January in Review

I know, it’s 11 days into February and I’m just now reviewing January. Gotta problem with it? SEE YOU IN COURT.*

With the absolute storm of bullshit surrounding U.S. politics, my January has been focused on two things: pointing out the corruption of the United States government, and de-stressing from pointing out the corruption of the United States government. Let’s focus on what helped me do the latter!

Books

I read 3 books in January, and I’m on track for my 50 book challenge so far, as well as my “No White Guys 2017” challenge.

  1. Pluto 001 by Naoki Urasawa – a graphic novel about robots and AI that I read to start my year’s reading off gently. Post-election I was not feeling like doing much of anything but screaming, so jumping directly into a big novel wasn’t going to do it for me. I actually read the 3rd book in this series last year before realizing it was a series, and I’ll probably be reading the rest in the future because it’s just SO GOOD. The art in it is particularly wonderful, it’s all framed really well, like a storyboard for a gorgeously-directed movie. Author info: Male, Japan
  2. The Birds by Daphne du Maurier – again, couldn’t force myself to pick up anything too daunting. This was an audiobook production with a full cast that I checked out from the library’s online catalog, and it was pretty good. I’ve seen the Hitchcock movie, so nothing was too big of a shock, though this book does a much better job of setting the slowly-moving, ominous tone that makes the birds seem otherworldly and eerie, as if the reader is only getting half the story, whereas the movie feels more like a traditional horror. Author info: Female, UK.
  3. The 14th Dalai Lama by Tetsu Saiwai – I bought this in Seoul about 7 months ago, and it’s been on the very top of my to-read pile since then. I knew absolutely nothing about the Dalai Lama before reading this, and I think that’s the way I’d recommend going into it, as the story leads you through his life from the time he was discovered as the 14th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, to the present, where he is still in exile fighting for the freedom of Tibet. It’s a fantastic short dive into his life and the history of Tibet, and the art is sooooooo lovely and clean. Definitely recommend.

Movies

My goal to watch 50 movies is going even better than my book goal,

  1. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  2. The Shining
  3. Amadeus
  4. 13th
  5. Being John Malkovich
  6. Zoolander No. 2
  7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  8. Sing Street

I think I’ve talked about some or all of these before on the blog, so I’m not going to review them all, but The Shining and Amadeus have quickly made it into my very favorite movies of all time (the January 2017 watching of Amadeus is the third since early December.)

Other Favorites

  1. Steven Universe – I finished watching the first two seasons of this show FINALLY. Just like Over the Garden Wall, I found myself slogging through the first few episodes, not really connecting to the character or voice. But sometime in the middle of the first season, I realized that I was remembering all of the character’s names and personalities and getting involved in backstory, and it all kind of unraveled from there. This show basically is my new My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, which I marathoned a few years ago, and which basically acted as TV Xanax for me.
  2. Youtube Art Videos – I think I’ll do an entire post about my favorite youtubers, but I’ve been absolutely obsessed with watching artists on youtube lately. It’s so calming and inspiring to just relax and watch someone paint while you’re painting. Some favorites are here, here, and here.
  3. Speaking of painting, arts and crafts! – I have always been a crafter, but recently I’ve really been pushing myself to produce creative products on a regular basis! I’ve been trying out traditional painting, polymer clay and papiermâche sculpting, some wood working (building shelves and things), cardboard crafts, and other random stuff. As I said in a previous post, staying extremely busy helps me to control this creeping horrible anxiety that’s been plaguing me recently. 🙂 Plus my house gets more and more decorated. Win double win.
  4. Okra. Weird favorite, but this month I decided to go meat-free! I’ve been considering it for a while, and then I had a few different long talks with a few different friends and realized that I just want to do it. I’m not planning on becoming a vegetarian or vegan spokesperson, as I think there are a LOT of factors that go into someone’s dietary decisions and it’s not my job to tell you what to eat, but I felt like I needed to regain some control over my impact on the environment and on my own body. This is a long paragraph that’s basically saying: don’t come for me with ur anti-veg vibes because i don’t give a shiiiiit. But yeah, I’ve been eating SO MUCH OKRA recently and it’s been great.

