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Get a printed proof of ‘There Are No Penguins in Alaska’

There are no penguins in Alaska

You want a super exclusive version of “There Are No Penguins In Alaska”? Order in the next eight hours from my website, and I will send you a signed and numbered, limited edition printed proof. The number will be limited to however many people can get their order in within the next eight hours on Jan 17, 2019. That’s when I put my order in to the printer.

How Exclusive?

I already have 10 set aside. These coloring books feature all of the animals and drawings from Transcend Studio along with my words. There are black bears, grizzly bears and polar bears… But there are no penguins in Alaska. There are lots of animals, but there are no penguins in Alaska.

Before the Official Release

With 24 inside pages to color on A3 paper so that the book is roughly 8.5 by 11. There’s no better time to get this coloring book before its official release date. Once you have it, you can review at my website or on Amazon where it’s awaiting its release an eBook. Put your order in now because it expires soon.

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‘Avengers: Endgame’ faces impossible challenge after ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

The problem with “Avengers: Infinity War” is the way it ended and what we knew about the next Marvel movies. Basically, Thanos’ snap eliminated the newest half of the Marvel Universe, including most of Ant-Man’s allies, leaving the old heroes to find a way to avenge the snap, which would fit in perfectly with what Tony Stark told Loki in the first Avengers film and serve as a way to tie the franchise together.

However, the upcoming movie slate after Infinity War includes “Spider-Man: Far from Home” (eliminating the emotional impact of his demise in Infinity War), “Black Panther” (which could possibly give rise to a female Black Panther because T’challa was dusted), “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” (though James Gunn departure after a controversy left this in doubt, Kevin Feige says it’s still on; it could team Rocket with the Reavers and/or Nebula) and “Doctor Strange 2” (which at this point I don’t have an observations on, except its Benedict Cumberbatch, and Mysterio looks like he uses magic).

With all of these movies, and the stars whose contracts are expiring – Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) – as well as the apparent good byes and statements that some won’t be returning to the roles, there is no way for the Marvel Universe to continue without a complete reversal of an entire movie. This seems like it has all kinds of potential to go lame though that type of action has happened before – most notably in the last episode of “Twin Peaks” season 3.

One twist for Endgame could turn the Marvel Universe on its head. What if all the characters that died were the ones to survive, and the audience saw the dusting from the characters’ who actually died point of view? This would mean Rocket died, which would make sense because it has already been stated that he doesn’t have a long lifespan as a raccoon. It would also mean that Bruce Banner is dead, but the hulk isn’t necessarily dead. This type of reveal would make it easier to accept the Nick Fury/Spider-Man alliance. It could be interesting to see how the old characters deal with the reality of their demise while the mirror splits back to the new characters who did actually survive.

At this point though, “Avengers: Endgame,” which releases on April 26, 2019, lacks the stakes that Infinity War had during its run. The new characters are going to come back, and no one will be surprised when the old characters die. Marvel has more creative people than me working for it, and just because the general outcome of the movie is known doesn’t mean it won’t be good. But because we already know so much about it beyond the movie itself, it may not be engaging, especially if Peter Parker comes back and is threatened with death again. He’s already got a movie coming out, and it has a trailer. (Check out other movie related posts.)

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The Non-Kickstarter for ‘There Are No Penguins in Alaska’

There are no penguins in Alaska

There is a lot of misinformation about Alaska that Alaskans hear from tourists and see in movies and TV. Some people think the money is different. Some people think everyone lives in an igloo. Some people think that there’s gold lying on the beaches waiting to be picked up. And some people ask where they can see the penguins in Alaska. There are no penguins in Alaska.

When I left Alaska in 2012 and traveled through the Lower 48, I got asked a lot of questions about my time in Alaska. Does it really stay light for 24 hours a day in summer? How cold does it get really? What do you do for fun in the winter? What’s the best part of living in Alaska? Why did you leave? Did you see any penguins while you were there? I would answer each of the questions as well as I could. For the last question, I would point out that Polar Bears would eat the penguins and that there are no penguins in Alaska.

That trip gave me an idea for a book: “There Are No Penguins in Alaska.” The idea would remain just that until 2018 when I published my first book, “My Life in the Projects: A kid’s-eye view of HUD housing in the 1980s.” Once I realized I could publish books, I also realized I could publish my penguin book. The problem was I let my art skills degrade for a long time and was no longer up to the task of drawing what I needed to make “There Are No Penguins in Alaska.”

Well, my art skills haven’t improved much over the last year, but fortunately, I was able to find a couple of artists to do the work. Antonisa Scot and Oscar Feliz of Transcend Studio put together “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” and now it’s ready to be published. In fact, you can preorder it on Kindle and as a hard copy coloring book at penguinate.com. However, there is a catch.

