Amanda.Actually: Panelist Most of the Time

Hello, readers! As many of you know, I’m a panelist, cosplayer and general fangirl. It’s convention season for me and I wanted to ask you: my friends, readers and those that are generally made of awesome a simple question.

AichiYume Needs Your Help (1)


Topics I’ve covered in the past include: Fandoms 101, Character Development, Men’s Roles in Anime and Convention Etiquette. The writing ones are a huge hit and I’m lucky enough to be a seasoned fangirl so I can talk to a few topics.

Here’s a picture of my panel crowd from Character Development at A-Kon 27 ( I apologize for the crappy pic but this wasn’t even all the crowd, the room ended up filling out by the time I was finished with my panel).



And here’s another picture from MizuumiCon to another fairly packed house where I presented my Fandoms 101 panel for the first time!


At this stage of asking about topics there are no wrong answers so don’t hold back. I’m very open to suggestions.

What topics would you love to see in a panel run by the tiny awesome me?

I look forward to your submissions in the comments below or on any of my social media channels that are linked to this humble little blog.

Thanks for reading as always and thank you for continuing to inspire me to be a better writer, panelist and person.


Meditations on Welcome to Night Vale After Seeing it Live

“Exit, pursued by a bear.” ― William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale

So I was fortunate enough to go to the Welcome to Night Vale tour while it stopped here in San Antonio. I went with my friend Amber and went in costume as Night Vale Community Radio’s favorite host, Cecil. And as many of you know I’m a big fan of the show and have written about it before at least once and probably will again at least a few times. I had an amazing time and I loved the show so here are a few thoughts on fandoms, waiting in line and headcannons. I’ll do my best to keep this spoiler-free because I respect that many may not have been able to see the show yet but one or two may leak out in my excitement for the show and the fandom so blame the zeitgeist, I suppose. So let’s get started, dear listeners.

  • Body paint is almost never worth the trouble. No amount of tutorials will make it worth it. I do not care. No third eyes, no nothing. Concealer is already too much effort for me.
  • Parking downtown is a nightmare. That’s not even hyperbolic. It was a nightmare.
  • Suspenders are not made for people with busts. They are though, cute as hell. I now need more excuses to brave the discomfort and wear suspenders.
  • People drove from several states away to see this show: while walking out from the parking structure Amber and I met a group of women one from Austin, one from San Antonio and one all the way from Oklahoma.
  • Getting compliments on my costumes is always great but it does sometimes make me a little insecure.
  • Though getting a compliment on my “radio voice” and the fact that I have good enunciation is always fantastic.
  • Hearing that people support my unpopular headcannons is always fun.
  • The Aztec is amazing when it comes to lines and despite the long lines we did not wait long.
  • HOWEVER: Aztec, get your seating together.
  • Also, sitting while short is a problem. Luckily, there was a space between tall between and I had the perfect short person’s window.
    • Please feel free to take “Short person’s window” for your own. SHORT PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. Just smaller people.
  • Night Vale is if anything an amazingly written podcast and I admire Joseph Fink and Jeffery Crannor as writers.
  • Costuming while having no cannonical descriptions are fun.
  • Sentient patches of haze are pretty intense.
  • Night Vale Community Radio interns are in fact delicate and we should all treasure them a little more.
  • I sometimes forget how big the Night Vale fandom is: it’s a podcast. We don’t all hang out. But this show was PACKED.
  • Always stick around for the Horoscopes.
  • Continue your well-suited disappointment in Steve Carlsburg.
  • The weather was good.
    • Fun fact: this is probably one of my favorite fan artifacts. I wonder how that will be read in the distant future. A bunch of cyber archaeologists going on about “Why is everying commenting about the weather!”
    • Though there are not many artists that get to babble at me incoherently for several minutes.
    • ALSO: my clapping is just fine, lady. You don’t know me or my life.
  • Cecil Baldwin’s kinda hot…
    • Okay, he’s very hot. And well-dressed.
  • But seeing Cecil Baldwin BE Cecil Palmer confirms a few things that were a part of my headcannon including that Cecil is very expressive, gestures a lot and does genuinely love his job. He also is very much not aware of how dangerous Night Vale is making him a precious cinnamon roll who needs to be protected.
  • So this isn’t really a spoiler but I need to say it: I was NOT expecting that ending and it ended up making me really emotional but in the best way. In the way that all writing should. When you connect. When you feel. When you become the story and the story becomes you and suddenly then, only then, it isn’t a story: it is your life.

