Summarized Rant: Positivism

I had to think about posting. I had to cancel a scheduled post because it felt too negative for many reasons, and the negative is watering down the real purpose of the original entry. Honestly, I feel the words were true, but at the same time, some people could misunderstand the words I said. I will try to summarize a little bit of it, and, as always, my comments are always open to your opinions.

The point of the canceled post was to criticize (or viscerally attack) the misuse of the “think positive” phrase. Many people truly believe having a positive attitude will solve all problems or make things better. Others use it for the sole purpose of not using “I don’t care about your problems,” similar to the Social Justice Warriors on the internet, fighting for equality… as long as equality does not include white people or even straight men.

I am a person that suffered a certain amount of racism in the United States but at the same time received a lot of love from Americans. That said, let’s get back to the point of the exaggerated positivism that exists out there. I stand up for real equality; that is all we should aim for.

We only need to look at the smart asses taking advantage of someone else’s situation. With their lessons where they teach you how to change your mentality and reach your true potential; convincing yourself you can reach the sky, without any proper guide in how to do it, “be positive,” making you repeat that until you get old and die convinced it was worth it. Is it, though?

Other cases are literature. Pollution in the literature exists, and no, I don’t think young adult novels are bad as some people for some reason believe they are. The worst that has happened in the literary world are the books telling you how to live and how to decorate your house to attract good vibes. The thing with vibes is already beyond… sigh I am looking at you, The Secret. Of course, I cannot forget the dishonorable mention to Paulo Coelho.

A little rant once in a while does not hurt.

New Old Findings

Goodness. I was not expecting this.

I’ve been doing some cleaning. My home is small, so the space is not big enough to keep what I bought when I was younger. I found some cool stuff I forgot I had, but it is sad to accept that some things have to go away. I might put some of these items on eBay or any other marketplace.

But I found something significant, to me at least. An old notebook where I wrote a lot of short stories in Spanish. What’s so important about it? Easy, it means a lot of stories are coming to this little place. Do not worry, though, that I plan to translate and edit each story properly. I won’t use Google translate, upload, and that’s it; no. I wouldn’t dare to say some of these stories are good or not; I can’t do my own judgment when it comes to creative works. You know that the comment section will always be open for comments, good or bad (except for weird links). I am against censorship, and as long as I’m on the internet, posting stuff publicly, I know I’ll be exposed to criticism, constructive and destructive alike.

I’ve already uploaded old stories, but looking at the very beginning of my humble journey feels good, for some reason. Although I’d be lying if I say some of these aren’t cringy, so I’ll just skip some of the writings that are beyond salvation, haha.

Do you have a diary or random writings you feel proud or ashamed of? I know some internet people and friends had old notebooks or journals where they kept some of these. Now I know first-hand why they’ve kept them. It’s nostalgia. Just like playing a game, watching a movie, or listening to a song you loved when you were a kid, and life was easier and happier. I mentioned in previous posts that nostalgia does not affect me, but finding something I WROTE by my own hand, is a beautiful feeling, good or bad.

I bet this will be interesting to see; me fixing all the mess I had as fiction.

Thank you for reading me,
JD

Back From the Scrap

Oh yeah, the moment I felt more motivated to do stuff here is precisely when my laptop has finally decided to die. It seems technology wanted to play jokes on me.

I had been using an old laptop my uncle sold me almost a decade ago. It was old, but it did the job. It took its sweet little time to perform essential functions, and it all got worse with newer updates. Still, it was a cool thing to keep and save money, right? It was still breathing; why bury the machine if it insisted on saving my days?

Well, two weeks ago, it decided my motivation wasn’t worth it. I don’t know what happened that everything I did was for nothing. Even saving updated Word files or images didn’t work at all. After making some changes on a Word document, I clicked save and waited, just in case. Nothing happened. When I restarted my document, it turned out it didn’t save a single modification. The same thing happened with some Canva images I made online: I rewrote a few words and changed the background, and when I tried to download the picture, I got the old one, without any change that I made after clicking save carefully.