That’s a wrap! Up. Next time I’ll try to make it before halfway through the next month but if you’re coming here for consistency you’ve only screwed yourself.

W

*Real talk for a second to Americans reading my blog who would prefer me to be less political: If Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or any other real political figure had tweeted “See you in court” after going to court and losing, they would be laughed out of office. If you treat Tr*mp as “not that big of a deal” or “just another politician” or anything other than a giant anti-American stain on an already-foul reputation, you are showing a deeply-rooted ignorance of the American government and the idea of democracy in general.

If you are not speaking out against evil, you are siding with evil. If you stand by as the government destroys the rights of its people, bans government offices from spreading facts, restricts its judiciary branch, and disrespects the power of the country, you are just as at fault as those actually signing the laws. When your taxes raise, or your school systems crumble, or your roads go unmanaged, or your libraries close, or your national parks become oil fields, realize that you had a chance to stand up for basic human decency, and instead you decided to be *uncontroversial*. I pity you, but I will never forgive you.

Favorite Videos of the week

I’m up at a god-forsaken hour of the morning to teach English classes to students in China (I’m a regular diplomatic hero cough I’m avoiding getting a real job), so I figured I’d put out a little bloggity blog. I know the last few posts have been pretty heavy, and that trend will probably last because LIFE IS HEAVY or whatever, but this post is not heavy. This post is my brother.

This is why I don’t write blogs before 9am. Anyways, here’s some of my favorite videos of the week!

This lovely cover by Jon and Dodie:

 

 

This very informative and well-researched video on why the U.S. government’s de-funding of certain programs is a move that makes zero financial or common sense, much like everything else happening in U.S. government these days (with EVIDENCE and SOURCES because FACTS are REAL THINGS even if my grandmother and the POTUS don’t think so.)

 

 

This absolutely bonkers build of the Overlook Hotel Maze model from The Shining, built by ex-Mythbuster Adam Savage. I saw The Shining for the first time in January, and since then I’ve been obsessed with all things visually and existentially related. I know, I know, I’m late to The Shining party. But what can I say? I’m a lot like Jack. In that the party don’t start until I either completely imagine it or call forth the ghosts of hotels past to throw it for me. (Check out the entire Tested channel, it’s a great place for maker inspiration!)

 

 

And, as usual, I’ve been watching my fair share of arts and crafts videos. I really love watching speed painting and “watch me work”-style videos, because they allow me to trick myself into thinking that because the person on screen is being productive, it means that I too am being productive. One of my favorite crafters to watch is Jamie Jo aka BananaJamana, who does a lot of Disney/kawaii type stuff. It’s funny, because her style (super cute/Disney kitsch) is not exactly something I’m *that* into, but she is so absurdly talented (look at her realism paintings,they’re absolutely ridiculous) that I find myself drawn to her despite differences in aesthetics. Also, weird note but, as someone whose voice slips into a higher register when I’m tired or lazy, I find her quiet, high-pitched voice incredibly soothing. Double also, I love that she works in a ton of different mediums, because it means that on top of really wonderful paintings, she also does things like making a giant s’more. For reasons.

 

I’ve got a lot of favorite artist youtubers, so I think I’ll make this Favorite Videos a weekly series! (I say, knowing for a fact that when I say something is going to be a series, that is the surest way to ensure it is never mentioned again on this blog.)

W

I am from Alabama. I went to public school in Alabama. My mom works for public school in Alabama. I pay tax to Alabama. My license is from Alabama. I vote in Alabama. Jeff Sessions does not represent me.

This is my favorite song of today, and also the saddest song I know.