Night Vale is a sleepy town on the edge of the desert but there are thousands, millions of virtual citizens. We are all citizens of this strange little town with mysterious lights, unsupported oak doors and 6-legged cats that hover in the men’s bathroom of the local radio station. Night Vale is a fandom that is close to my heart. I love Cecil, my radio host. I adore his relationships. I fear greatly The Dog Park and want justice for the literal 5-headed dragon in prison. We as a fandom have a community: we have opinions. Some of us love Carlos. Some don’t think Kevin is so bad. Some hate Desert Bluffs, some hate Desert Bluffs more. I couldn’t imagine that Night Vale would end up meaning so much to me. I never liked it when it first came out: I didn’t understand the love of this strange fictional land but now I listen in regularly. I listen to Cecil as if Night Vale is my hometown and the nightly community radio broadcast is my public radio station. Welcome to Night Vale is TPR for nerds like me. Imagine: people sitting in their cars, sitting at home, doing chores all while listening to Welcome to Night Vale. Just as I’m sure the creators intended. This is our radio. This is our show. Night Vale is our hometown: well at least, it is if you can survive the Glow Cloud and avoid the Shape in Mission Grove Park.  So I highly recommend the Night Vale live show. It’s engaging, funny, dark, twisted and thoughtful. So enjoy the show. Listen. Tune in. You won’t regret it. 

And as always: good night, dear readers. Good night.

The Lessons from A-Kon 2016

-So if I'm Fuudo, then that means Carlos is Infiltration and Ricky is Xian.-

I have returned from A-Kon and it was the most bittersweet time at a convention that I can think of in recent memory. Here are a few musings during my time paneling, cosplaying and being with friends: both old and new and some people that I much rather just avoid.

  • There is nothing like eating white cake and watching Django Unchained.
  • Paneling is still honestly the most rewarding and fantastic thing I have done in my young life.
    • Having fans and people listening is absolutely amazing and I hope to keep doing it for as long as I am able.
  • Swimming is a fantastic way to unwind.
  • Hot tubs are in fact magical.
  • Mackerel is really really delicious.
    • Let’s just say that this weekend I sorta just turned into Haruka Nanase.
  • Having a bedroom to yourself as a lady, cosplayer and introvert is a fantastic luxury.
  • Always save your presentation on your desktop and flash drive.
  • Bonding over webcomics and music is absolutely amazing.
  • Patience is a virtue: my friends have a lot of nonsense to put up with being my friend so I did have to learn to support my friends despite not being as invested in the activity as they were.
  • Cosplay dogs are the best.
    • It’s even better when you see the same cosplay dog two years in a row.
  • Jurassic World is a hot pile of NOPE.
  • Teen Titans vs. Justice League can not be saved by Sailor Moon transformation sequences.
    • And despite Damien Wayne being an insufferable brat, he has every right to feel that way. You do you, Damien.
  • As a former Sebastian, getting a hug from Ciel is actually kinda cosplayer cool.
  • Teaching Drag lingo to someone is an arduous task.
  • A girl in a Trump hat may call you a social justice warrior: she may just be right and that isn’t a bad thing.
  • Friendships aren’t about understanding everything: it’s about support.
  • I absolutely do not understand Gundam model building but I will gladly accept the hobby being explained to me.
  • Meeting other panelists is amazing.
  • Street Fighter is pretty awesome and Karin is the best.
  • Convention tournaments are amazingly fun.
  • Free breakfast is fine but paying for a Dutch Baby was worth the money.
  • Backstreet Boys are best heard at 1 AM.
  • Being recognized as a panelist and a pretty low-rent one is kinda a terrifying feeling.
    • Like I am legit not famous so for people to say “Hey, I remember you from last year.” out of like THOUSANDS of people they saw LAST YEAR is insane to me.
  • I have apparently a very intense angry face that can strike fear into the hearts of men from several feet away.
    • This face was apparently more angry than the AoT potato proposal anger face.
      • You are welcome to ask about that reference later
  • Blackberry ginger ale should not taste like grape but for some reason it does.
  • Shopping at  Tom Thumb at midnight is pretty fun but the rabbi there shopping for last minute items will judge you terribly on your choices to frolic through the aisles looking for s’mores-making materials.
  • Tastemade Japan has clearly gone too far by hollowing out a bread loaf, filling it with meat sauce, broccoli and potato then cracking an egg over it and covering the bread’s edges in mayonnaise.
    • You must be stopped, Tastemade Japan. You have gone mad with power.
  • Do not try to ride the hotel elephants.
  • Dim Sum is best when with a group and when you try new things.
    • But also eat lots of the things you love.
      • Also do not touch my pineapple buns.
  • Drama may happen but what matters is how you respond to drama.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand your ground: if someone makes you feel terrible, you do NOT have to put up with that noise.
  • Having a CVS within walking distance to the hotel is fantastic.
  • You can in fact make a cake with just two ingredients.
  • Do not do your makeup in the dark.
  • I look forward to the day that I stop being my screen or badge name to many and start being “Amanda”.
  • Fuudo apparently looks a lot like Japan from Hetalia.
  • Conventions absolutely can take you out of anime and fandoms in general.
    • Conventions are intense and they remind all of us that our fandoms are FULL of people we don’t exactly like getting to know or see.
      • To that point, it did remind me that there’s A LOT I still have to learn about modern fandoms and fan culture.
  • Team Razer forever, though.
    • And to that point despite me being a HUGE advocate of E-sports I for the life of me do not understand watching people play a game that you yourself own.
      • Zero judgement, I just don’t get it.

