March Favourites

TV

March was all about whatever show I could find on Netflix while working on my embroidery projects (reviews coming soon!).

Nicole Byer’s new reality competition show Nailed It! features amateur bakers struggling to recreate Pinterest-worthy cakes. Featuring Jacques “French Willy Wonka” Torres, and a charming new guest judge each week, watch people miserably try to recreate culinary perfection.

nailed-it-trump-cake
Nailed it! From Decider.com

The titular Grace and Frankie are two older women left reeling after their husbands of over forty years leave them…for each other. Forced to rebuild their entire lives, the two women camp out in their beach house, and become unlikely friends. This is the first show I’ve ever seen from the perspective of older women, and it’s brilliant. I recommend watching this on a rainy day with a big packet of biscuits.

The Good Place was much, much better than I expected! I can’t give many details without spoiling it for you…but Jason Mendoza, the “pre-successful” DJ absolutely steals the show.

Movie

I didn’t have high hopes of this year’s Lara Croft reboot, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw it in the cinema. (MAJOR KEY: If you’re disabled, and with a carer, they’ll get a free ticket!) It has all the excitement of a true adventure movie, but doesn’t get bogged down in clichés. I was also glad to see an Asian character, Lou Ren (Daniel Wu), with such a prominent part! Hopefully in the next film he’ll be upgraded from sidekick to a meatier role.

Holy shit, my dad’s secret double life was being a nerd

Two years after its release, I finally watched Moana. IT. WAS. FANTASTIC. The music was amazing, the characters were lovable (except for that one fucking crab), and the film was just everything I could have wanted from a Disney movie.

tumblr_ohhnsbrsva1u0f08eo1_500
U R G H

 

 

Books

I picked up The Monk of Mokha at the library, and I really enjoyed it! It’s the biography of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American man. Dave Eggers recounts his journey from growing up as a first-generation immigrant in San Francisco, and how he stumbled upon his life’s work: restoring Yemeni coffee’s reputation as a luxury good…in the middle of a civil war.

Games

Fungi is an adorable card game where your objective is to collect as many mushrooms as you can, and cook them in a little pan with some butter and cider! The rules are a tad complex, but soon you’ll be outright hoarding mushrooms like a pro.

Music

Holland is the world’s first openly gay K-Pop star, and released his first single, Neverland, earlier this year. Neverland is about his experience growing up gay. Holland hopes that with his debut, he can be the role model that he lacked for LGBT+ children in South Korea.

Janelle Monae’s first singles from her new album Dirty Computer. Are. Fantastic. My favourite is Django Jane. Go listen!!

Youtube

Sewing is an expensive hobby, so I live vicariously through sewing youtubers, and vintage advertisements like this one. As cheesy as it is, it’s a wonderful look into the fashion industry of yore.

Advertisements

February Favourites

It’s Favourites time! What did you get up to last month?

TV

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a hilarious show chock-full of even better musical numbers. Here’s one of my favourites:

Aziz Ansari’s Master of None follows actor Dev Shah’s love life. Discussing race, gender, and the complexities of immigrating to America, Master of None is funny but thoughtful.
I wasn’t planning to enjoy Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye. Ever since What Not To Wear folded in 2013, I was determined to not let any other makeover show take its place in my heart. But Queer Eye has beaten it fair and square. It has all the fun of a typical makeover show, with the added bonus of a charming, all-gay cast.

Movies

Ingrid Goes West is a weird, funny take on how Instagram affects us. The eponymous Ingrid is a young woman that obsesses over the lives of random, aspirational, avocado-eating ladies she finds on Instagram. Unsurprisingly, it all turns to shit. This movie was bonkers but also incredibly compelling. Go watch it!

Youtube

I never thought a lengthy video of a man dismembering an entire tuna could be exciting. Yuji Haraguchi shows us how.

Kasey Golden draws all 150 pokemon from memory, in her own distinctive style.

Sacramento Koi made a documentary describing how they purchase koi from rural Japanese breeders.

Michelle Erickson, previous Ceramics Resident at the Victoria and Albert Museum, recreates an 18th century agateware teapot.

Games

After about a year of skirting my mayoral duties, I finally came back to my town in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. The game is just as sweet and entertaining as I remembered. If you’re looking for a laid-back, slice-of-life game, this one’s for you.
Developer Hit-Point recently released Tabi Kaeru (Travel Frog). This precious game lets you pack your frog’s backpack with food and equipment as it travels across Japan. If you’re lucky, your frog will give you a lovely postcard, and some souvenirs to enjoy upon its return! Unfortunately, Tabi Kaeru is still entirely in Japanese, but you can find an English visual guide here.

