Trying To Be Niche

I have a lot of interests. I have a lot of hobbies. I like a LOT of stuff. My problem is that I don’t always like these things all the time, I don’t always do these things exclusively, and I am so far from consistent it’s not even funny.

Right now, I really want to read, and I want to write, and I want to go back to school. I can finally listen to music again and I’m getting excited about wearing makeup again too. I don’t have a car to take on hiking trips and I honestly don’t know where my motivation to take pictures went but for some reason I have no interest in saving memories anymore. I can sew and crochet and take a decent picture now and again… Oh and sometimes I like to binge bake things and watercolor painting is one of my favorite things to do (even though I haven’t done it in months now).

I’ve read three books in the last week and every blog post idea I’ve had has been about books. I’m excited about what I’m doing when I don’t think about it, but then when I do pause to think about it I wonder why I even want to. Would people even be interested in the posts I want to make? I want to talk about books, both old and new, how many people will even be interested in old book reviews?

And what about posts that aren’t about books? No matter what I do I will never be able to force myself to stay in a box of one type of post. And sometimes I wonder if that hurts me in the long run when I’m making posts. How many people come to my post to see adventures and end up disappointed about books? Or come to see books and then turn away when I make a post about makeup? I want to be a diverse blog but I feel like I should be niche… But that’s not me.

In the long run, I think I will be forever self conscious about what I write. Every post I can’t help but think that I was too rambly or I wasn’t informative enough. I feel like no one will read my stuff, yet I write like everyone could read this at any moment. I know that I’ll post whatever I feel like posting, because in the end, I like to post things I’m excited about. I just hope that I’ll be able to find people that want to read along with me no matter what I post about.

So I guess what I have to say to conclude is if you found me for book related posts, enjoy! I have plenty more of those to come… And I hope you like all the random posts I have interspersed. And for in the future if I get burnt out on book related posts or if I just stop reading for a while again (which I know will happen, especially if I end up being able to go back to school) I really hope that everyone can find something they enjoy in what I write then too!

Anyways, happy Monday everyone! I’ll talk to you all on Wednesday.

Toxic Relationships in YA

This topic goes deeper than the idea that a guy can fix all of a girl’s problems (although this is a topic that I could chat about on a different day). It is about the fact that there are multiple books out there that now illustrate controlling, toxic relationships as healthy and good.

When I was younger, I would idolize these types of relationships. I thought they were what everyone should want. But then I grew up and I learned about abuse and feminism and how what I idolized was destroying people on a daily basis.

Here’s a really poignant video from Whitney (aka whittynovels) about the topic. I highly recommend that you watch it before continuing on reading my post.

I’m not going to go in depth with what I think about the examples that she discussed because I really hope that you all watched the video because I feel like she did a really good job at expressing this topic.
I know someone who was in a severely toxic relationship and they didn’t even know that they were in a relationship that was abusive because it reflected so many other relationships they had seen and read about. It is not okay or romantic to be abused. Angst is not romance. Threats of nonconsensual behavior is not okay. The creepy sleep watching scene from Twilight? You guessed it: NOT OKAY.
The media normalizes what we see. It desensitizes us from violence and misbehavior because of how much we see certain things. We are sold problematic media until we think that this is normal.
Instead, we need to normalize healthy relationships and independence. We need to protect young men and women and illustrate behavior that is not controlling, not abusive. We need to discuss problems in these “romantic” books and support authors that write stories that are healthy. We need to stand up for feminist works and highlight healthy behaviors or highlight negative behaviors in a negative way. We need to stop highlighting negative behaviors as positive.
I am done idealizing relationships that are unhealthy. I want to idealize equality in relationships and I hope that y’all are with me. Have a great weekend everyone.

Inspiration: Videos

I collect inspiration. Pictures, quotes, videos, a combination of them all. You name it, I probably have it.

Right now I’m procrastinating my textbook reading for my marketing and photography classes and am instead working on a compilation of videos that inspire me in one way or another.

Travel:

The colors in this video are gorgeous. New Zealand is near the top of my list of places that I want to travel to outside of the United States. The scenery there is stunning and I would love to be able to explore.

