August 2018 is the year I realize my own mortality. How quickly time moves. I know this because I feel this sense of urgency, that I must accomplish things now before I lose the time and opportunity to do so. Feeling this urgency also helped me realize that I can take small steps but maybe bigger steps towards my goals will be better. As is happening more often than not now, I am feeling anxious about not reaching my dreams. I always thought things would work out one way or the other but now I realize I must really work towards them and make my dreams into goals. Speaking of goals, August is now that time of year that everyone goes back to school. This gives me anxiety that I’m not in school yet. Although I know my time will come, my anxiety comes in waves and questions start to wash over me. Are they reading my application? I tried my best, but maybe I should have tried harder? How can I possible compare to the thousands of applicants that apply? The good thing about this anxiety is that it gives me the motivation to be productive and to be motivated towards my goals, personal and professional. Because of this, I am trying to give 100% to everything I care about whether it is more to my hobbies and learning more for the sake of learning or whether it is cooking or scrapbooking or learning how to store photos. I hope I can keep this streak going.
One of the biggest highlights of my August was going to Disneyland!! I have missed this place so freaking much! I hadn’t been back in 3 years and let me tell you a lot has happened within those 3 years, so I was excited to see how I viewed Disneyland again. I went on the “new” Incredicoaster and the “new” Guardians of the Galaxy ride. I went on the not so great Monsters Inc ride (why couldn’t they have made a Tangled one??). Also, how could I forget the famous and classic Mickey beignets, or my old favorite Pizza Planet, which has some new pasta combinations, or my new favorite, the Mint Julep–a mint lemonadey drink–at New Orleans Cafe.
Disneyland will always hold special memories for me. I’ve gone to Disneyland with the most important people that have been or are in my life. It’s always so fascinating to see what a different experience Disneyland is with each and every one of them. Sometimes I get swept up in every ride possible. Other times, I watch parades and animation academy and the other times like this, I really get to savor the food. It’s why I’m always excited to go back and I already can’t wait to go back again.
August also marks the month of my best friend’s birthday. Talking to her while we were eating ice cream, I am struck by how much can change in a year when you’re in mid 20’s. It’s a bittersweet time of rapid change and even greater revelations. My Instagram feed is full of people of who are getting engaged, getting into grad school, and even getting married. I once thought my life would never change and now it’s changing more than ever.
My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curan (3/5)
I remember loving the Choose Your Own Adventure novels when I was a kid and when I heard there was a romance version, I was so pumped. Yet, the storyline is a little too simplistic for comfort. You literally know how some endings and caricatures are going to go. There’s the nice guy, the Darcy character etc. Also, the one storyline I did with the Darcy-like character suffers from an intense case of hate to instalove with no explanation. But it’s fun to see the different endings. I did end up dying once as a penniless orphan with syphilis so there’s that.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells (3/5)
All Systems Red is a Hugo award winning novella about a murder robot who hacks into her scripted programming and can make her own decisions and works for these human clients in exploring a new land but gets caught up in a bigger conspiracy when the other bots start to kill her human. The worldbuilding is amazing, but honestly I felt the characters were kept at arm’s distance and the plot, though suppose to be exciting felt like it was written by an eyewitness’s grandma’s cousin’s second stepsister. Too far removed from the action. The best part was hearing murderbot’s thoughts as she decides how to approach being more of a human than a bot.
The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller (4/5)
The Anatomy of Story is an introduction to writing, well, a story. It shows you the basics of plot, character, character arc, scene building, and dialogue. I love the way this guide does not make this process seem too simplistic. Normally when I read guides on writing, it’ll say things like make your character relatable, give one or two flaws and then that’s it. But this guide really shows you how to make your story organic. I love reading writing guides even if I’m not too much of a writer yet and that’s because I think these make me a better reader and helps me better analyze story structure critically and actually use specific terms. I’ve even found myself analyzing books, TV, and movies with some of his techniques in the back of my head.
