1.5 Years Later

It's been a year and a half since I cut all ties with a long-time friend of mine. After over ten years of friendship, I think a lot of people would have a hard time dropping someone unless they did something catastrophic. Especially people who value Being a Good Friend. But Being A Good Friend doesn't make someone else be a good friend to you.

Some people think getting into your life early enough is all they need to do to be a life-long friend. Some people don't contact you unless they need something out of you. Some people don't know how to treat people with respect and don't care to learn. I'm not saying this as an indictment-- just fact.

This is a short post, but in the spirit of spring cleaning and new beginnings, I just wanted to remind you that you can get rid of pretty much anything you want if it is not helping you grow or be better. Just because you're used to something, or have put a lot of time and energy into something, doesn't mean that it is a good idea to keep moving forward with.

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Book Review: The Wangs vs. The World

As you may know, I'm trying to read more this year-- specifically books. I read a lot of articles and internet pieces but I genuinely haven't picked up many books since grade-school for non-academic purposes so I'm teaching myself to carve out time for that again. This month I told myself I had to finish the book I've been picking up and putting down for months.

I got a free copy of The Wangs vs. The World from Houghton Mifflin way back in October and finally got through it. Here's my take on it.

Centering on the fall of an immigrant family that "made it" and then suddenly found themselves "unmade" at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, The Wangs vs. The World centers on the family and their cross-country road trip to reunite and somehow reclaim their family's former glory-- once lost to the Communists, twice lost to America, where Charles had to start over, and now thrice lost to financial institutions.

This book is not "hilarious" but it does have some funny moments-- I would say the majority of the comedy is more in the absurdities of the improbabilities and indignities the family faces, which is a very common comedic sensibility in Asian immigrants and their descendants. The characters are well-written and multi-layered, each with their own quirks and absurd dreams which is also a hallmark of the first generation of Americans born to immigrants. The charm of those book lies largely in how very real the portrayal of the family dynamic is and the varying values of the different characters based on their generation, cultural upbringing, and social standing-- unique to each character despite their all being a family. 

My two main grievances with the book are these: First, I did not like the Charles, the patriarch, at all. He's the kind of man I have known very well in life and I find him insufferable. The story, though very much about everyone else as much as him is set in motion because of him. It begins with him and ends with him. To me he is the epitome of the idea of "loving your family, without liking them." He is the father that his children love, but don't really like. The story really did feel like, for all its expansion on the other characters, a universe built around him and his own ego and its results. Secondly, I did not get much closure from the book's end, which I will not detail, but I'd say I felt that only 60% of the emotional loose ends were tied up and the floor fell out below me on the last page. And not in a powerful way, just in a bewildering way that had me feeling like I should have read a version with about 30 more pages to wrap everything up.

Overall it's a decent read, and as someone who is trying to read more books by and about Asian Americans, it definitely represented the family dynamics in a robust and real way. It's a little crass, a little too-honest, and very much about humor in situations moreso than the turn-of-phrase in the narration. Perhaps it's just not for someone who is turned off by stories centered on a patriarch and how his mistakes affect everyone else. 

This review is also available on my goodreads account-- if you're a user too, feel free to connect with me there an recommend some books to me!
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Videos from Austin

2 weeks ago I went on a trip to Austin to see Mia (of xoMia and Fake Goth Girls) and Nicole (of Writes Like A Girl and Breakfast for Dinner). I finally got around to editing video from the trip so here is a little video of some of the fun stuff we did together!

I didn't capture everything we did-- we watched some serious Ultimate Beastmaster on Netflix. I also petted Mia & Colby's cats and we did Tarot things and had lunches with other new friends.

We also filmed some collab videos. The tag for Mia's channel isn't up yet, but you can check out the mystery Disney Lyric challenge we did together!

I still have to film a haul video for this trip too, but I will get around to it soon. If you want to keep up with my videos, please subscribe to my channel.

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march small goals

Okay, so I've really been neglecting goal posts, but they are pretty important to helping me focus on stuff each month, and Nicole has a really cute round up of them that I miss participating in. So I'm getting back on this (and worrying less about the blog image for them which was making me weirdly anxious). 

