Tag Archives: Writing

Boston’s First Cannabis Career Fair


When I’m not interning or writing posts for MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I am busy searching for full-time position within my field of communications.  I am one of the many 20-somethings struggling to get life together now that I’m done with school.  This ‘Real World’ that I’m in now hasn’t always been easy, but I have been having some fun along the way.  Last night’s adventure to the Cannabis Career Fair was one of those exciting times.

The Cannabis Career Fair, held in District Hall of Boston, was a career fair showcasing potential work within the cannabis industry.  Various cannabis companies across Massachusetts met with job seekers who were searching for work.  From cultivators to marketers, many positions were opening up for job seekers.  Since I’ve been writing about cannabis since legalization made waves on December 2016, I figured I would get in on the action.

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You see that handsome bastard above?  That’s ME, the one and only creator of MakeSandcastlesNotWar!  All that writing gold you read each day comes from me.  I already cranked out a blogpost earlier today about Canadian Healthcare companies covering medical cannabis, so I figured I’d get my name out there in the cannabis industry.

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I was one of many cannabis enthusiasts searching for my dream career within the cannabis industry.  Writing about cannabis each week has been a blast and I would LOVE to do this as professional work.  From Laganja Estranja to Cannabis Chemistry 101, it has been a pleasure covering the range of topics.  There’s always something happening within the cannabis community and I work diligently to cover every aspect of the story.  Keep your eyes peeled on this blog, because the fun is JUST getting started!

Attending the Cannabis Career Fair was amazing!  I had a great time meeting with the employers and hearing about what positions they had available.  It may be a while for the cannabis industry to really flourish, but I look forward to seeing it make waves around Boston.

For those that want to check out the video, the link can be found here

MakeSandcastlesNotWar’s One Year Anniversary!


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With this crazy snowstorm I’m getting here in Massachusetts, there was only one thing on my mind today…it was the one year anniversary for MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  Wow…I have been writing my blog MakeSandcastlesNotWar for exactly ONE year today!

Well then, I guess it’s time to reflect on the crazy journey of how MakeSandcastlesNotWar got its start.  It was fun, crazy, adventurous, and took a lot of hard work to get this blog moving.  There were topics stemming from all sorts of categories within the entertainment realm.  We looked at the ominous signs of condominium being built around Revere Beach, took field trips to various destinations (Boston’s Grown-Up Muesum, Game Over! Boston, Boston Ski & Snowboard Expo), spotted various TV criss-crosses, looked at the PR nightmare surrounding a gorilla (#DICKSOUTFORHARAMBE), and even literally took this blog to pot after Massachusetts legalized recreational use.

So how did we get here?  How did MakeSandcastlesNotWar start from a personal blog to discussing about Weedmaps signs around the Greater Boston Area?  In order to answer these questions, we’ll have to journey back to the very first post on MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  To start this journey, let’s time travel back to the very first blogpost titled The Witness: Solving the Maze Within Your Mind.  TIME WARP! *Swoosh*
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Here we are…March 14th, 2016.  I was about to graduate from Salem State University in 2 months and was about to kick start my career in public relations after finishing my last semester on December 2015.  I had no clue how to make a name for myself in the real world, so my main focus was playing The Witness while brainstorming ideas.  If you haven’t played already, The Witness is an open world puzzle adventure game where you wander around a large island solving puzzles.  These puzzles were scattered all across the island, seeking clues as to what you do in the game.  Besides the puzzle boards that unlock the lasers, environmental puzzles were hidden everywhere you go.

As I was wandering around the distant island, I was so impressed by this game.  It something I couldn’t stop playing since I was having so much fun discovering the world I was in.  There were no enemies or ‘game over’ concept, just complex puzzles to solve.  That was when I realized that I HAD to spread awareness of this awesome video game title.

To be honest, I have thought about blogging for quite a while since entering Salem State University.  Since I had so many interests, it was hard for me to pinpoint what categories I wanted to dive into with this project.  After hours of playing The Witness, I knew that I found my first topic to write about.  The first post would be an insight for what The Witness was really all about.

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What was the main idea behind playing The Witness?  It was a video game that taught you how your brain works and how it operates as a muscle.  Whenever you discover a new puzzle board, your brain starts to map out various solutions for solving the puzzle.  Your brain is doing the grunt work while your hand just draws out the correct path for the witness.  This is the kind of brain game that was educational as well as philosophical because of the many questions you have when playing through the game.