I said earlier that this convention was bittersweet. I had some of my biggest panel turns out and some very light drama but it was drama that I think I learned from the most. I learned so much about myself and patience and understanding things that just aren’t my thing. I had to learn that friends will make choices you don’t get. That support means support no matter what. Hype is what you make of it. And it’s always rough leaving a friend behind. I won’t forget this one. I won’t forget the applause in my panels. The costumes I saw. The costumes I wore. The bus trip there and the bus trip back. Being angry at paying for getting my car back but being so happy to unpack my loot, stash my costumes and just get ready for the next one: there’s always a next one. The show must go on and I’m always excited to be on stage and then get off the stage again. Paneling is amazing: the thrill is fantastic but learning and being around others is even better. I’m happy to be back and I’m looking forward to my next convention…but for now I need some hot tea and a nap.


Mediations on the Nature of Grief on the 5th Anniversary of My Mother’s Passing

“There is no place for grief in a house which serves the Muse.” ― Sappho

June 7, 2010 was a normal day. And even the years before on that day were normal: some even joyous. I graduated from High School on June 7, 2008.

My aunt got married on June 7, 2001. But June 7, 2011 was not a normal day. It was by no means a normal day.

June 7, 2011 my mother died.


On that day I lost the one remaining of my parents and became the very last of my already terribly small nuclear family.

I’ve talked a lot about how struggling to cope with these days and anniversaries a lot over several blog posts: here and here. But I’m here to mention something bigger.

Today: June 8, 2016 for the first time in nearly 5 years it was just a normal day. I got up. Got dressed for work. Drove to work. Talked with friends. Was excited to post something about A-Kon (which got shelved until tomorrow.). I had gotten a message from my Godmother last night and I simply shook it off. She sent prayers and it wasn’t for any lack of gratitude that I shook it off: it was for am immense desire to return to being normal. I wanted today to be any other day and I thought it was going to be. In fact, for a brief moment I almost forgot. I even flubbed the dates. She had in fact passed yesterday the 7th but I had switched the dates from the day she died to the day I had posted about it after midnight that evening: the 8th. It was actually Facebook that reminded me that 5 years ago today I lost my Mother. (Thanks, Facebook.)

I felt absolutely normal up until that point and for the first time in a while I was reminded of that feeling that today was in fact not a normal day and despite my efforts to make it a normal day for many of my friends and family members it can never return to that normalcy that I desperately crave. And I say “normal” over fine and happy because I do not wish to worry those closest to me. I am not sad. I am not broken. I am actually quite content and calm enough to crank out a blog post, obviously.

So today: after 5 years of being officially an orphan I’d like to say a few things.

