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Pav Dharia

I was honoured and thrilled to showcase some of my work at Pav Dharia’s concert and meet&greet. Pav Dharia is a very famous Indian singer. Showcasing my artwork was a great opportunity to get people to know who I was and enjoy my art. I got him to sign my painting I did of him for my giveaway contest. After showcasing my work at this event, I realized that I should get more involved with other events to create stronger network and connection.

Thank you, next.

It’s crazy to think that my undergraduate career is wrapping up within the next couple of weeks. It’s been five years of blood, sweat, and tears, but looking back on it now, it was so worth it. I have learned many life skills that were beyond my major, gained valuable knowledge on Elementary education (my major), and acquired so many wonderful memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Saying that though, I am beyond ready to move on and see what is next to come in my life! In the words of Ariana Grande, time to say “thank you, next” to SFU and my bachelor’s degree!

I do want to shout out this class, PUB (Publishing) 101, as one of my favourite classes I’ve taken at SFU. I truly appreciate the course designers who believed students’ work is worthy and valuable enough to be put out there and read by the public, as well as taken seriously by academics. Creating work that will not only be read and critiqued by our professors and TA’s, but the public via the Internet, gives our work a sense of greater purpose than simply for a grade. So thank you, Suzanne and Ellen, for believing in us and recognizing that students’ voices deserve to be heard not just within the four walls of our classrooms, but for everyone to hear as what we have to say is valuable. I never thought I would ever write a blog, until I took this class, and now I have discovered that my voice matters too. 🙂

I created this blog in hopes of spreading kindness and encouraging people to practice empathy for others. If I have inspired at least one person to spread kindness in someone’s life, then I have achieved my goal! I truly believe kindness as a ripple effect, as demonstrated in this comic I stumbled upon on Facebook:

Image from: 4amshower

I plan on continuing my blog past this course, however I am going to take a well needed break for a little while! I’m not sure how long it will be, but I definitely want to continue writing and putting my thoughts on the Internet. Even if no one reads, I’ve discovered it’s a cathartic way of organizing my thoughts and figuring out my stance on big issues, as well as a venting outlet, and who doesn’t like venting. 🙂

Always remember that everyone is just doing their best in this big, wide, weird world and that we’re all humans who crave love and belonging. Be the positive light in someone’s day, the answered prayer, the spark of joy. Let’s all change the world, one act of kindness at a time!

My Top 3 Influencers For Style Inspo

Do you ever wake up feeling some type of way, wanting to look good but have no clue where to start?

Well, if that’s ever the case, I’ve got you covered! These are my top 3 influencers to turn to whenever I’m feeling fashionably uninspired.


#1. Kicki Yang Zhang

 

 

This Berlin-based Chinese girl is changing the game of fashion and style. She is fearless, fun, colourful, and doesn’t take herself too seriously. On top of that, her Instagram feed is so on point. Everything is so visually pleasing, and colour coordinated. So if you ever feel like you don’t have enough colour or art in your life, just check out Kicki’s Insta!

 

 

 

 

 

#2. Yourgirlneens

Yourgirlneens’ full name is Nina Huynh. She was raised in San Francisco, and now li
ves in Vancouver, BC. The first unforgettable thing about her is her beautiful pink hair. On top of that, her style is ON POINT! Puffy jacket, bucket hat, thrift items, she could pull of anything! Nina’s instagram includes mostly her styles and things that she is working on. But if you want to really get to know Nina, you got to check out her youtube channel. It has lots of different content, from lookbooks, to Q&As, to Vl
ogs, to challenges, and more! Her video editing skills is amazing, and so is her boyfriend!

 

#3. Song of Style

 

Aimee Song is one of the most elegant ladies out there. She is classy, flawless, and living her best life. Whether you are going on a date, or attending a gala, or even packing for Europe, whatever it is that you are planing on doing for the day, you could find some inspirations from scrolling through her Insta feed. Aimee was actually one of the first fashion influencers that I’ve ever followed. I remember how proud I was about her Asian heritage, and how I felt i finally had someone more relatable to myself to be inspired from. She also has a fashion lifestyle blog if you are looking for more of her and her style!

 

 

 


Who are your favourite fashion influencers? Comment below and share with me!!

The post My Top 3 Influencers For Style Inspo appeared first on Heyy, Jessie.

What do you want to be remembered for?

About a year ago I came across a girl on YouTube named Claire Wineland. She was 21 year old girl with cystic fibrosis who documented the ups and downs of her journey living with this disease on YouTube. I watched a couple of her videos and thought that she was an incredible girl, but didn’t keep up with her past those couple of videos. Then, in September of 2018, I heard she had died one week after receiving her long awaited lung transplant. In sad situations like these where life doesn’t make sense or seem fair, I tend to try and forget about the story to save myself from heartbreak. However recently, I came across Claire again amongst my recommended videos on YouTube. Her video was a part of a series called My Last Days produced by Justin Baldoni. Justin created this series to find out and share the unique perspectives of life from people who are dying. A more detailed description of his series can be found here.

I watched Claire’s episode, Meet Claire, Finding Beauty in the Sadness, and what she said brought me to full blown tears, “you don’t need to know you’re dying to start living.” Something so simple that essentially everyone knows, but so many people forget to put into practice; myself included. We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we often forget what a gift each day truly is; that each day is a new opportunity for us to make a positive impact in the world.

Hearing Claire say this lead me to reflect on what I want to be remembered for during this little life of mine. The fact of the matter is, we all have an expiration date and none of us know when it is. So I asked myself, “if I die tomorrow, what will I be remembered for?” I can only hope that I will be remembered for how I made others feel. In my 23 years of life, I hope I’ve made the people I’ve crossed paths with feel as though they are loved for exactly who they are and that they are innately deserving of love and belonging. I also hope I’m remembered for actively spreading and practicing kindness, as that is a daily goal of mine. Claire said that we have no control over when we die, however we do have control over creating a life that we’re proud of, and at this point, I will say that I am proud of my life. That doesn’t mean I don’t have room for improvement though because I always will! I feel as though we tell ourselves that we’ll have time to create this life we’ll be proud of someday. We tell ourselves that we’ll start doing things when we have the money and time. But how do we know we will have this time? Since Claire new roughly when her expiry date was (which not many of us do), it was obvious through the way she spoke how much she saw every day as a gift and was actively making the most out of every second she’d been given.

What if we all lived like we were dying tomorrow, like Claire did? What would you do differently? How would you treat others differently? I know this is a short blog this week, but really, it all boils down to one question: what do you want to be remembered for?

Rest in peace, Claire Wineland. Thank you for dedicating your life to serving others and teaching me how to treat every day as the gift it truly is. You are an inspiration to all of us.

Image from: AARC

If you would like to donate or find out more about Claire’s Place Foundation, you can check out the website here.

INAUTHENTIC INDIGENEITY: Ricky Gervais’ New Netflix Show Slammed For Featuring FAKE Australian Art

Why does indigenous art from around the world continue to be tokenized, misunderstood, and ripped off by creatives from the Western world?

This month, Ricky Gervais released his new miniseries, After Life, to critical acclaim. The darkly comedic Netflix show follows a recent widower, Tony, as he struggles with the death of his wife. In an attempt to cope, he turns to drugs in many living room scenes––all backgrounded by a large painting in the traditional style of Papunya art (from Indigenous Australians, commonly referred to as “Aboriginal” people).