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Ever since purchasing The Witness last year, I’ve enjoyed every twist and turn the game contained.  The Witness challenged me to gain a different perspective of gaming I never thought about before.  While there were no enemies to fend off, the only challenge you had was against yourself.  This philosophical game initiated what would be the first of many philosophical blog posts discussing various events happening.

Now that we’re done discussing the VERY first post of MakeSandcastlesNotWar, it’s travel back to the present.  TIME WARP! *swoosh*

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Ah…we’re back to the present.  Just one year after The Witness: Solving the Maze Within Your Mind was written.  Ever since then, over 200 posts have been written for the MakeSandcastlesNotWar page.  What’s happened since that first idea for MakeSandcastlesNotWar?

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A SHITLOAD has happened, to be exact!  More posts, more views, lots more followers, and a broader range of topics that still stay within the entertainment spectrum.  We are at 78 followers right now (whoot whoot!) and average at 15-25 views a day.  Netflix has graced us with some unique TV series/films that made for inspiring posts for the blog.  Other than original content, TV criss-crosses have been discovered in all sorts of series.  Some were interesting while others were just downright jaw-dropping!

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MakeSandcastlesNotWar has gained some great recognition within the WordPress community and I am very grateful to see more readers checking out the blog.  Whether you’re a TV/film critic or a pot head searching for the latest in cannabis news, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy.  While I may have my head stuck in La-La Land every now and then, the most important goal is writing the very best content for the viewers.

If you thought that this blog is going steady, you ain’t seen NOTHING yet!  This is just the beginning in what’s in store for the world of MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  And believe me…these sandcastles will become MUCH bigger as time goes on!

Let’s jump forward into the future to see what topics will be entering the blog later this year.  TIME TRAVEL! *swoosh*

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This is it…the future of MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  What surprising topics will we find as time goes on?  Would these topics still touch up on the entertainment world?  Since cannabis topics have been popular lately, what mind-blowing discoveries will we find within the provocative industry?

Listed below are some topics that will be posted for the blog:

  • History of Cannabis prohibition
  • Cary Grant’s Relationship with LSD (Working Title)
  • Yooka-Laylee Review
  • The New Billion Dollar Crop
  • Alcoholics Anonymous and LSD
  • Product Reviews
  • JFK: The 1st Late Night President

As an added bonus, here are some notable figures that I’ll be discussing within the blog as well:

  • Denis Peron
  • Bill Wilson
  • Harambe
  • Timothy Leary
  • The Stanley Brothers
  • Victor Maddox

Before I close out, I wanted to say one thing: THANK YOU.  Thank you to all who enter my blog to read some of my posts!  It is YOU who are the true sandcastle makers of the writing world.  I may be the writer of the blog, but it’s all thanks to you guys for spreading MakeSandcastlesNotWar all across the nations.  You guys continue to inspire me to write each day about something of interest for me.

Always remember this: Make Sandcastles, Not War!

Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo (MICE)


Cambridge is one of many Boston neighborhoods that is fun to roam around.  With interesting landmarks like Harvard University and the Cambridge Galleria, Cambridge will make for a great day trip in the city.  Famous speakers pop into Harvard University to discuss a topic that is relevant to the world today.  Other famous universities around Cambridge include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge College, and Lesly University.

Lesley University is a private university that specializes in art and design.  Thousands of students flock to Lesley to show off their artistic skill to their professors.  Whether it is piecing together short stories or painting new pictures, artists from all across the country apply to Lesley University to become an amazing artist.  There are special panel events that students can attend to gain some insight from other well-known artists in the area.  This past weekend, I went into Lesley University to attend MICE.

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MICE, or the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, is an expo celebrating comic book designs from independent creators.  This was the 7th annual event that took place on October 29th-30th at Lesley University.  It was produced by the Boston Comic Arts Foundation, aiming to introduce local readers of all ages to the variety of art and storytelling in independent comics.  There were two levels filled with exhibitors showing off their masterpieces.  Upon entering the exhibits, I have seen some of the most spectacular work ever on comic books, posters, stickers, and other materials.

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Some of the work was so impressive that I just had to stop and chat with them for a bit.  Upon entering the first area, I noticed a big colorful poster that had the movie title Showgirls on the bottom of the design.  That was what drew me to talk with Chris, the comic book designer from Brooklyn.  I mentioned that I really enjoyed viewing the colorful poster and the comic version of The Room.  He mentioned that his love for bad movies inspired him to create an animated comic out of the cult films that flopped in the box office.  Another unique thing I noticed was that all of his business cards featured a tarot-card like design on the back of each card.  This was a really cool idea and praised him to continue making more works of art like this.

