2020: New Year | New Goals

Every year for the last few years, I’ve written out a new set of goals for the year. I am not good at keeping up with them. I tend to not accomplish many of the goals. But that’s okay! I like striving to be better each year, and I make my goals loftier than needed. I’m also super optimistic at the beginning of the year. I don’t know why, especially since around that time I see how few goals I accomplished the year before. But I am optimistic. So, I continue to do this.

But this year, 2020, a new decade, the new roaring 20s, is going to be different. First, I’m planning on changing my life in a large way. And second, I plan on going forward with my goals differently. They’ll be broken up into different categories and I have a smaller list of total goals. Less lofty. More attainable. And these goals aren’t aimless goals I arbitrarily chose to feel as if I was going somewhere with them. They have a purpose. Many of them depend on each other, some are steps needing to be taken in order to accomplish the rest.

Here are my goals for 2020:

Personal

I have the same goals of reading more books, watching more films, and losing more weight. I’ve already been eating mostly plant-based and I’m almost 10 pounds down. In order for other goals (go back to school, etc.) I need to move out of my parents house and get my own apartment (which is, in turn, reliant on me finding some extra income which is another goal down on the list.)

  • read 30-35 books
  • watch 30-35 films
  • lose 50 pounds
    • walk ~every day
    • workout ~3 times a week
    • eat mostly plant-based
  • move into own apartment

Education

Here is where the biggest change in my goals and my life are. I plan on going back to school to study literature and linguistics, to finally get my bachelor’s degree, and hopefully begin a life transitioning from designer to novelist and linguist/historian. (My goal in life is to have a Wikipedia page with a long list of occupations after my name. I want filmmaker on that list, too. I don’t care. I’m that six year old who can’t decide between firefighter, astronaut, or doctor. And I don’t care. Fight me.) I’ve started to relearn all the high school French I’ve forgotten so that I feel confidant in at least one thing while studying linguistics.

  • go back to school for BA
    • apply to schools
    • begin studying literature & linguistics in the fall
  • restart learning French
  • continue self-learning linguistics and Greek mythology

Work

I’ve included writing into “work” because I’ve decided that writing is my job. It’s going to be. Even if I’m not making a single cent right now from it. I will. Anyway, I’m taking it seriously. I’m also going to have to get some sort of consistent income to move and live on my own. Freelancing ain’t it, folks. And anything extra is going to help, so I’ll still be doing some freelance (when it comes about) and finally working on launching a small store to sell some designs, just to have something for some extra cash. I’m looking at different hosting/product sites and hopefully can get that going soon.

  • writing
    • write another screenplay
    • write a short film
    • finish novel, “Calder + Tyne”
    • finish novel, “The Arduous Dance”
  • find flexible/remote/work-from-home design job
  • design and sell stationery/products online

And those are my goal for 2020. I’m excited. This is probably going to be the busiest year of my life. It’s a big year and I hope it all works out!!!

2019: Goals Wrap-Up + Autumn Favorites

I haven’t posted in a while! I never got around to posting my end of the year wrap-up in December or even my favorites post for Autumn (I’m just going to sneak them into this post.) I’ve been busy with a few changes happening in my life! It’s all good things, but definitely time consuming.

Let’s give a quick rundown of 2019. This past year has been what I like to call a transition year. At the end of 2018, the small family business I had started with my mother was tabled for the foreseeable future, as she wanted to get into real estate (which she has done now and is doing great!) but that left me with only doing freelance graphic design and little else. I had bills to pay and since I hadn’t been freelancing full time, I needed to take a job this past summer at my grandmother’s restaurant. One that I hadn’t worked at in years. It felt like a huge step backward in my life. I’ve had three major bouts of depression in my life and the months of February-April 2019 were one of them — though not nearly as severe as the other two. But there all the same.

But that spring, I’d started to realize that design was, though I do like it and I’m relatively good at it, it wasn’t my passion. Actually, this isn’t news. I’ve always wanted to be a novelist (among other things) but always, always a writer since I was twelve. That’s always come first. Design is more of a job I have for now. It’s always been my plan to go to school for design and then work on my novels and eventually transition once my books were published (if that were to ever happen.) And because I’d been learning about linguistics, it quickly became apparent that literature and language is what I’m passionate about. It always has been. Even when I didn’t know it.

So, as I said in a previous post, my plan is to go back to school to get a bachelor’s degree in literature and linguistics. I’m very specifically interested in translation and philology. (I’d always thought that someday I would go back to get a BA, in design or something else, I just didn’t know when and I had no real plans.) So after all of what had happened, I’ve set my sights on actually doing it. I’m applying as a transfer in the next few weeks to several schools that I’ve been looking at. I’m going to have to move fairly far (none of the colleges near me has linguistics programs) and find a remote job (in design, lol) that will be flexible enough for my schedule. It’s all very exciting and very nerve-wracking. But mostly exciting.

And because of all this, my goals that I’d decided earlier on no longer felt right. I still accomplished some! But for the most part, I was just going through the motions for most of this year.