My year living in Korea felt a lot like living in a with my  head in a bubble. Like a bubblehead charm of English. Like a helmet to reassure my brain that it was still functioning, despite not comprehending any of the information flooding it.

There were people– many people– around me that spoke English. But they were usually grouped together at destination points, like the glowing beacons of understanding at the end of a long trudge through… wait what am I saying? I was thinking of a video game character that had a glowing light around them because you could talk to them, unlike the other NPCs or something, I don’t know, we’ll unpack that later.

What I mean is at times I felt completely alone. (Don’t awww.) It was refreshing in a way I didn’t realize I was craving. I could stand on the roof of my apartment building at 3 in the morning and know that nobody on Earth could say with 100% certainty where I was at that moment, save myself.

Of course, capital ‘L’ Loneliness is inevitable eventually, wherever you are. But honestly, after the first two weeks of satiny panic (culture shock), the loneliness morphed into something insulating, even comforting. Like a… Thundershirt? What I’m saying is… I was a puppy and it was storming outside, and the fact that I didn’t really have to talk to that many people while coping with the rising panic was my Thundershirt.

Yes. That’s good. That’s quality writing. People come to this blog for a reason.

Anyway, regular life is an absolute barrage of information, usually information that you take in unconsciously. It wasn’t until I moved to Korea with zero knowledge of the language that it really struck me how much of that constant information flow is language-based. Do you want to do an experiment?

Ok.

Look up from your computer for a second. No, I mean after you read the rest of these instructions, come on. Are there books around you?Can you read the titles at a glance? Do you have any

Or maybe you’re outside. Are there street signs around? What about shopfronts? Where would be the closest place to get food? Do you know because someone told you and pointed it out, or because you read the sign? Was it almost like your brain read it before you even told it to? Do any of the words or book titles or signs or roads mean anything to you? Maybe you live on a street with the name of a famous city, and you know the city because you learned about it at school, and you’ve watched Anthony Bourdain tour around eating its most photogenic food, and once you wrote a paper on the mayor who helped found a famous hat shop. When you read that word, you are slightly more in touch with the outside world than you were the moment before, because of these layers of familiarity.

However, when you are walking down the street or sitting in a coffee shop or combing through racks of clothing in a place with an unfamiliar language, none of these layers of familiarity exist. I want to say “your brain reaches out for any source of familiarity, trying to add context to the information it is drowning in,” but I don’t know anything about what your brain does, so samesies, but mine.

Getting on a bus or a subway or walking down the street having crowds of voices around me without the, allowed my thoughts a lot of time to parade around in my head uninterrupted, and allowing me a lot of time to sit quietly and listen to them.

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I started working on a tiny film I want to make about a girl named Annie or possibly Winnie or possibly something else being sent to work the solitary, mind-numbing, and minimum-wage job of tending to a one-man satellite in the upper middle regions of Earth’s orbit. The story quickly became more complicated than that, but I’m sure I’ll get to that later.

There was something about the feeling of being so far away, combined with being able to go for entire days without speaking to someone, without being able to speak to another person, that leant itself (rather bluntly) to writing a character that spends the story in a state of isolation. Plus, you know, space is dope. It started me thinking about this idea of having a familiar concept, being presented in an unfamiliar (at least to me) way. My character, Annie (or Winnie or WhateveR), does some fairly outrageous things, but my idea for the visuals of the film is to go overly-cliche, insipid even, in the way the scenes are shot. In the coloring, in the scene layouts, in the <insert other professional-sounding film things here>, I want to highlight the major differences between the real world and Annie’s perception bubble.

Does this sound like Underwater Matrix to anyone else? Ok, new plan. Scrap everything I just said, I’m going to start writing Underwater Matrix 2. (Because obviously as soon as I publish this someone’s going to steal the Underwater Matrix idea, and being a slow writer I will be finishing just in time to cash in on that sweet sequel cash.)

