Know Your Limits

We had screwed up.

A local orchestra had asked us to accompany one of their songs with a waltz showcase in an upcoming performance, and they were specifically looking for an amateur couple. My partner and I were honored and excited, so of course we said yes. We’d connected with the orchestra director and examined the stage. We’d set aside time to choreograph.

But now, as we were listening to the music, we discovered that the song was actually a Viennese waltz, a much faster dance that required more space — and stamina and knowledge — than we had. Six minutes of Viennese? Could we survive? Would it get too repetitive? How would we fit the steps onto a small stage? Could we dance a regular-speed waltz instead? Was it too late to back out?

We had screwed up — and now we had to deal with the consequences.

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A Person First, and Overweight Second: Body Image in Doctorow’s “In Real Life”

Diversity in literature (or movies) is about more than race and gender — body image is an important topic to discuss.

The following is an article on body image I wrote for Pop Culture Uncovered. Check it out!

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Pop Culture Uncovered

In Real Life is a graphic novel based on Cory Doctorow’s short story “Anda’s Game,” initially published as part of his 2007 collection Overclocked. It was supposedly inspired by a true story in which a Mexican man announced at a conference that he paid players to amass virtual wealth that he could then sell to Western players.

However, we’re not here to talk about economics or even MMORPGs. We’re here to talk about body image – and both versions’ vastly different approaches to it.

Though a number of things differ between the short story and its comic adaption, two major things remain the same: one, Anda is a young gamer who joins an all-girls MMORPG clan called the Fahrenheits, and two, Anda is overweight.

In the short story, Anda’s weight struggles are a key plot point: she’s medicated for a skin condition called Acanthosis Nigricans which often precedes obesity-related diabetes. She…

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The (Simple) Secret Behind Meaningful Living

Everyone and their mother has advice on how you can live more meaningfully — just Google the term to see upwards of 116 MILLION articles on the subject. There are thousands of blogs dedicated to it. To further complicate the issue, everyone suggests different methods to add meaning to your life: find your purpose, follow your passion, get rid of your stuff, volunteer, simplify your life, set (and meet) goals, read more, start a gratitude journal, meet new people…but don’t forget to work and sleep and eat healthy and socialize and stay connected with your family and current friends. Got all that?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of time.

Screen capture of Google search "meaningful living" -- returns 116 million results

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Harvest Moon: An Exploration of Gender Stereotypes

“Video games of varying genres shaped my childhood, but none more so than the Harvest Moon series – which (accidentally) introduced me to characters that broke the gender norms I’d come to accept as facts.”

Check out my recent publication at Pop Culture Uncovered!

Pop Culture Uncovered

Scientific studies laud video games for the variety of real-world benefits they offer players, ranging from neurologically combatting depression to restructuring the way we think. When it comes to gender, though, we rarely hear good news; it’s easy to find discussions on the sexualization of female characters and the harassment faced by cosplayers who dress as these characters.
But that doesn’t mean that there are only negative stories. Video games of varying genres shaped my childhood, but none more so than the Harvest Moon series – which (accidentally) introduced me to characters that broke the gender norms I’d come to accept as facts.

Girls and Flowers
Also known as Story of Seasons, Harvest Moon is a franchise built on a simple premise: your character has decided to revive a derelict farm. Your main goals consist of planting and watering crops, caring for livestock, and creating a life in…

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