I am not an expert in computers. I asked around Discord servers to see what to do, and the majority agreed that a new PC was urgent. Honestly, I was thinking of an excuse to fix that laptop and keep it until it exploded, but in the end, I was the only one making things more difficult. Writing is the most important thing that I have, and putting obstacles on my own made me think if I genuinely cared about my words and stories. That maybe I didn’t care much about writing and literature in general. Imagine how I felt at that thought—doubting after all this time.

I am old enough to worry about doubts, especially when it comes to something I am so passionate about. Not only that, I mentioned in previous posts that my website/blog has helped me to kill some stress, and to abandon it would have been a bad idea, even though the things out there are getting a little better (I got my second vaccine dose on May 12th, yay!) Perhaps I’ll be able to travel in a year or two if everybody cooperates with health measures. And if this happens, I’ll give you a lot of content about Mexico.

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

I bought a new computer. And this is going to sound stupid, but it’s been a huge difference. I got so used to old used laptops that seeing this one running made my brain explode; it took me longer to react at its speed than the PC starting up.

I believe this post is short and too long at the same time. My only purpose is to let you all know that I have a new computer, and it is time to return in full strength.

My next post goes for the Literature section of my website, and it is part number two of my uncomfortable reads. Give it some love when it’s published.

Thank you for reading me.

It is always my pleasure to write,
JD

How Short is Short?

How short is short for you? What is the definition of short when you read a blog entry? I’ve been wondering for a while. There’s not a particular reason I wonder, but it would be interesting to know from someone else’s perspective how short is considered short. Does it depend on the word count, or perhaps is the time an entry might take you to read it.
If something’s tedious, I know from experience that even three hundred words will feel like three thousand words. It’s a feeling similar to when you are waiting to do something exciting, or when it’s Friday, and you look at the clock; that moment you have a single look at the clock, everything’s going to feel slow.

A blog has many uses. It could be your not-too-personal journal, or the beginning of your writing journey, or both; why not? Although I am always on the side of complete freedom (write what you like the way you like), I am aware that if we plan to share our words with the world, we won’t be able to please everybody. This is not encouraging at all, I know, but this is also part of being true to ourselves. And we also need to know that being too true to ourselves could be counterproductive, though I prefer it this way.

I read the other day a post about blog entries length. The article picked my attention because it says a post should contain at least 300 words to rank well in search engines, but longer posts with 1000 words or more will rank more easily than short posts.

With the data, most bloggers will try to reach that word count, and although a lot of bloggers have a good way to make their posts interesting to the end, some others may add unnecessary filler to make their entries longer. I’m not sure if I’ve done it in the past; feel free to tell me if I did. I cannot speak about other bloggers because the few I read are very good. But I can tell you examples of fillers from YouTube videos.

Think about your favorite youtuber. Maybe you’ve been expecting that person to speak about the title; the video is called “Jesus Delgado Sucks” and you want to hear about that, but the youtuber starts talking about a dog pissing on the vloger on the way home and how the recording is going to blow off some steam. That introduction was almost three minutes long, and the video is ten minutes long. Obviously, that person is just trying to reach a certain number of minutes. Some people like it, for some reason, and that’s okay; but I prefer those introductions to be shorter, or not included in the first place.

I guess I’d be wasting my time if I’m not looking to stand out in search engines, making longer posts without feeling it. Maybe I should not be here writing random nonsense without a goal. Words are unattractive by themselves, and some illustrations help pick the eyes or a good number of followers. In the end, I am here to share a little bit about me; some of my stories, some of my literary projects, my opinions on books, anime, music, and videogames. Of course, I’d love to gain more followers by doing this, writing a lot. But who knows what’s going to happen in the future, right? For now, the only thing that matters to me is to share and promote my upcoming novel.

I will think about it some more. The only thing for sure is that I won’t try to self-publish until my book looks great.

Boogiepop, a Motivation to Learn Japanese

What is your motivation to learn a new language? Music? Literature? Movies? Or perhaps an additional skill for your resume? I guess we all have different reasons for learning a new language; all of them valid and all of them can help you understand a little bit more about a culture. I’ve mentioned before that I learned English for the music and literature.

