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The Trouble With American Politics

As the 2012 Presidential Election draws ever-closer, the chaos between the Democrats and Republicans has reached an all-time high, coming to (possibly) a peak with Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s insensitive comments about rape babies. But while everyone fights and argues over pro-life vs. pro-choice politics, a very simple point seems to be getting avoided in the scuffle.

Richard Mourdock’s October 23rd comments relating to God, rape victims, and the resulting children have put the GOP on the defensive.


I’m pretty sure most of this political chaos could be avoided if we all agreed on this point: It’s okay to have opinions, but don’t restrict people’s freedoms by trying to make your opinions into laws.

If you would not get an abortion if you conceived during a rape, more power to you. But don’t force traumatized 11- and 12-year-old girls to give birth to a baby that they don’t want and are not even physically mature enough to carry. Likewise, if a doctor told you that carrying your child full-term would kill you and you wouldn’t abort, then you are a better person than most. But don’t force every woman in that position to get a death sentence just because it’s what you personally believe.

The same goes for all this other nonsense. Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t marry someone of the same sex then. Don’t believe in evolution? Teach your children creationism when they come home every day. Don’t support marijuana legalization? Then don’t smoke it. It’s that easy people. Live your life the way you want to live it, but don’t impede on others’ happiness and beliefs just because of your own superiority complex.

It’s in the constitution and all: there should be a separation of church and state. These government officials have gone through schooling and read enough political scripts to have seen that phrase infinite times. Yet, somehow, it all goes out the window once they open their mouths. Our nation of America is less than 80% Christian, and in that ~80% are many different types of Christians: evangelical, UCC, baptist, and more. So to say, “Well the Bible says it, so it must be a law” is breaking all sorts of ethical reasonings. No two minds are alike, so they really need to stop trying to fit everyone into one tiny, uniform bubble.

This guy marches to the beat of his own drum. Why try to silence him?

It just goes on and on. Don’t support interracial relationships? Then don’t start a romance with someone of a different race. Don’t like the religion of Islam? Then don’t become a Muslim. Don’t believe in giving your hard-earned money to those “evil, unemployed, lazy hobos”? Then don’t donate your money to those charities. Heck, I despise broccoli, but you don’t see me trying to convince people not to eat it (I know that last point seems satirical, but you get the picture).
If only more people would stop to realize this ever-growing fallacy of egotism, maybe elections and the resulting terms would be more productive. We could stop fighting over what God-given rights to give or take from our peers and focus on the things that we should be focusing on. Like how our economy is in the toilet. Or how half of the globe hates us for our ethnocentrism. Or even how we as a people are so gung-ho to help the people in non-Democratic countries “succeed and do better with their lives”, while we turn a blind eye to the starving people in our own country.
Just some food for thought.

Super Amazing Aoi Uma Con Adventure!

Last month saw the first ever Aoi Uma Con in Louisville, Kentucky.

For years, anime and gaming fans had been longing for a convention to be held in Louisville—America’s 16th largest city—but the closest so far was ChiisaiCon, which is held every summer in Shepherdsville, Kentucky…or about a 45-minute drive from Downtown Louisville.

Luckily, almost 900 people turned out for the first Aoi Uma Con, which literally translates into “Blue Horse Con”. The brainchild of convention veteran Caitlin Patrick-Nickels, Aoi Uma Con saw packed hallways and high panel turnouts from its run September 14th-16th, 2012. Guests Vic Mignogna, Todd Haberkorn, and Samurai Dan all drew large crowds during their respective events and panels and were more than happy to converse with fans and take photographs and autographs during their down time.

The official artwork for Aoi Uma Con promotional pieces. Aoi Uma Con will be back for round two next September!

Also present was a plethora of fun panels hosted by con-regulars such as Rob “Pigeon” Hawks, Devin Preston, Angela Nicole, Xakk Stewart, Phoxphire, and more…including a Hentai showdown between Angela Nicole and Devin Preston during the Friday night scheduling. For those squeamish about Hentai, there was also a Formal Ball held Friday night, followed up with a traditional Rave during the Saturday night festivities.