Anyway, here’s how I did on my goals for the year of 2019:

Design

I’ve been doing some freelance work (though very little, and almost none in the last 6 months of 2019) but because my focus for the year shifted and I had to get a job in the summer, I really sort of just let that slide right by. I mean, I’m still available to do freelance work, I just haven’t been trying to get any new clients. My plan to open an online shop for stuff that I design, specifically stationery, has once again come and gone. I set this goal nearly every year, and though this part of design still appeals to me, I’m not sure how much time I’ll be able to invest in it. It’s actually still something I’d like to do, just not now. Maybe in the future once things have settled down a bit (ha ha.) Doing a personal design project every week went really well for the first few months until I completely stopped. It was nice to add some things to my portfolio, but after a while, I was bored with it. And again, my mind-set shifted for the whole year after we shut down the business.

  • freelance work
  • plan to open online shop
  • 1 personal design project a week (52) – 20/52 completed. yikes lol

Reading

LOL this one is truly hilarious because I haven’t read this little since 2013! I only read 18 books. And a good portion of them were short and/or graphic novels. I just wasn’t in it this year. I didn’t even complete the Reading Rush and I only set out to read 5 instead of the usual 7. So I definitely didn’t read more often and I DEFINITELY didn’t complete any series/trilogies. Even MORE hilarious, is that I didn’t even finish ONE series or trilogy. I started a NEW trilogy and then DIDN’T start the last book and now it’s just floating out there, waiting for me to finish yet another series. That’s the OPPOSITE of why I’d set that goal!!!

  • read 52 books
  • complete trilogies/series
  • read more often
  • Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon) (I mean, I participated, so I’m giving myself this one. LOL)

Books Read in 2019:

  • Vengeful by VE Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – ★★★★★
  • The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – ★★★★★
  • The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • White Cat by Holly Black – ★★★☆☆
  • The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • Red Glove by Holly Black – ★★★☆☆
  • Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K Vaughan – ★★★★☆
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – ★★★★★
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers – ★★★★☆
  • Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince by VE Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • East of West, Vol. 4 by Jonathan Hickman – ★★★★☆
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 10 by Robert Kirkman – ★★★★☆
  • The Magician King by Lev Grossman – ★★★★☆
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★★

Writing

I didn’t finish the draft from NaNoWriMo 2018 and I FAILED MISERABLY at NaNoWriMo 2019. I did outline the new fantasy series, for the most part. That’s it. Never even worked on any of the other projects either. I just….it was a ROUGH YEAR okay? hahahaha

  • finish NaNoWriMo ’18 draft
  • NaNoWriMo ’19 (giving myself this one, too, because I FAILED but I PARTICIPATED so I DID IT.)
  • outline fantasy series
  • Thoughtless draft 2

Film

I didn’t watch 30 films. BUT, I went to see FOUR new films in the theater!! (Booksmart, Midsommar, Frozen II, and Little Women). That’s HUGE for me. I’ve posted before that I hardly ever see any at the theater. One year, I didn’t even see a single one. But I did it four times! I love going to the movies! I need to do it more! I did NOT, however, write and shoot a short film. I sort of wrote some pages. I sort of shot some footage. But then it just never came together. And I didn’t even write anything else. Not even a PAGE of the screenplay I wanted to write. I planned it! Just never happened. My whole mind just shifted this year.

  • watch 30 films
  • write/shoot short film
  • write feature-length film

Illustration

I’m actually fairly proud of this one. I completed Inktober! I did 31 days of illustrations and I love how most of them came out. I didn’t do 2 days a month, though, but toward the end of this year I was asked to illustrate a local drug prevention book for 1st and 2nd graders, so that’s fun! I’ve been working on that, so by the end of the year I had been doing quite a lot of it so it probably equaled about as much as I would have done if I had done it a few times a month. So I’m giving it to myself. lol

  • sketching and illustrating 2 days a month
  • Inktober

Health & Fitness

I honestly think that I accomplished walking everyday. I mean, sometimes I couldn’t — raining, traveling, etc. — but for the most part, I walked every day. And I hit 10,000 steps for probably 75% of the days of 2019. That’s so good!!! I didn’t expect to do that well. I did NOT, however, workout three times a week. That died early on and I only got back to it in the later months of the year. I also still have not mastered the art of waking up early. I’m trying, though. Probably a struggle I’ll have forever. I’m just a night owl. It’s in my DNA. 23andMe told me so. I also didn’t drink only 2 sodas a week. I definitely drank more than that, but I didn’t drink any soda in April and I almost completely switched to Diet Coke for the rest of the year (and having only a few a week) and now I’ve completely switched to drinking either sparkling water or Zevia, which is delicious (well, the Ginger Root Beer, Ginger Ale, and Lemon Lime) and only drinking (diet) soda when I eat out (which is rare).

  • walk everyday
  • workout 3x a week
  • go to bed/wake up earlier
  • 2 sodas a week

Other

I didn’t technically accomplish any of these, but I tried. I was enjoying my “intake day” of art a week, but I soon fell into a spiral of depression that left me basically doing that EVERY day and then, again, my life kind of changed a bit so I stopped doing that. But it was helpful at the beginning of the year to go into consumption mode and fill up the creative well. It’s an important part of being a creative person and I still think it’s something I need to remember to do. I didn’t grow my social media following in any way which is completely fine with me. It was a goal in order to achieve other goals and, guess what, my life goals have kind of shifted to something that suits me better and something I want more. So that kind of didn’t work out how I wanted it anyway. All is good there. I was meant to post more regularly here on my blog but I just, quite simply, stopped having the time. It became an after thought. My “Further Learning” series took a backseat as well as I was figuring out what I wanted for my life. But it was a necessary time to figure out, so it was worth it.

