Free Museum Day Part 1

Let me start by saying that it’s not that I’m not a fan of crowds. Crowds can be okay. For the most part, San Diego Comic Con is a well-behaved crowd until Saturday afternoon.

Nay, the thing that I’m not a fan of is uncivilized mob behavior. Which seemed to be the way people were acting on the Los Angeles Free-for-All Museum day.

Come on, people.

We can do better.

Anyway, my first stop was the Natural History Museum.

It seems to me that a typical Natural History Museum consists mainly of stuffed and mounted animals and I wasn’t wrong. Some of the cooler stuff were the things focused on local wildlife. For instance, this display of the butterflies of Griffith Park.

butterflies

Griffith Park butterflies

In trying to fight my way through the mob, I found it difficult to take time on the things I wanted to see, but here, of course, is one of the big attractions, the T-Rex.

T-Rex vs. Triceratops

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth

The Los Angeles Natural History Museum has a Dino lab upstairs where you can watch some of the paleontologists working on their craft. Of course, you are reminded not to tap on the glass, as it will startle the scientists.

donottap

It startles the science.

I don’t think I have the patience to be a paleontologist. I’m not exactly sure how they are able to tell the difference between a fossil and a regular rock. Then again, the extent of my paleontological knowledge comes from that scene in Jurassic Park where the pulse an ultra sound through the ground and find a fully formed velociraptor in the dirt. The dinosaur they were working on just needed a few brushes to be revealed. I can’t imagine it is actually that easy.

dinolabI spent the rest of the time walking through the animals of North America exhibit. The thing that struck me was that I’ve killed almost all of those animals in Red Dead Redemption 2. Anyone for some caribou?

caribouAlso, I’m not really sure why the curators of the museum decided to make it look like this wolf was popping a squat, but I guess they want to show real life, warts and all.wolves

Finally, we find the most terrifying exhibit in the ornithology wing.

Nightmare Bird

Nightmare bird

Why, Los Angeles? WHY?

Free museum day comes up every so often in Los Angeles. The thing is, though, even when it’s not free, the cost is reasonable. If you are a Los Angeles resident and you have an LA County library card, there’s a way to get more free museum access.

Los Angeles has sort of been bumming me out lately. Saying that it bums me out doesn’t really do justice to the problems. People are getting attacked within spitting distance of my apartment, the police don’t respond to calls anymore, the homeless seem to think if they can’t have it, they must destroy it.

It’s hard to live in a place that doesn’t enforce its laws. It’s hard to live in a place where you get a fine if your dog shits on the street, but it’s okay if a human does it. For awhile in the summer, the new homeless trick was to poop in a disposable cup and leave it under the tire of a parked car so that when the car pulled away, it would smear and track the human feces down the road.

This is bad. This is disgusting. I don’t have much sympathy for people who do this sort of thing.

I’m trying to find the good things about Los Angeles, the cultural offerings, the things that make is unique and desirable because I’ve started looking for a way out.

The One Where You Help An Author

My book is coming out this year. That is still a little surreal to say, but I’m excited.

That’s not really what this post is about, though. No, this post is about America’s greatest past time.

Reading.

reading

The world has changed. Bookstores are disappearing and, now more than ever, people are turning to the Internet to figure out what to read next. Why did you pick up that book you’re reading now? Did Amazon recommend it to you? Was it next to another book at the library? Was it on a cardboard standee at Barnes & Noble?

We all have authors we like who don’t get the love we think they deserve. Here are some ways to help out authors in the Age of the Algorithm. I’ll try to go in order of ease.

  1. Read the book

You don’t even have to buy it. Get it at the library. Borrow it from a friend. Find some way to read it.

2.  Leave a review

The most important places to leave a review are Goodreads and Amazon. Goodreads is a great resource. If you aren’t on it already, you should be. The best feature is that it allows you to keep track of all the books you’ve read and want to read. It can also be used to find series, follow authors, and find your next read through user-curated lists. Now, even though Amazon owns Goodreads, the review systems are not linked. Leaving a review on Goodreads does not automatically port over to Amazon.

The important thing about leaving a review on Amazon is that Amazon has a magic number of reviews required to change it’s recommendation algorithms. It’s understood to be 50 at this point. Fifty reviews qualifies you for BookBub deals.

3. Buy the book

You don’t have to buy a book to read it, but it’s always helpful. Timing matters, too. If your favorite author has a book coming out, sign up for preorders or make sure that you buy the book the first week it comes out. Those numbers make a difference.