However, much to the shock and dismay of many, fans of the show discovered that this artwork was a fake. It had instead been painted in 1999 by English artist Timna Woollard to be used by a prop company for film and television. In other words, there could not even be a claim of cross-cultural communication: Woollard’s poorly-researched “Aboriginal dot style painting” was explicitly created as a stand-in, selfishly and inconsiderately created to mimic and replace the real deal.

How did this happen? Why does it matter? Who is at fault? And how come this is far from the first time indigenous artistic traditions from around the world have been imitated without permission, credit, or financial benefit? This post will touch on all of these considerations.

The details in this case:

Firstly, I should acknowledge that the only reason this has come to our attention is thanks to an exclusive article by ABC News Australia’s national indigenous affairs reporter Isabella Higgins. I also recommend reviewing this excellent opinion piece by Ella Noah Bancroft, a Bundjalung artist. It provides a much-needed outline as to the impact of After Life‘s mistake.

We need to remember that this situation only arose because of the vast ignorance of non-Indigenous creatives. This screw up happened because several tiers of people in the artistic industry just couldn’t be bothered. They were not concerned with the ways in which oppression might be furthered through our attitudes to cultural artifacts (such as paintings), despite being in the arts themselves. It is worthwhile to review how many individuals’ laziness can collectively spiral into such a massive error which goes beyond a mere lapse in judgement.

First, there is Wollard, who seems to sample a wide variety of artistic traditions without much research or appreciation. Her bio suggests that she prides herself on being able to replicate any number of styles, claiming these skills to be a “best-kept secret” of the props industry. As follows, there was the original props company itself, who commissioned the fake no doubt because they felt they could not afford the real thing. Why didn’t they stop to question this? Perhaps because our culture tells us that good intentions trump all other wrongdoings (not so, if you ask me.) Finally, there were the set designers from Gervais’ show, After Life. Their responsibility is to create a built environment that suggests the protagonist has had a rich life. In their minds, perhaps he was a world traveler––someone who had gone to Australia and purchased the real deal, nevermind that this had no place in the script. Their error has less to do with researching the origins of this painting and more to do with their blatant acceptance of “exotic artifacts” as a useful tool for enriching these (white) characters’ inner world. In sum, these attitudes tells me that there is not much emphasis on due diligence when it comes to set design.


It is important to recognize that this form of painting is not simply a technique that can be mimicked. These paintings are a modern representation of ancient rock art that is thousands of years old, which served to preserve oral history of lands and beliefs of its people. Given the atrocious genocide and subsequent assimilation that Australia’s first peoples have been forced to endure, I would argue that this artform is deserving of far more respect and reverence than what little consideration the prop artist (Woollard) or Gervais’ show have failed to display.

While some people might say that imitation is a form of flattery, I would urge those people to remember that such tropes about art are largely constructed through a Western attitude towards this medium; its boundaries and its ethics included.

Similar instances in Canada:

For many marginalized Indigenous communities around the globe, there exists this particularly frustrating struggle. On the one hand, age-old artistic practices bring tourists and cultural distinction. On the other hand, these artforms are often plagiarized for cheap in a way that appeases consumers but fails to reward the real creators. This dynamic could be framed within the larger context of “misappropriation” or, as it has been termed more recently, “cultural appropriation.” The heart of the issue is that no meaningful cultural exchange occurs when outsiders mimick these cultural traditions for cheap; not only is it disrespectful to that cultural object’s dimensions of value, it is especially damaging in the practical sense that the money for Indigenous art does not flow back to Indigenous artists.

Unfortunately, there are some relevant local examples for those of us here in Canada, and particularly on these unceeded Coast Salish territories. There has been outcry against both blatant rip-offs and controversy surrounding supposedly well-intentioned non-Indigenous artists who have incorporated First Nations styles. So just because we North Americans may not feel personally involved in an Australian controversy does not mean that we are any better. The same injustices occur here and elsewhere around the world.

The take away:

Such cases must serve as important reminders for non-indigenous creators worldwide. We must all do better to acknowledge several things:

1. Western art history has a deeply problematic relationship to Indigenous art: For centuries, it was not seen as art. Then, it was imitated by now-icons (think Picasso and ‘primitivism‘), and that tradition of disrespect under the guise of inspiration continues today.

2. Colonialist and imperialist history necessitates special considerations for Indigenous art. These artworks are not just creative expressions done by individuals, but often have a profound connection to spirituality, ancient history, and community identity.

3. We need to emphasize education. Indigenous art deserves the spotlight, but that attention could perpetuate more rip-offs. Ignorance can be prevented if and when the institutions educating artists, set designers, etc., responsibly educate their students. As well, much more can be done to support ethical buying by raising awareness amongst tourists and local publics.

4. Our legal systems often fail to protect Indigenous art. Although Australia’s federal government has discussed these issues of inauthentic art and its consequences, its eight conclusive recommendations have yet to be implemented. There is still a need to clarify and specify protections through law in order to legitimize and prevent this cultural theft.

Art is not born in a vacuum, exempt from history and power dynamics.

At the end of the day, we would do well to remember that our individual attitudes towards artworks and contemporary social injustices can have more impact than we may realize. This story should not serve to shame, but rather to impress the necessity of personal responsibility. So, whether you are a collector of cultural objects, an art-maker, or a mere Netflix-binger, please remember that your critical reflections do matter. We are all implicated in these cultural controversies.

Water you talking about?!

My dear friend Rosa (who also has blog!) recently recommended me to read a book called, The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto. She explained to me how Emoto is a Japanese scientist who discovered that the molecules of water are effected by our thoughts, words, and feelings. Essentially, his research involves saying different phrases and playing different kinds of music to water, then freezing that water and analyzing the kinds of crystals the it forms. I know… sounds crazy but bare with me. I made a mini resolution at the beginning of this year that I would read more books, but also read books that I would never think about reading. Following our conversation, I immediately ordered the book on Amazon and had it in my hands within a couple of days. Little did I know the magnitude to which this book would blow my mind.

As I explain Emoto’s work, it will slowly start to make sense how this relates to kindness. For over a decade now, Emoto has been taking pictures of frozen ice crystals. He began taking these pictures when he noticed in his research that water “expresses itself in a vast variety of ways” (p. ix). As he was taking these pictures, he researched why certain types of water created certain kinds of crystals, and that’s when he started experimenting with saying different phrases and playing different kinds of music to liquid water then freezing it to see what kinds of crystals it makes. His findings were absolutely remarkable.

Below are pictures of frozen water crystals when he had a group of children say “you’re beautiful” a few times and several times to two different cups of water. The third cup was ignored completely.

Image from: The Hidden Messages in Water (page 14)

Next are a series of pictures he took when people said “thank you” in various languages to different cups of water. As he notes in his book, they all resulted in crystals that were “beautiful and complete”.

Image from: The Hidden Messages in Water (page 7)

Finally, when words and phrases that indicated harm were spoken to cups of water, no crystals formed at all.

Image from: The Hidden Messages in Water (page 8)

You may be catching on now to how this all relates to kindness. However, let me explain even further. Emoto discusses in his book that the average human body is made up of 70% water. Based on his research then, the things that are said to us have a significant impact on our bodies and minds, as water absorbs the energy and vibrations from those words. He says that the key to living a happy and healthy life is to “purify the water that makes up 70 percent of your body” (p. xvi).

