What Makes American Vandal So Great

I love a good documentary.

It comes from my interest in learning, I guess. But what makes a good documentary, and distinguishes it from a mediocre one, is not it’s ability to provide a better, more well-produced lecture than the other, but to illustrate, address, and wrestle with themes that go beyond the subject matter and appeal, universally, to the viewer—regardless of who they might be.

American Vandal does this incredibly well—and it isn’t even a documentary. 

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Sometimes, You Just Have to Take a Step Back and Breathe

A lot has happened since I last wrote here. By no means was it intentional, but when I published my last piece back in June, my interest in finishing the half-written posts I had waiting to the side sort of just dropped off all of a sudden. I wasn’t enjoying it.

Writing is something I’ve always done for different reasons at different times. When I was in college I wrote because I had to. After college, I wrote to make money, but the longer I’ve gone and considered myself a writer, I’ve found myself writing for the art of it all. The experience. This blog has served as a field on which to do that, where I can tackle any topic, air any issue, and make any list that I want—because I enjoy it.

But back around the time I quit writing here, I wasn’t enjoying this anymore, or much of anything else, to be honest.

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E3 2018: The Games I Would Most Like to See

Summertime.

When I was younger, summer meant a lot of things: swimming, capture the flag, fort-building, bike-riding, sweaty days, rollercoasters, and half-melted popsicles. It was carefree—camp days spent running through the woods instead of thumb-twiddling in florescent-lit classrooms, sleepovers at friends’ houses instead of nights filled with homework, but when you get older, the line between “summertime” and every other season begins to blur. Summer often doesn’t signal a break from the humdrum of the everyday. Work continues onward, the grind keeps on, but that nostalgic feeling lingers—the air that summertime, regardless of circumstance, forever remains this chunk of sunshine sitting outside the flow of time. (more…)

The Work Does Not Define Us

Let’s talk about work. I don’t mean “work” the verb, but “work” the general noun, work the job, work the thing you do day in and day out, love it or hate it—that work. Because work, your career, the job you’re doing, is all too often the central part of who you are, who we are, a badge we wear to tell the world, “Here is my worth to not only myself, but to you and society as well.” We introduce ourselves as “Hank the chef,” or “Susan the optometrist,” never “Hank the occasional garden grower,” or “Susan the comic book collector,” because our work is so important to how we live, where we live, what we drive, the time we have, the places we go and the things we own, that it seems all the more important to us—even if it isn’t. (more…)

Write What You Know

It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized I wanted to write. I’d thought about it, and written before, but I don’t think I gave it the fair shake it probably deserved until then. While I was in college, I saw what writing could be for me in the future. I saw an opportunity to tell stories—fantastical stories, imaginative stories, stories that were affecting, that mattered—but the more that I studied and the more that I wrote, I realized I wasn’t good at it. (more…)

Something Needs to Change

Surprise is a funny thing. Be it a monster or a party, surprise is a moment in which something that doesn’t normally happen, happens, and everything we’ve come to expect from an established set of normal dissipates for a moment to reveal something…different. Surprise isn’t inherently good or bad. It’s a reaction to what we know, what we’ve been taught to know, and anything that surprises us typically falls outside the set points we’ve been given.

A couple of days ago, a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida killed 17 people, and as horrible a sentence as that is type, it isn’t in the least surprising, the reason being, school shootings, church shootings, concert, nightclub, movie theater shootings are not outside of the set points we’ve been given any longer. They aren’t outliers. They aren’t uncommon. (more…)