English is the easiest language to learn, and it also gives you access to a lot of information and entertainment. It’s the language the majority knows and must learn as a second language (unless it’s your native tongue) to get a better chance to find a job these days.

Boogiepop light novels, Volumes 1, 2, and 3

I was not expecting to be learning Japanese anytime soon. Some of you already know I like anime, but not at the point where I would be going crazy with a Pikachu costume. The subtitles are comfortable to me; someone has to be really dumb to believe another language is destroying, let’s say, America. Wink

Remember this tweet about the movie called Parasite and the Oscars?

A man named Bong Joon Ho wins #Oscar for best original screenplay over Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and 1917.

Acceptance speech was: “GREAT HONOR. THANK YOU.”

Then he proceeds to give the rest of his speech in Korean.

These people are the destruction of America.

— Jon Miller (@MillerStream) February 10, 2020

Yeah, I apologize; I just needed an excuse to point out stupidity, even though it is not even the point of my entry. Hey, these are the advantages of a freelancer like me, and then I wonder why I don’t have many followers. It is what it is, I guess. Ah, yes, and the tweet is not available anymore, I wonder why? Ah, yes, I am being sarcastic. I bet you remember it, and I don’t really want to forget we have this kind of people with influence.

I am going back to the subject, alright? I was saying I like watching my shows with subtitles, these are just at the bottom of the screen, and I can read lines instantly in English and Spanish. I felt okay with that. Besides, I’ve never been a hardcore fan of a show to wait for something more if not available. If the anime or movie is not on a LEGAL streaming platform like Crunchyroll or Funimation, I don’t watch it, as simple as that. Then I watched an anime called Boogiepop and Others, its first episode was so confusing, but it grabbed my attention until I fell in love with it. It was the first time that I felt the necessity to get the original source. I thought it would be a manga, but I ended up discovering something called a light novel.

I do have a post about light novels, so please check it out if you have not already.

Boogiepop is also known as the granfather of light novels. This means it is one of the series, if not the first, that introduced what we know as a light novel today; it amazes me that Boogiepop never received enough attention. The 2019 anime adaptation was not popular either. I understand, however, its lack of success; the story can be confusing. The novel/anime constantly jumps from one character to another and from one time to another. It is not a linear story, and you need to put the pieces together. The anime adaptation does not even tell you where it is, and you get prequel episodes without notice. The light novel at least gives you a clear hint that you’re reading from another character’s perspective.

It is a shame that these novels are not going to be popular in our continent ever. It’ll need more than another anime season or reboot to get the attention it deserves. I am not even crossing my fingers because I know that train has been long gone. There are comments that even Boogiepop’s fanbase is moving onto different fandoms as we speak, but these are only speculations. If this is the case, though, I would not be surprised either. The industry in constantly moving on, never waiting for us to catch up with it. A company is always about business and money before pleasing ALL customers. They try to please a majority. And because I love something with all my heart and soul, I know that I don’t represent the majority.

After everything I said and the title of this post, I think you already know what’s the remaining option if I want to read Boogiepop.

Learning Japanese From Scratch

Learning another language to watch your favorite TV shows is as valid as learning it for your resume. In the end, even if it was entertainment the reason you’ve learned a language, the skill is going to be there, and it can be used in your professional life. Just please, do not tell the interviewer you learned a language to watch [insert any show from any country] without subtitles.

There is a huge difference between a language that uses the same writing as your own and a language that uses different writing. My mother tongue is Spanish, and my secondary is English. Even though these languages are different, both use Roman/Latin alphabet; there are tiny differences between pronunciation in both languages, but in general, you just need to adjust to the other to learn, right? Imagine growing up with only one alphabet and then trying to jump to a language with different letters, like Russian, Japanese, Chinese, you name it. It is a world (or a continent) of difference.

