Monthly Archives: April 2021

April Wrap-Up: Books, Shows & Summer Reading Plans

Hi everyone! This month has been a whirlwind with my semester coming to an end. If you also just finished the semester, I hope your finals/papers went well and that you can take a bit of a break now! I found it a bit rough near the end, but I made it through. :)) In this post, I will go over all the media I enjoyed, including the highly anticipated Shadow & Bone Netflix show! 

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Books:

New Moon (Twilight, #2)

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

I started this one in September.. and just finished it finally. I put it down for a while because nothing was happening and it started to put me in a reading slump. The last few hundred pages did get more interesting, but overall it felt like a bit of a drag compared to Twilight.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse)

The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo

This was a quick and intriguing read! Read my full review here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Dress Codes for Small Towns

Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens

This was the last book I read for my GSWS class and I really wanted to like this, but it fell short. It just felt like a contemporary book that was trying too hard. I didn’t mind some of the characters and I liked the religious community aspect, but that was pretty much it. The writing just seemed as if it was trying to be “quirky” with names like “the Hexagon” for their friend group and “Einstein” for a whiteboard. Not my favourite.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Movies & Shows:

Selena S1 Eps: 1-7

I started watching Selena with my brother who has been singing “Como La Flor” around the house ever since. So yeah, we’ve been really enjoying it so far. Feeling: inspired by Selena who only learned Spanish when she started her career. Season 2 comes out next week, so we’re planning on finishing the rest of the episodes soon!

The Social Network

Did I watch this mostly for the iconic “Sorry, my Prada’s at the cleaners…” Andrew Garfield line? Maybe… (I blame marauders TikTok). Feelings: Overall, I didn’t really care much for the movie, but I also was half asleep while watching it (my bad). This was the perfect time for me to watch it as I just finished my Publishing course where we explored social media and advertising. It’s definitely interesting to see how much Facebook has evolved from Zuckerberg’s initial ideas along with social media as a whole.

Shadow and Bone S1

I watched the show over 2 nights, so I could try and stream with my friend(s). It’s been quite a few years since I read Shadow & Bone, so my memory was a bit spotty on the details, but I was so excited to see the crows come to life. Feelings: Malina deserve the world, the crows (including Milo) are all icons, and Matthias and Nina’s parts were my favourite. I didn’t mind how they mixed the two storylines. At times it felt a little strange, but it also just felt like extra crow content which I could appreciate. The biggest criticism I’ve seen is on the racism that was added in the show, which I hope they address in Season 2.

I haven’t watched a lot of movies or shows in a while. To be honest, I have spent most of my spare time scrolling on TikTok. A few movies I have on my list to watch next are Dead Poet’s Society, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

yellow flower graphic

Reflecting on my reading for the next few months…

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with how much I want to read and how little progress I seem to be making. Last month, I got my hands on a few of my anticipated releases, but have been feeling down that I haven’t gotten to read them yet. Thinking about it, it makes sense as I was busy with readings for class and other work. What’s important is that I leave time for myself to read a book just because I want to, and not because I have to.

I recently read this great post by Drizzle and Hurricane Books, “10 Tips to Overcome Reading & Blogging Fatigue” and it reminded me how important it is not to compare my reading amount to others. (It can be easy to wonder, why am I not reading that much? Then realize it’s not a competition…) Also, just to remind me of why I read, which is because I enjoy it!

Marie says this really well in her post, and it resonated with me a lot. While being part of the book community is really fun, social media especially can leave you feeling inadequate. I don’t “need” to read certain books just because everyone’s talking about them at the moment. I don’t need to rush through them all. Instead, I can think: I have all these great releases to enjoy during the summer! Also instead of binge-reading, I can allow myself more time to reflect and make content about what I am reading. I don’t need to read every day if I’d rather make a video or watch a show.

This is just a bit of self-reflection, but maybe it can help you if you have also had these thoughts. As an end-of-semester gift, I bought myself a hammock! I’m looking forward to sitting and reading outside when the weather is better 🙂 *Cover photo is my own*

How was your April? Do you ever feel a bit overwhelmed by your TBR? Did you read or watch anything that I did, or have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below!

The post April Wrap-Up: Books, Shows & Summer Reading Plans appeared first on Procrastireader.

Blog Post #30: Brutally Honest Review

Photo courtesy of amazon.ca

Hiya everyone!

I’ve been in a bloggy mood lately.. so here’s another one! This review is going to be about Brutally Honest, an autobiography by Mel B aka Scary Spice from the Spice Girls! I first became a fan when I saw her on the judging panel of America’s Got Talent and was really curious when I first heard that she released a book.

She’s always been vivacious as well as outspoken, which are traits I’ve admired about her since day one. That’s why it is needless to say that Mel B definitely doesn’t hold back in this tell-all work.