  • 1 intake day a week
  • grow social media
  • post regularly on blog
  • further learning – 12 posts

All in all, I think I did all right considering the incredibly difficult life things that occurred!!!

Autumn Favorites

Books:

Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo’s first adult novel is so good and so perfectly tailored just for me. A dark, academic, magic-filled, murder mystery set at Yale? Is Leigh Bardugo inside my brain? How does she know that this is specifically a perfect novel for me? She’s magic. Ninth House is too.

The Magician King – I read the second book in the Magician’s trilogy this fall and loved it just as much — okay, not quite as much — as the first. I don’t think any book will top ever top the first for me. And not because it’s particularly good — I mean, it is but. The first just resonated with me at a certain time of my life and I specifically relate very closely to Quentin Coldwater. So. I just really loved the first book a lot. But The Magician King is just as an incredible journey as the first, although I didn’t like the finale quite as much in this one. The way in which they just…find everything so easily and it just stumbles together didn’t quite work for me. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone if you haven’t read it. Anyway, I’m still in love with this trilogy and can’t wait to read the last book. There are few books or series that I am compelled to reread (in fact, I’ve never reread anything other than the first half of Eragon by Christopher Paolini when I was in the the eighth grade) but I definitely plan on rereading this trilogy by Lev Grossman. Again, just as it is with Ninth House, these books seem very specifically for me, and I love that.

Films:

Frozen II – I have very few things to say about Frozen II except for the fact that it’s incredible and far better than the first one and “Into the Unknown” is a million times better than “Let it Go” and I stand by that with my entire heart and soul. I’m an Elsa stan for life, okay?

Little Women – Hi! I’ve been excited for Little Women since I heard about Greta Gerwig (my favorite writer/director/actress of all time) making it. And the cast? Only Meryl Streep (the greatest actress of all time IN MY OPINION), Emma Watson (one of my favorites), Florence Pugh (literally the greatest actress of this new generation she’s so incredible I can’t breathe, her performances in Lady Macbeth and in Midsommar and in this were unfathomably good, I’ve literally been waiting for her to blow up since 2016), Saoirse Ronan (my favorite young actress since I saw her in one of my favorite films, Atonement), Timothee Chalamet (my current favorite actor), and Louis Garrel (my favorite French actor since I was thirteen). THAT’S ALL. I WASN’T EXCITED AT ALL. And to top it all off, this film was perfect. It was so beautiful and I cried so much and laughed and felt warm the entire time watching it. Greta killed it. She MURDERED IT. Saoirse is always so good but the real bright spot was Florence Pugh’s performance as Amy. Her range of playing both a 12 year old girl and a 20 year old woman is astounding, and she plays her with such humor that even when you hate Amy, you love her. This film was the perfect cherry on top of 2019.

Music:

“Northern Lights” by Death Cab for Cutie – Once in a while, I’ll hear a new(ish) song from a band that I previously listened to quite heavily but fell out of sync with — I don’t dislike their music now or anything, they just aren’t on my radar. But I heard Northern Lights and fell back in love with them.

dodie – Both her recent singles “Boys Like You” and “Guiltless” are such good songs. Her voice is so light and beautiful and every song I’ve listened to of hers, I’m just like, “Yes. Good. Another.” Love it.

“Freaking Out the Neighborhood” by Mac DeMarco – Thanks to Nicole Rafiee on YouTube, I’ve been listening to some Mac DeMarco and his song “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” became my favorite song of 2019. I couldn’t stop listening to it for the last five months of the year. I just couldn’t stop. It made it on to every weekly/monthly playlist. It’s so good.

Phoebe Bridgers – Phoebe’s album Stranger in the Alps is just one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard. Favorites tracks on it are: “Funeral,” “Motion Sickness,” and “Smoke Signals.” Also am I the only one who mentally mixes up the names Phoebe Bridgers and Phoebe Waller Bridge? lol

Moonshine by Caravan Palace – This song is so fun and upbeat and I really like the sound of it. It’s one of my new favorite songs of all time. I typically listen to darker, depressing music but occasionally a bop will sneak its way into my favorites and this one did.

Television:

Stumptown – Full disclosure, I haven’t watched more than the first two episodes of this show. I’ve been recording the rest on my DVR because I just had Too! Many! Shows! last fall to keep track of. But of what I saw was really great! Cobie Smulders is great in it and I’m excited to continue to watch her carry such a fun, but dark drama like Stumptown.

And here, a general review of the year 2019/the past decade that I posted on Instagram stories:

All right! That’s it! A complete recap of my 2019 and the last post about my favorites of the year.

I Failed at NaNoWriMo 2019 and It’s Okay

That’s right. I failed. I didn’t reach 50,000. I wasn’t even close.

For the last three years (2016, 2017, and 2018), I have been successful at the November event of National Novel Writing Month, where me and thousands of others attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I’ve participated in other years before (I think the first was in 2010 or 2011) but had never even reached 10,000 in the first few attempts. But I began to take it more seriously and was successful for 3 years in a row!

And then this year happened.

My final word count was 28,463 words. This is just over half of the goal.

And you know what? I’m okay with that. I just wasn’t in it this year. Since I’m planning on going back to school next fall, I probably won’t have time to do NaNoWriMo again for…4 years? 6 years? Who knows. So I definitely went out with a fizzle rather than a bang. But that’s okay. I can’t do everything.