Other

If you need a quick pick me up, try r/mousegifs!

Have a great March, everyone!

Featured image from Pixeljeff.tumblr.com.

January Favourites

Welcome to 2018! What have you been up to this month?

Resolutions vs.  short-term goals

I’ve made resolutions for the New Year for most of my life, but….they never worked out too well. I’ve done longer-term goals, but I’ve found that whatever illness I have has pretty much nixed my ability to stick to deadlines. Instead, I decided to create a page in my bullet journal that has several short-term goals that I want to accomplish for this month. It’s a mix of fun self care, as well as chores that need to get done before I start growing whiskers. So far it’s been going well!

Books

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – what a fantastic book! I grew up outside of the UK, and a lot of what I learnt about anti-racism was from an American perspective. Getting to know more about my country’s history, and present with racism has helped me to understand issues outside of an American perspective. I highlighted my favourite quotes from this book on Women’s Republic.

The Marriage Pact is a thriller about a pair of newlyweds accidentally getting trapped in a marriage cult. Very American, weirdly written, but somehow, so compelling!! Definitely a book to save for a rainy day.

Games

I played Firewatch over the holidays and it was amazing. You play as Henry, a man who, in the wake of his wife’s early onset Alzheimer’s, chose to take a job as a firewatcher in Shoshone National Forest. Henry’s only contact with the outside world is his supervisor, Delilah – who he can only speak to via radio. This game starts off as sweet, but proceeds to crush your every emotion. It’s expensive, and a fairly short game, but the payoff is absolutely worth it.

Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionare’s Conspiracy, in the tradition of all Layton games, is a right mouthful. But in a break from tradition – this game’s Layton is a woman! I have been furiously jotting down my thoughts, and plan to write a full review.

Crafting

I have a ginormous cross stitch kit that I bought when I was in Thailand last summer (over 35,000 stitches) and I’m barely done with a quarter of it. I got fed up, and instead bought some adorable (and more importantly, small) cross stitch kits from Etsy. I’ve been working assiduously at a little pair of otters, and it’s coming along swimmingly! I plan to make some crafting updates in the future, so keep an eye out!

Movies

I finally took the plunge and watched The Room this week. Oh my goodness. It was truly so incredible. I had NO IDEA that it was possible to see that much of someone’s arsecrack in a non-pornographic film. Of course, The Disaster Artist was just as amazing.

Podcasts

By The Book is EVERYTHING my lazy self could wish for. I get to experience the life-changing promises of self-help books, with zero of the effort! if only I had the effort. One of my favourite episodes is America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money.

Youtube

Vox harkens back to my puzzle-solving, dollshouse loving childhood, but with a creepy true-crime twist!

The only thing better than terrible movies are lengthy Youtube videos talking about how terrible they are.

Women discuss what being butch, or masculine of centre means to them.

Writing

I found this article on building a writing system super useful! I’m not able to write every day because…illness…but I have been consciously brainstorming and planning a lot more often. At Women’s Republic, I’ve also published an update to my post about John Miller, the man who admitted to being a multiple rapist on his Facebook page. And lastly, I wrote an article about the harm that pervasive callout posts can create.

 

 

 

What have you been up to this month? Have you decided to make resolutions this year, or try something new like I did?

 

December Favourites: Comics, movies, and feminism

Reading

I finally bought a hardback copy of Junji Ito’s Uzumaki (which I first read earlier this year), and strangely, actually holding it in my hands has made it even more terrifying. I’ll admit that I barely got past the first two chapters, and it’s sitting forebodingly by my bed. I’ll make it through one day!

I also bought the first volume of Sagaa comic I started in June. I’m ecstatic that I finally have my own copy, and that I can start collecting the entire series now.

Film

I saw Murder on the Orient Express the other week with my family, and I loved it so much. The way it was shot was so cool that it made up for the uh….lackluster ending. Yes, I’m thinking about doing a video essay on this one too, but this’ll probably only be a few minutes, as opposed to the 1 hour long speech I had planned for Atomic Blonde.

My new favourite film OF ALL TIME is Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It’s honestly like the director went inside my brain and made my perfect film. Eggsy speaking bad Swedish? Check. Young Colin Firth? Check. Mr Pickle? Check. ELTON JOHN????!!! Check.