She firstly provides a snapshot of her childhood growing up being only one of two biracial children in her Leeds, UK, neighbourhood and multiple encounters with racism. Another experience emphasized is how Mel’s father’s emotional withdrawal from the family as she grew older had a negative impact on her future relationships with men.

If I’m honest, (pun totally intended) I, I’m sure like many others who follow her, had absolutely no clue her ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte, was abusive and even after revealing this fact, I did not expect that the abuse was to the extent she described. I believed she married the love of her life, but little did I know… She later herself clarifies how she is great at pretending, which scared me.

From explanations as to why being a Spice Girl will forever be a part of who she is and numerous career highs to extreme emotional turmoil lasting ten years that chipped away at her self-esteem and then eventually rediscovering her self-worth, the details in Brutally Honest will take readers on a roller coaster ride.

I’m so happy that Mel B is doing (better than) well now. She is such a strong person and I applaud her for being so open and vulnerable.

For those who are looking for just a solid autobiography, I encourage you to consider Brutally Honest.

Blog Post #29: The Answer Is…Reflections on My Life Review

Photo courtesy of simonandschuster.com

Hi everyone!

Its been a while, my apologies for not updating sooner. I need to get better at being more consistent, don’t I? Anyway, this week’s review is going to be on The Answer is…Reflections on My Life, written by the one and only Alex Trebek!

With the chapter stylized as Q&A from the competition show, Jeopardy! which he hosted for over three decades, readers receive a glimpse into the many significant events of this TV legend’s life, as stated in the title.

Trebek is such a class act… One can definitely tell whilst reading. The novel encompasses everything and more you’d expect from him. He talks about his childhood including a scary accident causing him to feel regular bouts of severe pain that lasted twelve years, as well as fond memories of his parents’ kindness whilst growing up. Trebek also discusses crazy experiences as an adult, with chasing after a thief who broke into a hotel room he was staying in and finding out how he has a half-sibling whom, for the longest time, was kept from him.

You will see other more heartfelt moments like when he knew his wife, Jean, was “the one” right after meeting her or profound interactions with a child living in an impoverished country.

All throughout, it is almost as if Alex Trebek is an old friend of yours having an honest conversation about the things that made him who he is today. I cannot stress enough how incredible this human being was.

What continues to amaze me is the way he carried himself prior to his passing. He was extremely humble. If I’m not mistaken, I remember one time during an interview that he already thought of what he would say should he decide to leave Jeopardy!. No fuss involved, just taking thirty seconds to thank everyone for the opportunity.

Do you need a great autobiography you can cuddle up with on a rainy day? Want to laugh and cry? If so, I implore you to consider The Answer is…Reflections on My Life.

Self Portrait

Here we are. Week 12/12 of my weekly creative challenges. As my classes are coming to an end for the semester, I will be taking a break from posting.. BUT, the summer and sunshine only bring the desire to create, so I will be back ASAP with some more challenges 🙂

For this final week, I challenge you to create a self portrait of yourself. Don’t include any descriptor words, just draw yourself wearing your favourite colours. Write your name at the bottom, and give yourself a background that you will enjoy. Let yourself shine through your drawing and show us the essence of you!

For my self portrait, I decided to show off my rosy cheeks and messy pink hair. Pink is my favourite colour to dye my hair, however, to be as truthful as possible – I also included my brown roots (because i’m so lazy at consistently dying my hair!) I am pictured in a band T-shirt of my favourite band, Modern Baseball (aka MOBO). The flowers in the back are my two favourite colours, pink and green, and I wanted to capture some fun groovy energy in my portrait, because that’s how I want my ideal self to be!

Draw a picture of yourself. Post it down below. What are you like? Whats your essence?

finish a picture (your way)

This week, I found a stack of old National Geographic magazines that I had taken from my grandparents house. I have fond early memories of their bookshelves being filled with Nat Geo because they had gotten a monthly subscription sent to their house. Remember when we subscribed to newspapers and magazines and they arrived directly to our door?? Those were the days. Anyways.. I came across a few pictures and wanted to save for some type of craft. While tearing out the picture, I accidentally tore it in half. I was bummed, and then I thought of an idea.

I glued the half picture into my notebook, and i drew the rest of the picture myself (or my version of it!) After pencilling that in, I went over it with watercolour paints and acrylic. To finish, I outlined with sharpie and called it a day. I actually enjoy how they turned out!:

Essay #2

Before taking PUB 101 I thought publishing was different types of decisions about what to post on your blog. Now I think that publishing is very important because people want to share, show what they like and read about other people’s lives. Now I know that publishing takes a lot of time. This is because it takes responsibility to think of what we post in public.  

For this course, I created a blog about myself as a person and my life. My blog name is THLife because it represents my name and last name. I created this blog in January 2021. I would like to use the blog to meet people who share my interest. My imagined audience would be people who share the topics of my interests. I also believe my classmates would be some of my audience. My blog is for all ages. Maybe people who have interest in video games. At first, I thought people would interact more with the blog and send their reactions. I am thinking maybe advertisements would help. Before I used to think that advertisement was trash or links that sent you to nowhere. I think advertisements should be genuine. They should have specific questions or details about age. 

