But I still found it interesting and I'm still addicted. 

The art, once you get past the cover, is pretty good. It's fairly life-like for a manga and it has interesting character design and detail. The backgrounds pop and for all the gore, it's pretty subdued and realistic when compared to mangas like Bleach.

The focus of Holyland is street fighting. Not yakuza or gang wars, just street fighting. The main character is a kid who used to be bullied like hell who started teaching himself boxing for self-defence purposes. When he gets into fights, he pretty much knocks the dude out in one punch and then runs away in a panic.

Because this kid is mysteriously kicking gang-ass all over the place and has no apparent alliances with anyone, he is known as the "Gang Hunter" who can knock-out the strongest fighters in a single punch.

The story development is about the main character forming his fighting persona and learning more about the street fighting world (consequently, so does the reader and it is surprisingly interesting). We see the values of different fighters, the different fighting styles, and the pros and cons of certain methods and techniques. And all of this is wrapped up in an anti-bullying package and a good strong moral strength, weakness, friendship, rivalry, right choices, and wrong ones.

Any-who, I can guarantee it's worth your time!

My second recommendation is "Kinou Nani Tebeta?" which is so different that Holyland there practically polar opposites (magnet joke? Anyone? Bueller?). Kinou Nani Tabeta? translates to "What Did You Eat Yesterday?" and is all about a gay couple and how one of the guys loves to cook. It's not really shounen-ai (mild boy-on-boy manga for all y'all not up on your anime/manga lingo) and is more of a seinen (manga aimed at an older audience [esp. guys], usually 20-30).

It has a laid-back atmosphere and has humor that would mostly appeal to an older crowd. The art is a little old fashioned for me and I frankly don't find any of the "attractive" guys all that attractive. But that isn't really the important part so it doesn't bother me that much.

I like the more realistic look at a gay couple than the one that people would come reading more typical shounen-ais and yaois. They have normal couple problems and normal social and family problems.

It's a refreshing series in that there is very little drama. It's more like a collection of short stories than a serious series and if your looking for something sweet to pass the time, I say read it.

Also, anyone who likes cooking will enjoy the recipes and tips that are included in this manga.

Well, that's pretty much it for now. I'm going christmas shopping today and I'll be sure to tell you about it tomorrow.



I apologize for the absence. It seems maintaining this blog is a little like christmas shopping: I make plans and get all excited about it but when I have the chance to actually put them into action, I tend to go "I'll do it later."

But just like my christmas shopping, I'll get to it eventually.

Since I'm so late, however, what I'm going to talk about is a little bit of old news (and it's internet old news, so that means about 2 days).

The YouTube Project for Awesome was held last Friday and Saturday and as a small member of the YouTube community, I thought I'd talk about it.

So the YouTube P4A ("Project for Awesome" initialism) is this annual event where tons of YouTube users get together and make videos about charities. Then, everyone gets together and favorites/likes/comments on/links to these videos, simulating "virality". So for one or two days, YouTube is about helping people instead of watching skateboarding squirrels.

The P4A project was started in 2007 by John and Hank Green (the vlogbrothers) during their "Brotherhood 2.0" project and it has since been promoted by other big name YouTubers (doesn't look right in type does it?) such as Charlie McDonnell, Craig Benzine, Alex Day, Michael Aranda, etc. etc. This year YouTube hosted a live show and actively featured P4A videos on their site. They also held an awesome raffle which raised over $100,000 for various charities. All I gotta say is: 0_o woah. That also does not include the $10,000 that the vlogbrothers are going to donate to partners in health, or the $10,000 another group (whose username escapes me) is going to donate to food banks.

Some of the videos this year where really REALLY good, so I thought I'd share my two favorites with you:

First is Rhett and Link's video "Mosquitos Suck" which is supporting Malaria No More:

I find this pretty hilarious. It is one of the more lighthearted videos and as someone whose isn't particularly passionate about malaria, I feel more inclined to donate after seeing this.

The next video is far from lighthearted. It is for the "Not For Sale" charity and is about human trafficking:

I feel very strongly about Human trafficking. Until a few years ago, I honestly believed that slavery was over. Child labor controlled. But then I saw a video about human trafficking and my entire perception of the world changed. The problems that had seemed solved where now still their, plaguing us. It was like I had been sitting in a comfy chair by the fire and suddenly noticed the freezing child in the corner and was unable to know what to do.

I think the reason this issue struck a cord with me was the realization that world hunger, contaminated water, disease, etc. are all simple in their solutions. People who are hungry can stop being hungry by having food. Diseases are stopped by being cured. Water is filtered. The solutions are obvious and, even if they aren't lasting, effective.

But a child who has been forced to kill their family will never stop being the child that killed their family. The girl who got pregnant 6 times by men she never knew the names of will always be that girl who was a whore. The kid who worked day and night in a factory with no breaks will always be that kid you doesn't have three of his fingers. They numb themselves, lose faith, and forget about happiness. They will always be these children. Always broken. Always soiled. Never a real child again. Once it happens, it is never fixed. Once the mistake is made, it can't be taken back.

And it's not easy to solve. Governments and industries will support this. Cheep labor, no bothersome rights. Children are like clay in their caretaker's hands, easily molded in a way that is impossible with adults, who have already been hardened by the world. Who is going to stop this, when the people who should are in favour of it? It's a battle that is going to be long and hard and will require things that people can't really give, like decency, honesty, and ethics.

It's like that line from Mr. Smith Goes To Washington "Lost causes are the only causes worth fighting for." Well, god damnit, this is my lost cause and I'm going to fight tooth and nail for it! What's yours?

Oh! And Another Drawing for Ya!Collapse )