This video inspires me to appreciate the beauty of the world and everything around me. And also of course to travel.

This video is really cool because it’s sort of a stop motion style capturing of Paris. The style is really intriguing and seems a lot less daunting than some other video styles.

This video inspires me to learn new techniques of creation.

I love how happy this video makes me. This and the one below are so personal and fun. They make me smile to watch and to want to go on road trips. This summer I’m actually taking a road trip out to Seattle (hopefully!) and I’m so excited.

This video inspires me to do more.

I want to go to Big Sur so badly, it looks absolutely gorgeous there!

This video inspires me to visit more state and national parks and appreciate nature and all it has to offer.

Spoken Word/Vlog:

I love the different effects in this video. It’s a really simple style that I like a lot. Spoken word videos are moving and I love this poem. It’s awesome.

I love how simple this video is, yet how absolutely honest it is. I think spoken word and videos like this are very important aspects of making mental health less stigmatized and I would love to create honest and educational pieces like this.

This video inspires me to take more pictures, to preserve the memories that will one day be distant thoughts. I have boxes of pictures and they mean the world to me.

Artistic:

Nature videos are some of my favorite and this one wants me to work harder on noticing details and finding/setting up good shots. I love the lighting, there are certain times of day during each season that I find stunning for lighting. During winter it’s midmorning, when the light is bright and not quite above the trees yet.

This video is visually stunning, I love how Shawna overlays videos over each other. Water is one of my favorite elements and you can do so many creative things with it. I would love to learn how to overlay images in video.

Videos with an art piece created throughout are some of my favorites. Dodie’s songs are just plain lovely and this video is so unique.

Another stop motion video, like the Paris one. This one inspires me to not be afraid of time consuming projects because in the end they’ll be worth it. I can only imagine how long this one took but it turned out so great that I would love to try something like this someday.

Comedy/Short Film/Other:

This would be a cool type of project to work on. I really like short videos, they challenge people to get their point across quickly and I honestly wish Shawna had made a full length short film about this. It would have been so cool. Although like they said, all the good parts were shown in the trailer.

Simple, yet awesome video. To be honest I love outfit changes in things. The vintage vibe to this is really appealing and I think this is one of my favorite videos of Arden’s.

This would be a dream of mine to create a show like this. I love special effects, especially costumes and makeup, and this show is so cool!

Again with the special effects, so cool and these videos are so well made and I’m so inspired to work my hardest to create something like this.

Honestly all the videos in this section would be crazy to make, I want to say that I think I could one day make something like them but I’m honestly not sure. Ultimately I’d like to try to though! I just know I would definitely be behind the camera… Although on second thought, maybe making a short film would allow me to finally get back into acting.

If any of you happen to watch through all these videos, which one is your favorite? What types of things inspire you?

Have a lovely day everyone.

Review: Gemina

geminaawasoe

Just finished reading this gorgeous book the other day. It’s the sequel to the book Illuminae by the same authors. It follows Hanna and Nik, two new characters, as they try to protect their home. Here’s a link to the Goodreads page for a better description.

gemina2awasoe

Now I really enjoyed this book. It was super fast paced and addictive and I liked it a lot better than the first book. However, I did have some issues with it. Overall I would give it a 4/5 and I recommend this trilogy to anyone who enjoys scifi and survival stories.

gemina3awasoe

Side note: This book, like Illuminae, has super cool formatting with IM conversations and whatnot but the best part of this book? IT HAS JOURNAL ILLUSTRATIONS. Like give me journal entries and I will be so happy, give me illustrated journal entries and I will be the happiest girl on the face of the earth. And these illustrations are gorgeous too! My favorite parts of the book.

Anyways…

On to the spoilers!!! (And complaints)

This book was literally the same formatting as the first book. Girl doesn’t like boy, boy flirts, girl starts to fall for boy, boy and girl must save everyone and themselves, boy “dies”, they fall in love, THE END. I couldn’t get over the fact that it was the same story line. It was so physically painful!