Earlier in the same area, I noticed a book showing Peanuts-like drawings in a comic strip design.  While it didn’t feature Charlie Brown or Snoopy, the drawings drew me into that similar environment.  When talking to the comic artist/illustrator Jesse, he mentioned that he was influenced by Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip when creating Year ‘Round Days.  I really liked where he got his inspirations from and was impressed by how familiar the art work was.  It was a cool comic-strip showcasing his lifetime experiences with interesting stories in each page.

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Another exhibit table showed a colorful design of Kirby and his friends, which prompted me to talk to designer Madeline.  It was then that I told her that I really liked the drawing of the Kirby gang and she told me that she really loved Kirby after playing Kirby 64: The Crystal ShardsKirby 64: The Crystal Shards was actually one of my favorite games for the N64 and was pleased to see how that game inspired her!  Other works included a drawing of Rini from Sailor Moon and No-Face from Spirited Away.  Madeline really did a great job drawing the familiar characters and utilizing colors to make them pop out good.  I thanked her for discussing her artwork with me and moved on to check out other areas.

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In another room, I noticed small cards on one of the exhibit tables.  All of the cards were referring to popular characters from cult films/TV shows.  Some of the characters I recognized were Wolverine, The Incredible Hulk, Freddie Krueger, Batman, Jason Voorhees, and other popular figures.  What was unique about the cards were that each character was transformed into fairy creatures.  I spoke with the conart creator Jay about how amazing they were and he showed me a few comics he works on as well.  His fairy creatures were very well done, with each character showing off their flair in the card.

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I was just heading into another room of the exhibit and I noticed some mini comics that were sketched using pencils.  The title was Feeling Worthless? and it featured self-help tip for people suffering from mental health issues.  I spoke with the creator, LB Lee, on how interesting his idea was as a comic.  This was an interesting concept that is entertaining and could give people a purpose to not feel so worthless sometimes.  His idea was amazing and I praised him to continue doing more work like this around Boston.

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Overall this was an amazing comic book expo to attend this past weekend.  I don’t read a lot of comic books in my spare time, but it was interesting to see lots of artists gathering together to show off their finished works of art on display.  The event was free for everyone and you could spend HOURS looking through all of the work people made for the event.  While my specialty belongs with writing, I did learn some things while being in a big room with artists.

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Whether you’re a writer or animator, artists gather together to create something meaningful in their lives.  Being an artist doesn’t mean that you can pick up a pen and draw a picture of pig; it means looking deep down with yourself as how you see the pig being drawn.  Maybe the pig is colored blue or maybe his snout has monster-like features that make him a mutant.  Whatever creative idea you come up with, it was designed from your imagination.

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As the writer of MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I know that I can’t just write a short summary of American Horror Story.  I have to juice up the story with interesting detail, crafting the story to be something relatable to all audiences.  This writing tip applies to many instances when I write about television, movies, music, fashion, cannabis, social media, and other categories.  Anybody can say they are able to read and write, but it takes LOTS of work to write something truly amazing from your creative perspective.  After attending the MICE event, I definitely took away some interesting tips that will shape MakeSandcastlesNotWar to become a better blog in the near future.

 

Nobel Prize in Literature 2016: Bob Dylan


Every year we announce the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who completed incredible work in promoting peace within a nation.  Now that the months of 2016 are winding down, it was time to reveal the winner.  This year’s winner was Juan Manuel Santos, the current President of Columbia.  Juan Manuel Santos was named the winner for negotiating a peace treaty with the guerrillas in the country.  It was one small step for a giant leap into the right direction for Columbia.

Juan Manuel Santos may have been a Nobel Prize winner for this year, but another contender won for the Nobel Prize in literature.  The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to someone who produced amazing work in literature that has people thinking in the right direction.  Usually the prize is awarded to someone who fits the literary canon of novels, short stories, and poetry work.  This year’s prize winner was awarded to…Bob Dylan!

Singer and song-writer Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.  Dylan was the first American since 1993 to win the prize after famed novelist Toni Morrison.  At 75 years old, Dylan had a shot at winning the award even though his line of work didn’t meet the typical criteria.  With music signaling a broader definition on the concept of literature, it seems that the times they are a changin.