Online Presence

An online presence is a relationship that connects with social media. I haven’t started any business as of yet. In the future I could use THLife as a business idea. I plan on sharing my artwork. This way people get to know me and my art better. I am still thinking about this because in the blog I have not disclosed my name. So far, No one has contacted me on my social media or haven’t gotten any emails from me.

Audience

I addressed my audience through the theme selection. What I did is I chose the theme first because the theme is important and editing the colors. If I were to create advertising for my blog, I would use south park phone destroyer. This advertisement would be for mobile game users. I think this would be a great idea to reach and audience that likes videogames. 

So far no one hasn’t commented on my site yet, probably some people couldn’t understand what my blog could be. I have shared the links with my friends but people seem to be shy commenting. Looking forward, my goal is to keep checking my blog for two weeks or make changes as possible. I will keep checking my blog everyday for more updates. Looking back, I learned a lot about WordPress. One thing that really changed me is the wordpress guide on how to set up a blog. I liked the editing, and choosing a theme for your blog.

Changes

First, I had some trouble accessing reclaim hosting. When I started this blog, I started editing the different pages of the blog. First thing I did was choose a theme. Then I edited the pages from the theme to organize them with my ideas. At this point I started visiting my classmate’s blogs to learn about what they were doing. In this process, I learned that there were themes with a variety of colors. I noticed some classmates added cool images, while others wrote great paragraphs. I realized that many classmates made the blog personal by writing about their hobbies and what they liked. I feel like I did the same thing. 

Some of the changes I made is that I learned how to edit the text color. I did this as I could tell it was hard for my audience to see some of the text in my blog. I realized that by changing the color it would be easier to see. 

Inspiration

One blog that inspired me is Daily Hive. The main website was created in a Canadian source in 2008. The co-founders are Karm Sumal and Manny Bahia. The channels they use are facebook, instagram, twitter, linkedin and youtube. Their content is organized in the following categories: DH news, dished, listed, urbanized, venture, offside, mapped, grow and curated. Each article has a topic and is organized on one of the different categories.  

I like that Daily Hive is a specific website from Canada, I follow them on Instagram. I like that Daily hive has really neat articles that they post. They post events, scenery and other types of content. I think their design is very pretty and nice. One of my favourite posts is when they used cherry blossoms to announce the beginning of spring. I liked it because it makes reference to a very important tradition too. I’d like to explore what is behind the scene, or how is daily hive invented when they post media. What Daily Hive is doing is they are mostly talking about different topics. I found out on their page they have different statements that mark what they believe in as an organization. 

PUB 101

I really enjoyed doing the peer review. For this assignment, we got to react to the blog of our classmates. I really liked the process of receiving feedback from peers. For this assignment I did not have any dislikes. On a personal note, I disliked having negative thoughts about my blog. With this assignment I enjoyed receiving positive feedback on what to improve. 

Another thing I learned about in the course was website resources. I learned about lots of websites I was not familiar with. What I found is there are some helpful websites I found that support others. I really enjoyed the Matthew Stadler video on vimeo. He was talking about how publication works, he says that it can be any topic you discuss about your blog. He mentions that publication is the host’s responsibility for the audience to know what are the needs. He also mentions that topics could be found in books and conversations as this can relate to your audience. When he said making a blog should be an easy thing, In my words I thought making a blog is supposed to be simple. Another thing that in my mind is he has his own words to express why publications are created. Publications are a main source on the internet. I think. When I think of this video, I realized he described how publications work. What is different from my side of the reflection is that my topic is not related to what he was talking about. Another difference is that after going through the process I believe making a blog is not an easy thing to do. I relate to this phrase because building my blog was not easy. 

My favorite weekly topic was Designing yourself on week 5. I liked that we had a guest speaker who showed a lot of examples on how to modify formatting within your blog. During her presentation she showed us really creative ideas. Some of those I tried to add to my blog. In this course, I’ve learned that making a wordpress account takes time to make your blog. 

Another concept I really enjoyed was when we talked about digital breadcrumbs. This podcast included an example of how a girl used her phone and left a trail behind. It answered questions like “Why do we leave trails? and Where do the breadcrumbs come for? It also talked about how people find our knowledge to chase the trail that is leading. This podcast relates to my blog because the connection between podcasts and presentations are quite similar. Now that I realize this i’ve noticed how when to communicate on media it’s just like your in an interview. I learned from the podcast that spreading bread crumbs can be seen and followed on the internet. How does the article relate to the vimeo video? This article relates to the video on the purpose Matthew Stadler was talking about. He said that websites are created and invented by the internet and everyone around the world is watching.