Also every character was a stereotype…

Russian mob crime family

Overprotective single father

Spoiled rich girl

New boy that everyone loves who turns out to be someone else

There was no substance to the characters, it’s all stuff I’ve seen before and I honestly was really disappointed in the whole super stereotypical thug Russian family. Then there was the whole out of the blue “oh yeah, there’s actually a parallel universe” thing was just weird. Intriguing but so, so weird. I’m really hoping for more of an explanation in the third book to all the science stuff because if not I will be highly disappointed. So much is being left unexplained and just absurd. There are so many holes that need to be filled and so much science behind things that needs to be explained in order for me to better understand stuff. Like I understand that it’s fiction but come on! Make things sound plausible and not crazy.

This book was a highly emotional read and I really loved it, but I hope to see some improvement in book three.

So with that wonderful end to my review, I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon.

An Open Letter to my Media Literacy Professor

Dear Rob,

First off, I’d like to sum up your class in nine words. Thank you for scaring the shit out of me.

I really do mean that. I appreciated how thought provoking and downright terrifying this class was for me. I think the one thing that stuck out to me over the entire course were the words “if you’re not paranoid, you’re not paying attention.” This really struck a chord with me and opened my eyes to the way I think.

Today, I couldn’t help but wonder about what anxiety really is and why people have it. It obviously has something to do with the way our brains are wired but I almost wonder if it has anything to do with heightened sensitivities to the world around us. The more I think about it, the more I feel like my anxiety has more to do with the “big questions” than with the stupid rules I make myself. I feel like people with anxiety have a heightened sense of the world and a gut feeling that things don’t necessarily have to be what we’re told they are.

Going into this class, I never expected it to be the way it was. It was weird, and unnerving, and a strange way to start my day every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I learned so much more than I would have expected to considering when I told my roommates what we would talk about they thought you were crazy. I appreciated the strangeness though, I saw a lot of myself in the way you lectured, my friends could probably attest to that. It’s fun to get to talk about stuff that you’re excited about.

This class actually got me pretty motivated to do my own research, to actually learn more independently. I love learning, and I can’t wait to continue on with that for the rest of my life.

So with a final thought:

I think that a heightened sense of media literacy comes with being paranoid, and always questioning things. I think that it comes with the crazy talk and the conspiracy theories. There’s so much of the world that is unknown to us, so much of the universe that hasn’t been seen yet. There’s no way of knowing anything that goes on outside of our own bodies. I hate realizing it, but I have to. Our world is a lot bigger than I want it to be and there’s a lot about it that we don’t know about. We’ve been born into the middle of it and there’s no way out. We can just live.

Anyways, Rob, thank you for being such an awesome professor. Have a great day.

Adventure Duluth: Jekyll and Hyde at The Underground

This is quite a long overdue post, but hey! At least I’m making it.

theundergroundawasoe

So my boyfriend and I attended Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde about a month ago and I really enjoyed it! I love going to plays, honestly anything that has to do with theatre. I used to want to be an actress, way back in elementary school, and made it a point to always get cast in the lead roles (and also to memorize the entire plays just because I was that much of an overachiever). I was such a little drama queen. If I can find the old pictures I’ll make a future post about my dance and theatre days!

Anyways, back to the play. It was a small cast with a simple set but it packed a big punch. It was such a creepy play. I’ve read the book before and this play really brought it to life. They had put on a fog machine before the play started which I felt was unnecessary. By the time the play started, both my boyfriend and I had trouble breathing because the air was so thick and by the time intermission roled around, all the haziness was completely gone. I kind of wish that I would’ve not procrastinated so that I could’ve recommended the play while it was still showing, but oh well, lesson learned.

thedepotawasoe

So a helpful hint for those that have not gone to a play at the Duluth Underground before… This is a picture of the entrance! Follow the yellow line and the theater is at the bottom of the stairs and to the right of the train museum! I spent far too long looking for it and it was not an enjoyable time. This small theatre is definitely a place to check out if you’re into this kind of thing!

I’m attaching a link to the Duluth Playhouse website here, in case any of you would like to look into upcoming plays and events.

stateawasoe

I loved the simplicity of the set. The main focus was the door which I thought was really unique. I also thought it was really interesting how the actors that weren’t in the scene would sit, frozen in the background. It added to the eeriness factor of the entire play.