It’s quite evident that a huge part of kindness is how we speak to other people. We are taught from a young age that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” however I think we’ve gotten that wrong. Sure, we can brush off negative things people say to us, but based on Emoto’s research, those words do effect us at a molecular level. I believe this quote from his book sums up how his research relates to kindness beautifully:

“In Japan, it is said that words of the soul reside in a spirit called kotodama or the spirit of words, and the act of speaking words has the power to change the world. We all know that words have an enormous influence on the way we think and feel, and that things generally go more smoothly when positive words are used. However, up until now we have never been able to physically see the effect of positive words” (p. xxvi).

Thank you, Masaru Emoto, for showing us the physical effect of words through the magic of water! For the sake of the water in us, go speak kindness and love into someone’s life today. 🙂

OPINION: How Adobe’s Misguided Subscription Model Reinforces Global Inequality

The move away from one-time purchases to monthly subscriptions (known as the “Creative Cloud”) has hindered creative opportunity for countless users across the world.
Mikaela Shannon

Ask anyone in the creative industry and they will tell you that the leading software comes from Adobe Inc. Their programs have become so ubiquitous with contemporary digital arts that the word “photoshopping”––a verb which references their famous photo retouching application, Photoshop––has become part of the lexicon. It almost goes without saying that their graphics software is considered unparalleled in quality, and I myself have grown up loving their range of applications and the seemingly endless artistic possibilities they afford.

As with any company, Adobe is understandably looking to make money and stay at the top of the game for as long as possible. However, in certain circles, there is also an unspoken attitude that Adobe’s go-to status amounts to somewhat of a monopoly over the creative industry.

We all know that great power comes with great responsibility, but I wonder if Adobe has really earned their seemingly untarnished reputation: Unlike other massive tech companies who have all been met with numerous disparaging headlines, whether from Google to Windows to Amazon, this company has managed to avoid the harsh reckonings of such a spotlight. And yet this absence of scrutiny is not due to a lack of questionable business decisions on their part.

Most notably, Adobe has tried to preemptively eliminate their competition by buying them out––specifically in a 2011 move that forced the FTC to intervene. Oddly, Adobe has managed to avoid appropriate critique given that the story was not championed by many (if any) major news organizations. Ask the average person and they have almost certainly never heard of any such controversy, despite likely having the latest version of Adobe Flash Player installed on their laptop.

So the real question is how has this unchallenged position affected their consumers?

In 2013, the company was well aware of its premiere status when it made a very controversial decision amongst their user-base: Adobe switched to a subscription-based model. Prior to the change, users regularly purchased application in bundles to be uploaded into harddrives. Any updates were made available through an internet connection, which Adobe eventually realized could be used to ensure that the software had indeed been legally purchased. After 30 years in business, this premise was what Adobe users had come to expect, so there was rightful outcry when Adobe announced their monumental change.

However, because Adobe had come to dominate the creative industry, the backlash could simply ignored. This is still true today, five years after the new dynamic was introduced, despite sometimes drastic hikes to the monthly fee. (At present, you can pay $20USD/month for a single app, or $52USD/month for all apps excluding Adobe Stock.)

To their credit, subscription services seemingly unavoidable these days and many new companies have revolutionized their industries through this model. But the key difference is that hugely successful giants such as Spotify and Netflix are companies that provide professional, pre-made content for the sake of entertainment. Conversely, Adobe only provides software, or the gateway to creation, to businesses across the creative industry.

It is not as though a graphic design firm, whose entire staff will have spent thousands of dollars in schooling to become expertly familiar with this software, is going to have any alternative than to comply with Adobe’s decisions. This company knows that we are dependant and, unfortunately, they know that they can exploit that reliance.

I am not the first person to write about Adobe’s subscription controversy, so I won’t delve any further into the details of the switch. Instead, I’d like to point out a key issue that has gone virtually unaddressed in all of this uproar: Adobe subscriptions are not available worldwide.

In fact, prominent countries such as Iceland, Nigeria, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Jamaica lack any access through their website. While it is understandable that licensing agreements may be hindered by particular governments, Adobe doesn’t seem to be picking and choosing its licensing choices based on the ethics of a country’s governance.

Instead, Adobe would probably argue that their lack of availability issue of demand, but even that reasoning doesn’t acknowledge Adobe’s role in widening the disparity between “developed” and “undeveloped” nations. Even with a quick glance over the unsupported countries, it is pretty obvious that a lot of these countries are in Africa; a continent which should no longer be ignored given its immense predicted growth.

At the end of the day, the issue is this: Prior to Creative Cloud, Adobe users had much better access to these valuable applications, regardless of where they live. I have seen firsthand that these technological barriers are hindering artistic entrepreneurship and opportunity in these countries, particularly for creative teams.

Going forward, I would like to see Adobe spearhead some initiatives to counterbalance this discrepancy. How is the rest of the creative world supposed to catch up when they don’t have access to the same tools? The answer is that they can’t, and that is deeply disturbing.





Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill is one of my favourite female artists. She is very inspirational to me so I decided, why not paint a portrait of her? I went to Micheals and bought a pretty big canvas. I would have to say my second largest canvas I have owned. This portrait of Lauryn Hill has to be more largest portrait I have done, so i was pretty nervous to see how challenging the process would be. I was actually ecstatic to see the results. This piece took about two months to finish because I was very on and off with it. So finishing this art work was a relief to me.

Beauty in Blur

Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Contemporary photography no longer needs to be in focus to prove its excellence.
Rinko Kawauchi’s Untitled, from the series Murmuration (2010).

Humour me this: Have you ever wondered why those really, reaaally old photographs from the 18th century seem so creepy? When we see the stern faces from that era, it is natural to misinterpret their tense, expressionless demeanours as indicative of the times––often perceived as darker and more dismal. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! People from back then were just as jovial as we are today, but these emotions simply had no place in photography at the time.

Peculiar as this may seem, it all makes sense when we consider the inadequate photographic technology they had at their disposal (namely, the Daguerrotype). People had to hold very still for their pricey portraits, which even required several long minutes to expose. A somber face was not only easier to capture but also followed the painterly tradition of the perfectly posed subject. Most importantly, with crisper detail came an enhanced likeness.  

As a result of the above attitude, the next century brought about photographic improvements which sought to improve on the medium’s capacity to best reflect reality. Keeping in mind that photographs were two-dimensional preservations of a moment, the logic that followed was that the best preservation of memory came with a sharper rendering.

Now that we have reached the twenty-first century, we have absolutely perfected the techniques of high-definition photography. With this mastery achieved, the time has come to question the long-held belief that photographs should always be in focus.

Here are outstanding contemporary photographers whose work subverts that outdated ideal:

RINKO KAWAUCHI

Rinko Kawauchi’s Untitled, from the series ‘HANABI’, 2001.

Widely recognized as one of Japan’s foremost photographers, Kawauchi is known for her ambiguous and poetic style. Her selected photographs undeniably evoke feelings, often nostalgic ones, despite photographing fairly ordinary subjects. In the case of Kawauchi, blur perfectly compliments the luminous washes of colour that distinguish her photographs by highlighting the temporal nature of the moment. This artist’s practice is founded in her extraordinary ability to capture the world as if filtered through memory.

UTA BARTH

Ground #70 (1996), by Uta Barth.

Berlin-born Uta Barth seeks to puzzle her viewers into further contemplation. By focusing her camera on areas seemingly devoid of meaningful subject matter, this artist consistently seeks to call the viewer’s habits of looking into question: “How can I make you aware of your own activity of looking, instead of losing your attention to thoughts about what it is that you are looking at?” Barth expertly toys with traditional compositional rules and upsets standards of foreground/background relationships. For her, since photography (in its purest form) has always been an endeavour to collect light itself, and her mundane subject matter allows this conceptual premise to be highlighted over anything else.