Oh right, right. This is a blog post not just a thought dump. Hmmm. Right. Oh! The Commander Thinks Aloud by The Long Winters. AKA the reason I started writing this blog post. I first heard this song on one of my long, long subway rides, autoplaying podcasts and staring at the crazy amount of people packed into the streets of Seoul.

In the podcast interview which you should definitely listen to, the songwriter John Roderick, of the Long Winters, explains that he wrote The Commander Thinks Aloud about the moment on February 1st, 2003 when the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart upon reentering the atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. The way Roderick tries to think through this horrific tragedy from the mind of the Commander of a doomed crew, that moment when you know for a fact that all is lost and yet you are still alive for a little while longer… It hurts. When you listen to him, and when you listen to the song again. It makes it personal.

This is a big part of the feeling I want to explore with Annie.

Ok, this has gone on long enough, see you next time.

W

 

So I had a blog post written up for today

It was (is) long and rambly, talking about a new projects I’m working on and some other random thought dump-type stuff. I’ve rescheduled it for Monday, so keep an eye out if you want.

Today, though, I woke up to this weight sitting on my chest, like I’d fallen asleep holding a child, a pressure like fingers wrapping around my throat, not choking, but reminding me of the air going in and out in a way that is usually unnoticeable. I didn’t have a child on my chest (thank god, this would be a very very different blog post. Completely unrelated note: Has anyone every liveblogged a kidnapping? If not, I CALLED IT for 2017. You better remember you heard it here first.)

I have depression, but I haven’t actually reached its depths in a while, maybe a year or even more. Sure, I get sad, but it’s not the overwhelming emptiness that comes with a real Down Day. The kind where I can’t even remember happiness, where I’ve sunk to the bottom of a deep, narrow well and neither the idea of drowning nor the idea of looking up can move me. It’s been a while since a real Down Day. Recently when I get sad it’s just Normal Sad, and that’s good. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

But yeah. Usually, my depression… manifests? performs? as, well, depression. But recently, it’s been a lot less of that, and a lot more of an intense, constant, corrosive anxiety. If you’re wondering “about what” then I envy your gorgeous world under that rock. Stay there.

While, honestly, I’m THRILLED that it seems like the Down Days are becoming less frequent and I would take this anxiety over those any day of any week, I am also feeling a little… Well… Anxious. (About being anxious. I’m great at parties.) The thing is, I am not completely sure how to handle this new development. My coping mechanisms for depression all center around feeling less sad, but although I am sad for The World at large and also My World at tiny, the more overwhelming feeling is this constant screaming, this clawing at my belly that makes regular thought impossible, that makes my actual physical heart beat physically faster, that makes me wake up feeling like I’m being slowly smothered.

I… think the way to calm this rush is to concentrate very hard on something else, and also to relax  and breathe and hear yourself talk. I say I think, because again: this shit is new to me, and although I have been driving this brain around for 26 years now, I still stumble upon new tricks all the time. Insert a driving metaphor here, I can’t think of one, but I’m sure you’ll think of a good one.

I’ve been working on a really tiny scale lately with polymer clay and paintings and papier mâché, and the level of attention needed to work with such fine details has been incredible for relaxing me into the zone or flow or zen or whatever is the cool word for “escaping a state of eternal panic.”

Ambient/dreamy songs + sculpting tiny tiny stalagmites = anxiety cure? You heard it here first! If that comes up in Psychology Today in a month and I’m not quoted I’m coming after you, punk.

Just kidding. Art therapy is a real thing already, and it’s exactly what I clumsily stumbled into while trying to self-regulate. Relax! Here’s an aggressively calming song:

 

I’ve been Really Really enjoying watching artists who sink into their art with the express purpose of exploring their own mind, rather than trying to entertain other’s. I recently found JooYoung Choi, and GUYS. Her process, the way she follows her own imagination wherever it wants to go, regardless of medium or audience, is EXACTLY what I wish from my own art. I encourage you to watch this, then go look through her entire portfolio, it’s wonderful. She began creating to promote self love, and pushed herself to create at the frequency of a professional artist.