I WOULD NEVER HURT MR PICKLE!!

Feminism

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a water sign – I cry easily, and hard – especially when sitting with the knowledge that I’ve hurt or offended someone. Unsurprisingly, this directs the conversation back to me. Here are some texts that have made me resolve to focus less on my snot-stained life, and more on the person I’ve upset.

Dr. Mamta Motwani Accapadi discusses how white women’s interactions with women of colour centre upon their own emotions, Dr. Maura Cullen observes this in herself, and Kelli Seaton interviews black educators in Philadelphia’s seventh ward to see how this dynamic plays out with white female teachers in largely black schools.

Youtube

The Getty Museum has a Youtube channel! Here’s a video explaining how ancient manuscripts were created.

Podcasts

Heaven’s Gate, hosted by Glynn Washington, discusses the eponymous cult that would eventually culminate in a mass-suicide. What makes the show all the more riveting is the host, and listeners, sharing their own experiences with cults.

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Featured image from Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

November Favourites

Hi everyone! Let’s get stuck in.

Books

Angie Thomas’s debut novel, The Hate U Give, describes the life of Starr, a young black teen whose life is upended after seeing her best friend get murdered by a white police officer. She becomes caught between two worlds – that of her largely white high school, that urges her to sweep her black identity and politics under the rug, and her black neighbourhood, that encourages her to come forward with the truth of what she witnessed. If you like YA, but don’t like the clichés and whiteness of the genre, this one’s for you.

N. K. Jemisin is the fantasy/sci-fi writer extraordinaire, and this month I started her Broken Earth trilogy. Broken Earth’s world is, unsurprisingly, a world shaken by regular, cataclysmic earthquakes and natural disasters that threaten the existence of the human race. Tragedy and angst ensues. Give up waiting on George R. Martin to get his act together, and read her work instead.

And finally, a sneak preview for next month’s favourite – Louisa Hall’s Speak. A short excerpt of this was included at the end of The Fifth Season, the first book of Broken Earth, and I’m already so enthralled. I have a couple more books to read before I make it to this, but I’m already sure I’ll love it.

Websites

I have a lot of trouble just sitting down and focusing on any one thing, especially if I’m using my laptop at the same time. What’s really helped me is this nifty website that plays the Animal Crossing soundtrack by the hour. Now when I need to make a real dent in my pile of revision, I sit down, put this on, and work away.

Youtubers

Jessica Kellgren-Fozard is truly the disabled, lesbian representation I’ve needed in my life. Have I mentioned that she has an adorable wife and two tiny dogs?!! As if this wasn’t good enough, she also does amazing vintage hair tutorials. I am waiting very impatiently for my damn rollers to arrive so that I can try and follow her retro example.

Podcasts

The Worst Bestsellers reams all those unfortunate paperbacks that somehow climb the bestsellers list. I’m steadily working my way through their discussions of the Twilight series and am truly having the best time of my life.

Other cool things I enjoyed this month

I’ve wrote a personal essay at Women’s Republic about how I’ve started to use a wheelchair to help me with my chronic pain. If you’d like to read more of my work, you can find me there!

Featured image from Jessica Kellgren-Fozard’s Twitter

October Favourites

Here’s to being another month closer to winter break!

Books

Tracy Chevalier’s Girl With A Pearl Earring is a historic fiction novel inspired by the painting’s model. Griet is a maid trapped in the dangerous dynamics of the Vermeer family, and her complete lack of control over her life.

I also read some books about female addicts – both difficult reads in their own right. Cat Marnell’s How To Murder Your Life is a really acerbic, actually brutally honest account of how her addiction affected her life.

Roddy Doyle’s novel, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, describes Paula Spencer, an Irish woman that became addicted to alcohol as a result of her husband’s 18 year abuse spree.

Youtubers

Primitive Technology is one man’s attempt to make primitive huts and tools out of local mud. He actually made this mud hut with indoor heating.

Film

Atomic Blonde was such an incredible film. Set in 1970s Berlin, Lorraine (Charline Theron, of course) is a British agent forced to team up to get hold of a list containing the true identities of agents on either side of the curtain. It is honestly the most hardcore film I’ve seen in too long, AND it features a tough, complex female lead.

giphy
Truly my dream woman.