The course was really great, I enjoyed the experiences on learning how a blog works. This helped me a lot to understand how the internet works and how to create content. I liked the guidance and help on how to make changes step by step. Tutorials were quite helpful as our TA brought great questions to guide the discussion. I thought publishing was going to be challenging at first, but I realized that I could relate what I know into how I can publish a post.  I think the course was a great experience although it was my first time trying to make a blog in person. I will check with my blog later on. However right now I want to take a break from staring at the computer all the time. Taking a break from the blog would really help me in being less stressed for assignments. I think I can start looking at blog posting in a different way. 

Digital breadcrumbs: The data trail we leave behind us [Television series episode]. (2016, May 3). Retrieved April 16, 2021, from http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/

Publication Studio (Producer). (2010, September 11). What is Publication? A talk by Matthew stadler [Video file]. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from https://vimeo.com/14888791

Monochromatic

Sometimes, I don’t want to paint anything particular. My favourite part about painting or drawing or anything is the colours. Some people focus on the linework and shading, I focus on the colour scheme. The thing is, I can’t really decide on which colour sometimes because i just… love them al! I wish all colours would go together equally, but it usually ends up in chaos (just take a look at my blog! I started out with the colour scheme of blue, red, and yellow – but i’ve now just decided to go with what colours make my heart happy in the moment that i’m using them. I like chaos is beautiful, but there is something to be said about *organized chaos* !

To practice, I decided that this week I would work on picking a colour, and getting the most out of different variations of the same colour .. also known as … monochrome painting!

I couldn’t decide on any one colour, so I went down the line of the rainbow, and tried to make different shades on each page! My favourites ended up being the Pink and Purple pages that I did in the beginning. Adding white to anything will take a colour and make it lighter (obviously!) but it also makes it different enough to contrast!

Your challenge this week…

Pick a Colour! Any Colour! But stick to it. See how many variations you can make with that one colour, and use it to make a picture – or just vibe out on the page and see where your brush strokes take you!

How to Stop Procrastireading (when you really have stuff to do)

With the last week of the semester comes a dreaded enemy… procrastination. (Well it’s been here all semester, but for some reason feels the hardest to shake now. The end feels so close, and yet so far). For myself, this often seems to develop in the form of being a procrastireader. I have found it especially hard during these past semesters while doing work entirely at home. If you have also struggled with procrastireading, here are some tips for getting back on track. (So you can finish with school and get back to your reading of course!)

graphic of person reading in a bathtub

Take breaks

You do need breaks. One of the things I struggle with the most with school and personal life is having a balance. I tend to just get ideas and want to do whatever I have in my mind at that moment. This is especially tricky with online school when I don’t have something scheduled that I need to attend. However, I can’t tell you to completely stop reading when you have a busy week. Why? Because you need a break! You deserve to rest and take a bit of time for yourself every day. When I am tempted to procrastiread, I remind myself of how good it feels to sit down with a book after a productive day and relax. 

graphic of man drinking tea with a laptop and book on the counter

Set time limits

It can be really hard in the moment to stop, and I often start feeling guilty for not doing my work. If you are really into your book and it’s hard to put down, remembering that it will still be there for you later to continue is a promising thought. You can also use this as motivation. “If I work on this assignment for this amount of time, I can read for an hour before bed.”

graphic of a girl in yellow sitting in butterfly pose on a yoga mat with 2 plants and a window behind her

Move 

After putting down your book, I find it helpful to do another activity to get my mind off of it. It can be really hard to stop thinking about a book I love, even long after I have closed the pages! You could do a physical activity like yoga or going on a walk, or make yourself a meal. These actions all force you to focus and can ground you back to reality and your tasks. 

graphic of girl reading in front of window showing clouds

Be kind

After your mind is off of it, sitting down and getting some of your work done will be a great feeling. Even if it isn’t everything you would’ve liked to do that day, getting any work done is an accomplishment. Plus, future you— who is now rewarded with reading before bed— will feel a lot better. 

graphic of person on laptop sitting crosslegged with a dog and plant on either side of them

Ambiance

The hardest part is getting started. Set the study mood: get tea, a candle, and turn on a study playlist. Make yourself feel like the main character. I usually put instrumental music and keep it interesting by adding new songs that Spotify recommends me. Oftentimes, I worry that I won’t know what to write which is why I don’t start and begin to feel stuck. I realized that I don’t actually know that unless I start working. Then if I do get stuck, I can take the action to reach out to a friend, teacher, or ta, and ask for help.


I feel like I’m sounding a little bit dramatic, but this is really often my experience with procrastireading. I will read a book I like so much that I want to marathon it. Unfortunately, I often don’t have the time in my schedule to do so! However, during the summer I may attempt a 24-hour readathon, which will not be hard to do in this mood! This usually just happens with books I am loving, but I often still find other ways to procrastinate. I will go on TikTok/Instagram/Twitter, or basically, do anything not related to what I need to get done. So, this post is focused on procrastireading, I hope these tips are able to help you if you struggle with procrastination in general! *graphics are from Canva, cover photo is my own*

The post How to Stop Procrastireading (when you really have stuff to do) appeared first on Procrastireader.

