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Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con VIPs and Vendors Get the Best Deals at Penguinate Table

Booth set up for Lilac City Comicon

If you’re headed to Amazing Las Vegas Comic Convention, you don’t have to gamble on getting the best deal at the Penguinate table. All you have to do is hold a VIP pass or be a Vendor and join our Patreon for the best deal.

As a VIP or Vendor, you’ve worked hard to get your pass, which means you deserve a little break. At the Penguinate table, you’ll get $1 off of every purchase over $10. You don’t need to be a member of our Patreon campaign for this discount, you just need to present your VIP or Vendor credentials.

Of course, we love our Patreon Penguinators, which is why we offer them $1 off for every $10 they spend at are table. Join our Patreon at any level before May 31, 2019 and you’ll be able to get this discount in addition to the VIP and Vendor discount!

Our penguins are looking for good homes where they will be cherished and bring joy. They love to cosplay, and many of them already have costumes. If you don’t see a penguin that captures your fancy, we can make a penguin specifically for you. You’ll can place your order with a small deposit at the comic con, and we’ll begin working on it in July.

Every penguin is handmade with hand embroidered eyes, which gives each penguin a unique look. For every penguin we sell during ALVCC, we will give $1 to the Global Penguin Society.

Our books include “Disneyland Is Creativity” and “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” We also have the fictional “Adventures on the Amur” series and “The Pirate Union.”

If you are looking for posters, our penguin motivational posters are just the right thing to brighten any room. Disney fans will like our small prints of bygone Disneyland details, and movie buffs should look at our Russian Lobby Cards. Stop by our table and say “Hi!” We look forward to seeing you.

Preordering is available to secure your items. Be sure to join our blog email list.

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‘Oblivion,’ Tech and the Question of Humanity

person holding black smartphone taking a picture of brown house at daytime

Even with its predictable plot, ridiculous need to stick to tired clichés, and Tom Cruise, “Oblivion” gives viewers cause to wonder what makes us human. Its answer is “our memories.”

As clone whose memory was wiped five years ago, Cruise’s character Jack is bound to a tower where he lives safely and ventures out to patrol the land, kill Scavs if he has to, and fix drones. However, since Jack is cloned from the best of humanity, he starts to wonder about his existence and the dreams he has about a woman he doesn’t know. When he meets her and meets himself with a different number, he realizes who he is and who he isn’t. She doesn’t mind. She’s his wife and says that it’s the memories that make a person who he or she is.

If memories are what make us who we are, humanity might be in trouble. Smart phones and the Internet are eroding are ability to remember things. There’s no reason to remember facts when they can be found easily with a quick search, but when you don’t practice using your memory, you begin to lose the ability to remember. This is seen in the “photo taking impairment effect.” Because we take a photo of it, our brain doesn’t have to remember it. While this hypothesis is still being tested and debated, the question is:

If we are our memories, who are we when we don’t remember anything, and who will be as a society when we forget our past? What happens to humanity when the phones have our memories? Perhaps, the movie has told us more than we realize… “Oblivion.”

For further consideration:

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/10/12/smartphones-brain-memory

https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/how-taking-photos-affects-your-memory.html

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10507146/Taking-photographs-ruins-the-memory-research-finds.html

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‘Dead to Me’: No One Drops the F-Bomb like Christina Applegate

Most of the time when people curse, it’s not pleasant or natural. It’s like they’re trying too hard to make a point: I’m cool, I’m down to earth, I’m angry, I don’t give a rip what others think… (probably should have put a swear word in there.) The words spew forth like so much phonic vomit with no care for art or lyricism. Christina Applegate’s Jen in “Dead to Me” is the exception.

Continue reading ‘Dead to Me’: No One Drops the F-Bomb like Christina Applegate
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Episode 8: ‘The Twilight Zone’ Time Enough at Last

This classic and much-lauded episode features acclaimed actor Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis, a man who loves to read in a world where readers aren’t welcomed. His boss derides him for being a reader who isn’t dedicated to his job and instructs Bemis to stop reading at work and at lunch. His wife is worse. She scribbles on every page of a poetry book Bemis hid in his chair. When he tries to read it to her, at her request, he sees the vandalism. She then snatches the book and tears out the pages – one by one. This world is not for him, much like the gunslinger world wasn’t for Mr. Denton.