TV

I binged Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor this month. Kaiji is a NEET that made the fatal mistake of co-signing a massive loan. Now that the original debtor failed to pay, he’s given the opportunity to join an illegal gambling ring on the S.S. Espoir to pay his debts, and maybe earn back more. Creator Nobuyuki Fukumoto twists traditional games of chance to create tense strategy that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.

Podcasts

Tumanbay is a gripping audiodrama, inspired by the Ancient Egyptian Mamluk slave dynasty. Think of this as Game of Thrones but for your ears. Season 2 just wrapped, but there are still plenty of episodes to listen to on your ride home.

Featured image from The Hollywood Reporter.

October Favourites

Film

What Happened to Monday (2017) is set in a dystopian future where people are forced to have one child maximum, despite multiple births becoming common. Thanks to this law, seven identical sisters (Noomi Rapace) have been forced into hiding for their entire lives. Each sister gets to leave their home one day per week, disguising themselves as ‘Karen Settman’. I love gritty, dramatic dystopian movies and this (mostly) didn’t disappoint. The only drawback this film had for me is that the sisters are meant to be English, but Rapace’s thick Swedish accent breaks the illusion.

TV

Boku no Hero Academia is a funny, snappy anime about a world where everyone’s a superhero.

I watched Arrested Development for the first time, and it was amazing. My especial favourite is the acclaimed never nude, Tobias.

Youtubers

I fell down a Youtube rabbit hole into the world of beautiful, bug-eyed fish. My favourite is Jennifer Lynx’s Solid Gold Aquatics, a treasure trove of goldfish expertise.

Podcasts

Buzzfeed’s Another Round is a comedy podcast hosted by Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, with a helping of booze and squirrelphobia. Listen to my favourite episode below:

Red Handed is a new true crime podcast that is absolutely riveting. Honestly, all the episodes are good, but the show might not be for you if graphic descriptions of physical and sometimes sexual violence.

Books

Sarah Knight’s The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A Fuck encourages us all to do just that. Here’s to ignoring the Kardashians!

Featured image from Solid Gold Aquatics.

July Favourites

Books

I turned 19 this month, and two fantastic books I got for my birthday are Cinder and The Three Body Problem.

Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is a dystopian fairytale that follows a young, put-upon Cinder that contends with being a cyborg, an evil stepmother, and being thrust into a political nightmare. Unlike a lot of YA, this book rejects the genre’s most irritating tropes while also centering on people of colour. Asian characters people the novel, and it’s refreshing to see them being taken seriously as humans (or cyborgs).

The Three Body Problem is a sci-fi novel by Chinese author Liu Cixin. After being disappointed by some of Kim Stanley Robinson’s most popular books, I’ve moved away from sci-fi. This book has 100% brought me back. Liu merges the aftershocks of the Cultural Revolution with his own brand of sci-fi, and it’s absolutely compelling. I’ve already reserved the rest of the trilogy at the library and I can’t wait to get my hands on them!!

Comics

Ever since I started uni, I’ve been feeling very disconnected from the LGBT+ community. Back in high school, I was surrounded by other lesbian and bi girls – now I’m studying in a different country where I’m the only person in my entire friend group that’s LGBT+. To stop myself from feeling all on my lonesome, I’ve been reading some LGBT+ comics!

Kabi Nagata’s autobiographical manga My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness was relatable in so many ways. She describes her experience with mental illness, how she grew to let go of her parents’ expectations, exploring her sexuality, and how recovery helped her become a full person.

Gengoroh Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband follows Yaichi, a single dad dealing with the aftermath of his estranged brother’s death. When his brother-in-law, Mike comes to visit him in Japan, he’s shocked by how much his brother kept from him. Over the course of the series, Yaichi discovers how his reaction to his brother’s homosexuality contributed to their estrangement, and begins to heal and become more open-minded about us LGBT+ folks. In my opinion, the manga is for straight people, thanks to Yaichi as an avatar for the homophobic but willing to change, and Mike’s eternal patience and willingness to put up with homophobia around him. That asides, I thought this was a really sweet story and I was so excited

TV

GLOW!!! Oh my god, I love this show. I’m writing this right as I finished the first season and I’m so excited. I was a fan of wrestling already (Stone Cold Steve Austin has an AMAZING podcast if you’re interested) and I was so excited to see so many women wrestle. I’m really excited to see them explore the issues and characters they brought up in the first season and take them further. Who’s your favourite so far? Mine is Carmen and how she overcame her anxiety. I’m curious about how the show will deal with the racial stereotypes they use for their heels, and whether the women of colour in the show will be able to break out of the boxes they’ve been forced into, and whether the white women feign ignorance. It’s out on Netflix right now, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Film

Okja is an American Korean movie about corporate greed, and environmental activism. It also left me snivelling and worrying what would happen if my dog was a super pig owned by a corporation.