GASTON BERTIN

Untitled, from the series New Now (2009), by Gaston Bertin.

Parsons graduate Gaston Bertin creates curious interactions between colours which, although reminiscent of pop art’s commercialized delights, still investigate a more contemplative relationship to the photographic medium. By abstracting some initial collages, his nonfigurative photographic creations do inevitably pull from both painting and sculpture as well. However, Bertin seeks to remove us from their materiality through effacing that recognizability, calling into question the fundamental ways we seek to identify reality through sight and its more tangible offspring, photographic prints. In his artist statement, he concludes that “[his] photographs do not transform reality into images, but transform images into reality.”

LAUREL NAKADATE

Lauren Nakadate’s #172, from the series Lucky Tiger, (2009).

This multi-disciplinary artist treats her printed self-portraits as documents less as extensions of self and more as material actors capable of acquiring their own histories; gathering fingerprint evidence of everyone who has (literally) laid their hands on them. Overall, Nakadate’s practice seeks to complicates the charged theme of women’s objectification. In this series, she invites a strangers from the internet (middle-aged men) to handle her coy self portraits (akin to soft pornography) so long as they agree to inking up their fingers beforehand. Through this consensual process, she materializes and complicates the sexually charged power dynamics at play in photographic representations of women’s bodies, thereby merging that discourse by locating it both within fine art and popular media.

Nakadate explores the same goal as all of the photographers above in that she seeks to draw our attention to the ambiguities of viewing through the use of two kinds of blur. Firstly, with the gentle, homemade aura of her camera’s soft focus as it skims the contours of her body. Secondly, in the disruptive fingerprints on the surface of the material photograph, which materialize and mimic the hasty and sometimes messy way that a viewer’s perception interacts with what is represented. While Nakadate’s process is not so much an overt example of the camera’s ability to blur, her premise still interestingly pin points the main conceptual pulse behind that act of “blurring a photograph”.

All of the photographers above seek to draw our attention to the ambiguities of viewing through the use of blur. So, whether this is done to capture a sense of motion that implies an relatable sense of ephemerality, or to complicate conventions of a subject’s representation, such acts of blurring all effectively challenge their viewers. These blurs enable the photograph to demand a more considered contemplation, beyond aesthetics and composition; one that prompts deeper questions as to the purpose of photography. Each of these artists prove that a well-executed photograph is not necessarily a sharp one.

lyrical storytelling, magical realism & reading for academic purposes: Exit West review

While I am an avid book reader, something about being forced to read a book for school has always turned me away from my favourite past-time. Although, I unfortunately find that reading a book with an academic mindset is the way that I fully appreciate a novel, and in the end, end up loving it more. For my first review/discussion on this blog, I’m going to be talking about my second read of the year — Exit West by Hohsin Hamid.– which was also a required piece of text for my ’21st Century Literature’ class. So with the discussion, I’ll also be going into what I find to be the ~beauty~ of reading for academic purposes.

Exit West follows main characters Saeed and Nadia as they are forced to flee their home country and migrate all across the world. Although, in Hamid’s world, immigrants are able to migrate through magical doors that act like the wardrobe from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis. Allowing people to enter one door in Tokyo, and exit another in San Fransisco (and that’s just an example!). This devices creates an aspect of magical realism, in a shockingly real and truthful story.

To start, this is the first ‘adult’ book I’ve read in quite a while. Seeing as I normally read YA (young adult) literature, this took me a little longer to read than normal. I gave myself about two weeks to read this bad boy, when I’d usually plough through a book this size (231 pages) in one night.

Although truthfully, the main reason it took me so long to read this, was because I was stopping every few minutes to write down notes (for my class), and underline quotes that I liked (for my own pleasure). The book as a whole is quite easy to read — even though it doesn’t contain ‘easy’ or ‘simple’ subject matter. The way Hamid writes is beautifully lyrical, and flows from sentence to sentence effortlessly. One of the ways Hamid does this is by having very long sentences, and when I say long sentences I mean half a page without a period. an example being:

“… When he prayed he touched his parents, who could not otherwise be touched, and he touched a feeling that we are all children who lose our parents, all of us, every man and woman and boy and girl, and we too will all be lost by those who come after us and love us, and this loss unites humanity, unites every human being, the temporary nature of our being-ness, and our shared sorrow, the heartache we each carry and yet too often refuse to acknowledge in one another, and out of this Saeed felt it might be possible, in the face of death, to believe in humanity’s potential for building a better world, so he prayed as a lament, as a consolation, and as a hope….” 
― Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

This style of writing makes everything smooth and in the end easier to read, even though a lot of the subject matter is very dark and hard to comprehend. For instance, a moment where I noticed this, is a scene where Saeed’s father watches a group of children playing. He at first sees the children kicking around a football, then he realizes it is a severed goat head, and then he finally realizes that it is the head of a human being. While this scene is in the end harrowing and quite disturbing, the way Hamid presents it makes it both more impactful, and easier to read.

So the fun thing about this book, which is mainly full of dark and saddening content, is it’s aspect of ‘magical realism’ — Magical realism being when magical elements are blended into realistic or mundane atmospheres. In Exit West migrants are able to migrate through magical doors that take you from one place to another almost instantly. The only ‘side effect’ being slight fatigue and disorientation for a short while. This is ultimately very interesting as well as convenient for Hamid’s story telling. seeing as It allows him to move his characters around the world very easily.

The only thing that bothered me with these doors (and to be honest the book in general) was the it left me wanting more. There is very little information on the doors — where they came from, how they form, how they work, if they stay forever, how long they’ve been around — long list short I had A LOT of questions once I flipped the last page. This is ultimately one of the very few critiques I have for this book. As I really loved the style of writing, the characters, and the story itself as a whole.

As I said a couple paragraphs up, this was required reading for my ’21st Century Literature’ class, and while I was forced to read it– it was one of the very few ‘school books’ that I’ve actually wanted to read. While in my spare time I would call myself a “bookworm” and have always loved reading — in high school when it came to reading the books for English class, I would pretty much never actually read them. Although, I’m ultimately sad I did this, and am making it a goal in university to ALWAYS read my required texts. The main reason being that I notice a huge difference when I read a book for academic purposes, rather than simply pleasure.

Of course, from time to time reading a book just to ‘read a book’ is fun — but I find the way that I fully appreciate a book inside and out, is when I read it with a ‘school’ mindset. When I take the time to annotate, underline quotes, or put sticky notes on ‘important’ sections, I find that I read a lot more in-depth. I’ll admit to the heinous crime of “skim reading” from time to time, when all I want is to get to the end of a book. This happens when I’m reading a book just to get what happens — as opposed to how it all happens, or why it happens. Although, when I do this I find myself missing out on 50% of the details, some of which being very important in the end.

Although, I find that when I read books for my English classes, I stray away from the skim reading habit. I do this because I know I’m going to have to look for a deeper meaning at one point, why not just do it now? In the end this has helped me really appreciate books for what they’re worth. For not only the story, but for the technical elements like writing. This has helped me discover and really love some amazing books — like for instance one of my all time favourites: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. So, I’d definitely suggest it to anyone — English major or not!