I do know where I went wrong this year, though. It was a combination of many things, circumstances both in my control and out of.

First things first, I just did Inktober all October long. I was exhausted.

I started a new job/volunteer work (which isn’t that much, but it was still an addition).

My mother’s back went out and I needed to help her for over a week, so I was just too tired to write anything some days.

I hadn’t properly outlined this novel as I usually do (because of Inktober) so I was lost. It took twice as long to write anything when I did have the time.

Thanksgiving landed on the LAST weekend of November. I never write during Thanksgiving because it’s just too busy of a time and, therefore, I always end up writing the last 10-15,000 words within the last few days. But I couldn’t, because those last few days were THANKSGIVING MADNESS.

This novel wasn’t ready to be written. I’ve been thinking about it for a year, which is sometimes just enough time to write, but sometimes it’s not. And because I didn’t outline anything in October, nothing was ready. I was pantsing it far more than I like to and it just wasn’t coming naturally to me. I need an outline. I can’t write what I don’t know yet. It just doesn’t work in my brain.

And that’s that.

Just a mess of a month. I love NaNoWriMo. It’s so much fun and any excuse to force myself to write, to carve out the time, to explain to people “I’m doing this weird contest thing so I have to write stop talking to me oh god please let me leave” makes it a lot easier to say no, I’m up for. But this year just wasn’t my year. And it’s okay! I don’t need to win every year! It’s actually for the best, because the novel I was working on just wasn’t working. It needs more time to simmer in the ole noodle.

So, that’s my NaNoWriMo 2019 story. I failed and it’s fine.

I’d love to say, “on to next year!” but I don’t know if I’m going to participate again for a long time. It’s sad that my last year for a while wasn’t a win but it’s just what needed to happen, I guess. The stars, and all that.

Inktober – 2019

I particpated in Inktober! And it was a disaster. Not really, but it was hard. I was a solid 5 days behind most of the time, and had to do almost a third of the challenge–10 whole pieces–in the last three days just to finish. It was so hard but ultimately really fun and great and I learned a lot about myself, my work, and I definitely improved several of my artistic skills overall. And I think you can see that through the journey from Day 1 to Day 31…even if the quality of these go up and down throughout, I think it has an upward trend. There were a lot late nights and hurried finishes. But for the most part, I really like the way most of them turned out.

Here was the list of prompts:

I cobbled together my own list from several others that I really liked – I couldn’t choose just one of them!

I won’t go through each and every one, but I definitely have my favorites that I think are better than the rest. And I think most of them turned out well, which is better than the other way around. Anyway, it was fun!

Summer Favorites: 2019

Hello!

I was going to make a Spring Favorites post before this one, but this past summer was just too busy for me to even think about it. So instead, I mashed up my spring and summer favorites into one post. Here’s all my favorite books, movies, shows, and more from the past few months!

Books:

  • The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab
    I’ve mentioned that Victoria V.E. Schwab is my favorite author. And her trilogy, Shades of Magic, is one of my favorite fantasy series. The Steel Prince is a comic book prequel to that trilogy. I read the first volume (six or so issues) and really enjoyed it. The world she’s built is incredible and I really loved seeing that world come to life visually.
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers
    The Circle is a terrifying look into our immediate future, or even our present. It shows the worst part of social media and connectivity, an Orwellian glimpse of what companies like Facebook and Google could become — or are already. Although I raced through what is essentially a story about a young woman starting a new job as if it were a spy thriller, I was disappointed in the protagonist’s character arc — which, to me, wasn’t much of an arc at all. Regardless, I enjoyed the book. Even if it made me want to never log in to any social media account again.
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
    The book – or I should say, essay – A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf is one of the best things I’ve ever read. I loved what it says about women and writing: that if they just had a place of their own and the monetary support as men do, they too could reach the notoriety of the great writers of the past, like Shakespeare, for their talents in writing. She brilliantly illustrates this with her essay, imagining a world in which the Bard had an equally-talented sister. It’s a great, important read that I highly recommend to all, but especially those who write.

Film & Television:

  • Killing Eve, Season Two
    I’ve had Killing Eve on my favorites list before but I had to add season two specifically, because it was so good. I’m in awe of the acting ability of Jodie Comer and, as always, Sandra Oh. The writing of this show is fantastic, the dynamic between the two women is genuinely fascinating. And the music??? Ugh, the music is just incredible. I love this show so much.
  • Booksmart
    Y’alllllll this film was hilarious. The writing was smart and it felt real, as of not just this general decade, but of this year. It was one of the better depcitions of teens and coming-of-age stories that I’ve seen. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever are truly two of the best actresses of this younger generation. And every side character’s acting (some of them weren’t even professional actors) was great. Billie Lourd’s Gigi is the best, I think about her at least six times a day. Also, I will be pronouncing Barcelona as Noah Galvin does for the rest of time, as it should be pronounced.
  • Midsommar
    This film was beautiful and disturbing and incredible and horrific. It’s such an experience to watch. A beautifully shot, incredibly designed, sometimes-gory experience. The most beautiful horror movie of all time? It’s a trip and a half. It’s intense. I loved it and never want to watch it again. I was completely alone in the theater which was weirdly great – I was able to sit comfortably while the most disturbing piece of art I’d ever seen played out before my eyes. I was glad to be alone. Other thoughts: Ari Aster is brilliant. Florence Pugh is so incredible in everything I’ve seen her in and she’s beyond in this. And, spoilers: Christian had it coming. I’m really sad about the bear.

