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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
My goal to watch 50 movies is going even better than my book goal,
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Being John Malkovich
Zoolander No. 2
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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.
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.)
Yeah, I’m jumping on that bandwagon. What? I love musical wagons.
So I’ve read 115 books in 2015. I’m inordinately proud of this fact, especially because last year I read… what was it? 36? Yeah. Despite the fact that many books were comic book issues, and others were throwaway books I read for the mind candy (cough my first romance ever, cough), I did a damn good job reading consistently throughout the year.
This year started in Atlanta, living with my brother and working an office job. My first read of the year was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, which does not make it onto the list because it was a terrible pile of garbage (ok, it wasn’t that bad. But my hopes were high, guys. Really high.) My last read of the year (Again, SO FAR, and this will change tonight, I’m sure. I have several days off work, so I’m going to be powering through some stuff) is Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn, which was AMAZING and does feature on this list. (Edit: Already there’s a different last book of the year– Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. This post has been chilling in an open window on my laptop for a few days, and to avoid writing it I’ve been reading.) (Edit edit: I’m planning to read Saga Volume 2 tomorrow on my birthday to finish with a solid 115. So basically this entirely paragraph is a lie, just like the cake.)
I can’t wait to see next year’s list. I’m sure you’re feeling the same sort of backwards-nostalgia.
Weatherly, there’s already a word for that. It’s called anticipation.
Oh, right. Right, right. Thanks.
No problem. Here to help. There’s also a word(s) for having dialogues with yourself. It’s called cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
Right again, buckaroo. Thanks, brain-thesaurus!
Onto the list!
Ahh, no, another clarification. If I really loved a book, I put it on my favorites-of-2015 shelf on Goodreads (Check it out here, and follow me because ya girl is fire on Goodreads.) I’ve narrowed down that list to these absolute favorites. There are a few at the bottom that didn’t quite make the list, but I still wanted to mention because they were close to the top! There’s a word for this. It’s called cheating. Now REALLY. Onto the list!
I just read this today (or many years in the past, if you’re reading this in an archive of Earth publications after the heat death of our planet. Look at the pub date and figure it out, I don’t know your life.) I’ve been hearing about Saga ALL DAMN YEAR, and honestly I was a little hesitant to read it, because of the hype. So hesitant that as soon as I got an Amazon gift card from Christmas, I immediately downloaded it and finished the first volume within an hour of starting. I’m very stoic about these things.
The story’s about these two non-human characters on opposing sides of a war, one is a prisoner and one is his guard. And then they fall in illicit love, get illicit married, and have an illicit trans-species baby. And that’s the first page. The first volume is them running from the armies of both sides, trying to escape the planet and go into hiding/out on the run in the galaxy. It’s incredible. If I were going to do one of those “it’s blah blah meets blah blah” descriptions, I’d say it’s West Side Story meets Firefly meets Why are you reading this, I just said that an alien prisoner and an alien guard fall in love, have a trans-species alien baby, and go on the run into space what more do you need, here? Honestly. Get some perspective.
Of all of the the memoirs I read this year, (a weirdly large amount for me), this was hands-down my favorite. I was a casual fan of Felicia Day before reading. I loved The Guild, which she wrote/produced/starred in, and of course I’d seen Dr. Horrible. But I picked this up just on a whim, not because I was truly interested in her life. It was my first week in Korea, before I started school, and I was walking every day to the PC Bang to sit amongst League of Legends gaming prepubescents to soak up the free wifi and try to gain some sense of equilibrium in my completely new life. (This is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down… no? Another time? Ok.) This audiobook, narrated by the author, is all about her life as a homeschooled, roleplaying game-obsessed, social awkward, digital-friends-having nerd, and I LOVED IT. Day’s a perfect audiobook narrator for it, and her writing style is hilariously honest and self-deprecating without making the reader feel uncomfortable, like a best friend who’s a nerd but doesn’t feel the need to wear a sweater that says NERD on it, you know? (I have one of these sweaters. I didn’t buy it myself, but. Yeah. Felicia Day is much cooler than I am.) Truly, this book was a huge part of my adjusting to Korea, and I will forever appreciate it.
Also, the part where she meets up with her “online crush” she met through an RPG forum and he turned out to be just as un-dreamboaty as any logical human would expect? Hysterical.
I don’t have a lot to say about this, because all my feelings are expressed in a sort of chaotic, adoring screaming inside my head. If you like the show, you’ll love the comic books. They’re perfect. If you don’t watch the the show, you’re welcome.