I do miss my parents immensely. I do love my parents. But I have no choice but to move on. I have to keep going. My sadness and my grief do not negate the right that I have to a life. And my parents would not ever want me to waste a single moment of my very finite breath on grieving them incessantly. So if I come off as callous or cold; if I seem detached from the date. If I seem unaware of its significance: do not assume my normalcy is out of rudeness. It is in fact the highest honor I can pay to my fallen parents. I will move on. I will keep going. I will live.

You have to keep moving forward.

The Literal Best Post Like Ever

“I live in a constant state of hyperbole.” Eden Sher

Trust me, I hated writing that title. Really I didn’t like it. But this isn’t about poor writing and the terrible writing convention that is the hyperbole. I wanna talk about why I STILL write hyperbolically, at least sometimes.

I am a writer. I think that’s obvious. I hang out with also mostly writers. We all talk though like the product of our generation. We talk like 90s kids. This is hardly the group of Bad Boy French Poets of the 19th Century. We speak to each other normally. We use slang. Lots of slang.We use short hand: most of us grew up with the last part of the AOL generation. I got my start online with Xanga, MySpace and AOL IM. I came into my own as a writer in the mid 2000s and despite the rampant fanfiction and emo-poetry: we did write pretty formally back then. (For the record referring to the mid 2000s as back then hurt my soul.) I continued a dualist form of writing: informally with friends with lots of shorthand and formally when it came to school work and writing. But in my speech and life I kept most of the shorthand I grew up with: LOL, LMAO, BRB; I’ll even use these to this day. But this isn’t just about shorthand. It’s about hyperbole and internet culture.

I’m a social media manager and I hate click-bait titles and the current trend of the Internets is hyperbolic generalizations.

I can’t even.

This is literally me.

This is the worst/best ever.

As much as I hate these because you cannot be any of those things. You can even, you have to so that you can exist. No block of text is literally anyone. And any one things is the best and worst all the time for most people because life is beautifully subjective. PBS Idea Channel did a great episode about it here.

But there’s something interesting about the relationship of being a writer and still using slang and Internet speak. In communications with my best friend, most of our posts are glimpses from Tumblr that are literally me right now. But as a writer I should be more proper. I should be above that. I should be better than that. I am not better than that. I currently moderate a chatroom that has a somewhat strict no-chatspeak policy. The policy cites that as a room for writers, we should all be literate. Now, this isn’t a berating of the policy: it’s a policy and they’re in place for a reason but it’s made me come to terms with the fact that I use A LOT of chatspeak. I frequently abbreviate words and shorten them based on how I feel and for the few times I was clocked on the policy I was charged to enforce I felt a lot of shame. I felt like I was somehow failing the English language itself if I didn’t end every single sentence with proper punctuation or with a definite article. I felt like a failed writer each time a phrase didn’t end in some Shakespearean couplet.

So I moved my more informal writing habits to personal chats and wherever the damn hell else I wanted. But I still struggled with the feeling that I was a failed writer whenever I used shorthand and spoke in like literally the best ever sort of way. But what’s so bad about speaking hyperbolically?

There’s been plenty of posts about the Age of Hyperbole where everything is the best and the greatest then what really is the best and the greatest.  I see that there’s a problem with this at its core and we’re reaching a saturation point that with all things being the best there is no the best anymore. We’ve long since lost the meanings of the word awesome and terrific because their Romantic-era meanings involved fear, sublime dread and literal mouth-gaping awe at something so vague, overwhelming and intensely other.

So here’s an unpopular opinion: maybe that’s okay. Yes, the word awesome is dreadfully overused and I can’t stand it but it’s just a reflection of the modern era. Thanks to technology and globalization we don’t get many awe-struck moments anymore. And I’d challenge if anything we aren’t in an age of hyperbole but an age of understatement. I find that when I use these words there’s almost an implied irony to it. Nothing is literally awesome anymore but it’s an understatement as a means to fill the void left behind so many of the little victories we face in day to day survival. Amazingly despite my disliking of him as a writer, John Green has been a bit of my model for the modern writer. A modern writer should use social media, should play video games, should falter, should have flaws and should be if anything opinionated and true to themselves. Being a writer doesn’t mean not being human.

Thanks for reading and if you ever hear me talk like a late 90s era Valley Girl, please don’t judge me. I literally can’t even sometimes.

