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Return to Normalcy
tokyo tower
Adult life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Maybe nostalgia, gripping and taunting me, causes me to come back here. To a time when I could afford to go to anime conventions, to spend hundreds of dollars a month on anime and manga. Not just money but TIME, of all things. Time is something I have less and less of. Then these pesky dreams that plague me still. Seeing my default image of Tokyo Tower, a picture I took myself...reminds me that Japan is where I want to be. Japan, with all of it's gaping flaws and glorious apathy. I'm a long way away from there but I will someday return.

what a great day, when Cowboy Bebop came to the mainstream TV audience, and brought me to the community here and made me so many friends. I still have yet to rewatch any of the anime I have bought for a full 2nd playthrough, I want to so bad but Time is a difficult thing to find. I also want to share the experience with others, as I have anime that is quite under-rated (who has heard of Infinite Ryvius? It's so good but no one knows it). Someday, maybe.

My drawing isn't going as I hoped lately. Introducing P90 to my single life hasn't left me with time I need, also with trying to learn Japanese it seems to be the thing most often cut out. Well, this is mainly because I'm playing Star Wars: The Old Republic now... sleep schedules will have to be rigidly maintained. As I am drinking right now and it's almost 5am, I suppose it's another thing put off till tomorrow.

Work stresses me out and pushes me far. It's been tough, extremely tough. Even here, where I can be fairly anonymous and unwatched, I feel guilty bleeding all the problems and pressures I experience there. I feel it may be more than most, as family is involved, but I cannot shy away from an opportunity to make myself stronger.

Do you all still dream? Are you living yours? Constantly redifining a dream is important. adding realism to the picture in your head will flesh it out and make it more attainable, or make it less appealing, depending on what truth does to it. The more I've learned about Japan as well as drawing the more I want it. my lazyness and apathy can be curbed if I play to my weaknesses.

It breaks my heart thinking about what I gained and lost here. I don't know if I could've done anything to avoid it or not. In spite of what you may think of me, there is still a flame, however small it may be, that burns for each of you. And some may have even unfriended me due to lack of activity, but I still think of you all. I'm not a saint. I am just me.

tokyo tower
Is fun

tokyo tower

I knew a girl. she was beautiful and creative and made me feel so intimidated and curious and all the wonderful things I'd never felt before. And she lived on the other side of the country.

I still pick out details that get to me today. Like one time we talked on webcams, and I had never really seen her before (besides her artsy photoshops) and my jaw dropped at how pretty she was. And I knew later that there was something between us but it was fleeting. She was such a sure person and knew that we weren't compatible. I guess I knew it too. I wish I lived there, instead of here at the center of being far away from everyone else.

It's hard. I screwed things up by always analyzing every little silence and comment and just fucked it all up. I don't really think she would even want to talk to me anymore. And even knowing that, when I see her picture pop up when she comments a mutual friend, I am instantly lost. All my resolve, independance and solitude melts into depression, obsession and loneliness.

I don't allow the thoughts...but they keep creaping back and finally it becomes a full-blown wish, "I wish I could be with her". Her...the girl that treated me this way, always left me in want, knew me enough to hurt me without doing anything, and yet that could be wrong.

Love? all these years, I have never, had it reciprocated. But whatever this dilapidated, broken down shoe-string emotion I won't let fall apart and die is, I call it love, and I've held it for so many years that I forget it's even there sometimes and then it hits like a brick.

I suppose it's best if we don't talk. I'd just repeat it all again.

tokyo tower
I've gone back to drawing. Trying to "Self teach" myself manga-style drawing. I have some fundamentals from both formal training and self-teaching books ("How to Draw on the Right Side of the Brain").

I dunno if anyone is interested but here is my deviant art page which has most of my sketchbook on it: http://cowboysoultaker.deviantart.com/

some of the content is nude work as I try to learn decent proportions/anatomy. Nothing really that detailed though, i'd say pg 13

I am trying to get to the point where I can express myself in clear "sentences", rather then what I would call "Stammering". Once that happens I have 3 specific projects in mind to start working on, the first one that will happen is called Arrogant Swordsman. There is some promo art for it on DA and I hope to finish the first (poorly drawn) manga soon so I can post it as well.

Why I am working hard towards this because this is the biggest piece of timber from the shipwreck I call a dream that I am clinging to. Also, because it's been the first flicker of "passion" i've felt in my life in a long time. Not so much when I am drawing, but when I talk about drawing and especially ARrogant Swordsman, I get excited and lost in my description. Don't get me wrong, I find things that I like about my drawings in addition to things I don't like, otherwise I'd never post them, and as an artist I realize I may always have reservations but I'd like to think that once i get to that specific point when I think "hey, maybe I can start publishing this" or "Maybe I should get a webspace to generate some revenue for this".

My goals are very humble right now. Long term, I'd like to do better than trading dollars. "Being in the black" I'd call it. So if I pay for 200 copies of a graphic novel or standard issue comic book, I'd sell enough of them to recoup the cost with some profit. IF I do a webspace, I get enough hits to generate revenue to cover the cost of the server, as well as some extras. I do not plan on making enough to quit my job. I have to meet this goal before I think about that.