In order to publish “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” as a coloring book at a reasonable price ($2 per book my cost to retail at $4), I need to order 750 or more copies. That’s $1500 for anyone playing along. I could get fewer copies, but the price goes up pretty drastically, capping out at $5 a copy for 50 copies. That’s only (Haha! Only!) $250 but then I would have to charge $10 per book to make any money. Who’s going to buy a coloring book for $10? Maybe you, since you’re reading this, but not most people. Most people won’t even spend that on a regular kid’s book or any eBook.

Other writers or artists, at this point, would probably launch a Kickstarter, or maybe they would’ve launched it sooner. I, on the other hand, realize that I will publish this book in one form or another, and a Kickstarter would take away from my opportunity to write more books before I start touring the inland states in June where I will sell my books at Lilac City Comicon in Spokane, City Cakes and Cafe in Salt Lake City, Ogden UnCon in Ogden and Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con in Las Vegas, as well as any other bookstores, coffee shops or venues on the way that will have me.

In lieu of running a Kickstarter, which would definitely kill one or both of the books I plan on finishing before June, I am offering a presale. The price for the preorder is set at $8 in case I have to settle for the higher printing costs and to account for shipping and handling, which is more expensive than people would believe. If I can get 80 preorders of the hard copy and/or the Kindle version of the book, I will find the other money I need to print the rest of them. Even if only two people preorder, I am still going to print them, just not in the massive quantity of 750 or for the cheaper price.

This is a challenge. I haven’t sold 80 of any single book, so this preorder, if it works, would make “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” my most popular book. If you’ve read this far, thank you for your interest and support. Please share this page to your social media network, tag me and add “#penguinate.”

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‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’; just not as far as you might think

In spite of its implications for “Avengers: Endgame,” Sony has released a “Spider-Man: Far from Home” trailer, which clearly shows that Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, is alive and well and on Earth, and so is Nick Fury. The “Far from Home” title doesn’t indicate Spider-Man is still in space. Instead, he’s in Europe. Seriously, Europe? That’s far from home after traveling to the planet Titan? Oh, I have so many questions.

The first question is: How does this school have so much money? When I was in school, we had to have permission slips, our parents had to pay, and we barely got to go on a field trip to the park across the strip in elementary school. Flash forward to high school, and I had zero field trips. Nowadays, it seems like it would be even more difficult. With schools cutting budgets for the arts and fun while focusing on the core of reading and arithmetic, how does Spider-Man’s school have enough money to take the kids to Washington, D.C. much less Europe? The cost of insurance alone would be staggering. What school district does Parker go to?

Peter Parker is supposed to be poor, right? Even if his aunt can afford to put him in an upscale school, can she afford all these trips and their associated costs? Is Stark footing the bill? Was the fundraiser at the beginning really for Spider-Man?

How do his classmates not figure out he’s Spider-Man? Kids aren’t that dumb. Spider-Man shows up in Europe at the same time as the class? He was also in D.C. and saved MJ and disappeared from a bus while there was a super fight going on outside. Maybe it’s a case of Clark Kent’s glasses.

“Peter Parker here to pick up a passport, please” tongue twister? How many times did Tom Holland have to say that before he got it right?

Are we going to get a Doctor Strange/Spider-Man crossover? Mysterio seems to be using the same kind of magic as Strange does, and we all know Doctor Strange is coming back from Thanos’ snap, just like Spider-Man and Nick Fury.

Spider-Man is facing off against the elements. All of the monsters have the same form but are made from one of the four elements – fire, earth and water. Only wind is left out. I’m not sure how to phrase that as a question, just more of an observation.

If you have answers or more questions, leave them in the comments below. Check out more of my movie-related commentary. Watch for my “Avengers: Endgame” commentary coming soon!

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Bear Safety for Runners in Alaska

bear
Photo by Rasmus Svinding on Pexels.com

I went running in Juneau on a particularly stressful day, got to the end of the trail and headed back to the car. As I ran around the corner, I saw a black bear’s butt. The wind was blowing at me, and the black bear didn’t see me. I backed up slowly and quietly until I couldn’t see the bear anymore. Then I realized I had to go through the bear to get to my car, and my lunch break was ending.

Look, in Alaska, if you’re faced with an animal, bear or moose, you can be late to work, and no one bats an eyelid. “There was a moose in your yard? Huh. Well, glad you waited and are here now.” Even so, I don’t like to be late, but I was stuck as to what I should do. Then, I decided to sing. That way the bear knew I was there. “Look for the Bear Necessities” was the first song I came up with. There was another bear song, and then I decided to check the path. Whether it was the quality of my singing or just the fact that I was making noise, there was no bear, but I kept singing as I ran to the car.

When I got to the main trail, I saw another runner and warned him of the bear in the area. He said “Thanks” and started shouting “Hey Bear” as he ran past. I always thought that was a joke played on chechakos (newbies; greenhorns) when they came to Alaska.