Music:

  • Unloved
    Aaaaaand, speaking of Killing Eve, Unloved is a band and a lot of the music played on the show is their own. I love the music on that show and I’ve been enjoying their music a lot. I especially love When a Woman is Around and Crash Boom Bang. These songs were kind of the soundtrack to my entire June and July.
  • Billie Eilish
    My GOD, this girl is talented. Her music is so dark. It’s like depression with a beat. Her videos are real creepy too and I like it. I especially love her songs, When the Party’s Over, Bury a Friend, Ocean Eyes, and of course, the song of the summer, Bad Guy.
  • half.alive
    Yooo this new band is great. Their first single still feel. was my jam for a few months after it was released and now their whole album has come out and it’s so good. Here’s literally just a list of the songs that I’m loving: ok ok?, arrow, creature, RUNAWAY, and ice cold (feat. Kimbra). Soooo good.
  • CJ Bissett
    Ok. So. I know of CJ Bissett through his sister’s YouTube channel. He’s recently just released his very first gothic folk rock album, Arthur & Jane, and I looooove it. It’s an incredible album. Some favorite tracks: So He Waited, Arthur & Jane, Pink Flower, Gimme a Year, and Take it to the Ocean.
  • Foxwarren
    My current favorite song is Everything Apart by Foxwarren. I can’t describe why I love it so much, it just has that perfect tempo and sound that I’ve been looking for in a song. It’s my true match. A perfect song. I also really love their song Sunset Canyon.
  • Vampire Weekend
    And last but not least, Vampire Weekend’s new album (Father of the Bride) came out a real long ass time ago, but I didn’t do a Spring Favorites post so it’s coming up now. I listened to this album almost exclusively during all of May. There was some special moments back during that month and I immediately remember them when listening to any of the songs. My favorites are these: Harmony Hall, Bambina, This Life, and Sympathy.

Other:

  • StarKid
    So this past spring, I had a bit of a mental hiccup and quarter-life crisis. Again. No big deal, it’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine. I basically did nothing during all of April. One thing I DID do, is become enraptured by the wonderful world of StarKid. I originally watched A Very Potter Musical when it came out while I was in high school but didn’t know until 2016 that they’d done other shows! It was the “I Don’t Want to do the Work Today” meme from their show Firebringer that allowed me to re-find them. But when I originally went to watch it, I saw that it was two hours long and I didn’t have time, so I saved it for later…then promptly forgot about it. Three years later, this year, I remembered it and decided to watch. It was hilarious. I loved it. I moved on to their other shows, The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals, Twisted, and my personal favorite, The Trail to Oregon! They’re all great. And that led me to find the group the Tin Can Bros, some of the guys from the StarKid crew who make their own stuff together. Their show, Spies are Forever, was so good and featured a familiar face to me, Mary Kate Wiles from my favorite web series, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. Which leads me too…
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party
    The team of Shipwrecked, Mary Kate included, often collaborates with some of the StarKid and Tin Can Bros crew. So from StarKid, it led me all the way to to find my current favorite web series/film: Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party. It’s a very funny story of Edgar Allan Poe inviting a group of literary guests (anachronistically ranging from Mary Shelley to Hemingway) for a murder mystery dinner party that becomes and ACTUAL murder mystery. It’s so good and funny. It’s the best. I plan on watching it again around Halloween.
  • Nathaniel Drew
    I recently stumbled upon Nathaniel Drew’s YouTube channel and I really dig his videos. He has such a great point of view, has incredibly well-shot and edited videos, and has really been changing the way I look at things. I really appreciate the time and effort he puts into his videos.
  • Nikki Nasty (Nicole Rafiee)
    My new favorite, hands down. She’s hilarious. Her videos are just about her life, being at college, being vegan, jokes about her dad who left her as a child, etc. just stuff like that. She’s so funny and her videos are edited so well. She makes a video about gluing rhinestones to her inhaler entertaining as hell. She’s great!

Okay that’s all my favorites from the last few months! I can’t believe it’s already fall. The leaves are starting to change! It’s getting cold! It’s insane. I’m exhausted already. Stay safe and brace yourself for the coming winter, folks. It’s coming up fast.

✌️

The Reading Rush – 2019

Hello!

Last week was the Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon) and I participated again! It was fun! I read a lot! But still not enough!

This year was tough for some reason. They changed it up, so now there wasn’t the main challenge of reading seven books in the seven days. So it could be any number! I chose five! And it was still extremely difficult for me. I mean, I’ve reached 6.5 books. It shouldn’t have been THAT hard, yet here we are, the Monday after, and I’ve only read 3.5 books.

Here was my TBR and what I actually read:

Saga, Vol 9 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples (COMPLETE)
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (COMPLETE)
The Circle by Dave Eggers (COMPLETE)
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (HALF)
Black Heart by Holly Black (NEVER EVEN TOUCHED)

Here’s the breakdown of my days reading:

  1. Read a book with purple on the cover (The Near Witch)
  2. Read a book in the same spot the entire time (Saga, Vol 9)
  3. Read a book you meant to read last year (-)
  4. Read an author’s first book (The Near Witch)
  5. Read a book with a non-human main character (Saga, Vol 9)
  6. Pick a book that has five or more words in the title (A Room of One’s Own)
  7. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation (The Circle)

I read 928 pages, which is a lot for me, sure. In a WEEK? That’s insane. Sometimes I don’t get that in a month. I’m just disappointed because I didn’t get to all of them. I thought, SURELY, this year, with no 7 books challenge, I could get to 5??? Nope. I was too tired and kept falling asleep while reading by day 4.