Bob Dylan is a talented singer and song-writer, releasing 37 studio albums during his career.  He released his first album Bob Dylan in 1962 and his most recent album Fallen Angels was released on May 20th, 2016.  Other than winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, Bob Dylan has won numerous awards for his songwriting and performances.  Over four decades later and his legacy still lives on as one of the greatest musicians of all time.

Kudos to Bob Dylan for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature!  Bob has written incredible music over the years and he continues on his work to this day.  I have heard a few songs from Bob Dylan like Blowin in the Wind and The Times They Are a-Changin, which were both great to hear.

What’s also interesting to note is how literature is extending towards music as written work.  Music has always composed of lyrics, but now Bob Dylan’s poetic songs have been recognized for the Nobel Prize in Literature this year.  Lyrics can be written works, since they are words written within the tunes created for a song.  Rock, hip-hop, metal, jazz, and other music genres have lyrics incorporated into songs to provide a more meaningful experience.  Music plays a huge part in literature, even when there are no lyrics to a specific song.  Sometimes all it takes is an instrumental song to captivate an underlying story you are presenting to your audience.  Just like Bob Dylan’s poetic lyrics, we will see many works of music blowin in the wind each day.

Painting Under the Influence at Breakaway


As an artist, my craft revolves around writing about news within the entertainment industry.  My technique involves putting the PR spin during the last few paragraphs of my work.  This PR spin involves utilizing a concept in marketing, advertising, or other fields of communications to best describe why the idea works or why it was a flop.  Gathering all of the information to craft my masterpieces is the easy part, but the real work happens in the end when I am taking my audiences back to the big picture.

Searching for ideas isn’t all that hard, but it can be tedious when I am looking for something different to write about.  There are times when I am forced to back away from the digital world only to discover an incredible topic come flying into me.  It’s always good to step back from writing a bit to try a new hobby that you are interested.  That is why last night I went into Breakaway in Danvers to try my hands on painting for Painting Under the Influence.

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Painting Under the Influence is an event where a group of people come together with their choice of beer or wine to paint a picture.  Each painter is provided with their own brushes, cup of water, painting palette, easel board, and apron.  The painters follow with the artist instructor to paint the same pictures using various colors on their palette.  There are a few 8-10 minute breaks once in a while to grab another drink, use the restroom, or chat with your friends, or update your painting before the next part of the session.  At the end, participants gather together for group photos to show off their finished masterpieces.

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Last night’s Painting Under the Influence event occurred at Breakaway on 225 Newbury Street in Danvers.  The donations for the event would go towards funding Salem State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America for their trip to the PRSSA National Conference.  Public Relations Student Society of America is a nationwide club for students who are passionate about public relations.  The Painting Under the Influence event was created by Chapter President Nikki Vergakes and Chapter Vice President Dominque Resendes. Every year members of PRSSA gather together to attend the national conference, a yearly event where PR students learn more about their career field.  This year’s national conference will take place in Indianapolis on October 21st-25th and the theme is about the ‘Crossroads of Public Relations’.

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Attending the Painting Under the Influence was a lot of fun.  As a former member of PRSSA, I felt obligated to help my fellow members attend this year’s conference that is taking place a few weeks.  PRSSA was a great club I enjoyed being a part of during my years at Salem State University.  I attended the meetings to make new friends, gain more insights into the world of public relations, networked with guest speakers, and went to national conferences as well.  During my years at PRSSA, I have gained so much more knowledge about public relations and I became more enthusiastic about the kind of work I could do for a career.

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As for the paint night event itself, I had a blast painting with my old friends!  Two things I learned after the event: I’m no Picasso and that pumpkin-spiced beer goes well with painting a picture.  I attended my first Painting Under the Influence event last summer at British Beer Company when I was still in PRSSA.  It felt good to take a small break from writing to do another artistic craft that I don’t do that often.

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Painting the picture made me realize how we are all artists in this world, one way or another.  Whether it is writing blog posts or painting pictures or making music, we land on some art form that we passionate about.  Once we discover our art form, we work hard to create our unique designs we want to show off to the world.  Not all of us are writers, which is ok because it is a skill that comes with years of practice and hard work.  Anyone can put a pencil onto paper to write letters, but it takes a long while to re-arrange those letters to create a real masterpiece.  With that in mind, I think I’ll stick to writing more blog posts for MakeSandcastlesNotWar.

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