Youtubers

I’ve already pushed Lindsay Ellis here before, but she really does make AMAZING video essays. They’re well-thought out, funny, and helped me think more critically about my own reviews.

Somebody else that I’ve mentioned here before is Maangchi – seriously, watch any of her videos on fried chicken and tell me you aren’t salivating.

Podcasts

Never Before with Janet Mock is brilliant. Thought provoking. Exciting. FABULOUS. Also, her interview with Lena Dunham made me see her in a new light, which shocked me too.

Life

In July I deleted all my social media apps, and only kept messaging apps. I still think I can cut down on the amount of time I spend tied to my devices, but I’m glad that I at least can’t aimlessly tool around on my phone anymore.

And lastly, a very belated favourite – the birth of Beyoncé and Jay’s beautiful twins!!

Featured image from Netflix.

June favourites

Hello, everyone! Cheers to 2017 being halfway done.

I recently started reading Saga – an amazing comic about a universe where a war between a planet and its moon has bloodied the entire galaxy. Also, there’s a precious seal named Ghüs that wears dungarees and fights crime on his days off.

Ghus for June Favourites
I told you!!

I recently went to visit my partner in Bangkok and was lucky enough to visit the Ancient City museum. This is a massive, open-air exhibit that replicates historic Thai architecture, and culture. This place is honestly more gorgeous than I could ever have imagined and I absolutely recommend a visit!!!

 

This is the outside of a building that features Ancient Thai literature. Also it’s on a LAKE.

I’ve been listening to The Adventure Zone (a D&D podcast hosted by the McElroy brothers and their dad) religiously. Mostly because I can pretend that all the expensive 5e rule books I bought are getting some use.

Faeries of the Faultlines is an art book available on Kickstarter that features Iris Compiet’s gorgeous, imaginative fairytale creations.

Esther Perel’s podcast, Where Should We Begin lets us listen in on her one-time marriage counselling sessions. You can listen to the first episode for free here.

Laci Green outing herself as a snake. Sip sip!!

zayn

May favourites

I’ve been listening  to The Emancipation of Mimi and 4 non-stop this month. When are Mimi and Bey going to collab tho?

Designated Survivor is a tense, fast-paced show concerning an alternate America where almost all of congress has been murdered in a terrorist attack, and one man with no political experience finds himself becoming president in the aftermath.

Chef’s Table profiles a different chef in each episode, from the eccentric (Magnus Nilsson – why do you want us to eat moss??) to those that actually seem to make good food (Ivan Orkin’s ramen dishes). As a latina, the chefs that really stuck out to me were Alex Atala, and Virgilio Martínez. Seeing their countries, and national cuisine being treated with such love, and care by these chefs was a wonderful change to the pitying narratives usually shown in the media.

quinoa-kohlrabi-and-shallots1.jpg
Virgilio’s quinua con colinabo y cebolla perla

I watched Perfect Blue after seeing Super Eyepatch Wolf’s video essay discussing it, and I was absolutely floored. If you like psychological thrillers, this is for you.

For fellow nerds that are currently stuck without a roleplaying group, I recommend The Adventure Zone –  a podcat hosted the McElroy brothers, and their dad play D&D every other week.

Imrie and Satia are two black British women that host Melanin Millenials, a topical podcast packed with clever debate, sideeyes, and salt to taste.

Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel Room explores the reality of a young boy, who has been trapped inside a single room with his mother for his entire life.

Imani Perry’s More Beautiful and More Terrible discusses the enduring anti-black racism of America, and encourages us to thoughtfully continue our activism.

bell hook’s seminal The Will to Change argues for the importance of including men, and boys (especially those of colour) in feminism in order for true progress to be made.

Ijeoma Oluo is an incisive, intersectional feminist writer. You can find her work here.

I’ve recently finished reading the Luna brothers’ Girls and Ultra comics – the storytelling is fascinating, even if the art tends to be flat.

PKSparkxx’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild playthrough continues to be something I look forward to every week.

Nyappicat’s dance covers are AMAZING and definitely worth checking out. Full disclosure: she’s my best friend so I’m only a tiny bit biased.

Featured image from Mariah’s instagram.