Ok. You know The Iliad? (Yeah, I know, you skipped reading it, it’s fine, everyone knows.) Ok, so this is The Iliad… fan fiction. Gay Iliad fan fiction. Yeah, I know, that would have 100% sold me too, even if it was terrible. But here’s the thing: It’s NOT terrible. It’s INCREDIBLE. Madeline Miller is a Greek and Latin teacher who spent ten years researching and writing this book, and her careful attention to detail and knowledge of the subject absolutely shows. The story follows the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles, which had an immense influence on the Trojan War. The nature of the relationship, whether romantic or platonic, has been a subject of scholarly debate for a long, long time. (Plato was on the Lovers team, and I like my odds siding with that guy.) In Miller’s book, Patroclus and Achilles fall in love and are deeply connected, and she explores how this affects both characters as they continue through the events before and during the Trojan War. This book is so gorgeously written, her prose reads like long form poetry, which is a perfect complement to The Iliad. And the characters. My god, the characters. *HEARTEYES FOREVER* It won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2012 (now called the Bailey’s Women Prize for Fiction) and it is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read.
There’s no excuse not to know about Lumberjanes. Especially because if you’re located on the planet Earth, you probably heard my undignified squealing when I first read it (hello to those excluded, thanks for checking out this blog, if you’re an alien we should be friends, if you’re an astronaut I do not come in peace.) This comic is about a butt-kicking awesome group of girl friends who go to a summer camp to become way-more-badass versions-of-Girl-Scouts, called Lumberjanes. Every character has their own strengths and weaknesses, storylines, and awesome one-liners. It crushes the Bechdel, all while promoting friendships between girls, being confident, and non-cliche girl power. Oh, and there are magical creatures that they happen to fight. Basically, it’s the comic book everyone needs to read.
So this book blew my away when I first read it, I could not stop talking about it. (Basically nobody I recommended it to read it… I obviously need to improve my recommendation skills, or get more receptive friends.) However, it was a really early in the year when I read it, and I’m having trouble forming any sort of emotions around it now. So here’s my Goodreads review, written right after finishing:
I am absolutely crazy about this book. It had everything I wanted: deep, interesting, hyper-real characters, apocalyptic nightmare scenarios, cult-based horror, graphic novel writing, flashbacks that were even more absorbing than the main plot… I just finished this book and I’m having a hard time forming full thoughts about it… and I don’t want to be too hasty… but I think it’s one of my favorite books of this year. Maybe even my MOST favorite. I know. Hold your gasps until the end, please. Probably 3/4 through the book I realized that the Miranda and Station Eleven parts were my favorite parts, along with flashbacks to Arthur’s life through other people, Clark especially. See? I know everyone’s names. It’s a book of such insane scope and yet I, worst name rememberer of all time, remembers almost every character’s name. That’s how you know I was paying attention. I know I said this about the book I read before this in my 52 Books Challenge (Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest, oh my god read that please for god’s sake), but oh my god read this please for god’s sake.
I want to say that this was a strange pick for me, because I’m not a runner (no matter how I try, I cannot seem to find that “runner’s high” people go on about. Maybe it’s because the only emotion I feel when running is an intense need to lay down in the road and die?) But it wasn’t really that strange, because it’s not really about running. I really enjoy hearing people talk about routines and meditative tasks, especially in books. My de-stress hobby is reading, so combining someone else’s de-stress hobby with my de-stress hobby is like a de-stress ice cream sundae from yoga land (v good). Murakami draws parallels between running and writing, and the idea of living a healthy lifestyle so he can continue to write for the rest of his life. He’s such a careful, thoughtful writer, and hearing him talk about his life and his work was just really, really nice. I may reread this one, actually. But first, Ihink I’m ready for some more Murakami in the new year!
I didn’t do this on purpose, but I’m pretty sure I’ve saved the very best for last. This is a modern retelling/interpretation of the myth of Tiresias through rhythmic, spoken word-style poetry. It explores topics ranging from gender roles, modern social structures, isolation, and dealing with adversity when it seems there’s nothing to live for. This book ripped my guts out and stomped all over them, and I loved every single word. I’ve been craving re-reading it since I read it the first time, and it will probably be an annual re-read for me. I’m excited to read Tempest’s other book Brand New Ancients in 2016. And if you’re interested, she also has a lot of spoken word on Youtube. I personally like reading it better, but the lyrics are just incredible.
Almost made the cut:
The Secret Place by Tana French
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
This year was a pretty great reading year for me! I couldn’t be more pleased to have reached my reading goals. Stay tuned for my 2016 Reading Goals! And as always, leave your backdoor unlocked. I’m hungry.
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.
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.
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.)
Ava’s Demon by Michelle Czajkowski
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.)
Lovedby Alexander Ocias
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.
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.)
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.
Ok, I’m actually kidding about the obsession part.
It’s just… one of my resolutions this year was to make a pie, as if I was taken over by the ambitious spirit of Martha Stewart, held together by the crippling self-doubt of, I dunno, Elmo.
He hid it, under all of that cheer. But you could see it.
What am I talking about? Ahh, yes. Pie, the best topic for an interesting blog post, to be sure. Anyways, I think pie is much cuter than cupcakes and sweeter than cookies. And the things you can find with pies on them are the most adorable things you can find.