With the internet, anime, cosplay, and otakus in general, Japanese exposition has grown in our continent, giving a lot of relevance to the culture, which has been an important milestone for diversity. We have many things to choose from, and from different countries; we are not forced to watch or listen to local or American media anymore. We have access to bits of many countries from the commodity of our homes. Unfortunately, there are so many other things out there that never get an official translation or release near us. No, I DO NOT support piracy!

Boogiepop Missing: Peppermint Wizard

Boogiepop Missing: Peppermint Wizard is the 7th volume of the series, but it is also from here that the light novels haven’t gotten an official translation. The last book we got officially translated was Boogiepop at Dawn, a prequel to the series. I want to believe that at least it was a good place to stop, except that I fell in love with Boogiepop. I know many people are waiting for Seven Seas Entertainment to release more official translations, and I know that will not happen ever, so there is only one way to read the following novels. What a weird place to start, right?

I might update my progress if I feel like it.

To conclude this post, I need to tell you I feel excited. The perfect opportunity AND motivation reached me. You should check the light novels if you haven’t already. There’s also an anime adaptation of the novels 1-3, 5, and 6, available on Crunchyroll, but you need to go with an open mind.

Have you heard about Boogiepop? Have you learned another language for entertainment purposes?

Another Reflection

I need to start with a big spoiler: Yes, my writing improved a lot.

One of the things that helped me realize I needed help was the etude assignments. I was always honest; etude workshop was a lot of fun and having some feedback from my classmates helped me notice some mistakes I’ve made in the past.

It’s hard to make a good self-critique. Some of us used to believe we got everything right the first time, and that’s a huge mistake when speaking of any creative work. We just need to take a look at some of our favorite literary works. If we pay attention, we’ll notice one or more mistakes, so why would we do everything right the first time without professional editing? It’s certainly easier to point out someone else’s errors than our own, that is for sure. That’s one of the things I learned from this class, and I bet that is the most important if we think about it.

Writing takes time; just like learning or creating a new recipe, you need to screw up a couple of times, but it’ll eventually be tasty for you. You are the chef, so that means it won’t be enough if it’s tasty for you. After you try many times to get the flavor you like, the chef has to take a second, a third, or the looks it needs to be good enough for the customer, too, and that’s a summary of any creative process. Writing, alpha, and beta reading; one or more editing process comes next, and the final touches; the manuscript is not going to correct itself, right?

Now, some of the details I noticed more as we took the classes are the error patterns. I made a lot of vague emotional or physical descriptions instead of showing the readers what I meant. Also, I believe I didn’t do this much, but I remember from my classmates using the past and present tense. That got corrected on the latest etudes, but it was common at the beginning of the semester.

Overall, I’ve been enjoying this writing journey. It makes me feel some kind of strange freedom, and I’d love to continue through this.

The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know much.

Dark Entries

The title is a Bauhaus song. Honestly, though, it has nothing to do with it, but I’m going to put it here for you to listen. Enjoy!

“Dark Entries” by Bauhaus

There are so many times when your mind goes blank. Total emptiness breaks through your brain, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Or maybe you can, but it’s hard to think clearly. The sounds around you become a distant echo, gradually disappearing.

There are so many distractions; all of them become one, forming a massive wall made of everything and nothing, all at once. Any inspiration to do anything is kept on the other side of that wall; it’s so hard to break that you end up going back at the beginning to the point of giving up.

It is part of any creative process to lose sight. It is part of any creative process to make one, three, thousands of mistakes as long as these don’t keep us on the floor. We learned that from movies or some others from good parents. Perhaps it’s easier said than done for a good percentage of people; of course, I made this up, I didn’t look for any statistic to give.

Motivation is just a little bit of what someone needs to write constantly. The balance between life and the inner self is also another bit of what it takes to keep writing in form.

I am not sure if other factors determine what we need to reach a specific goal. Whatever that goal you set, of course, this last point is different for me, and it is different for you, just like it is different for each individual among millions.

Dark is always there to consume us. We usually call them the inner demons, but we don’t know if those demons are just the negativity within ourselves. I am not a person who believes in a certain mindset; you know, that bullcrap we hear from self-improvement books. Our life stays the same while the author’s wallet gets fat.