Blind Contour Challenge

Pals, I have an obsession. A brain teaser, a form of meditation, a silly activity, a template for countless works of arts. You may have heard of it, it’s called “Blind Contour Drawings”

A Blind Contour Drawing is when you stare at a reference picture and attempt to recreate it on paper WITHOUT looking down at your paper. I found myself instinctively looking down at times, it’s really quite hard not to! The trick is so just go with the flow. Try it a few times to get a feel for it, and then really try to focus and connect the pen and paper to the image you are seeing in your mind. It’s actually quite meditative!

I reccommend that you begin with an easy object like a plant. Do it over and over and over again and see your progress! It’s pretty cool.

Another strategy is to attempt to redraw portraits of yourself or your friends. The less you think and the more confident you are with the lines you draw (and the less you care about it not looking exactly like the drawing) the better they turn out! It’s like an introduction to abstract art without meaning it to be! 🙂

Process post wk 12

A community guideline Is like a strict rule. I like to watch videos on Youtube a lot, their community guidelines are :

–   Spam and deceptive practices

–   Fake engagement

–   Impersonation

–   Scams

–   External link Policy

The most important one is violent or dangerous content. This means that something that could evolve into violence. Now Youtube has implemented Covid 19 guidelines, people are not allowed to spread misinformation about Covid 19. If you are on Youtube your channel could get terminated at any moment if a user behaves outside the community guidelines. This means that they lose access to their account. I have seen very harsh pranks and Youtube sometimes tells the author to take the video down.

For TH life I would like readers to be careful with what they are posting. I would like for my audience to have more of an understanding of my page. I am thinking of sharing more communications. An important community guideline in TH Life would be:

  • Find more evidence about the information posted
  • Users would have to be respectful with one another
  • Each should be responsible with their language and what they post. 

Photo Collage

Ok shes/hes and theys… The history of my photo collaging goes waaaay back with me. For almost 12 years, I had a photo collage of magazine pictures taped onto my door on my childhood bedroom (see example below). I don’t recommend letting an 11 year old do what I did, because when you peel everything off 12 years later, you peel off the layers of the door as well. Oops.

If you want to proceed with good old fashioned paper and cutting and pasting, I support you. Don’t do it on anything permanent unless you’re feeling crazy, but your Auntie Sam supports you no matter what. Just don’t tell your parents I enabelled you photo collaging onto things that they will have to deal with in the future.

If you’re looking for a cleaner way to photo collage – fear not! I have a solution for you (located below in “Variation #2)…

Here are the materials you will need for this week, whatever path you may choose.

Variation #1

  • Paper/Magazine/Photos
  • Scissors
  • Gluestick
  • A medium to paste everything that is not a door. Maybe a poster board or a sketchbook?

Variation #2

  • Smartphone
  • Ability to access the App Store
  • Download the app PicsArt or Pic Collage.
    • Use the “Freestyle” function
season 6 episode 20 GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

PRESS RELEASE

We finally did it! Time to cross into other platforms. Follow @SamAverage on Instagram for updates on weekly challenges! Share your version of our weekly challenges with the hashtag #AverageArtChallenge and Tag us on instagram to be reposted!! 🙂

Lost in the Never Woods – Aiden Thomas

Release Date: March 23, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light.

Lost in the Never Woods– Aiden Thomas

Lost in the Never Woods is Aiden Thomas’s second book, and newest release. As someone who enjoyed Cemetery Boys, I was really looking forward to reading their new novel, especially as it’s about one of my favourite stories: Peter Pan. Hope this review convinces you to read this 🙂

Peter Pan Retelling-ish

This story is a retelling of Peter Pan which takes place five years after Wendy and her brothers travel to Neverland. However, in this story, Wendy’s brothers never return – their whereabouts are unknown – and Wendy remembers nothing about her time in Neverland. The premise of this story was super intriguing to me, and I knew this was something I had to get my hands on this year. I love retellings, especially The Lunar Chronicles, and Heartless by Marissa Meyer, so I was excited for this one.

Characters

Wendy was a pretty dull character for much of the novel, which definitely let me down a bit. She went from a girl who believed and loved the idea of magic to a girl who was skeptical and not so willing to work with Peter Pan, but of course this is because she inevitably grew up. I liked Wendy’s best friend Jordan, but her character became less and less prevalent as the story progressed, which was kind of disappointing. I loved Wendy’s parents, and I felt like they really reflected the characters from the old film and book. Peter was quite fun as well, and definitely had the kid-like boyish presence he is so well-known for. He was playful, silly, and down-to-earth, and had qualities which made him human and likeable. The characters were great, I just think some needed more substance and like-ability.