I didn't give myself goals last month, but moving forward I'll start with how the last month's goals went. For now, I'm jumping straight into goals for this month!

Get on To-Doist. So, I love my paper planners, but they are honestly better for conceptualizing outings and major tasks each day than they are my everyday functioning. After listening to Fake Goth Girls talk about their love of Todoist, I'm sold. 

Finish a book-- maybe even two! I'm in the middle of one book right now, and while I do want to aim for finishing 1 book every two months at least, I've also decided that I want to alternate fiction and self-improvement-y types of books. I'm hoping to finally finish the book I've been stalled out on for the past couple weeks and start a business-oriented book!

Start Meal Planning again. Another better use for my paper planner, I think this will help me stay healthier and make me better about grocery shopping. 

Go to the gym twice a week. I'm really trying to push myself to be more active as the weather gets less grim. Maybe I'll skip the gym if I can get in an hour long walk or something, but I need to stop planning weekends around food and netflix...

Blog more, get more videos up. I've shot several videos that I haven't edited... that needs to change. I'm hoping to get 2 more blog posts and 2 more videos up this month. 

What are your goals for this month?

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Life Update 013

So, it's been a while. I have been really slacking on my blogging game, and my content creation game in general these days. But I've been up to a lot so hopefully it will totally make sense why I have been super sluggish these days. I hope that the content I put out for you guys is still entertaining and thoughtful, if a little less frequent. I've been getting some good feedback on my last post about why I think unpaid internships are wrong so I'm hoping that's a good sign. Anyway, life updates.

My cousin moved in. She's makin' moves and one of them is in with me and my other roommate. We combined our living room and dining room into one common area, and now my cousin lives in our former living room. It's technically a bedroom anyway, so I guess it's really just being used for its intended purpose. I'm really glad to have her because not only is she generally a ton of fun, but I think this city is going to give her more of the kinds of opportunities she wants.

I've been sleeping in more than usual on the weekends. It's colder than ever and more often than usual I'm just sleeping in and napping. Part of it might also be the torrent of heartbreaking news I'm getting these days on social media and just not wanting to deal with it. I'm going to try to shift away from sleeping through hours and toward reading through them-- with books rather than feeds.

Speaking of books, I read milk and honey. I really enjoyed it. I love poetry and I appreciated the journey this took me on. Being made up of short poems, I think it was a good transition into making time to read again. I highly recommend for poetry lovers out there.

I'm getting out more. I'm trying really hard to really connect with more people these days. Being someone who loves people but hates getting out, I've really built strong circles of convenience and digital access with close friends, but I have a hard time meeting new people, or even hanging out with people I care about who are a little less convenient to meet up with. I'm trying to grab more lunches, accept more invitations, and generally be outside my house more.

I have been treating myself too much. In the midst of unprecedented not-good societal conditions in my lifetime, I require more self-care than before. Unfortunately, due to my generally outrageous personality this means I have been a little too spendy. My fatalistic sense of humor is compounding this with thoughts like "what's a little money when the president is anti-science?" (Can I blame Mia 'what's a little debt when we don't even know if any of this is real?' Moore for this new thought process?) It also kinda goes hand-in-hand with my being out more... I spend less money when I am off the streets.

Hidden Figures gave me life. Give it all the awards. Go see it if you haven't yet already! Honestly I'm trying to watch more movies about POC fighting the odds and achieving greatness. We also watched Spare Parts on Amazon Instant Video (free with Prime, y'all!) and I loved it! That one is about 4 undocumented high school students who enter a robotics competition despite having the cards stacked against them. It was fantastic and is also based on a true story.

I found a new lunch spot. I'm always happy for a new and delicious lunch spot I can walk to from work. Even better, it's a Japanese street food joint. Nothing better than a cabbage and shrimp pancake!

I'm hoping to pick up my blogging pace a bit, but bear with me. With all the change happening around us, I think we're all re-examining and redefining our relationships to the things we hold dear and the ways we use our most limited resource: time. I still love this blog and all the people who read, but it's definitely not the good old days when I put out like 8 posts per month.

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