Oh well! I still read a lot, had fun, and can’t wait for next year!!!

I will say that the whole little team of two or three who run the Reading Rush do, and especially did this year, an incredible job! The new website is awesome and fun. The new name is great and easier for my family to understand what I’m doing for a week (lol). The whole experience was great. I just wish I’d had more time to read this year!

2019 Goals: Reevaluation and Changes

It’s that time of year again, where I reevaluate my entire life and decide to change my goals for the year. It’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine.

So let’s do a quick recap of the goals I’ve set at the beginning of 2019 and where I’m at.

Design

  • freelance work (I’m still chugging along, always in the need of more clients)
  • plan to open online shop (this is a slow process that I’ve been procrastinating on but I think I’m going to focus more on it soon)
  • 1 personal design project a week (52) (I’ve done about 20 so far, having a bit of a hectic June/July, but I think I’ll get back to it)

Writing

  • finish NaNoWriMo ’18 draft (good LORD, this book is long and I haven’t had many days to focus on writing it)
  • NaNoWriMo ’19 (coming in November!)
  • outline fantasy series (I have been doing this and it’s been swell! outline isn’t totally done but I have mostly outlined the big picture arc of the series and the first book’s full outline to write during this year’s NaNoWriMo!)
  • Thoughtless (a book I should be writing) (lololol)

Reading

  • read 52 books (lololol, I’ve honestly been trying to read more I swear – I’ve read 9 thus far, but Reading Rush is happening now and I always read more later in the year it’s fine it’s fine I’m fine everything’s fine)
  • complete trilogies/series (literally forgot this was a goal, but I haven’t really done this yet at all, but I have a few second and third books to read, so maybe?)
  • read more often (I’m trying, okay?)
  • Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon) (happening as I type this!!!)

Film

  • watch 30 films (I’m about halfway there, which is great! TWO already in theaters!)
  • write/shoot short film (in process of writing, will decide if I want to shoot it in August???)
  • write feature-length film (probably this fall)

Illustration

  • sketching and illustrating 2 days a month (nah, man I don’t have the capacity – I think my time with illustration has come to an end, I’ve reached my peak, I can’t get any better without more focus and time but it’s all good)
  • Inktober (still doing this because it’s fun!!!)

Health & Fitness

  • walk everyday (have been doing great!!!!)
  • workout 3x a week (lol was doing well but stopped for a few months but back on it!!!)
  • go to bed/wake up earlier (kind of? 7am average is early, right?)
  • 2 sodas a week (I gave this up looooong before April even began but I have to say, most of the sodas I drink now – which the number has gone down significantly, but nowhere near 2 a week – are diet, which ain’t great for me but I’m trying)

Other

  • 1 intake day a week (was doing this for a while and loved it but I think an hour a day would be better? it just didn’t fit within my schedule)
  • grow social media (I’m trying but no one likes me it’s not my fault lol)
  • post regularly on blog (I have been doing this! if you read these posts, you probably could tell. I doubt it though, I see the traffic on this blog and it’s looooow but still!)
  • further learning – 12 posts (killin’ this, I love it so much and this is a great segue….)

There’s been some changes happening in my life, over the last year or so. I’ve been thinking about it and thinking about it, and I have come to the decision that I want to go back to school.

That’s right! Back to college. Back to the book learning. Since doing “Further Learning” on this blog, I’ve realized how much I love learning and how much I love learning about language, specifically. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve been thinking about going back to school for Linguistics and/or English and creative writing. Maybe something else. I haven’t nailed anything down yet. (I’ve been looking at schools and doing some research about it, though. It’s weird being a “non-traditional student” going to school later in life at 26. There’s so many questions and it’s not easy to navigate.) But I miss school. I regret not going to college formally. I need a big, wonderful change in my life.

For a few years now, I’ve been feeling restless, feeling like my life has hit a weird stand-still. That stagnant, static life of mine burst to life briefly last summer when the opportunity to live in Spain for just under a year came about. It was exciting and terrifying and I felt like, Ah, yes, finally, my life is about to start. But when that fell through, and the small business I was co-running decided to (maybe temporarily) shut down, I felt that same static feeling wash over me again. I’m just here. Waiting and wanting and unhappy about it.

It took me a while to realize that I don’t have to wait. I don’t have to want. I can do, I can seize. All I have to do is pick myself up and do it. And I’m tired of feeling like I can’t do the things I want.

So I’m going to. It’s going to take some time. I don’t know when school would be happening. I need to figure out all of that and figure out my life as I work toward getting there, because I still need money and to work in the mean time.

That’s my new goal for this year. The main goal. And I’m excited and terrified and it feels great.

Further Learning: A History of Language – Part VI – “Colors”

Hello! Welcome to Further Learning, a little project of mine where I continue my education after school and post about what I’m learning. Right now, I’m learning about language! To start from the beginning with A History of Language – Part I, click here.

Since I’ve mostly moved on from John McWhorter’s The Power of Babel, I’ve been reading from his other book Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English and from the new-to-me podcast, my current favorite, Lingthusiasm! Information in this post will primarily be from these sources, unless otherwise stated. Also Wikipedia. I’m human, okay?