Just Don’t Read the News…Constantly

Good evening, Readers. I hope this finds you all well. 

Now, as promised in my dedicated post to Colonel Meow, I did allude to a greater post on news media. Well, folks, here it is. 

Many of you likely start your day like I do. By clicking or opening your favorite source of news. Left or right leaning. Whatever your choice may be. We ingest the news. We take it in. We are hungry for it. We make it a part of our daily routines. Even periodically checking throughout the day at breakneck pace. Now, don’t get me wrong, this practice of taking the news in through various forms an formats from social media, to apps, to newspapers to television has saved, enriched and progressed the lives of millions; myself included. 

But here is where I find myself faltering and concerned with constant pursuit of news. I have grown paranoid. 

It’s hard not to. When you calculate the amount of murders and terrible atrocities of the human condition. It’s hard not to become scared, horrified by what humans can do and are at times subjected to. Murder, violence, arson. These are all a part of daily life, sometimes in your very community. It is mine. Though I struggle to think why it affects me any more now than it did when I was younger. It isn’t as if I moved from one area that is more urban than the other. Not as if crime doesn’t exist in the suburbs. It’s just gently swept under perfectly manicured lawns.

Now, I’m not saying to live in ignorance. I believe us millennials learned that hard way in the wake of social change and global tragedy, that our local new sources were at times unreliable or just damn fictitious. And that couldn’t have come at a better time. Behold, the age of the Internet where I saw first hand those hard-hitting stories. Unfiltered language, uncensored photos of chaos and the evils of humanity. CNN became my first taste of the horrors of the real world.Bodies in streets, outrageous poverty, disease, human-trafficking, drug usage. My first terrible view of the world outside of the green laws and gated world views of my suburban childhood.

I do recommend heavily being connected to the world. But know when enough is enough. I realize around the time of panic and general melancholy…it’s time to turn away from The Huffington Post.     

But don’t live in an ignorant bliss-filled daze. As a Communications major, I was often reading just for class 4-5 daily publications just to keep on track. Not to mention all of the reading I did while a debate student and for senior projects But we should learn from the news. We should gain something. Tragedy shapes us. Makes us stronger. We are to learn from our mistakes and failing as humans. 

So let’s start acting like it. All of us. Myself included. 

An Unwind at Day’s End


I was excited for this. My first  Sex in the City type blog post. A drink in hand, in this case a mimosa made with orange and pineapple juice and a classic movie…in this case The Avengers I was ready to pen or in this case type the things I learned today. Ask the questions I sketched down. Vent the things needed. So as promised, here it is.

I’m always amazed at how quickly I’m adjusting to grown up life in the big city. But there are certain things that always give me pause. The garbage cities that litter underpasses and dot the landscape in a great trail of human tragedy, the impoverished that daily question me for the remnants of my lunch or pocket change, the age of this city and the long since faded legacy and shadow that loom over the landscape of this place I now call home. I’m amazed by city life.

On the other hand, I am struck by the beauty of some aspects. Old buildings, tasteful murals, the upbeat lively nature of a city anxious to grow and step out of its shadow. I am enamored with this city. With the life I’m building here and plan to continue to build here. The tourism board should really pick this up.

But in embracing the city, I realize that it has further encouraged my misanthropy. Now, there are plenty of good reasons to keep to yourself. There are terrible people out there that would easily take advantage of a chatty young lady. Sly con men that can make a girl do just about anything. So I stay quiet. I answer almost no one’s random questions, refuse nearly any flyer and walk at a steady pace. On my bus ride to and from work I build a wall between myself and the world between my shoulder bag and my mp3 player. I drown out the noise of the day, the would be rapper in the back. The noisy child with the inattentive parent. The young lady yelling at her boyfriend du jour. The old man who fell asleep as soon as he sat down. I build a wall against all of it The constant chatter of the day encourages the already massive introvert that I am.

I’m learning the city. I’m finding her ways interesting. Learning quickly how to adapt them to my own. I’m still learning. I have a lot of growing still to do. And I don’t think there are things I’ll ever outgrow. Habits, traits, patterns. But I’ll make it. I’m excited to see how I grow in this city and how I’ll change this city, and I will one day.

So until the next post, stay well. 🙂