Since it was such close quarters it was interesting to be so close to the actors. Being able to see facial expressions so clearly and really see the action was great.

Overall this was a great experience and I can’t wait to go to another play soon.

Here’s a review from my boyfriend as well:

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was a riveting performance that surmised the struggle with our inner self and explored the battle between the conscious and unconscious mind. I enjoyed seeing the colorful acting styles and emotions that spread across the stage during this hour or so performance and highly recommend any lover of the arts to explore this epic story.

(Not gonna lie, I wish my review was this well written).

As I seem to always try to end off my posts with a question now, what is your favorite play that you have ever seen? I think the one that sticks out for me is one that I saw years ago, I want to say I was around eight or nine, and my mom took me and my sister to see a play version of some of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories. She was and still is one of my all time favorite authors and my sister and I used to pretend to be Mary and Laura so often that this experience was really special to me. It was also one of the first times that I ever got to see a real play and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Well, hope your Tuesday is a great one.

P.S. Also have I ever mentioned how much I just like to watch out for mistakes that people make? For example like when stage makeup isn’t properly blended? Haha, so much fun. Okay, now I’ll leave you. Enjoy your day.

Our Final Invention: AI

So do scientists really think that super intelligence is a good idea? Or are they just really really stupid?

Like honestly. In any way shape or form does it even seem okay to have technology be smarter than we are? People may think it’s okay, but I’m going to drag some movies into this.

Exhibit A:

Smart House, made by Disney. Here’s a promo for it:

And oh, what’s that? Some of the technologies are in our everyday lives now?!

Okay, cool. All seemingly harmless pieces of technology, right? Well how long until something is invented that will actually control an entire house, something that is intelligent on its own… And how long until that piece of technology turns bad?

Exhibit B:

So I don’t know if you’ve heard this or not, but scientists have supposedly isolated dinosaur DNA… WHAT

AND THIS

Like I can only see this taking one path

jurassic-park.jpg

There are literally four movies now that show how dumb of an idea this is.

I just honestly cannot comprehend how anyone could want to create something that could have the potential to kill us all?

I take that back. People are really that stupid; as can be seen with all of the nuclear technology the world has created.

Well…

Okay. So I’ll just move on past the stupidity of the invention of strong AI and just talk a little bit about some fun (?) things.

So first off, my professor was talking about how if we were to invent robots that were lifelike then we would create them as adults. Then he asked if we could imagine little seven pound robots and all I could think about was this:

Robots.jpg

I then took way too long thinking about how what if this movie was like some weird post human world that could actually exist someday. And then I made myself stop thinking about that and just enjoy this children’s movie as is.

Because honestly? This movie is freaking hilarious. And the world concept is so cool. As can be seen in this scene.

Next, I wanted to share with you a thought provoking video from Crash Course involving AI and personhood.

I thought it was quite interesting to think about. And also a topic that I really don’t like thinking about either. It’s just so confusing and mindboggling.

Okay, so lastly, I want to recommend a book that I read earlier this year called Illuminae. This book is so uniquely written and also had a very central character that is AI. I would highly recommend it if you’re interested in science fiction and AI and really unique books!

After seeing all this information, what do you all think about the seemingly inevitable invention of this insane technology? Will it blend in? Or will it destroy us all?

Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Don’t let the inevitability of a robot takeover get you down.

You Will Have Understood

I copied these words off the blackboard in my media literacy class the other day and then ended up spending over an hour thinking about them.

It’s a profound thought to have, sitting here and realizing that someday you will understand all of the crazy things that occur in your lifetime. I know I occasionally have these thoughts multiple times a day (but it’s a rarity). Usually I end up months, or even years down the road looking back on one event and realizing how it caused a chain reaction of other events to lead to where I am today.

1 Samuel 12:16 says:

Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.

DSC_0085.JPG

There are so many things that I now realize had to happen in order for me to get where I am today. And I know that the things that are happening to me right now will someday make sense to me. But I want to have some sense of why my life is the way it is and why I have to experience the things that I have to experience. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to me, my life.

I look back on my past and I feel like I have so many regrets, and I can never convince myself that I have so much life left to live. I spend all my time caught up in the past never fully embracing the moment.