And, as always, if you know what you’re talking about (I’m doing this to learn and share, not teach — I’m an amateur here) please feel free to comment with more information or correction!

Colors

Today we’re talking about color names!!!

I’ve always loved colors and their names. I’m sure you could find an old notebook of mine when I was a kid with colors in some kind of categorization. I remember, while in the 5th or 6th grade, I would go to my sister’s basketball games, and because ugh, sports, I would spend my time charting how many of each color Skittles came in the packet I’d buy at the concession stand — you know, instead of watching the game. I had pages and pages of this information from at least two years of games. I did that for no reason other than my own curiosity. (If I remember correctly, the tropical flavored Skittles had more pinks in each packet than any other color. You’re welcome for that incredibly useless fact.)

Anyway, I also went into graphic design and I’ve always been interested in art. One of my favorite classes in design school was color theory. So, color has always just been a part of my life. But color names are what’s really interesting to me. And I’ve recently learned some incredible things that I want to share about color!

Basic Color Terms

English has eleven basic color terms. Black, white, red, yellow, green, blue, brown, purple, pink, orange, and gray. We have a large range of basic color names. Other languages have a varied number of color terms, some less and a few have more.

From the work of Brent Berlin and Paul Kay, they proposed that different cultures’ languages have different amounts of color terms. All cultures have at least “black” and “white,” a set ranging from dark/cool to light/warm, but if they were to have a third, it’s pretty much always red. The rest follow in stages like this:

Stage I: black & white
Stage II: red
Stage III: yellow or green
Stage IV: yellow and green
Stage V: blue
Stage VI: brown
Stage VII: purple, pink, orange, or gray

The more complex a language is, the more main color terms they have. And, it is specifically in this order. So a language might have words for the colors black, white, yellow, green, and blue but not specific names for brown, purple, pink, orange, or gray. This language would be in Stage V.

Many other languages are Stage VII along with English, including the Romance languages, Arabic, Chinese, and the Iroquoian language spoken by Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, and many others. A few languages go one step further and have twelve color terms, like Italian, Hebrew, and Russian, that distinguishes between light blue (azure) and blue. English doesn’t do the same with blue, but we do that with red and pink—which is technically just light red. I also read in an article by Chelsea Wald, that Korean, interestingly, separates yellow-green (yeondu) and green (chorok) in two different terms, unlike other languages.

There are languages like the Yele language spoken in Papa New Guinea that only has basic color terms for black , white, and red—this language is in Stage II. Languages that don’t have as many main color terms may still have words to describe the other colors, but they are words meaning other objects that they use to describe that color. Like, in Yele, they have a word to describe an orange color, the word for “tree sap,” as they do for yellow and green, the words meaning “ripe banana” and “unripe banana.” Vox did an interesting, and visually beautiful, video about all of this here:

Interestingly, I’d watched that video a few years ago when it first came out and forgot entirely about it. I relearned about the Berlin-Kay stages during an episode of Lingthusiasm I recently listened to. I don’t know why I forgot about it, but both times I was equally interested.

Blue/Green

Many languages don’t separate blue and green into separate words. This if often referred to as “grue.” To those language speakers, blue and green are just different tones of the same color. This, I could understand, especially after reading in that same article by Wald, that a Brazilian language called Karajá has four basic color terms (which would put them at Stage III) but lumps yellow, blue, and green all as one color. At first, I was shocked…and then I realized that if we looked at those colors as related, the link between yellow and blue being green, and that many languages look at warm/cool first, it makes complete sense. Yellow is just a warm green and blue is just a cool green. There just isn’t a word for those different greens in that language, just like we don’t have a basic word for light blue but we have one for light red (pink).

Because the stages work in the way that they do, speakers of languages that don’t make a distinction between blue and green, won’t move on to having words for brown, purple, pink, orange, and gray until they do. It would be easy, without the separation of blue and green, to see that pink is just light red, orange is just a shade of red or yellow, brown is just a darker shade of the same, purple could go either way into red or blue depending on the shade, and gray is just a light or dark color.

A while ago, before I was even interested in this, there was a long article I read about how this blue/green distinction caused speakers of those languages without a distinct blue to not notice blue. Basically, it said that if there wasn’t a word for blue in the language, those people couldn’t see blue. This is hotly debated as being false with many explanations to the “evidence” of this. You can read up about this topic here.

So what is my favorite color, you ask? Hilariously…it’s grue. I mean, blue/green. Often known as teal or turquoise, sometimes other names depending on the shade. Specifically, I like the shades “peacock blue” and “mint.” I used to only like blue, but the greener side has been growing on me and now I just like blue-green shades.

Favorite Facts & Tidbits

  • Orange is named after the fruit, as orange is a less common color in nature — or at least for a singular item. Carrots came in many colors before orange carrots were the main carrot, so the citrus fruit became the official color’s name. Probably, I assume, as people used it to explain the type of orange they were describing, it became the color’s name. Like, if someone said, “That’s a beautiful shirt, it’s a beautiful color — like salmon.” Now we have salmon the color and salmon the fish.
  • And speaking of orange, I learned on my new favorite podcast Lingthusiasm (there episode about color, which is where I was inspired for this post and got much information for it) that the term “redhead” uses red instead of orange, which is much closer to the color redhead actually are, because red was the closest color to describe red hair at the time — this was pre-orange.
  • I already mentioned orange, but also pink comes from an object, a flower family called “pinks.” Black’s etymology comes from a word meaning “burnt” and white comes from a word meaning “bright.” Green’s etymology has the same root as the words “grow and “grass.”