What is the actual advice, then? I’ve looked at some of my past posts on this blog, and I asked similar questions. There are points in life when we need to take a break, ask ourselves questions, see if we’re heading in the right direction we wanted.

How long do we have to keep asking ourselves questions, though? I’m curious for real. May we ask a successful friend or family member, and we’ll find out that most of them have questions too. Even when we look at those families that seem perfect, I bet they wonder about things. Who knows.

It’s good to have a distraction once in a while. Music, movies, friends, games, or anything that releases your stress can be good for a recovery process. A good song, your favorite, is a tool that could give you a push. Sometimes we need a little push or a heavy push; it all depends on the kind of darkness you’re into. See if there’s something that would help alleviate stress, or see if you actually need a little extra from somebody else. The only thing that matters here is that you don’t remain in the dark. Or at least look for something within and bring it to your reality.

Now I feel somewhat guilty. I feel like I’m the one talking like those self-improvement phonies. But I have to be honest, though, and say that this post was for me. I wrote it for myself, and I don’t even know why I’m sharing it. I guess that is the purpose of a blog. There are different sections/pages on this web, and everything’s coming from my brain. I hope someone enjoys it, at least.

Light Novels

I’m a person who enjoys anime. Most anime series are easy and fun to watch. It has a lot of genres for all types of individuals. I enjoy all of them; if I feel like a high-action and funny anime shows, I watch a shonen anime (One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, just to name two). If I want to watch some comedies, Asobi Asobase and Konosuba are my favorites.

Suppose I want to watch something more serious; romantic, paranormal, sci-fi, or other genres that take themselves more seriously. In that case, there are so many recommendations I’d probably make in the future.

As some of you already know, most of the anime shows came from Japanese comics, better known as mangas, with a few exceptions. Some people like to collect merchandise, and that includes the sources from their favorite shows. One of my friends is a hardcore One Piece fan; he watches the show on Crunchyroll and collects the mangas.

I’m not much of a collector, but there are a few shows that I loved so much I got tempted to acquire the mangas. Boogiepop and Others, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, and Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! are just a few shows that I loved so much no I want to collect the original material. I was surprised, though, when I realized these shows didn’t come from a manga. These shows came from something called light novels. It was the first time I heard of such things as light novels.

As an avid reader, the term got me intrigued. At first, I thought a light novel would be pages full of dialogs with one illustration to complement it; you know, left page the image, right page the dialogues, something like that. I was wrong.

What is a light novel then?

A light novel is a style of Japanese light novels for young adults, although there are some series for adults. Most of these novels have an average length of about 50,000 words, which is the minimum word count for a traditional book to be considered a novel.

Bookstore in Macau (photo I took from Wikipedia)

Many light novels, like their manga older brother, is serialized. There is more than one volume of each series. I like to think of light novels as books for anime/manga fans. This format is becoming very popular, with publishers like Yen On and J-Novel translating them into this language; I believe some English original light novels exist. Perhaps it’s a format that’ll become something more in the west. For now, it’s a niche that will get some strength; time will tell.

Another similarity with mangas is that some of them get compiled as omnibuses, two or more volumes in one book. The first light novels that I bought were the Boogiepop series, which unfortunately didn’t get translated past volume 6.

Today you can buy the English version of the Boogiepop light novels, whether you’d like to buy the six individual volumes or two omnibuses like I did (image above). Just saying!

How is the content like?

Light novel is an accurate term to describe these books. They are easy to read, follow, and finish. There are no heavy descriptions as you usually see in traditional novels. There is a general description of the world and the characters; the reason is that you’ll find a few illustrations in the books. These are basically manga-like drawings of the characters and a situation so that you won’t get lost.

All of this work very well to complete what a light novel is. On one side, you have some descriptions, first-person or third-person point of view, depending on the story; and on the other side, you know how the characters look because you have an illustration.

One thing does NOT replace the other

I am sure new folks looking at this format may wonder if these light novels would replace traditional books one day. Short answer: no.