I started this post last week and I wrote that Bible verse down and I wish I could say that I do that, that I stop and see what God has done and what he will do but all I do is regret and dream and get stuck in the infinite possibilities of what could have been. I have yet to feel truly satisfied with where I am at, there’s always something that holds me back.

It’s hard admitting this to the internet, because I don’t even like admitting it to myself. I want to believe that I believe that God has a plan for me, but I don’t know if I do. I keep wishing my life away, thinking things will be better someday. I continually see what my past has done to get me where I am today, but I never think towards my future. It’s just a giant blank. I have these infinite “what ifs” about my past, but my future is empty.

I just listened to this song today. This honestly epitomizes what is going on in my brain right now.

I don’t know if life will ever make sense to me. But I truly wish I could be happy with who I am right now.

So, happy Sunday y’all.

I’ll talk to you on Tuesday.

A Rant Regarding Black Mirror

At the suggestion of my media literacy professor I decided to watch the show Black Mirror.

Out of the thirteen episodes that are up on Netflix, I’ve watched seven of them. Spoiler alert: I hate the show. This post will highlight why I do. As a disclaimer I will be talking about main points in the episodes so if you don’t want to be spoiled I would recommend you don’t read this post.

blackmirrortitlecard

So Black Mirror is a British anthology series that follows a different story line and cast each episode. Every episode has a dystopic theme that seems to take place in a distant future, though I think they’re supposed to reflect what our culture nowadays is heading towards.

I’m going to talk about the episodes that really turned me off of the show and why I don’t think I’ll continue watching it if they continue to create more episodes.

 So White Christmas, an image from the episode is in the upper left, is a three story special that connects in a very interesting way. Now cheating is a main theme in this episode, as well as the episode The Entire History of You (image in the bottom right). Now, I’m not questioning the ethics that go into the technology in these episodes, I don’t really care about that, these technologies are not a reality at the moment and it’s not something that I’m going to question.

In both of these episodes, the men find out that their partners cheated on them and essentially go “crazy”. They attack, harm, and even kill people because they are so overcome by the fact that they were cheated on. This seriously concerned me, that they would make these men take such extreme measures in finding out what their partners did. I can see why they do this in a dramatic sense, but it’s really sick. The violence, in my opinion is completely unnecessary. They also highlight really toxic relationships. The man in the Entire History episode comes across as really abusive and controlling. This is NOT OKAY.

Moving on to the episode Fifteen Million Merits. I really enjoyed this episode, until the end. I think that they really cheated on the ending. Essentially what happened was that this man went on to a talent show in order to try and free himself and others around him from a slave-like existence. He takes extreme measures to do this and what does he do? He chooses to let everyone else live in enslavement solely so that he can be free. He leaves his one friend in an extremely degrading sexual show so that he can have a view of the outside world. I honestly can’t understand how someone could ever choose that. I understand that he must have been desperate for freedom but he never acted that way, and he really acted like he wanted to make a difference in his world. It was a disappointing ending. On a different note, the whole porn station thing was absolutely disgusting as well and I have no idea why they found that to be a necessary part of the episode at all.

The final episode that I watched that I really despised was National Anthem. This episode was just sad and gross and I honestly don’t even want to get into it. Just know that this episode should not have been made.

I don’t understand the violence. The toxic relationships. The exploitation. It’s a dystopic show, but these themes could have been portrayed in a much better way. Things could have been handled so much better. I’m really disappointed in how Black Mirror honestly used women as props and things to dispose of in order to give the men their story. Happen to notice that women are barely featured in any of the episodes I mentioned? Except to be the targets of violence, or be sex objects, or who cheat. Good job Black Mirror.

Now I will admit that there were some episodes that I watched that I actually kind of enjoyed. I did find some issues with them, but I’m also very picky with shows so the fact that I even found these enjoyable in the slightest was surprising with how much I despised the rest of the episodes. These all came from the most recent season.

I’m not going to go into specifics and I won’t spoil these episodes because I actually recommend you watch these episodes if you want. They really have great moralistic messages to them and I appreciated that. Women were portrayed in a much better light (as you can see, women are the main characters in all three episodes). They are strong characters, with actual stories!!! Not just throw away characters! Yay!!