To conclude, Exit West is a beautifully thought out novel that is written smooth like butter, with quotes speckled in here and there that I’ll remember forever. The only problem being that I was left wanting for more than I was given, and wished to know more of these ‘magical doors’.

“We are all migrants through time.” 
― Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

My overall rating of Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is ★★★★☆ — 4/5

Reflecting on 2018 and Looking Ahead to 2019

It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by. 2018 was a very long and difficult year for me, but now that it’s over, I can look back on it with appreciation. It was filled with many ups and downs, but I learned a lot, and for that I am grateful.

Some things I learned this past year:

  • I need to stop pushing myself more than I can handle. I had some serious mental health issues this year because of pressure from school and pressure that I’ve put on myself, and it made me realize that I need to stop trying to be a perfect student and prioritize my mental health over everything, even school.
  • I need to be more open with my loved ones about the issues I’m facing. My mental health issues got so bad that I realized that I had to tell someone about them. I opened up to my parents, my boyfriend, and my doctor, and it helped a lot. Just being able to talk about what I was going through and have people supporting me made a massive difference, and I hope to continue to be open about these issues.
  • Not all friends last forever. I recently lost the last of my friends from my first year of university. Though I had slowly lost touch with most of them before this, it still sucked because it forced me to acknowledge that that part of my life is over, and that the people who I thought would be my friends for life actually weren’t. Though I still look back fondly on my memories with them, I know that those friendships wouldn’t have worked long-term and that I will find true, lasting friendships in the future.

While I went through a lot of tough times last year, I also had some really positive experiences:

  • I finished my third year of university, making me more than halfway through my degree.
  • I went back to my old job and I’m really enjoying it. It’s fun and interesting, and I love my coworkers.
  • I moved into a one-bedroom apartment and got to experience the thrill of having my own place and not worrying about a roommate.
  • I made a lot of friends, and I’ve become very close to some of them. I haven’t had many close friends in Vancouver over the past few years, so it’s nice to finally have met some people with whom I have a great connection.
  • I started this blog, which has been super fun and has encouraged me to get back into writing.

2018 was a very mixed year, but I am looking forward to 2019. I’m much happier than I was a year ago, and I think this will be a good year for me. I don’t have any concrete resolutions, because I absolutely never follow through with them, but I do have a few small-ish goals that I would like to accomplish.

  1. I want to eat less red meat (sorry, Mom!). It’s partly because I am a huge animal lover and feel super guilty eating meat, particularly that of very smart and/or affectionate animals like cows, and partly because animal agriculture is a major cause of global warming, and I want to help reduce its impact. I’m not going vegetarian, as I am a very picky eater as it is, but I am hoping that I can eat less or even no red meat (and maybe less meat in general) to do my part to help save the planet.
  2. I’ve been saying this forever, but I want to exercise. It’s partly because I want to get in shape and be physically healthy, partly because I want to improve the look of my body so I can be less insecure about it, and partly because physical exercise helps improve mental health, which is something that I want to work on this year.
  3. This is kind of lame, but I’d like to be more social. I am very introverted and I have a busy schedule because of school, but I want to devote more time to maintaining the amazing friendships I’ve made in the past year, and I think spending more time with friends and less time worrying about school will be good for me.
  4. I want to read more. I’ve barely read anything for fun since I started university, but I have literal piles of unread books on my bookshelves, and I want to actually get around to reading some of them this year. It can be hard to motivate myself to do it, especially because I have to read so much for class that it can sometimes take the fun out of it, but I really want to make an effort this year. Over the winter break, I finally got around to reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it reinvigorated my love of reading, so I’d like to continue pleasure reading, even if it’s just in the summer when I have more free time.
  5. Lastly, I’d like to write more. I’ve loved writing posts for this blog, and I’d like to continue it for as long as possible. I also want to do some creative writing, which is my true passion but which I have not done for years. I constantly write down potential novel or screenplay ideas, but I never manage to follow through and completely plan them out, let alone write them, so this year I’d like to do some creative writing.

I am looking forward to (hopefully) accomplishing most of my goals this year, as long as I stay motivated. What are some of your goals for 2019? Since I posted this so late (sorry!), have you had any success with those goals so far?

Routes and Stems

With Law School being the penultimate goal, for which I am certain there are many sub goals en route, I had, and continue to establish somewhat of a plan and lifestyle that I feel is best suited to helping me get there, or here. Understanding the competitiveness of Law, I have had to examine my life and how my choices, both now and in the past, contribute to how I can achieve a worthy application, and in doing so I’ve thought about changing my degree, hobbies and priorities.

Business is intriguing. The world operates in economics, financial transactions and the movement of goods. I’m not necessarily saying that these capitalist activities are great, but regardless of philosophical grounds, it’s what moves the globe – not always in the ethical direction, but sometimes. Therefore, studying it holds value; why not seek greater understanding for how systems operate and what influences political, environmental, cultural and international decisions? Business is something that will be beneficial to my future, it will teach me the processes and practices that are a part of everyday life. However, business is not easy, as it’s highly competitive and representative of courses that are curved either in your favour or against. The content is engaging and I truly enjoy the material, but in seeking good grades, great grades, I’ve contemplated switching into a different program for the potential of earning a high GPA. At the same time however, I believe my grades will be a reflection of my interests, and as such, I have decided to remain in the Beedie School of Business, as it’s has been intriguing thus far and will hopefully provide numerous opportunities beyond a degree program that I lack interest in. I don’t come from a business background and really don’t even know what the term means to be honest, but it’s been fun and enjoyable thus far, which for me, equates to a greater ability to achieve and reach my ultimate goal of enrolling in a Law program. I also just really like the guilty pleasure of watching Shark Tank.

Since football has been shelved, it feels as though I have been afforded copious amounts of time. My days are no longer full of practices, physiotherapy, ice baths, stretching, team meetings and studying playbooks. School is demanding and the lists of readings and assignments are lengthy and often intimidating, but they don’t typically fill each and every awakened hour. I needed, and continue to desire hobbies. Let me remind you, football was life since an early age, with the majority of my time being spent playing or thinking about it, so now here I am, feeling rather naked, having to determine what to do with the life before my life begins. I understand that living in the moment is valuable and that focusing on the present and now is healthy, but it’s difficult when you have goals, and even more challenging when you don’t really know what to do with yourself in the meantime. The gym, Netflix, snowboarding, badminton, obscene amounts of caffeine, paddling, hiking, gaming, family and friends are now the norm, and while I appreciate each undoubtedly, they haven’t altogether filled the void. Why? In fairness, I don’t really know, and even more, I’m not sure I want or need to, but were I a gambling man (also a new hobby), I’d say that I’m in a period of buyers remorse; I’ve made the decision, and while I’m happy with the product and actually know I need it, I also need time to include it in my life and establish an identity wherein these hobbies and people fit. In business terms, I’m rebranding, I’m using what I have to make a change, take a different route and use interests to supplement what’s missing.

Prioritizing is self-inflicted pain. I’m under constant duress in determining what needs to be done, when it needs to be completed and of course, the real silent killer, how to avoid procrastination to do it. I understand I need balance, but it’s a classic chicken or the egg scenario; do you do something fun to feel good before studying, or study and reward yourself with something exciting thereafter? Within this, where do friends, family, school and self fall within the list of priorities, and to what extent does one trump the other in given situations or times that demand your attention. In meeting my goal of becoming a lawyer, how do these priorities interact to achieve this, and when does abandoning some in favour of others have some sort of cascading impact on this goal? Philosophy aside, shit happens, and perhaps it’s not the priorities or their arrangement that matter, but the ability to be flexible and appreciate their role in your life that actually equate to your eventual success. Perhaps I’m treading too much non-empirical theory, but things really do have a tendency to level and recalibrate to what you need; something of everything important to you. I need to prioritize, that’s no mystifying secret, but there are times where working towards law will demand certain actions and others where I can relax and even enjoy this, one of my favourite hobbies.