When everything is blown up, Bemis survives. He has plenty of food, but the isolation and the lack of entertainment start to get to him. Bemis finds his salvation in a destroyed public library where he is able to pile up books sorted by month and year. Then the unthinkable happens.

What Bemis did to deserve his fate is unclear – except for his last phrase. That’s not fair. It’s not fair. And so it isn’t, because life isn’t always fair, and this may be how Rod Serling reminds us that not all villains get their come-uppance and not all good men get what they long for.

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VIP (or Vendor) Offer from Penguinate (A1) for Lilac City Comicon 2019

Booth set up for Lilac City Comicon

As a VIP ticket holder at Lilac City Comicon 2019, you get a lot of cool things from early entry to the show and an exclusive print to a Disney enamel pin and priority reserved seating. This year, you’ll also get $1 off any purchase of $10 or more at the Penguinate table (A1)! This discount is in addition to the Patreon Penguinator discount if your eligible.

Our penguins and books are already priced lower than what you would pay online because you don’t have to pay shipping and handling, and we don’t like messy numbers that aren’t a multiple of five. If you preorder your items and show us your VIP pass when you get to our table, we will give you a dollar back. That means you don’t have to worry about losing out on any additional discounts. (Pro Tip: Our preorder prices are the lowest ever, and they may be even lower than what we open the comicon with.)

So, get your VIP tickets, and come see us to get your VIP discount. If you’re planning on going both days, an extra $4 (when compared with two single day adult passes) for VIP treatment is totally worth it. Remember VIP tickets must be purchased in advance. We look forward to seeing you at Lilac City Comicon 2019, June 1 and 2, at the Spokane Convention Center. Vendors also qualify for the discount, just show your vendor badge!

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‘Oblivion’: Come Face-to-Face-to-Face with the World’s Worst Nightmare

With a plot as predictable as “Oblivion’s,” telling you that this article contains spoilers is questionable. After all, if you know what’s going to happen, me telling you isn’t really a spoiler, is it? It seems as ridiculous as this movie and its ending. Still, there may be spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Oblivion,” yet. I would suggest avoiding it altogether, and with a domestic gross total of just under $90 million for this 2013 release, it appears that’s what many people did.

That doesn’t mean that “Oblivion” is without merit. Sure, it may leave you wondering how Tom Cruise continues to get acting jobs and why Morgan Freeman decided to get mixed up in this 2-hour sleep pod. The film may even have the same effect on you as a sleep pod.

Still, it does give you cause to ponder and imagine thousands of Tom Cruises coming out of a spaceship on a mission to eradicate humanity from the planet, or at least, destroy enough people to make the planet harvestable. If the idea of thousands of Tom Cruises as an invading army doesn’t give you nightmares, I’m not sure what will.

The stunning visuals and effects were wasted on Cruise and his lack of acting ability. There wasn’t even a good running scene – he does run, but the angle that it’s filmed from doesn’t allow you to make too much fun of it. The movie’s end scene, which was supposed to be touching and beautiful, had me laughing out loud as “Oblivion” slipped into the absurd one final time.

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‘Dead to Me’: The Measure of Womanhood

If you haven’t binge-watched “Dead to Me,” what are you waiting for? With episodes coming in at under 30 minutes, you’re getting a series that can fit in with almost any schedule, and every episode packs a punch of drama, comedy, pathos and the exploration of psychology that comes with it. Bookmark this page, go watch the show and then come back here for the discussion. Spoilers are below the trailer.

Jen (Christina Appplegate) found out she had the gene related to breast cancer and got a double mastectomy (Applegate went through the procedure IRL in 2008) to save her family the trauma of what she went through when her mother died. (She still smokes heavily, but that’s for a different blog post.) After the surgery, her husband stops being intimate with her, and unbeknownst to her, he finds a younger woman with larger breasts to start a relationship with. He told this girl that he was a widower and his wife died from breast cancer.

While Judy’s (Linda Cardellini) case is a little more complicated, she says her fiancé left her after she had her fifth miscarriage. He couldn’t deal with the pain or the letdowns, and he wanted to have a family at some point.

These two experiences are parallel. As the two women have their womanhood and desirability called into question when they, for all intents and purposes, lose the body parts that make them female. Is Jen any less worthy of her husband’s love after she sacrifices for the sake of her family’s future? Is Judy less deserving of love because she hasn’t been able to bring a child to term?

