Archive for July, 2009


Links of Interest

Thought I’d pass along some fun links.  Yes, information overload is a real issue these days. That’s why I am very choosy when it comes to opting in to receive any kind of updates. But here are a few that I have found consistently to be informative, brief, and fun.

Fun and Frivolity

Daily Candy is a new lifestyle site with general news and specific pages for a dozen major urban areas. I’m not much for the latest trends and guff like that, but the Daily Candy e-newsletter is fresh and clean, crisply written, and filled with interesting notes about new places and products.

Write Right

You may think, “Well, you’re a writer, so you care about this…” Au contraire–EVERYONE should care about communicating clearly. And the “Better Writing at Work” periodic e-newsletter from Syntax Training offers brief and effective ways to brush up on our skills.

Atlanta Happenings

For those of you in the ATL, subscribing to Atlanta Daybook provides an insight to some of the newsworthy upcoming happenings. Typically these are things you won’t hear about on the evening news–at least not until later. The service is also great for anyone wanting to make an announcement, attract press coverage, and get established as an expert in any field. (Daybook is available in Nashville and DFW  as well.)

If you have other suggestions, please do share!

Money for Entrepreneurs

Summer rewards!

Just wanted to pass along this news from Inc. about a contest for entrepreneurs with some delish cash prizes.  All the info is below.  Enjoy!

Do you have a big idea or a budding business?

If so, you could become the “NewpreneurTM of the Year” and win your share of $100,000 in business grants from Alibaba.com and Inc. Entering is simple and grants are big. Top Grant – $50,000, Second Grant – $25,000, Third Grant – $15,000 and two Fourth Grants – $5,000. In addition to winning a business grant worth $50,000, you and your idea or business could be featured in Inc. magazine and on Inc.com.

But hurry! Entries close on August 14, 2009. Enter now at inc.com/newpreneur.

A Little Otaku, Anyone?

Otaku can be quite a derogatory Japanese term for anyone who is unhealthily obsessed or fanatical, like geeks who live in the safety of their cyberworld.  Not just your everyday nerds, these are people who don’t leave their home unless absolutely necessary, avoid eye contact, blend into the background–preferably at cybercafes and electronics stores.  Remember The Net?  Actual human contact is, well, fantasy.

I’ve been a little obsessed myself lately (never you mind what with…all I’m saying is “Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole”), so seeing this film was right up my alley. trainman

Densha Otoko (2005), translated as Train Man, is the moniker that a 22-year-old ultra-shy computer and manga nerd takes on as he begins to share with his online community how he rescued a damsel in distress when a drunk commuter assailed her on the train. He shares how she wrote down his name and address and soon is reporting the arrival of a courier package–a thank-you gift from her containing a set of Hermes tea cups. So, she becomes known to all as Hermess.

His virtual friends–a motley crew that represents the various faces of desperation in solitude–are both funny and sad to watch, and they rally around their new hero as he breaks out of his nerd-world role and (GASP!) calls a girl.  Before his first meeting with Hermess at a restaurant (which he checks out ahead of time…extensively), he undergoes a “Beauty and the Geek” makeover–clothes, hair, even contact lenses–to the point that she barely recognizes him when they meet.  Despite his incredible awkwardness, the two begin a relationship.  And, naturally, things go very wrong.  When our Train Man is at his breaking point and wondering why he ever left his safe little world, it is his online friends who snap him out of it and see hope for themselves in his keeping up the struggle to fit into “real life.”  Barring some scenes when you just want to choke the little guy and scream “Be a man!”, the courtship is cute and uncannily dredges up the bittersweet angst most of us felt during pubescent relationship drama.

At its core, the film is a commentary on otaku, complete with references to various fetish-inspiring “hobbies” and lots of ASCII art.  But it is presented in a fun, squeaky-clean romantic manner, complete with weird sidekicks, that makes it a treat to watch.  And if you happen to get too wrapped up in the saccharin outcome of little Train Man’s love life, the ending is a tongue-in-cheek reminder that otaku, not love, may be forever!

Happy movie watching!

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