Every year in Alaska, inevitably, there is a report about a runner who was attacked by a bear. Usually the attack takes place in or near Anchorage, and the runner is an experienced Alaska. The actions that a person should take depend on the type of bear. A black bear that attacks is probably going to eat you, so you need to fight back. A grizzly bear that attacks is usually just trying to eliminate you as a threat; these attacks generally take place when a cub is nearby. Cover up your neck and head while lying with your face to the ground.

It sounds easy enough. Yet, one experienced runner, who ran between a Grizzly mother and her cub and was knocked down by the bear, got up to run away. The bear knocked him down again. He got up a third time, and he got knocked down again. He told the news reporter he knew what he was supposed to do, lie down and play dead, but it was just too hard to do it with all those teeth in his face.

The problem with running in the Last Frontier is that three-fold: runners tend not to be aware of their surroundings intentionally, running is a silent activity, and running triggers the predatory instinct in bears – if it’s running it must be food, and when the bears are out, they are looking for calories.

As a runner (or a person in general), you should always be aware of your surroundings, no matter where you are. Bears may not exist in every state, but there are threats that are worse. Using earbuds to listen to music while running (I’ve been guilty of this) is a great motivator, and a great way to miss something you should have seen. It’s nice to have a beat to step to, but it isn’t safe, especially if it cuts out the other sounds you should be listening for, like the movement of underbrush or a footfall behind you.

Most runners like to run in silence, especially if they are working out and they are breathing heavily. However, your workout shouldn’t cause you to breathe so heavily that you can’t hold a conversation. In Alaska, shouting “Hey Bear!” as you run is a great way to deter an attack. Bears usually avoid people. By letting them know where you are, the bears will go around you, and you’ll never even know they’re there.

Running is a good stress reliever and can take off the weight quickly. Just be sure to be safe when you’re on the trail and always consult a doctor before starting any exercise regime.

While you may need to know how to protect yourself against bears in Alaska, you don’t need to worry about penguins because there are no penguins in Alaska. I should know. I wrote the book on it and you can preorder a hard copy coloring book from penguinate.com or an eBook from Amazon.

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Curiosity, being childlike and Questlove’s experience getting older

Being childlike is important to creativity. Children are curious; they ask questions about everyone and everything. They don’t care who is better. They don’t care about their egos. They don’t care if someone is stepping on their own creativity. They play with abandon and talk to famous people with the same irreverence as the talk to their parents and friends.

“When I was ten, I was curious with reckless abandon. There wasn’t any fear about consuming things: if they interested me, I took them in. I ranged far and wide because I wanted to see what was out there,” says Questlove. “Now that I’m older, I’m more cautious. I’ve whittled my influences down to my pantheon of drummers and singers and guitarists, and it’s hard for new people to crack the shell.”

In “Creative Quest,” Questlove calls this a “hardening.” He says that there are some artists about whom he “feels a certain way,” which he explains is “nuanced form of snark.” It allows him to slow roll “whatever envy you admit by not admitting.”

This not-quite jealousy keeps Questlove from listen to a few artists “at all.” It may be that he doesn’t want to be influenced by or learn more about the artist or he feels a certain way, and “it gets worse with age.” Questlove recognizes this as a problem, this “brittleness,” and he says that as a person ages, he or she is going to have to deal with it.

There are a million reasons why its hard to be curious as you get older. Even with the Internet, it’s harder to satisfy that curiosity. Who has time to find out and understand why solar panels work? Who wants to learn new information that could challenge old, long held beliefs? Who wants to find someone younger doing something better in the same field wherein they both work?

It’s easier to keep on living with the information that one has accrued and not to challenge that status quo in one’s own life, even when one specifically self-describes as a creative. It’s much harder for people who think they’re only a little creative or they’re not creative. However, adopting a childlike acceptance of your own limitations and taking wonder in what other people are doing in your field (like children at play) will help you become more creative and have better ideas. It’s in the challenge and the questioning of the status quo that creativity thrives. Find the space that allows you to play, to be curious and to create.

For more on creativity and Questlove, check out: “‘The Pirate Union’ and collaboration” and the links at our Creativity page.

If you liked this essay, you can get more in ‘Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories.’ To improve your creativity, get ‘Disneyland Is Creativity.’

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‘There Are No Penguins in Alaska’ available for preorder

There are no penguins in Alaska

In case you haven’t heard, “There Are No Penguins in Alaska,” and I wrote the book on it. Penguins, polar bears and Eskimos all live in colder climates, so many people come to Alaska expecting to see penguins! However, there are no penguins in Alaska.

If you would like to know what kinds of animals live in Alaska, my children’s story, featuring the drawings of Antonisa Scott and Oscar Feliz of Transcend Studio, talks about bears, sea life, birds and more while imploring the reader to remember that there are no penguins in Alaska. It’s available on Kindle for preorder and will be delivered Feb 28, 2019. You can preorder a hard copy coloring book here at penguinate.com!

