Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dear Superhero,

March's LEP challenge was to write a letter to your favourite superhero, telling him/her about snail mail, and asking him/her to be your penpal.



Of LEP's almost 180 members, only 1 other member (other than myself, Super Squirrel) participated in this month's challenge. C'mon superheroes, that isn't very superhero of you!

The only thing that can be concluded by this is that no one else wants a superhero for a penpal. That's insane! Why not?! Because check out this awesome letter from Jinnee, AKA Craft Enchantress:


How can you not want to partake in such fun?!

Well, I suppose your loss is our gain. With The Flash and The Incredible Hulk as penpals, I guess we're the only LEP Members who received the top secret mail invites to the End of the World Super Party. We rubbed shoulders with Captain America, exchanged numbers with Nightcrawler, did shots with Gambit—you should have been there, it was AWESOME!

Seriously though: since LEP is a new initiative and we're learning as we go along, it helps to know what you guys think about the swaps and the challenges. Are you enjoying them? Is it activity that you want to see and participate in? Did you not participate in this month's challenge because you didn't like it or because you didn't have time? Do you have ideas or suggestions for improvement?

We really enjoy the challenges, but if LEP members don't find value in them or don't want to participate, then perhaps it would be better for us to re-route our energy to other activity. But we need you to talk to us. Any feedback you provide goes towards improving LEP. We've said it before and we'll continue saying it until the flying cows come home: Let us know what you think!

UPDATED: Thanks to everyone who has left feedback about the challenges so far. It's much appreciated!

It's difficult to please everyone with the challenges. Some people sent us feedback that we should incorporate the superhero theme more; others are less keen about the superhero theme. But we're trying to achieve a good balance between "regular" challenges and superhero-themed ones so rest assured, there are less superhero-y challenges coming up.

That being said, how you define "superhero" is entirely up to you. We use the term superhero because we're a superhero-themed penpal club. But heroism comes in many guises and forms. It's not simply spandex and attacks by radioactive spiders. In other words, a superhero isn't just someone from a comic book who wears spandex and fights crime. If you're not a fan of comic book superheroes, then adapt the term to something that fits with your personality and likes. For example, your hero might be someone who knits and volunteers and adopts cats from the animal shelter. So when that month's challenge/swap asks you to talk about a superhero, write about a hero that works for you. We want you to be creative and inspired, so don't feel restricted by the standard definition of the word "superhero"; challenge the norm and redefine superheroism for your purposes!

In the meantime, please keep the feedback coming!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Penpalling in the future

Imagine this:

It's the year 2513.

Paper no longer exists. There are no more post offices. No one knows how to write anymore. Except for a few dissidents... Members of a super secret, hidden society: The League of Extraordinary Penpals.


League of Extraordinary Penpals


Doesn't it feel good to know that the great-great-great-grandchildren of our great-great-great-grandchildren will still follow our letter writing traditions in the future?

It won't be easy to keep the art of letter writing alive then. They'll have to make sacrifices, try to salvage stationery stashes, start growing their own trees and eventually learn how to make paper by hand. They'll have to teach their kids how to write, and have to train robots how to deliver mail...

But it'll be worth it.

Because unlike everyone else around us, we were able to form true bonds with people across the ocean and share something deeper with our penpals. These will be lessons that we'll pass down to future generations of letter writers. We'll teach our grandchildren that patience is a virtue and that good things can take time. We'll show them that meaningful relationships aren't instantaneous and that a handwritten letter is a real treasure.

Oh, some people think that we were foolish. Sure, most humans laughed at us at one point. They said that we were wasting our time, that we weren't being productive, that we were childish. But we knew something that they didn't: penpalling would save us. Writing letters would allow us to be introspective and connect with other human beings in a significant way. When civilization becomes disengaged from everyone and everything, we remain united.

We are proud members of the League of Extraordinary Penpals today. And in the year 2513, it'll be our descendants who continue our mission.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Health benefits for Superheroes

If Hollywood and comics are to be believed, being a superhero appears pretty glamourous. I mean, the superhero always swoops in and saves the girl/guy/small animal at the last minute and all observers want to BE that superhero.

But movies and comics never talk about the hazards, and as real superheroes (without publicists and stylists) we all know that those hazards are plentiful.

For example...

How many of you have fallen into a vat of toxic slime after chasing a supervillain? Euch, that slime is impossible to get off! You'll be finding it in your ears for weeks afterwards. There's only so many times your doctor buys the "I accidentally walked into a vat of slime because I wasn't looking" excuse before he/she starts getting suspicious.

How many of you have had to make emergency visits to the dentist because you've had your teeth punched out in a fight? Whew, the money that comes in from the tooth fairy doesn't even begin to cover those dental fees!

And how many times have you had to rely on fast food for dinner because you've worked late and can't be bothered to make a home cooked meal? We know spandex suits have some stretch to them in case of weight gain, but even spandex suits have their limits! And take it from us: nothing is more embarrassing than having your spandex suit rip as you're scaling a building. Whew, we're still trying to live that one down.

We don't even have laser vision to help us cook eggs!

The League of Extraordinary Penpals is there to help. In addition to creating a community where you can talk openly about the dirty consequences of saving the world, we're also looking at how we can provide health benefits* for those times when you fall into toxic goo or need a fifth false tooth. Rest assured, Sushi and the Squirrel are looking out for you! We've got your backs! We want to ensure that you don't end up looking like this:


*For legal purposes, let us make it clear that LEP will not provide real health benefits. We do still encourage you to visit your local doctor and/or dentist for your health needs. But try to keep the superhero thing under wraps, because we've found that admitting you're a superhero in public tends to get you strange looks.

**Big thanks for LEP Member Stupendous Kay for inspiring this post.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A superhero in Mexico

Superheroes are allowed to go on vacations, but of course we have to stay available to fight crime wherever we are in the world. So when my mom told me that she was going to Mexico and that she wanted my son and I to come along, I was happy to accept the invitation. Super Sushi in Mexico!!!

When the plane landed in Cancun, I realized that I had forgotten my chopsticks at home. How could I fight without my beloved chopsticks?! Certainly not with my bare hands... Thankfully, nothing major happened during the first few days and I was relieved when we went to a Japanese restaurant and I was able to "borrow" cheap wood chopsticks.

I was finally ready for Mexican supervillains! But I didn't meet any. The only annoying people I met were noisy neighbors (I love it when they start to party with their friends at 3 am), a few drunk tourists and pushy salesmen (Yes, your hats are nice; no, I don't want them; um, do I seriously look like a cigar smoker?!).

I learned early on that the competition was ferocious here in the Riviera Maya. Spiderman effigies are everywhere! Proof:




Although my holidays have been quiet so far, I still learned some lessons:

1- I look ridiculous with a cape and flip flops! And my big toes are fat.

2- No matter what my mom says, sea water doesn't cure everything.

3- A Mexican Laura Li is nice, but a Canadian Laura Ly is better.

4- Even superheroes can get sunburned.

5- A beach towel can be used as a cape, but people won't take you seriously.

6- Drinking alcohol does reduce your superpowers.

Now if you'll excuse me, there's a piƱa colada waiting for me on the beach... If crime hits, feel free to call Spiderman!