“When you see other people at a certain momentum, you start to vibrate that way. I made a schedule for myself. I’d wake up at 7, get on the bus, take the train and get to Lawndale [her studio] at 9:30 or 10. For the first month, I was very rigid about that. I made a syllabus for myself. I made a list of everything I was insecure about as an artist… and said I was going to learn how to do it.” –JooYoung Choi

I think I’m going to do that, too. Make a syllabus. Make a schedule. Push myself to concentrate on making things so that I don’t break apart.

 

I’m not really sure why I’m writing all of this except… I just feel like maybe you want to read it and see someone else is working through it too. Or else you will read it and realize this is an experience you’ve never had before, and feel grateful that it’s happening to me and not you. Either are good. I hope you feel better now. I hope I feel better now too.

W

 

Hermit Kingdom

So… a few years ago when I started getting really interested in North Korea and how it became North Korea, I also started a little pet project: writing a sci-fi graphic novel set in the unspecified near future that paralleled life in the hermit kingdom to life in the increasingly corrupt and dangerous United States.

I would like to now take the time to apologize to the universe and say I WAS NOT MAKING A WISH, but if there was some confusion, I take responsibility and would now like to use my other two wishes to reverse this horror I have brought upon the world.

In light of these troubling events, I’m going to start working on my graphic novel Hermit Kingdom again, and generally keeping track of the development of fascism in America. If you’d like to follow along, click on over to this link! 

If you’d like to troll me about some fat rapist piss-baby that YOU think should be president, click on over to this link! 

W

A (Thurs)Day in the Life

6:00: First alarm goes off. Wish for death. Repeatedly. Snapchat a complaint so the universe knows I am displeased. Get a response immediately, of course someone else is also having to work this early in the morning. We are adults now. Feel sort of humbled, but mostly still grumpy.

6:15 Hear Walker wake up. Ok, I get it universe, everyone has a day job, you can stop being so smug now.

6:30 Sulkily put on the only orange shirt that I own, slide into my mermaid tail blanket and start my first class. Fake smile eventually turns into real smile because ok, I’m sorry, but these are the cutest children on Earth.

6:40 Every time I give Tom a star he smiles really huge and then immediately tries to hide it like he doesn’t care. I cannot stop smiling, shut up.

8:30 Finish with my classes for the day and immediately take Ned’s needy ass for a walk.

8:35 Did I say walk? I meant all-out sprint.

8:40 Can’t breathe

8:50 Eating rice and gravy for breakfast and planning my day out so I don’t end up passed out on the couch at noon taking a siesta

9:00 Starting my Etsy work for the day! For the next hour I’ll be making pizzas for my Keep It Supreme necklaces. 😀

10:30 Soooooo it took almost an hour just to roll the clay for the dough and tint it to the right color. This is why you don’t take two weeks between crafting projects, all your materials decide to give up. I’m changing jobs and working on my STEAMTruck lesson plan now.

11:00 jk lol I’m tumbling

11:45 Ok, now for real I’m going to work on this lesson plan despite it being boring and despite how many Youtube tabs I have right now begging to be watched

12:30 Actually getting some stuff done! I forgot how nitpicky lesson plans are. Lunchtime!

1:30 Get back to work. Quickly realize I’m not doing anything productive on my lesson plan, and grumpily make polymer clay pizzas for the rest of the day.

4:30 Realize I’ve fucked up about half the pizzas I made. Want to cry.

4:35 Realize that tomorrow is the inauguration of the worst sack of cheetos that ever masqueraded as a human. Actually cry.

4:45 Realize this is probably not the best day to record in a blog post. Stop making notes about my activities and surrender myself to the void.

 

I’ll try harder next time.