All the colors of the rainbow…

I talked a lot about color names and I literally barely scratched the surface. I could go in-depth about English’s color words alone. That’s all for now!

Further Learning: A History of Language – Part V – “What’s Up With English? (III)”

Hello! Welcome to Further Learning, a little project of mine where I continue my education after school and post about what I’m learning. Right now, I’m learning about language! To start from the beginning with A History of Language – Part I, click here.

It’s time to talk more about how weird English is again! I’ve been reading from the book Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English and listening to the podcast Lingthusiasm. Information in this post will primarily be from these sources, unless otherwise stated. Most of this particular post is from Wikipedia, (wo)man’s best informational friend. (I realize some things on Wiki can be wrong. Take all knowledge with a grain of salt. Not just in this post, but also in life.)

And, as always, if you know what you’re talking about (I’m doing this to learn and share, not teach — I’m an amateur here) please feel free to comment with more information or correction!

What’s Up With English? (III)

Did you know that English-speaking countries are really the only ones that have spelling bees? That’s how fucking dumb (and wonderful) our language is. It’s become a competition for us, knowing how to spell our own language.

That’s it. That’s the post.

…Okay, obviously not.

Today I wanted to talk about LETTERS!!! We’re going to discuss the alphabet and where our letters came from.

I briefly discussed in another post about how our numerals (1, 2, 3…etc.) came from the Arabic numerals. We didn’t have symbols for our numbers, we just used the Roman Numerals (I, II, III…etc.) that came so nicely with our letter system. Europeans adopted the Arabic numerals from Arabic-speakers in North Africa (who, in turn, had adopted these numerals as Hindu-numerals, because they’d originated in India.) I believe they were so quickly adopted, especially with the invention of the printing press, because it was a lot easier to print 1634 instead of MDCXXXIV.

So if we received our numerals from Arabic, where did our letters come from?

The First English Alphabet

Well, as I said with Roman Numerals, our letters are actually from the Latin alphabet. Which is why, if you go to Rome, the letters carved into the stone on the front of the Pantheon look so familiar, even if you don’t know Latin. But that wasn’t the first alphabet that English, as a distinct language from other Germanic languages, had.

English — or I should said, Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) — was first written in a completely different alphabet. It was first written in Anglo-Saxon runes, which looked like this:

Rad, right? Not like the “r” rune called “rad” above…I mean like, rad “cool”…you get it.

Anyway, it wasn’t until Christianity came in to England, bringing the Latin alphabet along with it, that it slowly overtook. Then there was that unimportant, kind of forgettable time of the conquest of 1066, the Normans taking over with Anglo-Norman (Old French), and it disappeared all together shortly after.  We have remnants of these runes, like “wynn” which was used for the /w/ sound, which was later used with two Us (uu) in the Latin alphabet as a digraph and this is where we got “double-u” from. (A digraph is two letters together to create one sound, like (th) or (sh).

So, if we then had the Latin alphabet to write with, which was only made up of capital or majuscule letters, why do we have lower case or miniscule letters, too?

To my understanding, over time, when writing with a pen, these letters became much more round and simple. Eventually, it caught on to being normal practice as it was much easier to read words in the miniscule style. They kept important words, like nouns, with a capital, but eventually this dropped off to just proper nouns (although, in German, they still capitalize nouns) and the first letter in a sentence more recently. There’s also some debate about this, that lower-case letters might have existed alongside the original Latin alphabet with all capitals, but were never used together until later. I’m not an expert, so I literally have no idea which is true.

So…English has morphed from one set of languages, changed three times in three major ways, and even changed alphabets. No wonder it’s so difficult to spell.

Favorite Facts & Tidbits

  • I’ve never been one of those people to harp to harshly about literally being used incorrectly. I have in the passed, but I’m above that now. It’s called growth. And knowledge. Because, guess what? Like all of our language, things change and keep changing. Literally is actually a word meant to be used specifically and only when its use is pertaining to the alphabet. That’s why it has the same root as other words like letter and literature. So unless you’re literally talking about the alphabet, literally, you’re still using it wrong. So use it wrong all you like! Nothing matters! We’re all going to die and English will sound different from what it does today. It’s fine! I promise!
  • Just like the runic letter “wynn” became the W, our fun friend “thorn”, or þ, became the (th) sound for a bit. You know what blew my mind while researching for this post? The term “ye olde” is a mistake. The y was the, now unused, letter  þ, but it looked so much like a “y” in old text that it was mistaken for one. It was the. THE olde. So your bookshop, bar, or tattoo is incorrect. I, personally, think this is hilarious.
  • So a digraph is when two letters are used to make a single sound, but a ligature is the actual mushed up letters to create a single symbol, like æ. The “and” symbol, &, the ampersand, is actually a ligature of the Latin word Et, which means and.
  • And, my favorite tweet that has kept me up at night: the alphabet is in no particular order. It’s random. But we alphabetize a lot of things in that order. But it doesn’t actually mean anything. Goodnight!

Good luck sleeping after that!

So, that’s a very, very simplified, amateur explanation of why we write with our current alphabet and where it came from.  That’s all for now!