Plot

The plot was definitely a lot slower than I imagined. I was expecting magic and action-filled scenes, like those in Peter Pan, but this seemed to be mostly a contemporary book rather than fantasy, and Wendy was a regular girl doing regular teenage things. The first half of the book was pretty difficult to get through, as not much happened other than the introduction of characters and their lives intertwining. However, things picked up quite a bit later on, and I was even shocked as revelations came to light. Certain things about it did seem kind of off and strange to me, and of course unrealistic, since this takes place in our normal world, but it was still enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

This was an overall good book. It was not the best, but it had qualities I enjoyed. Unlike Cemetery Boys, this is not the kind of story that ends completely happy with all issues resolved and people happy, but I think that’s what made me like this more than Cemetery Boys, since it was more unpredictable. Be prepared to cry! For fans of Peter Pan or any fairytale retelling, definitely pick up this book!

Process post wk 11

How did I get into videogames?

My first videogame I played was a handheld Dora the explorer super spies. When I was little the game was a bit easy. Yes I finished the game. Gameboy advance

In Conclusion

I chose to build a website designed around publishing material that humanizes the homeless and street-involved community. The decision to write about the folks I work with on the downtown eastside came easily. Given the rapport that I have built with these folks who have been discounted and dehumanized by society, my perspectives and insights are both uniquely interesting and valuable. Initially, my goal was to address the public instead of a public, meaning my content was meant to create a discourse that everyone would participate in. This goal was a lofty one, almost unachievable, certainly not in the scope of 12 weeks after building up a beginner website from scratch. Throughout the scope of the course, I specified this public to Vancouver BC, where my perspectives and narratives were created, and continue to be built up and adjusted. While this is still an enormous public to be addressing, humanizing the homeless and substance-dependent communities truly requires a large-scale societal shift in which all members of the public are invested in. 

To reach this broad and diverse population I have used a number of different tactics and forms of media. I have posted education material, written personal narratives, and linked out to literature and reading material which goes into more depth than I. Each of these posts worked towards the goal of supporting and helping people in humanizing the homeless community and people who use drugs. The Venn diagram of people who use drugs and people experiencing homelessness – particularly chronic homelessness tends to be relatively plump. In terms of design choices, I tried to use photos that elicited feelings of discomfort and forced people to reflect on their role in the dehumanization of the street community. This (of course) avoided the exploitation of homeless people for sensationalist clicks and instead used art murals (pictured below).

Outside of other students enrolled in the course, my blog has gained little traction (not surprising over the course of 12 weeks). However, it is still in its early stages, and I intend to continue cultivating it. If nothing else, it is a useful tool for processing events transpiring at work, and I will keep it alive as my own “digital garden” of urban chaos and humanity.

If this website were to truly take off, and reach the eyes and minds of the general public, the value would be immeasurable. If nothing else, I would be capitalizing on the shrinking space on the internet dedicated to democratic writing, providing an important alternative to the current “two-party system” so to speak which dictates how homeless and drug-involved persons are conceptualized. I’ll expand. The dominant discourse of homelessness and addiction is often clinical, derived from research aiming to support policy to mitigate the crisis of homelessness (an important task!) Here is an example of a paper looking at homelessness from a pathological perspective. At the other end of the spectrum, homelessness is often used to sell sensationally violent or tragic stories in the media. Mental health crises and episodes of psychosis are used for shock value, to get clicks and attention from a sheltered public. This facet of discourse about homelessness is harmful, backing the public perception of the homeless community as volatile and dangerous, which fuels ostracization and stigmatization. I am choosing to not link out to any of this content. Other sensationalist stories of homelessness focus on the tragedy of the crisis, focusing on the tragic and avoidable deaths associated with living on the street. What I am providing is a third perspective, reminding people that homeless people are people just like you and me. This is not meant to dismiss the urgency of mental health emergencies, or replace the importance of clinical research. Indeed, this humanizing approach is an essential complement to dealing with the crises of homelessness and addiction. Forming relationships based on mutual respect is a precursor to providing assistance to someone in this situation.

Moving past my personal blog and towards my broader sense of self as a publisher and user of different internet spaces, this course has changed my perspective a fair bit. Moving forward, I would like to be more mindful and critical of the content I take in, how it may be affected by filter bubbles, and the impacts I have on the content others see through my engagement with content online. For example, interacting with videos exploiting homeless people (“I gave a homeless man 1000$ and followed him for 6 hours to see what he’d spend it on”) only expands the market for that kind of content. In the interest of combatting the filter bubble algorithm and of not becoming trapped in a cycle of reinforcing beliefs and views, I have begun to diversify the perspectives which fill my timelines and expand the networks from which I get my news from.

Review: The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“There have been too many stories in between, miracles and martyrdoms, too much blood spilt, too much ink. There was a war. There were a thousand wars. I knew a killer. I knew a hero. They might have been the same man.’’ 