If you’re new and feel curious about them, you might think that the light novels are like YA (young adult) books that are very popular in any bookstore. Sure, but you need to divide the soul of your favorite book into two: its narrative and illustrations. One is not going to work without the other, even if you add more images. Needs to be a balance between the two to make a light novel.

Also, it is important to mention that this format is clearly written for manga and anime fans. Of course, this does not mean that someone else should not read it; quite the contrary. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for two kinds of hobbyists to approach the other. The anime and manga fans look at literature, and the literature fans look at the anime and manga. For me, this is another good way to break stereotypes, open our minds to other media, and realize there are many exciting works created in different formats for all tastes.

Give light novels an opportunity. I’m sure you’re going to find something interesting.

Welcome, New Year 2021

There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, there is always a civilization at the other side of that tunnel. It is always a good thing to see something waiting to be discovered. Although, we know that in that little or big community there’s always A GROUP waiting, (un)intentionally, to make things worse for the rest of society. This is life! Imperfect all the time, and I am not going to lie, that’s exactly what makes everything more interesting.

Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

I am eager to see what’s coming for us. I won’t say there is something, a goal, waiting to be fulfilled—most of the time these New Year goals are nothing but a lie. Of course, that depends 100% on us, but you know what I mean. My suggestion is to make what actually makes you happy without being careless of the important aspects of life; your family, your income, and the pastimes that make you whole.

We tend to believe the lie that there is a purpose for each one of us, which is A LIE. Do not get me wrong, though; I guess it is good to have something to believe in. The problem is when we depend on that belief, sit on our butts and wait for that “life purpose” to come and say hello to us. That is not how it works. The true purpose is what makes us whole, as redundant as it may sound with the previous paragraph.

The world is getting tougher each day that passes. If you are reading this, it means that you are privileged enough to have internet. Just like I am. Keep in mind that there are people out there that are really struggling; it is sad that it is physically impossible to help everyone in need, although we can do our best to keep our families and loved ones safe. Occasionally lend a hand. It is easy to make hash tags and trends on social media without moving an actual finger. It is up to you and me to truly do something for our fellow humans.

I am not going to bother to insult that people traveling (job-required does not count, they are cool) or partying. Just want to let you know if it weren’t for this dumb “Cancellation Culture,” and the WP politics, I would let you know my real thoughts on this post. You all need a leash.

With no further thought, I wish you all a HAPPE NEW YEAR! May your dreams come true and the story unfolds the way you wish.

Pre-Christmas 2020

A new Christmas is coming. A few hours left before the most beautiful celebration of the year; a holiday most people love to spend with their families. I dare you to tell me a prettier day. It only rivals with Dia de Muertos, though this is a bittersweet celebration, and that put it just a little beneath Christmas.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

The year 2020 has been crazy, not in a good way however. Sometimes we just need to look around to see the countless things outside that keep us apart from each other. Society, even though technology helps us stay in touch with everyone, it seems it is exactly a tool to keeps us apart from each other. The visits at the restaurants were curious because we had seen a table with a big family; but each member texting someone else. That communication is even worse now. The best recommendation to endure and help our respective nations is to avoid contact as much as possible.

How are you going to spend your Christmas? That is a difficult question to answer. I know some folks miss their families so much that they are willing to risk health and safety measures, which is not responsible, and it is understandable at the same time. I’ve said it on previous posts that, personally, I don’t mind being alone, but that does not mean that everyone has to do the same. In fact, a majority is social; I am nothing but an exception. I really want to believe that there will be a reward at the end of the tunnel for those that are suffering. I want to believe that they, the ones respecting the rules despite dealing with personal issues by themselves, are going to be very happy once this gets better. Let’s just keep in mind that nothing is going to be normal ever again. This should be a lesson for everyone, to take care of each other, friends, families, and strangers alike.

I also know that “this should be a lesson for everyone” is just a wishful thinking. If another pandemic comes in the future, a lot of people is going to make sure to screw everything up. So you do you, my friends!

And for those that actually care (have a brain), I wish you a Merry Christmas!