The first week of the year of Fuck It 1/52

So. Hey, this is me breaking one of my new year’s resolution already, that way I begin the year in the same way I will continue it: always playing catchup. This the year of Fuck It- the world is probably ending soon, we should probably all just throw ourselves onto whatever train we’re most interested in and hold on until our fingers break or they open the doors and chuck us out.

So here are my New Year’s Resolutions. Or Goals.

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My nails are bitten to nothing, I’ve read 0 books, and I missed the first week of vlog/blogging, but I wrote a new short script (featuring a dancing mop!) and watched a few movies:

  1. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  2. The Shining
  3. Amadeus
  4. The 13th

This is the third time I’ve watched Amadeus since I first saw it in December. I need to stop watching it, but it truly is the best movie I’ve seen in SO FUCKING LONG. Every time I watch it I fall more in love. It’s so long, but every minute keeps my attention. It’s just. It’s made for me.

The Shining is also beautiful, but I knew it was going to be because I watched the documentary about it (Room… insert the famous room number here. 204?)

The 13th was incredible, though I think I should watch it again because I was drinking a Walker-made drink and therefore don’t think I really took it in at the level it deserves.

These weekly blogs are probably all going to be like this- disjointed, a little hard to read, and mostly just for me.

W

All the Books I’ve Read in Korea (16-30)

Here’s part two (Books 16-30) of “All the Books I’ve Read in Korea,” a thrilling series that only one person in the entire world cares about (me.) Enjoy!

16. The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket. I suddenly got the urge to read the first Series of Unfortunate Events book, because despite knowing the stories well I don’t remember ever reading them as a child. Also because I realized at this point that I was behind on my book count for my reading challenge, and children’s books are always the way to go for quick catchups. I think I read this in one sitting, and it was the same sort of feeling I got from not reading it in childhood: the idea is totally for me, but the book itself isn’t.

17. Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay. I listened to this while getting my classroom ready before school started, I think? I have memories of climbing onto the cabinets to take some truly horrendous paper vines down off the bulletin board at the same time as Gay is talking about Green Girl and the need for truly feminist media. It was empowering, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. Mostly, I think, because it was too long in parts.

18. Why Not Me – Mindy Kaling. Oh. This book. This book may have very well saved my life. Well, or my sanity. Definitely one of those, maybe both. So let me tell you a story. This is a story about a girl who, despite being naturally fairly durable with quick reflexes, does not like to exercise. Or go outside. Or, you know, be active in general. This girl thought it would be fun to go on a light hiking trip to one of the most beautiful places in Facebook photos, Seoraksan, a very tall mountain in Korea. This girl thought that, for the trip to be open to the public and publicized as a casual hike with some options for more experienced hikers, the way would be, if a bit sweaty, still doable. This girl then went hiking with a group of people who were obviously masochistic psychopaths parading as casual hikers, including her trip-buddy, a military trained outdoors hiker from Finland who decided to do the 12-hour hike up to the very highest peak of the mountain “just because.” That girl, if you didn’t already know, was a pitiable Past Weatherly, who had no idea that Korea is the Land of the Morning Calm, the Country of Kimchi, and the Nation of the Worst Mountains in the History of Mountains Seriously Who the Fuck Decided to Make This Torture a Pastime?

Basically, I separated myself from the group of crazies, turned on my Mindy Kaling audiobook, and took frequent stone naps, starting at 3am and progressing to 4pm. It was a learning experience wherein the thing I learned was that I refuse to ever experience that again.

The book was hilarious, though.

18. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell. I’m a big fan of Rowell’s other work (see Fangirl, my comfort read to end all comfort reads), but this one was just ok. It felt like a novelty. I mean, it was sort of a novelty, but the best novelties feel important, at least in the moment. I guess that made it a novel novelty. heh.

19. Devil in the White City – Erik Larson. Because nothing says “relax into a cozy chilly November” than reading about serial killers. What, that doesn’t work for you? huh.