Fence Vol. 1 by CS Pascat (3/5)
16 year old Nicolas Cox wants to the best fencer. Headstrong and determined, he plays a match against the world famous Seiji Katayama and loses. Now he is determined to beat him and gets his chance at King’s Row, an elite fencing academy. Fence is very inspired by sports anime and manga and considering that’s not my thing, this is just ok. I just think the caricatures for these main characters are all the same. There’s that one mysterious guy that the main character wants to beat in game but there’s sexual tension between them and you get the idea. I also wanted to read this because I knew there was going to be a found family aspect but I feel nothing. I just really want more depth to these caricatures besides out of proportion drama and angst and a main character whose external motivation is very cliche and generic.
Polytopia is a strategy game where you capture cities and fight other tribes. I love polytopia, the aesthetics are freaking adorable! It’s so fun and there are endless possibilities for creative gameplay. I love thinking about the maneuvering and seeing how using your resources affects how you play. It’s a completely free mobile game with some in game purchases but it is never at the expense of your gameplay or enjoyment of the game.
Plants vs Zombies
This mobile game is kind of old but no less entertaining than it was when I first played it years ago. It’s great for the casual gamer and it only took me a week or so to beat the game. The graphics are so cute. It’s not that challenging but challenging enough to keep you persisting through the game.
Sweetener – Ariana Grande
I’ve been listening to this album nonstop since it came out. It seems as though Ariana Grande is moving away from her pop roots and dipping her toes in more sultry rnb music. My favorites are sweetener, goodnight and go, and pete davidson.
The Nice Guys (B)
What Nice Guys ironically lacks in action sequences, it makes up for in its clever satire and even cleverer tongue-in-cheek dialogue. Ryan Gosling’s character’s daughter steals the show with her razor sharp bluntness. It definitely plays with the action and buddy cop genre. It was a very good time but don’t watch this if you’re in the mood for a mindless action film. It was definitely a lot more than that.
Blue Valentine (B-)
I first was interested in Blue Valentine because I had always mean to, fascinated as I am with the analysis of marriage and watching Nice Guys with Ryan Gosling reminded me of that. Blue Valentine follows a young couple in the bitter throes of their marriage. Though their marriage is tumultuous and full of miscommunication and past hurt, it was not always like this and the movie explores the beginning of their relationship and where it all went wrong. It’s quite a sad tale. We really get to see how love manifests differently in the eyes of each character. Though they see it as love, their definition of love is imperfect and different than the other. The movie makes effective use of its blocking, the characters as mysterious to us as they are to each other.
The next two movies I will have reviews for in the upcoming weeks. I wanted to mesh them together because oh boy have I got a lot to say. I must say though I am so excited to see more Asian main characters on the silver and big screen.
Disenchantment (DNF – Netflix)
This show took me by surprise; I wasn’t expecting this level of emotional depth but it is just not my type of humor. Simpsons was never really my type of show so objectively pretty good, but not one I’ll be continuing on with.
The 30 rock binge marathon continues! this show just gets progressively better as it goes on and Seasons 3 and 4 are a testament to that. Although the character of Tracy Jordan really gets on my nerves.
Insecure Season 3 (Ongoing – HBO)
This comedy is so consistently good!! In this season Issa continues to navigate the throes of work, relationships, and friendships. Season 2 left off on a major change and I’m glad to see that although Issa’s flaws are the same, it is nice to see her navigate new changes and really self reflect. This is one of the few comedies that pays attention not only to the comedy but to its craft. The cinematography really highlights Issa’s isolation and thought processes which is awesome because she is a character who doesn’t really express her emotions easily through dialogue. But it is still fast paced and raunchy and keeps you bingewatching. Also, the music is always phenomenal.
How I Plan and Organize My Life – Jenn Im
Jenn’s videos always inspire me to be productive and this one was no exception. I love that her advice is not as basic as these productive videos tend to be (just write everything down in your planner! ugh) and it has really inspired me to strive for what I love whether personal or professional and however simple it may be and paying attention to a long term goal through small steps is so worth it.