Alaska is a beautiful country with wonderful summers and long, dark winters. To experience it fully, you really need to live there. If that doesn’t appeal to you now, after going through this coloring book, it may, especially if you have an irrational fear of flightless birds because there are no penguins in Alaska. Get your copy ordered today!

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Top Three Reasons to Preorder Penguinate.com Items for Lilac City Comicon 2019

Booth set up for Lilac City Comicon

Going to Lilac City Comicon 2019 is exciting. You get to meet guests like Jon Heder, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Chris Kattan, and there are plenty of fan items that you can’t get easily anywhere else. If you want to get the most out of your #LCCC2019 experience, now is the time to start, and preordering is a part of the process. How does preordering help you?

Stretch Your Budget

If you’re like most people, you have a monthly budget that includes a little bit of discretionary spending. Often, it’s difficult to save this money, and you may find that you’ve spent it on coffee, music downloads, or something else you don’t really need. By preordering items for #LCCC2019, you’ll be able to take that discretionary spending money and turn it into shopping surprises at the comicon!

Get Your Items

For a business that makes handmade items like penguinate.com, you can order special-made items to match your tastes and fandom. If you like a particular Power Ranger, Pirate of the Caribbean, Doctor Who or are a member of another fandom, preordering allows you to get the penguin cosplaying in a way you want.

Preordering also ensures that if something gets sold out, you won’t miss out. Your items will be waiting for you at our booth, and you won’t have to miss out on the hottest items available.

Enjoy Convention Pricing

When you preorder, you still get convention pricing. This means that you’ll get our best price. You don’t have to worry about shipping and handling charges because you’re picking it up. Be sure to get your Lilac City Comicon 2019 VIP tickets first, and then place your order for stuffed penguins, The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity and other books, motivational posters and pictures.

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Speakers’ Club Jan. 12, 2019: A Taste of the United States

Baby Shark #32 on Billboard’s Top 100:

The Minister’s Cat:
https://youtu.be/r8UyP3RQC60?t=167

What American foods are available in Blago?

M&Ms, Snickers, Bounty, Snickers, other candy bars; Oreos; Nesquick; Lays, Pringles; Coke, Fanta, Sprite; Special K cereal bars; Orbit gum

Dodo Pizza, KFC, Subway, Cinnabon, Royal Burger, Hot Dogs, Heroes café

What’s the purpose of advertising?

Cheetos:

Snickers:

What’s the purpose of differentiation in the same product?

“Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants so long as it is black.” – Henry Ford on the Model T.

Snickers fire, espresso; Cheetos fire, puffs, stars…

Pumpkin spice everything… but mostly coffee

Peppermint… Gingerbread…

Limited edition:

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‘The Pirate Union,’ collaboration, and Questlove’s ‘Creative Quest’

Skull wearing jester's cap with crossed swords underneath

When Edward Allen and I wrote “The Pirate Union,” we were in college. We passed the manuscript back and forth at least once a week with a reading for our friends on the weekend. Fast forward to years later, and Questlove describes the collaboration process for creativity (and “The Pirate Union”) perfectly.

“This was a collaboration,” writes Questlove in “Creative Quest” (p. 102) about working with Tariq, “We negotiated briefly, but most of the energy in the process was spent participating. He waited eagerly for my beat so that he could get going with his lyrics. I excitedly assembled my beat because I couldn’t wait to hear it with his lyrics.”

Ed and I weren’t writing music. We were writing a story, but the feel was the same. We only had one rule: We couldn’t kill the other person’s characters. This kept us from having to start over and having a book full of dead characters (though with the success of “Game of Thrones” maybe we should have killed each other’s characters).

What we did instead was try to find situations that would stump the other author. Sometimes, one of us would write just one sentence. Other times the situation would be much direr. “He leveled the gun at Chantel and pulled the trigger, firing three shots. ‘Three in the head, you know they’re dead.’ Chantel jolted back, dropping Charlie, her head cracked hard against the floor. Mr. Bigbottom smiled down at them and grotesquely blew on the end of his pistol like a cliché cowboy.”

Chantel wasn’t my character, so I couldn’t technically kill her. Ed’s jaw dropped; how could he write her out of this situation? I thought for sure, I had him. And then he smiled, he came up with a solution in seconds and took the manuscript from me. “I know exactly what I’m going to do,” he said. I was afraid and excited. How would he get her out of that situation? Chantel grew into one of my favorite characters.

“Collaborations work best this way, when there’s a mutual desire to see what the other adds,” writes QuestLove.

Like Tariq and Questlove in school, Ed and I had an audience who was also waiting for the next installment, and “The Pirate Union” is better for it.