My Favorite Videos of the Week #2

This perfect use of camera angles and french music:

 

 

This Neistat nugget:

 

I did not remember Dumbo being this much of a gem but holy hell the animation in this is incredible. :O

 

Every time I find this, I vow to leave it open constantly, and then it inevitably gets closed again and I find it again and the process repeats. This is one of the most relaxing things on the internet. I highly recommend it.

 

And finally this incredible *and relatable* article, not a video but definitely definitely worth the read, all about learning about mental disorders later in life and dealing with them yourself!

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

Favity Faves (December Favorites 2015)

So, here we are at the end of the year. How many favorites lists have I made? Oh, hundreds. How many have I published for other people to see?

I don’t know, because I have too many tabs open already to bother opening another to check my archive, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say… zero? Zero and a half? Somewhere around there.

Watched.

This cat marching band.

I don’t think I can accurately depict in text how much I like this, or how fast I made this December Favorites post specifically to be able to add this. That’s both a failure on my part as a writer and an indication of my sincere, obsessive, debilitating love.

 

 Jessica Jones 

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Yeah, I jumped on this wagon. (Who started this expression? Here, read all about it. I did, but warning– it wasn’t interesting enough to summarize. So. This has been a waste of time brought you by your two favorite W’s: Wikipedia and Wours truly.) I don’t have anything interesting to say about this show that hasn’t been said better already. She’s a badass superhero who doesn’t bother with spandex and is mean af, for a reason. The depiction of PTSD from domestic violence is EXCELLENT, the acting is superb (Krysten Ritter is a goddess divine, as usual. Yes, I’m talking about Don’t Trust the B— I haven’t seen Breaking Bad. I KNOW, OKAY, I KNOW DON’T EVEN SAY IT, I WILL WATCH IT ONE DAY. Whenever I feel like I have nothing else to live for and want to be depressed as hell and even more anti-meth.)

 

Read.

Ava’s Demon by Michelle Czajkowski 

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So I started getting into webcomics at the end of this month for really the first time. It was all because of this gem I found on Tumblr called Thermohalia — warning it’s excellent and also incomplete/abandoned. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Thermohalia, and I can’t wait for the artist’s next series, which is supposed to take some core ideas from that story and reworking them for a new series to be completed. Unfortunately, because I don’t have the author locked up in a cabin, or an axe with which to hobble her and force her to write faster, I have to wait.

In the meantime, I went searching for something to fill the gap left by Thermohalia. It’s strange, because I have tons of graphic novels and comics to read already, but webcomics are just enthralling me. My favorite so far is Ava’s Demon. I read the entire thing in a day, and I’m eagerly awaiting an update (every Monday and Thursday! Happy Birthday to me!) It’s about a girl named Ava who lives on a kids-only “education planet” owned and run by the galaxy-controlling corporation known as Titan. She is haunted by a demon who attached itself to her soul at birth, and is generally a holy pain in the ass. Especially because only Ava can see it. The story explodes into a million different arcs in the first few pages, and it’s INCREDIBLE. No spoilers, but some topics it touches: cults, religion, political upheaval and rebellion, magic powers… It’s basically like the author asked around “what is Weatherly really into?” and then spewed it all into this incredible comic, along with gorgeous GORGOUS color art. Just. Read. It. 

(Don’t take webcomics seriously? First of all, don’t be that guy. Second, you’re in good hands. Czajkowski has worked for Pixar and Dreamworks, and now works on Ava’s Demon full-time due to a crazy-successful Kickstarter.)

 

Played.

Loved by Alexander Ocias

loved

This is described as “a short story told through gaming.” You begin by being asked “Are you a woman or a man?” I picked woman, and was told “No, you’re a boy.” This sets the tone for the narrative style. Throughout the game the narrator gives you instructions on what to do, whether it’s simple game mechanics, or things that are slightly… more sinister. After a while, you start to realize that rather than the usual benign game instructions, this narrator is a character in itself, and not necessarily a benevolent one. The game explores the concept of control, and the differences between obeying rational rules based on logical thought and obeying without thought. It’s an incredible, chilling experience, and I really loved it.

Visually, it’s a minimalist, pixelated, side-scrolling platformer that starts in grey scale. When you disobey the narrator’s orders, the landscape begins to change into a riot of confusing, multicolored pixels that make navigation difficult, and it’s insanely gorgeous.

 

Misc.

Lush Salt and Peppermint Bark Scrub Bar. This smells absolutely incredible and makes my skin crazy soft. If I had thought ahead, I would have bought 20 of these, because they’re now out of season (damn you Lush making all of your incredible products Christmas specials! WHY.)

Lush R&B Hair Moisturizer. I really, really, REALLY need a haircut. You know what helps disguise that (sort of?) Having really soft, shiny hair. This stuff is amazing. 

My new planner. Have you been wondering why I’m posting so frequently? It’s because I’m finally, for maybe the first time since high school, using a planner. It’s possible that, just like high school, I’ll lose it after the first month and resort to writing my homework on scraps of paper I then use as bookmarks for Harry Potter, and only manage to turn things in on time because of my friends being more responsible than me. But hey, positivity and social media rewards are working in my favor this time! (Also working against the previous scenario: the fact that I have no friends who care about me writing this blog. Help me planner, you’re my only hope.)

W

p.s. I’m publishing this very quickly after my last post, because I want to get it out before my birthday tomorrow/ January 1st. It feels nice to be able to put an end cap on my year like this. Also because it’s my blog and I’ll do what I like.