A Few More Tips on Being a Writer

So you still want to be a writer. Normally I’d wonder why the person who’s supposed to shake you out of making bad life decisions is apparently asleep at the wheel, but I suppose there are a few of us who have to write or we’ll surely go insane. I’ve gone into this before, but there are a few additional things I’ve learned over the years that I feel like putting out there. This is all based on experience, so please have a complimentary pound of salt to take it with. Continue reading

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Vaughn’s Gay Words of the Day

In a bit of a silly mood today, mostly driven there by my students, so here are some terms you might like to know:

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Justifying My English Degree: Perspective and Moral Ambiguity in Assassin’s Creed 4

Since I finally broke out of movies with going to TV, this is one that’s been rattling around in my head for a bit since I finished the game.

THE GAME: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

PUBLISHER: Ubisoft Montreal, 2013

PRINCIPAL ACTORS: Matt Ryan, EJ Schneider, Danny Wallace

SYNOPSIS: In the not so distant future, a new employee of a video game developer delves into the life of a little known Welsh pirate of the 18th century, and promptly finds himself caught between two long warring groups.

Warning: Some spoilers for AC4 follow

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Justifying My English Degree: The Strange Case of Shamy in “The Big Bang Theory”

The Show: The Big Bang Theory

Principal Actors: Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco

The Characters: Dr. Sheldon Cooper, B.S., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., Sc. D.A genius-level yet socially inept theoretical physicist that forms the core of the social circle that comprises the cast of The Big Bang Theory.

Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, Ph.D. A highly intelligent and also social inept neuroscientist who serves as the most recent member of the BBT circle.

The Critique:

I often wonder how I’d react if I met Dr. Cooper in real life. Chances are we’d bump into each other at a Mensa meeting, and he’d be one of those guys who only goes to ridicule the guest speaker and call out every one of his inaccuracies, while I’d be the guy who’s there for the buffet table and free coffee. Despite our proud membership in geek culture, Dr. Cooper and I would find ourselves on opposite sides of the line. He’s hard science, I’m one of those people who studied the humanities. He went to prestigious universities for his studies, and I went to a grad school that until recently had a proud tradition of an annual co-ed nude volleyball game. He’d dismiss me as wasted potential and I’d probably roll my eyes and wonder how someone ended up with screwed up priorities. Also, I’d inform him that it’s “wasted potential” like mine that supplies him with his precious comic books. ;)

While Sheldon Cooper’s social graces are often attributed to Asperger’s, which even Jim Parsons, the actor who portrays Sheldon, claims inspires his performance, there’s another aspect to Sheldon that I often see bandied about, namely that Sheldon is asexual, and that he’s being ruined by the writers who are forcing him into “a binary gender relationship” with a bisexual woman in order to enforce societal relationship mores on them and ease the concerns of the traditional viewer.

I respectfully disagree.

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Justifying My English Degree: For the Love of the Con: “Now You See Me” and Our Desire to Be Tricked

THE TRAILER:

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Commentary: On the Emotional Investment of Fandoms

I’m not into (Insert Popular Media Here).

The above statement is something that I dread saying, not because I don’t mean it, but because it can be a dangerous thing to say. Essentially, it means that I don’t play into a like/dislike duality, and most people would agree that for most things, just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean that you dislike it, or rather, that you hate it. It just means you’re not into it, and if offered it, you’d politely turn it down and ask for other options.

Unless, of course, you’re dealing with a fandom.

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An Open Letter To Jim Butcher

Mr. Butcher:

Sorry, I in no way feel comfortable calling you Jim. You probably don’t remember me but you commented on my old blog once when I openly pondered about your process when writing Harry Dresden. I didn’t expect a response from you, but I got a paragraph back with good advice, summed up with “So what I’m trying to say is: don’t strangle yourself.” It’s good advice and I’ve tried to stick to it. I’m starting with this because this is an entry that’s taken a while for me to work up the bravery to write. I don’t expect a response, but once I hit that “Publish” button it’s pretty much out there and we all know the internet is forever, or at least until long after we’re dead.

So here goes.

Apology not accepted.

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