4. Follow them on platforms

Did you know you can get updates from Amazon about your favorite author? You can get updates on deals, newsletters, and more involving their books.

Also, follow authors on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs…etc.

Sometimes, we give stuff away for free. Other times, we do previews of upcoming books. It’s pretty great.

5. Feature them on your platforms

That stereotype about authors being a bunch of of anti-social cave dwellers is…not entirely inaccurate. But, that’s okay. Most authors have contact forms or email addresses that readers can use to reach out. Even if they’re troglodytes, most authors are excited to talk about their work. You can usually set up a phone or email interview to put up on your blog.

Monster

I’m Instagram friendly!

If there’s a book you really love, take a picture and throw it up on your Instagram. If you tag the author, they might respond.


If you like a book or an author, there’s lots go things you can do to help get their book out there. Ultimately, isn’t that what we want? To be able to talk to everyone about your favorite book?

Disclaimer: authors are people, too. You are not entitled to their time. But, if you are respectful and discerning, you might be able to have access to insight into your favorite books and creators.

Anything Nice to Say: Bewitched

The 2nd episode of Anything Nice to Say looks at the 2005 film Bewitched. It’s been the butt of jokes for a few years now, and many people say it was Will Ferrell’s biggest mistake, including him.

But, does that mean it’s all bad? Spoiler alert: no.

Anything Nice to Say Designs

The Anything Nice to Say shop is open on Shopify. Check it out. Let us know if there are any products you are dying to have. Here’s a preview of the designs. Let us know your favorites. Original artwork is by Brandon Ruiter,

Anything Nice to Say: X-Men: The Last Stand

Hey, everyone. I’m happy to announce the first episode of my new series, Anything Nice to Say.

I watch bad movies and try to find all the nice things to say about them.

As a cynic, it’s not so easy. The first one I tackled was X-men: The Last Stand. Check out the video below. If you are so inclined, you can also check out my Patreon where you’ll have access to exclusive content and get to see the posts a week before they’re available to the public.

You’re always free to suggest movies or topics you want to hear me wax philosophic about. Keep in mind, there should be a lease ONE redeeming thing about the movie. I’m not into self-flagellation.

The One Where We All Get A Little Older

A tweet recently popped up on my Twitter feed that Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time” came out 20 years ago.

Well, it’s actually 20 years and about a month and a half, so you missed the true anniversary.

But, still, I get it. The point attempting to be made here was: “FEEL OLD YET?!”

ellipsis

*Pregnant pause* baby, one more time

And, no. I don’t. Telling me that “…Baby One More Time” is almost old enough to legally drink alcohol does not make me feel any older than I am. I remember it with fondness. In 20 years, when someone laser etches “Billie Eilish “Bad Guy” came out 20 years ago” into my frontal lobe, I might start to think I’m getting old.

This phenomenon isn’t rare. It seems every content website needs a filler piece, so they mine Google for images of products from the 90s. The picture are low definition, sometimes a picture of a television commercial.

Did I just leave this blog post for fifteen minutes to play an emulator of Number Munchers? You bet.

These lists don’t make me feel old. Usually, they make me wonder what we were thinking or why some things went away.

Why did Gushers survive, but Dunkaroo’s failed? What was the Mr. Sketch scented black marker supposed to smell like vs. what it actually did smell like? Are all the Tamagotchis dead? Is Tamagotchis the plural of Tamagotchi? Should it be Tamagotchae?

mojipower-mojifriend-02

Tracking your data before Facebook?

Like the flavor of Fruit Stripe gum, some things are only meant to exist for a fleeting moment.

When “…Baby One More Time” came out, I was a child. I have not been a child for a long time. I don’t eat garbage anymore. If given the chance to have a Surge soda, I would decline. If given the choice between real food and a Lunchable, I would take the real food. Those other things don’t interest me anymore. I don’t hav I have moved on with my life; I have moved on to more mature things.

Maybe this is a secret negative review of nostalgia culture. Every new Star Wars movie seems to inspire a wave of hatred, not because it is bad (sure, @ me, but you’re wrong), but because it is not the thing they grew up with. Just because you had a fondness for something or you are a member of a particular fandom doesn’t mean you own it or have any say in the matter.

Nostalgia culture is the non-drug equivalent of chasing the dragon. It will never be as good as you remember, not because it isn’t good, nor because it never was. YOU are the thing that has changed and that’s a good thing.

You never get anywhere by standing still.