The Lives of Saints, Leigh Bardugo

Hi everyone! Today I will be talking about The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo which is a companion book to her other books in the Grishaverse. Also if you are a Grishaverse fan, you might be interested to know that there’s an art fundraiser going on right now until April 23. Artists have teamed up and designed beautiful Grisha-themed works for sale on RedBubble with all proceeds going to support BLM and Stop Asian Hate. Check it out here!

How stunning is this book?

The Lives of Saints tells the stories of the various saints in the Grishaverse, and the physical copy is actually designed to look like a copy of the Istorii Sankt’ya that Alina would have in Shadow and Bone! I love this idea because it’s like you have something out of the universe for yourself. When it first was released, there was a lot of criticism on how the half dust jacket looked with the book, but the reason it’s there is so information is not printed on the physical book and it looks as close to a replica as it can be. The dust jacket can easily be taken off too!

close up of gold detailing on the red cover of "The Lives of Saints", background is the sky and branches of a tree
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I would recommend getting a physical copy of the book if you can, as it is so pretty! The book is very sturdy and the texture makes it feel like a real religious text, especially with the beautiful gold foil decorating it. This attention to detail continues on inside with beautiful illustrations for each saint’s story. I initially wasn’t sure if I would buy it for myself since it is on the pricer side, but I was lucky enough to receive a copy as a gift from my friend, Karli! I’m really grateful that she got it for me because it is the perfect addition to my collection! 

Thoughts on the Stories

I first heard the story of Sankt Nikolai, because Leigh Bardugo read it on her IGTV just before the release date and I loved it so much. (I think this would be great to read in audiobook form as well! I also just saw that Ben Barnes narrates it so, YES) The stories are just a few pages long so it is very fast to move through, but I also think you could take your time and come back to this book since they all are individual stories! The Lives of Saints displays Leigh Bardugo’s work as an incredibly enchanting storyteller with the twists and turns she packs in these short stories. Some people might prefer The Language of Thorns for the longer stories, but I personally enjoyed The Lives of Saints more!

Some stories are based only on the saint’s life, while others tell the story of someone who prays to that certain saint. I think my favourites were probably Sankt Nikolai and Sankt Egmond (which gives the story of how the Ice Court came to be, which Six of Crows fans will love). There are of course other references to the Grisha Trilogy with “Sankta Alina of the Fold” and “The Starless Saint” at the end of the book which were also very cool to read. The stories can get quite dark (a lot are martyr stories) and I think I had a nightmare from reading this before bed the other night, so I’d recommend maybe not reading before bed if you’re like me…

Let me know your thoughts, feelings, and/ or questions on The Lives of Saints! Have you read it, or are you planning to?

The post Review: The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo appeared first on Procrastireader.

How to Fail as a Popstar by Vivek Shraya – Review

Something I’ve always found excitingly daunting is jumping into a new style or genre of literature. I felt this strongly when starting Vivek Shraya’s latest book featuring her play How to Fail as a Popstar. Personally, I’ve never really felt the need to venture into reading plays because I felt as if I got my fill of that in high school, and if I desperately wanted to consume one, I could easily head into the city and get tickets to a show. But being a fan of Vivek’s work and compelled by the idea of this play, I knew I had to pick this up. And wow, am I sure glad I did!

Despite my nerves going into this piece, I immediately felt at home reading the foreword by play director Brendan Healy. I knew right there that this play would be something I highly value, and when Healy listed his three main takeaways from the play, I felt so much more eager to continue reading. 

Vivek is extremely skilled in creating a compelling narrative. The majority of this play is formed around an autobiographical telling of her experiences with wanting to become a popstar from her earliest memory of music to where she sees her ultimate failure. Music is of course a key aspect of this play as it is dotted with her original songs (much to my delight as I really love her music, check her out on Spotify), and they really added so much to the story. I particularly love the closing song, Showing Up

Mostly, though, this play spoke to me as a creative at a fundamental level like nothing else. Failure is never talked about in this sense. We’re told to move on, to never give up, that our failures make us stronger, but in reality a lot of us are just playing the lottery—99.9% of us are set up to fail. And that’s okay. Failing sucks, but we can mourn, learn (if we want to), and move on, and we don’t have to keep trying again and again when the odds are against us. And even if you don’t fully achieve your dreams of being that 1 in a million megastar of whatever art you do, you can still keep doing your art without striving for what, despite what our society tells us to do. 

This play says all of that in a personable, skillfully written way that is extremely compelling and keeps you hooked to the narrative. I highly recommend this book to other creatives who have struggled with failure, or really creatives in general. And really, to anyone who has dealt with any kind of failure. It’s a really brilliant play that doesn’t rely on bullshit motivational quotes; it actually speaks to real life. I give it 5/5 stars, and please check it out!