Mid-term goal is that I would like to have a table at the artists room at Otakon. If they have one at Ikasucon, then that would would be nice too. I want to do this in 2011. I am planning on selling shirts, manga, art books/posters, doujinshi or any combination of those.

Short term goal is to not get discouraged, first and foremost. I want to find people that are also learning manga, people that know the craft well and can afford me some time to teach me/give advice, and find some places I might be able to get formal training (manga university is a website that has such opportunities). Lastly, I want to draw something every day, ideally something in my sketchbook AND something from one of my self teaching books.

This last part is mainly for me so I can hold myself accountable, but if anyone fits the pier/teacher description I'd love to have someone in my corner ^_^

tokyo tower
Hey all.

The last anime I bought was Ergo proxy, but I still read naruto bleach and one piece.

I am willing to look at new anime but I don't know where to start, most look like bishounen, re-hashes or fan service. Any suggestions? I like stuff like GitS:SAC ergo proxy and texhnolyze.

I was considering soul eater because it was The big thing in Japan when I was there and also looks fun.

tokyo tower
I was losing my mind last night. between my post here (which ended up being the proverbial tip to the iceberg) and my huge blow up on my myspace blog, I decided it'd be a good night to drink. Well, I post here, because I get some sense of anonymity back. And on myspace, nobody goes on there anymore so it's pretty safe too. Safe, yet might get views. but anyway, bad idea. I was actually starting to feel better (I wouldn't attribute it to the booze per se) but I lost track of my drinking. I do that when I drink alone, which I probably shouldn't do again.

I had about half one of those plastic bottles of peppermint schnapps (I don't know if those are fifths or not). I killed off my kettle one vodka after that, it was about 4 inches from the bottom. Ah, so if killing schnapps wasn't bad enough, putting heavier liquor on top of that, then the final straw, Skol vodka, which is just crap. I figured I wouldn't notice it at where I was, which should have been a sign there. but I had a couple of those and felt okay for a bit, in retrospect I think the room was spinning. Then the nausea, then the puking, etc. i had the sound too low on the T.V. because I was listening to Radiohead and Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, but I can remember what was on T.V.

I was bawling most of the evening throughout the drinking. which would have been another indicator.

I know that I don't deserve to complain but I still do it and so does everyone else. And quite frankly the scales are tipped pretty heavy to not enjoying life. Everyone puts up with a certain amount of crap to get to the good parts of life. But the goods aren't real good and the bads aren't terrible but are plenty. I can't really die either, and I gotta keep my head above the waves to at least keep my family out of my mess, since my 'rents have cosigned a few things.

I complain about the same stuff every time and I'm sure it bugs the hell out of people if they even still listen, and I know it bugs the hell out of me. I'm starting to think about going back to school, but That could be the final nail to my coffin. My loans' interest period is coming up soon as well, which means my payments for Student Loans go back to 500 some dollars.

So I guess it comes down to getting two jobs. I don't know where to beign on that, cuz I've been on the sites and around town and there is not much shakin'.

i don't know what to do to better my life. I have these brainstorms and try to put it into action, try to change my attitude but it only lasts a little while. I wish there was just some good news for my future.

Bakuretsu Tenshi
tokyo tower
I might have reviewed an anime called Burst Angel a while back. It was mediocre at best, along the same lines as Kiddy Grade (KG being an okay to good anime). I've been reading the manga through one of the sites I frequent, and it is far superior to the anime in every way.

edit: The manga ends where the anime picks up...so they're not different stories.

In fact, I think most manga is better then it's anime counter part. Naruto, Bleach and Hellsing sticking out the most in my mind. Hellsing would be better if they took the music director from the original series and used him in Hellsing Ultimate. Though I do still enjoy HU.

I also watched the good, the bad, the ugly today. I've owned it for a couple years, but i just now took it out of the shrink wrap. "There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig."

It gets really lonely here. I am not sure what to do about it. It seems all the online folk I used to talk to are busy with life or "better halfs". And I catch myself not being more self reliant. It's hard to know what to do for my next step in life, I don't really see any stepping stones connecting the shorelines. I've been listening to radiohead and Stand Alone Complex music for the past few days. But I've no right to complain, there are plenty of worse things I could be in.

Making pasta from scratch is about the only thing I enjoy right now. I guess it's nice to have a hobby but I thought my life would amount to more than this.

from facebook
tokyo tower
This was a facebook post (you are welcome to add me, my name is Steven Vandre) so some of it may seem out of place.

I can never remember how to LJ cut. there is some christian references in it, if that isn't your bag, you may not want to read it.


I imagine if anyone of the theoretical people I'm writing this to, actually read this, then you probably keep up with my status's somewhat and know I am a person who likes his Street Fighter 4. I am bad at it, compared to other people, but I still get back in there.