“Aoi Uma Con was pretty good,” says Tyler Torralba, who attended the convention’s Saturday event line-up. “It had a nice feel to it. I talked to a League Of Legends panel for an hour, and then won second place in a comedy competition for telling a story about piss. I’ll definitely go again next year. Support local otaku!”

For down time, con-goers shopped at the many Artist Alley booths, such as Tsunade’s Treasures and Tasty Peach Studios, all of which had fun crafts for low prices. There were also frequent impromptu karaoke sessions in the main hallway, as well as competitive tournaments in the gaming room.

Guest Vic Mignogna poses for a photograph with a fan while at Aoi Uma Con 2012.

At the end of the convention, everyone had learned one thing: Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is the greatest video game in existence, as declared by Pigeon during the many panels that he hosted and guested on. “It’s just 80 Microsoft Points to experience The Oregon Trail on LSD,” explained Pigeon at least five different times throughout the weekend. “It is well worth the money. Every experience is different and it’s a difficult game, but so addicting!”

Aoi Uma Con will return to Louisville from September 20th-22nd, 2013, with the location moving from the Fern Valley Hotel & Conference Center to The Louisville Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center, which is located in the Jeffersontown area of the city. Keep up to date with all of the latest Aoi Uma Con news by LIKING them on Facebook!

You can see hundreds of pictures from Aoi Uma Con 2012 by going to the Cerulean Photography fan page and viewing their Guests album, Formal album, and Hall album.

You, TOO, Can Be A Novelist!

There are many people in today’s world who say, “I’m going to write novels and be rich and famous!” They say this every day for months and months and months. Then, they grow old and die, and their world-famous novel never managed to escape the confines of their decomposing brain.

The truth is that most people never finish a novel, much less take the fine to edit and fine-tune it to the point where it becomes acceptable for publication. There are always “more important things” to attend to. Well, guess what? If you plan to make a living from writing, then making your novel one of those “more important things” sounds like a pretty good first step. When people meet someone like me who has published one novel and is nearly done with its sequel, their response is always the same: “Well, you have too much free time!”

Not really.

Not at all, actually.

Although this guy could certainly use a new hobby…

It’s all about time management. Put down the game controller for just an hour a day. Turn off the television. Cease your forum trolling for just a little while. I promise the Admins won’t band together and squash your source of amusement that quickly. You already procrastinate on every school assignment you receive anyway. Why not spend that time doing something a little more productive?

So, here is your chance to finally write that novel you’ve been tossing around for God knows how long. It’ll only take you a month, I promise. It’s called the National Novel Writing Month competition, typically referred to affectionately as “NaNoWriMo”. This annual competition started in July 1999 with just 21 participants, a group of friends who were bored. As of 2010 [data from 2011 was not currently available], over 200,000 participants took part.

You still interested?

The goal of the competition is to write either a novel totaling 50,000 words…or 50,000 words of an uncompleted novel. The distinction between a novella and a novel is hitting the 40,000 word mark (the length of classics such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and The Great Gatsby), so reaching your NaNoWriMo goal is definitely a step in the right direction.

The catch? Only words written between November 1st and November 30th count for the competition.

To win this competition, you will have to write 1667 words per day, or roughly two-typed, single-spaced, Microsoft Word pages. This intensity gets your adrenaline pumping, and forces you to focus on getting words down on the page, rather than lingering over trivial details. Once your novel is complete, you can edit and fine-tune it to your liking. If you sweat the small stuff right off the bat, you will never get done. Think of it like building a house: put up the foundation, and then furnish it all to perfection. If you spend time perfecting one corner of the house as it’s being build, a rain storm is going to hit and drown your uncompleted foundation, glitz and all. Focus on the foundation, take a break, then shine it up.

The 2012 NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge begins on November 01st! It’s not too late to sign up!

So of course, you’re probably inquiring about your prize for reaching 50,000 words? Bragging rights and a completed novel.

What, you were expecting money? That’s what you make after publishing your book, and with all of the free-publishers like Lulu and CreateSpace out there, there is no reason why you can’t add “published author” to your résumé!

So, here’s your chance. Thirty days of literary abandon. Just dedicate one or two hours a night to NaNoWriMo, and you’ll have that book you always dreamed of in no time! Best of all, there’s no punishment should you fall under 50,000 words or rage-quit all together (except for shame! Shamey, shame, shame! *finger wag*).