So, here I am. Figuring things out, like everyone else, and although I’d rather be at the end of the path to law, I should appreciate the ways in which I hope and superstitiously act to get there. For now, I think I need to know myself, the one I made these decisions for in the first place, because at the end of day, I’m left with me and only me to do what needs to be done.

I don’t really want to talk about football anymore.

This is what I said to myself when thinking about what I would be blogging about. What does this mean? What does it show, and how does it reflect the process of being rerouted? If this change were a 12-step process, would this be the final one where I moved past an addiction, or is this the stage where acceptance has enlightened a sense of awareness that now, I am not a football player, I’m just me. So, today I want to focus on the future, not the past, as well as shift from goals to well-being, something that I feel is necessary when having strong aspirations for myself. For me the ultimate in well-being is summer…

This Summer, I also plan to travel to the Balkan region of Europe with a friend for about 3 weeks, namely Hungary and Croatia. At this time in my life, I feel that I need an adventure, and for me, immersing into a new culture with relative independence is not only exciting, but also somewhat challenging. In seeking balance, which is something I have made a priority, I feel that backpacking in a foreign country will provide the penultimate growth. I want to avoid the cliche of ‘finding myself abroad,’ but in all reality, it is the surrealness and element of the unknown away from home that is alluring, which will hopefully enable a sense of looking within and learning more about myself, my fears and my strengths. I want to wander and get lost in an area I have never stepped foot and I wish to rely on myself; communicating, exploring, being resourceful, organization and of course, just not knowing anything at all. There are so many inspirational blogs available online about travel. For instance, check out my classmate Magali’s blog here!

I also plan to explore more of the Lower Mainland region, particularly the mountains and of course, some nearby beaches. I was always a winter person, but last summer, I took advantage of the weather and found myself paddleboarding, relaxing, hiking (see the regions best hikes here) and swimming in some nearby lakes I was yet to visit. Since this time, I have come to truly appreciate where we live and feel that the region has so much to offer.

My course enrollment date for the summer is next week and I want to enroll for a couple online courses so that I can still be lying on the beach and not in class. It’s frustrating that no courses that are required for my degree are offered during the summer through Distance Education, therefore, I’ll take electives outside of my degree to continue making strides towards accumulating the credits required to graduate. I understand that taking courses may not seem entirely relaxing, but for me, making progress does provide an element of stress relief and knowing that I am accomplishing tasks that are required for me to continue moving towards the future.

Study Habits

Back in September, when I first started at Simon Fraser University, I knew that I wanted to do well in school and had a growing passion to succeed. However, coming from Secondary School, with relatively average study habits and more-so an attitude of just getting by through attending class and remembering what I could for a test, I struggled with the transition (apparently I’m not alone…) Now, after learning more about how to increase my odds at being successful, I’ve found that knowing what to prioritize, taking a break and managing your time are fundamental to developing better study habits and subsequently, better grades. In turn, this truly makes one’s University experience more enjoyable and of course, rewarding. You can compare these ideas to a great blog post here by Daniel Wong.

Every month, week and day, I feel as if there is something I need to complete in one of my classes. Whether it’s a small business quiz or a research paper due a month from now, there is always something to be working on. My advice to someone who feels as if they struggle with this or is going to be entering University, is to prioritize what is most important. Inc. has a good article on this, which you can read here. Sure, it may sound simple, but a lot of time I hear my friends say how they started studying for a midterm a night before, or how they wrote a paper in a day to meet a deadline. I am not criticizing these people because I’m guilty of the same mistakes, but rather, I’m envious of their ability to accomplish so much in so little time, as for me, it just isn’t effective. So when I say prioritize what is most important, I weigh assignments by due date, their weight in overall grade of class, and ease of assignment. Although the idea of prioritizing may seem simple or obvious, prioritizing combined with managing your time has proven to be very important for managing stress and academics. Further, I’ve noticed that making time for school actually provides time for things outside of academics, as I know how much and how frequently I can allocate time to certain things or events.

Taking a break is the easiest part of studying, yet so many people neglect the idea of relaxing or putting down the books once they’ve started. I have definitely had my moments of feeling like I’ve over procrastinated and am in too deep to take a break, however, it is still valuable to stop and relax. Much like building muscle at the gym, you need to rest for strength, and in looking for gains, you have to pamper yourself sometimes. This doesn’t mean to study for an hour then go out and hang with friends until later that night, but rather to have balance between studying and talking to a friend or watching a short TV show. Moderation is key, but to make this schedule work, periods of studying should be focused, void of distractions and lengthy enough to make them worthwhile.  

Finally, in order to be successful, one should work on managing their time. Time management is probably the first piece of advice any student would give to another. That feeling of procrastination does not come into effect if you can manage and make the most of your time. For me, I find the best way to manage my time is to visually see it. I use a whiteboard calendar from Staples to see my assignments. I find this helps because if I know that I have a midterm in two weeks, I am going to give myself the most days possible to study by efficiently and effectively completing the assignments within the time before a midterm. Here are 17 Time Management Strategies worth checking out. Once again, this may seem very simple, but there is no worse feeling than walking out of an exam and thinking that you could have studied better. It’s a horrible regret. Want some research on how horrible regret is? Read this (2016) article in Frontiers Psychology. You’ll regret it.

These are just some study habits and tips that I feel have modestly worked for me, but that said, I am certainly learning to improve in all aspects of what I suggest. I want to avoid preaching the correct way to study because by no means am I a perfect student, but what works for me could do the same for someone else. I’m not that guy who scores the highest on an exam, or who thinks they know it all, but maybe you can relate to someone like me, and if needing a reminder or simple suggestion to help achieve better grades, try what’s worked for me. With all that being said, I need to wrap this post up for the week because I need to begin studying for my Economics final because I did horrible on the midterm.

Journaling is my Cathartic Release

Without spoiling any details, or verbosely repeating myself in the essay we have due next week, this week’s blog post will focus on how journaling, writing, and being more involved in the blogosphere has helped throughout the transition I’ve been discussing this entire semester.

I’ve always enjoyed writing stories and developing creative pieces, however writing in an argumentative style or expressive logical reasoning would, if I can suggest, be my strong suit. Moreover, I would attest that talking face to face with someone is far easier and more enjoyable for me than having to write something- let alone share it online… Whether it’s an argument on an essay topic or telling someone how my day was, I would prefer to do so verbally. Yet, ever since the idea of leaving football behind and starting this new journey, I’ve found it hard to precisely express how I’ve felt and I’d get tired of people repeatedly asking me why I quit. ReRouted has given me an outlet to express myself in a way that I didn’t know was really possible. As such, this post explores the cathartic release made possible through blogging/journaling.

Being more involved in blogging has shown me that although my situation may feel unique to me as I experience it in a personal silo, many others have shared experiences of retiring from sports and leaving something that you have loved, known and been comfortable with for so long. In this, or this, and especially this, you can find articles and posts from others who also report on and/or share this feeling. Likewise, here is a small sampling of useful sources to cope with mental health issues that are both related and indirectly related to the experiences one may encounter through any change they face.