Most people would say “No,” probably including these two women’s husbands before the procedure and the miscarriage had the hypothetical been asked of them. For all of American society’s supposed advances in rights and body image, the U.S. still values women for how they look and their ability to bear children. Nowhere is that point made better without it being preached than in “Dead to Me.”

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The Secrets of Creativity: Seeing

The bacteria H. pylori are responsible for some stomach ulcers. For decades, doctors had been able to see the bacteria in the stomach. While it was on photographs and in literature since 1875, the doctors didn’t see it. Because they were certain that bacteria couldn’t survive in the stomach, they ignored it. It didn’t exist as bacteria for them. In 1940, a doctor found the bacteria, but his supervisor told him he was wrong and ordered him to stop his work.

One doctor in 1967 labeled the bacteria as “spirillum,” published it in a respected scientific journal where thousands of other doctors could see it, and no one examined it further. It wasn’t until 1979 that Robin Warren declared it to be a bacterium and called it H. pylori. That’s when doctors went back through the literature and photograph showing something that no one thought could be bacteria. A cause of stomach ulcers had been in plain sight for over a century – only hidden by a false belief that nothing could live in the inhospitable climate of the stomach (Kevin Ashton, “How to Fly a Horse,” 2015).

Count the number of passes the team in white jerseys makes in this video.

Did you count them? Did you watch the whole video?

Did you see the dancing gorilla? When people are told to count the passes (and haven’t seen this video before), they entirely miss the gorilla who walks through the middle of the basketball players. People talking on their cell phone while walking down the street will miss a unicycling clown that passes in front of them because their attention is on the phone conversation. The brain prioritizes the phone call over everything that doesn’t seem threatening or that doesn’t make sense. If you want to be more creative, you have to see what others miss.

Human beings have so much input coming through their five senses that they have to ignore a lot of things. Otherwise, we would all be mad/crazy. (Maybe that’s what happening with cell phones…) The brain prioritizes what it thinks is important and eliminates everything else. You might think that driving a car and avoiding collisions is the most important thing, but your brain will prioritize the phone call and the conversation because driving is routine. Moreover, the brain doesn’t know how to process the impending collision while also dealing with the conversation on the phone.

Seeing is one of the most important skills you can develop, and that means getting rid of the distractions and beliefs that keep you from seeing what’s right in front of you and millions of other people.

When you something new or something old in a different way, you spark your creative abilities. In “Big Hero 6,” Hiro’s brother tells him to shake things up as he turns Hiro upside down and shakes him.

Sherlock Holmes ability to deduce where someone was from and why they had arrived came from his ability to remember facts and see details. Those details were often esoteric, but the skill is akin to addressing someone at a convention by his or her name. When that person asks “Do we know each other?” The answer is “I read your name tag.” Everyone has the name tags on, but many people forget the name tags are there.

Of course, seeing is only part of the battle. Once you see something, you’re going to have to make others see it. Most people will ignore the new information, especially if they know better. Others will intentionally make you see something false so that they can justify their worldview rather than face up to the reality of it. But when you know something the way that Robin Warren knew there were bacteria in the stomach, you need to set up an experiment and find someone to verify your results. In creativity, sometimes that means finishing something you started and finding out you were wrong. And sometimes, it means turning the world on its ear because you were right.

For more on the secrets of creativity, check out our Patreon page. Order “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Get “The Haunted Mansion is Creativity,” and purchase “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories.”

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Episode 7 ‘The Twilight Zone’ The Lonely

In the not-too-distant future, humanity is going to have to decide what it should do with artificial intelligence. As much as human beings have a fear of playing God, there’s going to be a time when artificial intelligence is indistinguishable from human intelligence. At that point, it will need to be called intelligence or people will face the problems associated with slavery, its consequences and what it means in relationship to being human.

Unfortunately, people aren’t yet equipped to understand when the change will take place. What separates the artificial from the organic? The programmed from the born? Especially when so many people are programmed through their culture, their religion, and their media choices.

In “The Lonely,” the captain of the rescue ship, who also happened to bring the robot in the ship has no moral dilemma. He knows who is real and who is not, and he makes his decision accordingly. But for the prisoner, the robot was a living being with emotions who saved his humanity and kept him from isolation-related madness (something addressed in “Where Is Everybody?” and “Time Enough at Last” and, to a lesser extent “Sixteen Millimeter Shrine”).

What happens when a machine saves a man from loneliness and madness? What happens when our phones and computers do the same?