20. Tampa – Alissa Nutting. To be perfectly honest, reading about a teacher who sleeps with her young students while being a teacher constantly surrounded by young students was one of the most disturbing reading experiences of my life. This book was super difficult to read (I think it took me four months in total, actually), and the comparisons to Lolita stop at the pedophilia– the writing isn’t anything gorgeous. It’s straightforward, though, and it definitely does its job in crafting a truly horrifying villain in the main character. So… good job? I guess? *Rushes to take 1,000 showers*

21. Julie & Julia – Julie Powell. This is another comfort read for me, and I read it more as a motivational book than a memoir. The idea of doing something every single day for a year and documenting it is something I’m SUPER INTO, though of course you’d never know it by my complete lack of blog… Whenever I read this book, I also get the completely unfounded notion that I might be a culinary genius. This high lasts for about as long as it takes me to fail at baking a potato, or burn a grilled cheese that I have put expensive cheese on, for the flavor palate. 

22. Blue is the Warmest Color – Julie Maroh. This broke my heart into a thousand pieces. I read this as a substitute for watching the movie, which I am self aware enough to realize will deliver an emotional blow from which I will never recover.

23. Flora and the Flamingo – Molly Idle. Look, I was behind on my book count so I read a children’s book alright? Sue me.

24. Under the Banner of Heaven Jon Krakauer. Being completely non-religious myself, I find great joy in learning about religious practices leading to a violent, crazed end. Plus, you know, Mormons. I can’t get enough of Mormons.

25. One More Thing – BJ Novak. This was a reread, and is one of my favorite short story collections of all time. My dad hates it because when we listened to the audiobook in the car, the first two minutes had the word ‘fuck’ maybe 16 times. It’s an acquired taste, I guess.

26. Pixies – Sean Patrick O’Reilly. Pass.

27. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak. So I read several children’s books. SUE ME AGAIN, THEN. MY LAWYER’S NUMBER CAN BE FOUND ON A BILLBOARD IN LOWER ALABAMA.

28. Powerpuff Girls, Various– Troy Little. I mean. It’s the Powerpuff Girls. (Whenever a series of comics comes up, I’m just going to count them as one, because I probably have no idea which individual book is which anyways, and you probably don’t care. It’s a win-win, if by “win” I meant “arbitrary decision.”

29. Adventure Time, Various. I mean. It’s Adventure Time. (Actually, no, these weren’t my favorite, I read them to catch on my lagging book count, and because they was free on Scribd. I really like the TV series, but I find the comics to be a little dull, except for the ones about Marceline x PB, and the ones about Fionna and Cake.)

30. Conversation #1 – James Kochalka. This is a conversation about philosophy and what art means and other deep stuff, that takes place between two artists in the medium of art. It’s pretty neat.

 

The next 15 contain a lot of chick books and a lot of comic books. What joy.

W

 

All the Books I’ve Read in Korea (1-15)

One of my habits when I start a new physical book is to make a note in the front of when I start reading it and where I am at that moment. This past year I’ve had the (honestly too intense) pleasure of being able to write “Started in Korea” on a lot of inside covers, hopefully to be found sometime in the future, when my future self will be amazed that that object was once in a foreign country, and the body holding it was there with it.

Then again, maybe I’ll continue my well-established habit, and never ever pick up any of these books again. *Shrug* whatevskies. Here are the books I read in Korea (part 1.)

