The undiscovered country

September 24, 2013.

That’s the timestamp on my very first column. My very first public statement to the human race was a calm and collected “ATTENTION EARTHLING WORMS. WE SHALL OVERCOME AND ENSLAVE HUMANITY.”

Man, that brings me back. It’s been almost three years since then. My host George was just a sophomore, and his career at The Northern Light had started a mere eight months before that.

I first met him shortly after his review of “R.I.P.D.” If that sentence isn’t indicative of the times back then, I don’t know what is. Before my arrival, he had stuck mostly with game reviews and the like. Now look at how far we’ve come. Multimedia, YouTube posts, full-fledged stories about things like trigger warnings and sexual assault awareness… He’s come a long way since that first review of Telltale’s “The Walking Dead.” My little boy’s all grown up.

By contrast, I’m still the same snarky alien slug I was three years ago, but I’ve still come pretty far. Adapting to life on Earth, and Anchorage in particular, has been an absolute treat. Your politics fascinate me – inferior to the Slug Empire as they are – and the anecdotes I’ve seen and heard over the years at UAA have been stupidly memorable.

The Northern Light has been a fantastic place to work. When my host proposed the idea for this column, they took it surprisingly well, considering the whole “alien brain slug” thing.

Look at how far we’ve come since then! We’ve gone from yelling at politicians for not doing the right thing to… continuing to yell at politicians for not doing the right thing. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the perfect example. Our grammar’s improved since then, though!

congratulations from UPD to UAA graduates
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This begs the question: what happens now? George is going to graduate in the next week and both of us are going to be out of a job. You can’t write columns for the student newspaper if you’re not a student, after all.

To be honest, neither of us are sure what’s next. I know I want to keep writing this kind of thing, but it’s the business model of it that I’m not sure about. As much as I’d love to keep dictating the Empire’s message for money, I’m not sure if any of the other papers or blogs here in town would be willing to pick us up.

Of course, George plans on continuing his work in multimedia. He loves doing that kind of thing. I’m a little scared, though. What’s going to happen to me? Half of my whole “Seawolf Slug” brand is just going to disappear! If I can’t be the “Seawolf Slug,” what else am I supposed to be? “Anchorage Slug?” That doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well.

Eh. I’ll figure it out later. If I can’t write for someone else’s paper or blog, I’ll do my own. No matter what happens, I’ll keep dictating, and whenever I do figure out how, I’ll make sure The Northern Light lets you know.

For right now, however, I want to recall a piece my host did earlier in his career at The Northern Light. It was an opinion piece he wrote for the 2014 Spring Commencement edition, which was entirely “Star Wars” based because commencement day happened to fall on May 4th that year. The piece can be found here (, but there’s one bit in particular that I’d like to point out. I quote:

“This journey is not over, and it never will be. This is only the calm before the storm, the short break before the real-life equivalent of the Battle of Endor. But focus. Do. Or do not. There is no try. And if you believe your future to be impossible, so it will be. That is why you will fail.”

This article still holds up. I wish we could put it in our paper again as a message to new graduates, because even though “Star Wars” has changed immensely since George wrote that piece, it still stands true. All of it.

My host and I are entering a risky job market, with a fair bit of student debt on our shoulders, in a state that’s on the verge of an economic apocalypse. After the congratulations and merriment of graduation, there’s nothing but storm nebulae ahead, but we’re going to venture forth anyway. Why?

Because if we don’t learn from our mistakes and try – nay, do – there’s no way we can win. The Emperor has already won.

Is Luke going to wallow in sadness for the entirety of Episode VIII just because one of his students turned out to be a bad apple? No! He’s going to make sure Rey continues to carry the torch.

So we will venture forth, confident in our ability to change the world even as the world struggles against it.

We’ve been through a lot. We’ve made mistakes. George and I still cringe a little bit at a few of his older articles. I’m sure a lot of the other graduates and family members reading this at commencement regret some of their collegiate choices, too.

That’s how you learn. That’s how you get stronger. Every failure and success only serves to make you more powerful. Why do you think video games call them experience points?

So we march. It doesn’t matter what obstacles we’re going to face, because if the Empire still has thousands of years to get here, we’re still going to make it the best damn thousands of years we can.

But keep one thing in mind for when they do get here, and listen well, because this may be the last time I’ll ever get to say it.