Little known fact, though I was into Shuri Ryu karate (which I was honored to train in the same dojo as Hanshi Bowles) I am a big fan of Jeet Kune Do. I have been since I loved Cowboy Bebop, and the more I knew about it the more I liked. The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, by Bruce Lee is a great book, one day maybe I will own it.

But only recently have I actually gotten into some of his philosophy. It's the right amount of abstract without departing too far from the tangible. Picks at my brain a bit. Like any kernel of wisdom i encounter, I kind of tuck these snipets under my cap and continue on, then eventually something clicks.

I was in church today, and the topic was Christ's baptism. It was kind of a big deal, that 4 guys wrote about. The message of baptism kind of spoke to me. Basically, it embodies what Christ's life and death and life were all about, killing the sinful side of us and recreating us as God's children. Another little kernel of wisdom.

I am mostly a humble man. I am humbled by my inability to do a great many things, it seems that any task I do, I do it mediocre at best. There is no cockiness or arrogance that can even be harbored within me. It's easy to come before God in prayer and acknowledge my weaknesses, and perpetuate this over-the-top humility. However, I am not this person I claim to be. Simply put, I have already been born again. What I do I do not do alone, there is no point in proceeding with the thought that I won't succeed.

There is no problem. There is only opportunity. The world, largely, is an illusion. It can be what you make of it, and I mean this in a metaphorical kind of sense, not literally. You can derive enjoyment on different levels, shallow levels or deeper levels. You can derive pain from it, whether you have plenty or have nothing. The difference is mind, the difference is control, and what we let have control over, and what we strain to gain control over.

People may always ponder why I overthink things. but I am not going to feel guilty for it. I love it, I love getting inside things, pondering them, theorizing about them. I don't mind if you throw that judgement at me.

Someone can spout something wise at you, that looks simple. You can hear it many times in your life but when the right person says it the right way it just clicks. So when I finally put it together, the christian life and the philosophy life, it started to make sense. Contentedness and Happiness in all things. One can spend their whole life searching for the perfect blossom, and it would not be a waste. The answer is they are all perfect.

There is no problem. You approach your opponent, there is no opponent, it is a play, when it expands, I contract, when I contract it expands. When we are done there is an outcome, and then things move along. I have already succeeded.

I think that there is a balance, like all things. One may have, and want, with the fulcrum being contentedness. the two are in harmony when they are balanced. We should not stop wanting, to better our situations, ourselves. There is no limit, only plateaus (i'm quoting a lot of bruce lee btw). Yet, i do not wish to be driven by this insatiable, inquisitve nature. What I have is sufficient. Who I am is sufficient. God's grace is sufficient. In lieu of that, the strong base, the ample resources, I can derive my energy to improve, myself and my environment.

All day I couldn't put this into words but now I feel I'm understanding it and able to verbalize it. I think people view me as a pseudo philosopher, maybe even a fake. Like I'm trying to sound smart. But i am not trying to do anything. I am only doing.

tokyo tower
"Dreams are bad
when all they do is leave the world behind
Dreams are bad
When Negativity is a state of mind"
-Silverchair, Untitled

Hello. My name is Steven.

Ever experience a quiet so loud you wanted to scream just to fill the stagnate room? What I mean by this, that people that used to mean something to you, those relationships becoming nothing more then memories, to where you just want to cry that things return to what they once were? I have thought about Livejournal many times in that way. Our desires are not always a mirror of the effort we wish to exert.

So now you know. My heart yearns for you all to return with bright smiling faces, we can talk about Cowboy Bebop and be buddies again. I have tried this with other friends in life, and realized that it is much harder then it sounds. I feel unfair trying to relight a damp campfire, going to all the effort just to walk away when it's lit. thats not fair. But i suppose 2 willing hearts may be more likely, as compared to only 1.

I do not blame anyone but myself. Even though i am quite a presence on facebook and myspace, which I think I've given out before (if not just search my email (on my info page) or my name, steven vandre).

I will have another update later, with more stuff about me, but i want to end this entry with this:

I am trying to get in contact with Yoko Kanno and Tim Jensen. I have a silly dream that, believe me, I'm not getting my hopes up too high for, but I want to talk to them. If anything else to tell them they're great, and i want to work with them. Why me? Well, I have my reasons. But Tim Jensen (author of many bebop and gits:sac songs) is everything i have aspired to be as a poet.

I am unsure how I'll ever find his info. I know vaguely how to get ahold of kanno-sama, there is Grand Funk's snail mail address and grand funk's feedback email. I tried the former years ago, and the latter i tried recently. Tim Jensen is much more obscure on the internet outside of fandom. Anything official is hard to find, although it seems he's helped translate some japanese books.

Look, I still burn a torch for you guys. I know many of you don't care or may even not like me. and I have made peace with that, we make our decisions and many times grow apart from our friends. We'll have our memories right? If you ever want to try again remember I'm here, or there, or wherever.


Steven Vandre

tokyo tower
I will be attending otakon this year. Its this fri-sun. I will be going as iori from king of fighters and mugen from champloo. If you are going and wanna meet at the con let me know.