2015:

  1. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair – Nina Sankovitch. This one, to be fair was started in the US and finished, I think, either at the airport or on the plane. Still, I’ll count it for nostalgia’s sake.)
  2. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro. I read this book in the week when I had no wifi in my house, and was pretty sure I’d just made the biggest mistake of my life moving to a random country on the opposite side of the globe. I felt completely cut off from everyone I knew, from everyone I didn’t know, from life in general. I cried a lot. I loved this book.
  3. The Bees – Laline Paull. I have distinct memories of listening to this audiobook in the very, very long taxi ride from my first hotel to my school (before every seeing my apartment.) I remember feeling equal parts incredibly calm (oh look, a bridge over a body of water! Where I’m from, there’s also a bridge over a body of water! I’m practically in Alabama!) and incredibly panicky (why did my recruiter not pick me up? Why am I going to the school already? Am I going to have to teach? If I run away now and somehow hitch a ride back to America would it be possible to fake being in Korea for a year to hide my shame?) It probably goes without saying, but I probably would have enjoyed this book if I could have found any room in my head at all to give an iota of a shit about bees.
  4. Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan. See The Bees-era freak out. I honestly don’t even remember reading this book.
  5. You’re Never Weird on the Internet – Felicia Day. This is the book that both brought me down from a panic attack (s. Multiple. Maybe a week’s worth…) and also motivated me to get out of my house to find the elusive “PC Bang” down the street. I would have walked for an entire day listening to this audiobook, for five minutes of uninterrupted wifi. Thankfully, it’s about a mile away, and the man took pity on me/possibly had never seen a white girl in his entire life, and gave me wifi for free. Ahh, Felicia Day. This book is why I love you so so much.
  6. Forever – Judy Blume. This was when I started getting my bearings just a *bit* more (though possibly still in the WifiLess Week Hellscape of 2015, hard to say), and I thought I should probably read some Judy Blume, because I’d somehow managed to go through prepubescence as a girl and not done so. This was alright. I think I missed the right age for Judy Blume. By a decade and a half.
  7. Fangirl – Rainbow RowellThis was pure comfort reading, and I loved it. I read this anytime my brain needs a break, it works similarly to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, minus having to encounter all of those characters who are now dead.
  8. Mishka and the Sea Devil – Xenia Pamfil. Pass.
  9. The Woods Volume 1, The Arrow – James Tynion IVPass.
  10. All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven. Literally one of the top 5 worst books I’ve ever read, including every math textbook since 9th grade.
  11. Bird by BirdAnne Lamott. I liked a lot of this, especially some of the things she had to say about writing. I don’t like that she has white lady dreadlocks. That throws me off a lot.
  12. Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins. Another comfort read. You can see I’m trying to adjust myself to Korea by reading things that make me feel happy, rather than things that challenge me in any way. I’m pretty proud of myself for going this route of self-comfort, rather than screaming in emotional agony in public or jumping in front of public transport. You read all the YA romance you want, Past Weatherly, you’re doing fine.
  13. The Hours – Michael Cunningham. I suddenly became self-aware enough to realize all I was reading was comfort books and picked this up at What the Book, the English language bookstore in Seoul. I started reading it while eating by myself at Vatos Tacos in Itaewon, where I ended up talking to a girl from -I think- Australia who’d gone to the DMZ the day before, and was traveling around Asia by herself for a while before going back down under. Suddenly had the realization that I am better at socializing with people than I was when I left for Korea. Must be all of the forced talking I have to do at my job. Don’t remember much about this book, except that the language was so beautiful that I underlined everything, and the story so unmemorable that I can only think of typing “someone had AIDS and someone was Virginia Woolf.” Riveting.
  14. Locke & Key series – Joe Hill. I think this might be the first time I realized how awesome Scribd was, and started using it regularly. I read this whole series over the course of maybe three weeks, and it was awesome. I finished the last one while at work and only just managed to refrain from crying like a baby.
  15. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – Caitlin Doughty. This sparked in me an insane interest in cremation and burial traditions that lasted about a week and, (I think?) lead me to one of my still-favorite Youtubers, Catguts. It also made me 100% convinced that being buried in a casket is the dumbest thing you can do while already dead.

So those are the first 15 books I read while in Korea, I’m going to keep wrapping up all of the books I’ve read here in these little blurbs because my blog my rules. This is a nice trip down memory lane (for me.) It totally makes up for being a shit blogger for an entire year, right? RIGHT?

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