Essay 2: My Experience with Pub 101

I was initially reluctant to enrol in an introductory course as a fourth-year student. However, I am glad that I took Publishing 101: Publication of the everyday self because, unlike communications classes, this class has provided me with a more hands-on learning experience. In this class, I was fortunate to learn how to use WordPress and cultivate, distribute, and interact with the public sphere. During my time in pub 101, I was introduced to the world of blogging and discovered how much time and effort goes into creating an online publication. I learned that a blog must consider factors, including branding, content, and user engagement. Furthermore, I had to think of a subject to write about, figure out how to define and engage my audience, and finally, figure out how to interpret my website analytics.

At the beginning of the semester, I crafted a vision board of my ideal personal cyberinfrastructure. This vision board played a crucial role in the creation of my publication. From the start, I knew that I wanted my blog to be about fashion because it is something that I am very passionate about, interested in, and enjoy. In terms of design, I wanted my blog to emulate my personal style. When it came to designing my website, I got inspiration from different mediums. The inspiration that guided my publication came from other fashion blogs I constantly visit, social media influencers I admire and stores where I shop. Throughout the semester, I received a lot of feedback from peers regarding design, content, and marketability. I had lots of fun rearranging my site and adding elements to increase my user engagement. Basu (2020) discusses the idea of digital gardens. My experience with changing my blog relates to the idea of a digital garden because as Basu, states, digital gardens explore a wide variety of topics and are frequently adjusted and changed to show growth and learning, particularly among people with niche interests (para. 3).

Next, I will discuss the audience. A blog’s audience is an essential component. The audience is such a crucial component that there are numerous tools and programmes available to analyze and track website visitors. Knowing how visitors to your website behave can help creators create the best content, post at the right time, and develop appropriate engagement strategies. All of these factors contribute to the overall quality of your blog, which increases engagement. Although my current audience is small, consisting of classmates, friends, and family. When I write my content, I keep my envisioned audience in mind. Ideally, my audience for my blog is anyone who enjoys fashion and enjoys expressing themselves through their clothing and accessories. According to Fraser (1990), the idea of a public sphere is that of a body of ‘private persons’ assembled to discuss matters of common interest (p.58). However, as technology advances, the public sphere has also transitioned online. The Internet and sites such as WordPress provide individuals with an opportunity to be a part of a broader public that was not available before. This class has taught me to embrace popular technologies to build an audience and contribute my thoughts to the broader cultural ethos. In class, we discussed the topic of publics and counter-publics. Boyd (2014) suggests that through social media, individuals build networks of people and information. And as a result, people both participate in and help create networked publics. My site, Javiera Wears What, has allowed me to assemble and interact with people to discuss ideas and disseminate knowledge about mutual interests like fashion. If I could attract a larger audience, their comments and interactions with one another would be enough to create my own public. However, for now, I am content writing about and publishing my perspective around fashion. As Basu (2020) suggests, digital gardens are less about connections and feedback and more about quiet spaces they can call their own. Although in the future I would like to expand my site and make it more than just a hobby, I am content with how much I have grown in the past four months and enjoy this space that I can call my own.

I integrated Google Analytics and Google Adsense for my blog to understand my audience better. Some insights I’ve gained about my audience include the fact that the vast majority of visitors to my site fall into two demographics. The first group is people between the ages of 25 and 34, and the second group is people between the ages of 18 and 24. Something Interesting that I found out is that 54 percent of my audience are males.

Despite the reality that developing my website has been a lot of work and that it still requires some fine-tuning, I am incredibly pleased with the content and design of my blog. In terms of the blog’s future, I intend to keep it growing and adding to it regularly.

XO,

Javiera Guevara

References

Basu, T. (2020, September 03). Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/09/03/1007716/digital-gardens-let-you-cultivate-your-own-little-bit-of-the-internet/

Boyd, D. (2014) “Searching for a public of their own.” It’s Complicated. pp 213-227. Retrieved from https://www.wattpad.com/203798155-it%27s-complicated-8-searching-for-a-public-of-their

Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Social Text, (25/26), 56-80. doi:10.2307/466240

Process Post #11

For my last process post, I will be reflecting on our current Covid situation and how the semester has gone. Since this is my last semester, I have spent most of it figuring out what I am going to do post graduation in a pandemic world. The last few semesters have been hard and to be honest, I am sick and tired of zoom and the lack of human contact. Group projects are extremely difficult as it is hard to get a hold of individuals when not everyone is visiting the same classroom every week. Classes themselves are also difficult as many professors have switched to asynchronous teaching methods and implemented online modules. As an SFU student who wasn’t expecting to take all his courses online, I am thoroughly exhausted with trying to stay on top of things and keep on track.  This quarantine has taken a toll on many individuals. Some more than others as there has been a huge divide on opinions and thoughts. It almost seems as if the pandemic has caused all the crazies to come out of the woodwork. This was a good course to take in a pandemic because of our weekly current events chats. It really helps people see what is going on in the world and with a pandemic happening, it is never a dull moment. I am glad that school is almost over, and that we will be in a post pandemic world soon. Hopefully, we can all do our parts to minimize the damage and come out stronger than ever.