Tag Archives: manatees

Interview with Rachel Arnow

Hi everyone!! Sorry we didn’t post last week, but we were in Yellowstone and there wasn’t any WiFi. This week I want to tell you about a cool interview I did awhile ago. As you probably know, I love manatees, so when I found out about Man versus Manatee I was ecstatic.  They are adorable comics about manatees, and they’re totally relatable. So I did an interview with Rachel Arnow, a recent college graduate and great artist, who puts up a new strip every Monday. I decided to post this interview now because we just saw Cali Perry (more on that next Monday), and she loves manatees, too, so it reminded me.


These comics are super fun to binge-read, or to read every Monday to help you ease into work (I always read the new one before I do blog work).
Rachel lives in Wisconsin, and she’s never seen a manatee (other than in videos)! So how did this comic come about? Here’s my interview:


Me: Why did you start to make Man versus Manatee?
Rachel: The origin of Man versus Manatee is a spontaneous one.  I did not always know what a manatee was, so after my friend Stephen described it to me only a few years ago, he helped me out by finding a good video for me.

The video is a young manatee nibbling a diver’s hand, and the level of adorable is almost too much to handle.  My thought after watching the video all the way through was, “This would make a great comic!”  So I made a three-panel comic that I named “Man versus Manatee.”  In effect, “Man versus Manatee” was just the name of that one comic.  But after showing it to my family and a few friends, I began to come up with new ideas out of the blue and couldn’t help drawing them out.  After four or five of them, my friends said, “You need to talk to Erty.”

Erty Seidohl is a sweet person who loves to help other people and has experience making his own webcomics.  So the general consensus was that Erty and I should get together to make Man versus Manatee into its own online comic series.  He is the proud webmaster of my comic, and to this day he handles anything outside of my realm of technical understanding and is my go-to person for any novel ideas that I have for Man versus Manatee.



Me: Have you always liked to draw?
Rachel: I am currently a studio art major and psychology minor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I have experience in silversmithing, ceramics, drawing and painting, and although I may not delve into process as much as many artists, I wholeheartedly enjoy the fulfillment of completing a body of work.  Man versus Manatee is a very odd and informal artistic endeavor for me, but it is also a welcome change of pace.


Me: What inspires your weekly comic?
Rachel: Each week, when pressed to come up with Monday’s comic idea, I am inspired by my interests in psychology, physics, art and biology, or some strange, random thing that a friend of mine does or reminds me of.  My friends’ personalities inevitably find their way into my weekly manatee world.


Me: Is there anything else you want to say?
Rachel: I think it’s important for people to know that I began Man versus Manatee after being inspired by only one encounter with the manatee, and that I continue to make the comic because the positive, humanlike attitude of the creature has the power to make people happier.  When I share my comic, I’m not sharing my art—I’m sharing the manatee.


P.S. The featured image (the one above the post) is Rachel’s first-ever Man vs Manatee comic!

Sea World

You read that right. We went to Sea World. And it was cool. Let’s start with shows. The first show we saw was an amazing series of dolphin tricks. They jumped, spun, and ran backward in the water. They flopped onto the the stage and then pushed themselves back into the water. People even rode on two dolphins like a jet ski. It was incredible! Then we saw the Shamu show, where the awesome killer wales jumped and turned and copied whatever their trainers did. It was so indescribably amazing that… um… I’m having a hard time describing it.


In the evening we saw the ice skating show, where people sang, somebody twisted herself up in weird ways that made everyone gasp and try to figure out what she was doing, and, of course, people doing amazing ice skating gymnastics. It was like the Rockettes on ice.  Wow.



Now for hands-on experiences. The one roller coaster we did left me carsick for hours. It was called the Manta. I’ll give you an idea of what it feels like. You are lying on your stomach rushing forward face-first. On the first down hill you scream so hard you’re sure your head is going to fall off. After a while you start to get used to it, but you’re still pretty sure you’re going to die. And then you suddenly are flung on your back and can’t breathe. That was the only time I wasn’t screaming. I was panting and nearly crying when we got off. I’m not usually the kind of person who likes that, and I still don’t know if I liked it. What a coaster! :0
Something that I do know I liked was feeding dolphins. It was magical. They were so friendly. You got a little container of fish, and then the dolphins would come up to you and open their mouths. When one did, you could reach your hand underneath its chin and pet it, and then you would drop the fish down into its mouth. It was just amazing, and the dolphins were so sweet.


There was also a simulator that we did that simulates that you’re a turtle and you narrowly escape being attacked my a shark. You’re in a room projecting the scene on the walls and rounded ceiling, and although the floor is flat the whole time I could swear it tilted. I almost fell over a couple times.

I liked waiting in line for that one, too, because there was a pool with manatees in it, and as I’ve proven here, I love them.

And we saw penguins.

I'm actually cold. And that's actually real snow.
I’m actually cold. And that’s actually real snow.

So, yeah. Seaworld was awesome. My rating would be 4 of 5 stars. The only reason I wouldn’t give it five stars is because they charge extra for dolphin feeding and because they don’t have any rides that aren’t really extreme.