This competition is more popular than you may think. Just post on your Facebook or Twitter that you’re participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo competition, and you’ll be surprised at how many people are taking that same plunge next month! So band together with those newly-discovered writing buddies of yours, and get ready to enjoy a solid month of domestic keyboard abuse.

Good luck!

Voting AGAINST The Other Man

With the first Presidential Debate now behind us, political hype has increased ten-fold. Of course, along with this, so has the typical nasty comments spamming all of the popular social media sites; but, as much as people gripe about the one-sided political hate of their peers, you know they take pleasure from it deep down inside.

Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama face off in the October 03rd, 2012 Presidential Debate.

One interesting facet that this year’s election has been showing is why the candidates have the support they have received. While some voters are voting in support of either President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney, others seem to be feeling rather lackluster about their candidate and are simply voting against the opposing party.

“I’m disappointed in Obama, but I can’t let Romney get elected for the sake of society!”

“I don’t think Romney is what this country needs, but Obama will run America into the ground!”

Statuses and tweets in a similar vein to these seem to be becoming more and more prevalent on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other such sites. Is the 2012 Presidential Race going to be remembered as a battle of the lesser of two evils?

“I wouldn’t say that I’m hyped to be voting for Barack Obama, but I do believe that he has proven himself worthy of the title President of the United States,” says Mel Rey, 22. “Mitt Romney has proven himself completely unprepared. Rather than focusing on what this country needs, he focuses on what he thinks it should be…and that’s not something a President should ever do. This is no longer about Democrats vs. Republicans vs. Liberals vs. Conservatives; this is about Obama—a man of reason, intelligence, and with the desire of equal prosperity and opportunity—versus Romney—a man who focuses on the rich, and tries to enforce his religious views on such a religiously diverse country.”

“I’m voting for Mitt Romney,” says Leah Blair, 22, “although I feel that he won’t be very different from Obama or [George W.] Bush. He will probably continue spending money we don’t have and is just paying lip-service to factions of the GOP who honestly do want to see the deficit go down. Still, I believe he’d be better than Obama. While I do believe that Obama inherited a huge mess, he’s done nothing but make it worse while continuing to blame his predecessor. Blaming Bush worked for at least the first two years, but people aren’t buying it anymore.”

Former President George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States Of America and current President Barack Obama’s immediate predecessor.

“A lot of people feel that Ron Paul or Gary Johnson would be better all around, but statistically they can’t win,” admits Amanda Cooper, 24. “I think Obama has done a lot for us both socially and in the world arena, and I think he will do a lot more throughout his second term without out having to worry about re-election. Romney stands for oppression and ignorance that I cannot tolerate.”

Although it seems that many people are in the same boat as Blair, Rey, and Cooper, there are still others who are actually excited about their candidate of choice.

“I am voting for Obama!” proudly announces Monica Boes, 25. “Romney’s plans will victimize women and turn this country back to the way it was pre-Civil War. So I am indeed hyped about my candidate because I feel that Obama is the best candidate for the majority of America!”

Still, Boes seems to be one of the few Americans thoroughly pleased with either candidate. With so many people lamenting the Republican and Democratic nominees, what does this mean for the poll turnouts? Will people actually vote this November?

With so many campaigns like Rock The Vote, which encourage all eligible American citizens—especially youths—to mark their ballots, will that be enough to convince people to vote for lackluster candidates?

To some, the answer is no.

“I’m not voting,” admits Xakk Stewart, 22. “It’s not worth it due to the fact that neither party is good for this country, both economically and socially.”

Despite being told repeatedly that “every vote counts”, more and more Americans are frustrated with the electoral votes system. They feel that their voice is not truly counting unless each and every person’s vote individually influences the winning candidate, not how many electoral votes their state possesses. Others just cannot bring themselves to seat either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in the White House under a good conscious.

“People say that if you don’t vote, then you don’t have the right to complain,” Stewart reflects. “Where’s the logic in that? If you put them into office, then you shouldn’t complain about your candidate, and you can’t blame me for your shitty politician because I didn’t vote him in.”