Mental Health Resource Mashable

HealthLink BC

Kelty Mental Health

National Institute of Mental Health

Simon Fraser University Counselling

University of British Columbia Counselling

Mental Health Canada

Mental health is not new, but in the short time I’ve been able to understand what it is exactly, there does seem to be a growing body of work, services and research directed at bringing awareness to it. While I attempt to be mindful of how I feel, I’m not always that introspective; however, throughout the process of blogging, I do feel as though I have brought forth my voice into writing. I know that I did enter this blog with the purpose of detailing my experience in facing change, and with that there would potentially be some emotional issues that required confrontation, but the extent to which I have utilized this space to vent has been entirely cathartic and has highlighted some important  aspects of my past, present and future that are uplifting, motivation and worthy of reflection. ReRouted has been a sacred space for me to develop, document and instill a sense of passion for myself, but also for anyone else who may have interest in doing the same. It has been a place to bleed my questions, concerns and dreams, while also providing countless opportunities to learn new skills, preoccupy myself with tasks and be enthralled with artistic elements that normally wouldn’t be so interesting to me.

All in all, I believe I have given a lot in terms of effort through weekly posts and assignments, but ReRouted has offered me just as much in serving as a mic for a voice that was once not ready to speak, particularly in the context to which I am writing about; me. Next week marks the final post for this course, so stay tuned for some further reflections, questions and insights, and regardless of it marking the end of a blog guided by a university course, the process will unfold published or not…

The End of Posiel…

As we come to an end in the semester, so do our process posts, mini-assignments and other Posiel content. ReRouted has given me much more than a letter grade or place to vent about what was once thought to be an identity crisis. In looking forward, there are several things I’ve learned from this process to wherever it is I end up.

  • Blogging is cathartic
  • Publishing is a big part of our current society
  • Guest speakers provide opportunities to learn practical information that is really interesting and engaging
  • Blogging is relatively easy to do… I wish I did it earlier
  • WordPress is simple, but when trying to design a particular aesthetic, it can be frustrating
  • The best way to learn about yourself is to put yourself out there
  • Ellen is a great TA
  • Publishing is literally everywhere
  • I actually enjoy seeing my writing in a public space and take some pride in it
  • The world has changed more rapidly than I had thought
  • Weekly tasks make learning easier
  • Journaling is incredibly productive and worthwhile
  • I am more passionate about democracy than I originally believed

This list is obviously not exhaustive; there are so many things that could be added, as well as gleaned from this course. In forging ahead, especially into the blogosphere, I would like to take some of what I’ve learned and apply it to pursuits, interests and passions.

Hey Amber, ya have time for a coffee?

 

 

If my 2018 were a person, I think she’d be a girl.  She understands me, and she pushes me in ways not most men can, she pmss aggressively. I think she’d make a cute Amber.

If Amber walked by me somewhere in the city, I’d stop everything I’d be doing, cancel all my plans, and I’d beg her to let me buy her coffee, or cake, or a vegan burger, or sushi, anything she wants.  She’s been THE MOST IMPORTANT person to me since . . . ever. If I ever get to sit infront of Amber here’s what I would say . . .

 

Hi,

You were not easy.  

Oh yeah by the way in case you forgot, I’m Jade, I know you’re super busy and you’re leaving for something soon, I just wanted to say some things before you did.  I know you’re just doing your job and minding your own business, so I don’t mean much to you, but to me, you’re kinda unforgettable.

I’ve cried so much because of you, more than any three years in my life combined.  You did not go easy on me at all. When I felt like I couldn’t possibly hurt more, when things could not have gone any more wrong, you added insecurity, anxiety, and then, more hurt.  Amber, you hurt me in ways I didn’t know I could.

Oh, I should probably say that I don’t hate you.  I get that this probably didn’t start super comforting for you.  I probably could have started with I like your hat. Oh, your boots are cute too!

Anyways, I don’t hate you, actually, you’re the best person in my life.  You hurt me so much, but that’s only because you gave me so much to love.  You didn’t just push me in ways I could break down; you also pushed me in ways I could jump over the moon, be happy, and love. 

Amber, you have introduced me to some ridiculously amazing people, who will forever have a place in my heart.  You introduced me to my first love, I thought Harold did that last year, man, did you show me. You’ve introduced me to people who challenge me ALL THE TIME, people who care enough about me to tell me no when I need it.  These people, man, I’m a better person because of them, not because they’re great all the time, but because sometimes they suck, and I have to be patient, and pull more out of myself. Some of them are RIDICULOUSLY wise too.  

Amber you were confusing, you pushed me one way, and slapped me into another, and then when I started to get my footing in that new direction, you’d slap me backwards; over, and over, and OVER again.  

You taught me a lot about myself.  You taught me that I don’t know more than I do know; that I essentially don’t have anything figured out.  I learned that everything I used to want before you (to teach, security, predictability), I don’t need. You introduced me to parts of myself I didn’t know existed; wants and desires I didn’t know I had.

Gosh, does THAT come with a new universe of challenges, oh and of course anxiety.  

Since meeting you I have never felt more uncomfortable with the world.

Don’t get antsy!

Actually I’m glad, grateful too.  

I’ve never known myself more.  

Amber, thank you for breaking me.  You rubbed my face into my cracks, and that was unbelievably hard; but you also showed me parts of myself that I didn’t know mattered.  

Amber I’ll say it again, you’re the most important person to me, and I just want to say thank you.  

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.  

I’m meeting 2019 soon, no offense, but I hope she’s better than you.

I know you’re itching to leave, but before you do I just have to say, you are one hell of a wingwoman.

<3”

 

The post Hey Amber, ya have time for a coffee? appeared first on My Life's Mixtape.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a Failure

Last week, I was finally able to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie. I had heard from several people, including massive Harry Potter fans, that it was terrible, so I went in with low expectations. Surprisingly, I was still disappointed.

I could write a twenty-page essay on why this movie was terrible, but I’ve tried to condense my thoughts and focus on the biggest problems I had with the film. I still wrote a lot, which I apologize for, but I just had to get my feelings out. This review will have minor spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, and if you need a refresher on its premise, click here to watch the trailer.

Now, where to start? The Crimes of Grindelwald has so many flaws, but the most striking one is the lack of any discernible plot. Aside from a few major events in the beginning and end, nothing really happens in this film. It mostly consists of exposition, and feels like a buildup to the real story, which we never get. I was surprised when it reached the climax, because it felt like nothing had happened yet. Part of the cause of this problem, in my opinion, is the fact that Fantastic Beasts is going to be a five-film series, which is clearly just a cash grab. This second installment shows that there is not enough material to cover five films, as it is not a self-contained story with a typical story arc and conclusion, but rather a prolonged exposition setting up the next movie, where, presumably, stuff actually happens. The Crimes of Grindelwald is meant to be watched immediately before watching the next film in order to understand what is going on, instead of being watched because it’s a complete and enjoyable story on its own.

Another gaping problem with The Crimes of Grindelwald is the characters, as there are too many, their arcs are either nonexistent or not believable, and, despite the film being almost two and a half hours long, it felt like I spent very little time with each character. Unlike the first Fantastic Beasts film, which has four main characters and a couple side characters, the sequel has a large cast of characters, new and old, and it just feels crowded. There were so many people to keep track of that I eventually gave up, and I genuinely can’t remember the names of some of the new characters. To make matters worse, the characters are broken up into small groups, so the story constantly shifts to show what is going on with other characters, and this makes the time we spend with each character feel shorter. It also feels short because nothing really happens to these characters, and most of them don’t grow or change at all. Contrastingly, one of the characters changes significantly, but the change is extremely radical and receives little explanation, so it does not feel believable and just serves as shock value. The issues with the characters make this already unappealing film even more difficult to care about.