I really enjoyed that two of these episodes (Nosedive and Hated in the Nation) really pushed the view of being aware of the presence of social media in our lives. It was nice to see how we need to be careful of what we say, especially about other people, but also showing that we shouldn’t be afraid of how other people “rate” us. I think these were very relevant and important topics.

San Junipero was just a cute episode, that highlighted to importance of being able to be who you truly are.

Now I highly doubt that I will EVER continue to watch this show if it gets more episodes. It was disappointing in the way that is portrayed women among other things and I really can’t understand the appeal with how many underlying problems the show has.

Have any of you watched Black Mirror? And if you have, what did you think of it?

Hope everyone has a nice day.

Empowertising

One of my favorite podcasts is called Stuff Mom Never Told You by HowStuffWorks.com. Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time driving to and from my hometown and Duluth and that’s about a two and a half hour drive each way. When I drive long distances I really enjoy listening to educational podcasts. One of my other favorite podcasts is called Stuff You Missed in History Class, also by HowStuffWorks. I highly recommend both.

So this episode that I listened to a week or so ago was about this concept called “empowertising”. Here’s the description of the episode because I don’t think I can really describe it well enough:

Ads purporting to sell feminist empowerment might depict women in a better light than sexist ads of yore, but do they actually contribute to gender equality? Cristen and Caroline look at the history of using feminism to sell products to women and whether advertisers’ intentions matter.

Advertising has been an interesting topic to me but always more on the graphic design end of it. I’ve never spent a lot of time thinking about what makes people want to buy things or why.

In the past few years I’ve seen a lot of ads come under scrutiny for their sexist content but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything about explicitly feminist ads.

First I’m going to show you some examples of past and modern sexist ads and then show a few of these empowering ads and discuss some of my opinions about what Cristen and Caroline discussed in the podcast.

alcoa-1953-alcoa-aluminums-bottle-caps-open-without-a-knife-blade-a-bottle-opener-or-even-a-husband
Alcoa, 1953
chase-and-sanborn-1952-this-ad-makes-light-of-domestic-violence
Chase & Sandborn, 1952
van-heusen-1951-show-her-its-a-mans-world
Van Heusen, 1951
maxresdefault
Burger King
1348267395546705
Pepsi, 2011

Those are just a few of the examples that I found and I honestly have no intention to speak about them further because they’re really just disgusting pieces of media in my mind.

54ac3d3d2af03_-_elle-06-ads-h
Virginia Slims, 1968
54ac3d4c9eb11_-_elle-10-ads-h
Dove, 2014
54ac3d4f4fbb0_-_elle-11-ads-h
Under Armour, 2014

This year, SheKnows Media did research regarding #Femvertising, which is essentially just another name for Empowertising. Here’s a link to the article.

The statistics in this article shocked me. Just how men compared to women in how they responded was something that I didn’t expect. The disparity between the groups was honestly kind of scary, to think that men are this ignorant to how bad it is to display women in these degrading, sexual, unrealistic ads.

Definitely check out the ads that won the #Femvertising awards this year. These are ads that are taking a step in the right direction for feminism. Here’s the link!

I think that representation and empowering images are so important in advertising. Everyone needs representation and everyone could use some empowering. I think that advertising and the overall way of thinking of many people in the world needs to be changed. We have a long way to go, that’s for sure, but long strides have been made and that’s really important to acknowledge.

One more thing that I want to talk about before I leave off for this post is this concept of “rebranding feminism”.

In 2013, Elle UK paired up with three advertising brands to rebrand feminism because they thought that feminism had an image problem that needed to be “fixed”. I don’t really know where this thinking came from because feminism cannot be rethought, or rebranded. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a way of thinking that strives for equality for all people. This frustrated me to think about because they essentially treated the advancement of women’s rights as an outdated product that needed to be made cool again. In my opinion, very very wrong Elle.

What do you guys think of the concept of empowertising? Cool? Unnecessary? Making a difference or none at all?

I think this was a very eye opening podcast and I hope you decide to give it a try, and maybe listen to some of their other podcasts as well, there are so many interesting ones that I want to talk about.

Have a nice day everyone!