Lastly, one huge issue that I (and most Harry Potter fans) have with The Crimes of Grindelwald is that it commits the worst crime possible: it goes against Harry Potter canon. Casual fans of Harry Potter may not notice or care about this, but for hardcore fans such as myself, it is unacceptable. J. K. Rowling spent years crafting this world and making sure she got every detail right, so it is extremely strange and disappointing that she could either forget what she originally wrote, or decide to change it after the fact. One example of her going against canon is that Professor McGonagall is teaching at Hogwarts in this film, despite the fact that she wasn’t even born yet. Perhaps J. K. Rowling decided to change her birthdate to include her in the film, but she has such a small part that it seems unnecessary; she is essentially only there so fans can go, “OMG, it’s McGonagall!”. The other option is that she forgot that McGonagall wasn’t born yet, which is even more disappointing, because it shows that she does not really care about this series, and that makes it difficult for me to get invested in it.

The other instances of breaking canon are different; she did not make a mistake or forget something, but rather changed certain aspects of the Harry Potter storyline. Fans such as myself who have read the books will notice this immediately, and likely feel angry that she carelessly went back and changed her original story in big ways. I have seen arguments attempting to explain why these changes were not included in Harry Potter from the beginning, but I don’t buy any of them. She describes everything in detail in Harry Potter, so there’s no way she wouldn’t have included these aspects of the story. It is clear that she decided to change these after the fact, despite the fact that these changes make no sense in the canonical story. One big revelation changes everything, and it doesn’t even make sense in the film itself, as there are no hints or clues for it. It seems to exist almost entirely for shock value, which is very disappointing and once again shows how little effort and care were put into this story.

Now the question remains: Can the Fantastic Beasts franchise be saved? After seeing the second installment, my hopes have dwindled significantly. If the subsequent films have actual plots and character development and explain the choices to go against canon, I could potentially get behind them, but I’m not going to get my hopes up, and neither should you. I would give The Crimes of Grindelwald a 4/10, and I would suggest that potential viewers just stick to Harry Potter

Montreal Canadiens Rebuild Part 6

All images are from NHL 19.

Welcome to part six of the Montreal Canadiens rebuild in NHL 19’s Franchise Mode. Click here to catch up on part one, part two, part three, part four and part five. As mentioned last week, this week’s post will entail the remainder of the season simulation and hopefully a long playoff run.

 

Season Simulation

Upon simulating the remainder of the season, the Montreal Canadiens finished second in the division and conference, and fifth in the league with 102 points. E. Pettersson and F. Forsberg led the way offensively with 84 and 83 points respectively.

 

Playoffs Round 1

In the first round of the playoffs, the Canadiens faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game results were as follows:

Game 1: 3-2 OTW

Game 2: 2-1 W

Game 3: 2-1 OTW

Game 4: 4-2 W

This was a tight series as the score in the first three games only differed by one-goal. It could have gone either way, especially in the two games which went into overtime. Hopefully, our squad will take advantage of this quick series by resting and preparing for the next round.

 

Playoffs Round 2

In the second round of the playoffs, the Canadiens played against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game results were as follows:

Game 1: 5-1 L

Game 2: 4-0 W

Game 3: 4-0 L

Game 4: 7-2 L

Game 5: 2-0 W

Game 6: 5-2 W

Game 7: 5-2 W

This was a long series where our team struggled in three of the first four games. However, they persevered and came through in game seven.

 

Playoffs Conference Finals

In the Conference Finals, the Canadiens played against the New Jersey Devils. The game results were as follows:

Game 1: 5-4 OTW

Game 2: 2-1 W

Game 3: 2-1 W

Game 4: 3-1 W

Similar to the first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, this was a close series where the first three games only differed by one-goal. But the Canadiens were able to hang on and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

Playoffs Stanley Cup Finals

In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Canadiens played against the San Jose Sharks. The results are below.

This series went the distance, but the Canadiens were able to bring the Stanley Cup to Canada for the second year in a row in this simulation. Furthermore, T. Demko won the Conn Smythe Trophy while E. Pettersson posted 21-points in 22-games.

 

As promised in part one, The Hockey Singh has led the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup. Part six concludes the Montreal Canadiens Rebuild series. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did playing and writing about it. Please share your comments and/or suggestions.

My End of Semester Motivation Slump

It’s that time of year again! (No, I’m not talking about Christmas)

It’s time for term papers, finals, and an unbearable amount of stress. There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by spending all of your time and energy focusing on school, right?

For real though, the end of each semester is always the absolute worst. As an English major, I always have multiple term papers and at least one final exam. This semester, I have three research papers, which I hate writing because finding journal articles is super difficult and time consuming, and I’d rather just write a simple essay analyzing the text. To make matters worse, all of my papers are due around the same time (as usual), so I have to scramble to get them all done. I am currently on the verge of a breakdown because of all the work I have to do, and this isn’t even counting the final I have for my online class, which I am super behind in because it’s so boring that I’ve just been putting it off for the last month (which I bitterly regret now).

As my general motivation continues to drop every semester, so does my motivation at the end of each semester. It’s been three months, so the last thing I want to do at the very end of it is write a bunch of papers and study for exams. I’m already completely burnt out at this point and have very little energy left to give, so I can’t be expected to do my best work. I tend to write papers as quickly as possible and only do minimal editing because I’m so done with the semester that I don’t care anymore and just want it to be over. I know I should be working my hardest at the end of each semester, and technically I do (because I have the most work to complete at that point), but I don’t put in as much effort as I do earlier on in the semester when I’m not totally dead inside.

My lack of motivation at the end of each semester is exacerbated by my tendency to procrastinate, so in addition to not wanting to write a bunch of essays, I also tend to put them off to the last minute. I say that I won’t do this every semester, and yet here I am in the same situation I’ve been in at the end of every semester of my degree. You would think that I would’ve learned by now, but apparently not. In fact, I think it’s gotten worse. This semester is a prime example of that, as I haven’t even started my biggest term paper and it’s due in a week. I had plenty of time to work on it earlier, as I had very little homework the last few weeks, but instead of getting a head start on any or all of my papers, I just watched YouTube videos and hungout with my boyfriend. I wish that I hadn’t been so lazy in that last few weeks, because if that was the case, I could have been finished my term papers by now (okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’d have a lot more work done for sure).

Now is the point when I’m supposed to offer advice for motivating yourself and not procrastinating in the last few weeks of school, but, as you can probably tell, I’m not in much of a position to be giving anyone advice. All I can say is that you do not want to be in my position right now, because I’m literally spending all day every day doing homework, so try your best to work on it earlier. The sooner you finish, the sooner you can relax and just watch Netflix all day (or go out if you actually have a life).

Right now I’m trying to get all my papers done as quickly as possible because once this semester is over, I can spend all my time doing Christmassy things, like listening to Christmas music, watching cheesy Hallmark movies and classic Christmas movies from my childhood, and dragging my boyfriend and friends to as many Christmas events as possible. I suppose having something so great to look forward to makes it a bit easier to get all this work done.