Life & Ramblings

april ’19 // month in review

1. close 2 the end

We’re in May, which means in about twenty days it will be ~summer~! (I’m trying not to think about how in 2 years I will no longer have a ‘summer’, it’ll just be hot months where I am working. And that’s optimistically if I’m able to wangle a job lordy lord adult life sounds terrifying.) I’ll graduate and be done with community college and will be heading off to finish my undergraduate degree in the fall, and as with any ending, I have feelings about it.

Also, April 22 was Earth Day. I was going to talk abut this in my non-favs section but I have a lot to say and I think it’s important and like our planet is also close 2 the end. I saw many many posts on Instagram encouraging me to recycle and buy metal straws on Earth Day, and I also had to sit through a fair amount of presentations from my classmates about how I should say no to plastic bags. The past couple months I’ve gradually come to be a little ??? at this line of argument because how on earth is me trying desperately to recycle everything that comes into my hands going to tackle climate change largely caused by polluting industries and corporations? Did some thinking. Did some listening. Did some reading. And I want to share them with you. This YouTube video from The Atlantic, titled America’s Dopamine-Fueled Shopping Addiction, discussed consumerism in the U.S. and how it has grown into an entirely too wasteful form of consumption. Consumption is undoubtedly tied to climate change, but I think it’s unfair to expect everyone to live a zero waste lifestyle (great as they are) when businesses are still skirting regulations and pumping carbon into the atmosphere and governments are failing to protect the people they work for. The recap episode for the Articles of Interest miniseries from 99% Invisible highlighted the lessons Avery Trufelman learned in reporting on clothing for that series and how she’s changed her own consumption patterns regarding style and fashion in light of how polluting that industry is. The Circular(s) episode from the Still Processing podcast featured David Wallace-Wells, a climate columnist for New York Magazine who wrote the book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. They talked about the limits of conscious consumption in the fight against climate change and the necessity of political action rather than, say, worrying about how much plastic you, individually, are consuming. And this all brings me to the main point – that the response to the environmental crisis that understands “environmental degradation as the product of individual shortcomings and finds solutions in enlightened, uncoordinated consumer choice” ultimately “narrow[s] our collective ability to imagine and pursue a variety of productive responses to the environmental problems before us”. The journal article Individualization: Plant a Tree, Buy a Bike, Save the World? by Michael F. Maniates, published in Global Environmental Politics all the way back in 2001 (FOREVER AGO god how did it take me so long to figure this out), argues that “when responsibility for environmental problems is individualized, there is little room to ponder institutions, the nature and exercise of political power, or ways of collectively changing the distribution of power and influence in society”. Some food for thought, eh? Imagine if I had taken all the energy I used fretting over what kind of reusable cotton pads to get to write my legislative representatives or volunteer my time to lobby for political change, huh?

2. favorites

Mejuri x Claire Marshall ear cuff: Mejuri had a sale in March, so I bought this lil guy from their collaboration with Claire Marshall, one of my favorite Internet content people. I’m generally really skeeved out at the thought of buying jewelry and accessories because it’s so much money for such a small product, but I’ve realized that I have entirely too much clothing and jewelry/accessories can do a whole ton for a ~look. This is probably the first piece of jewelry I’ve bought for myself that’s cost more than $15 and it felt like the biggest fucking splurge. Anyway, I’ve been wearing it and it looks really cool! I had hoped to get a cartilage piercing with a hoop this summer, but I think my second lobe piercing is infected so I should probably take care of that first..

The Paula Scher episode of Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix: This episode was amazing!!! I’ve seen trailers for Abstract and my bf’s been telling me I’ll like it for um a very long while, but I hadn’t gotten around to watching it until a few weeks ago. I picked the graphic design episode to watch and was like o00000oOO0oomg the whole time. If you have a passing interest in typography or graphic design, you’ll probably be like that, too. Her work is amazing! Her maps are amazing! Her album covers are amazing! Omfg!! I felt so inspired after I watched it lol.

The Study Group Bringing bell hooks to Prisons from Next City: What an amazing headline, right? While in prison, Richie ‘Reseda’ Edmond-Vargas and Charles Berry began developing curriculum to educate other incarcerated men on the effects of patriarchy and toxic masculinity. The program is called Success Stories and launched in 2014 with a focus on bell hooks and including many intersectional feminist texts. Now based in LA, Edmond-Vargas and Berry operate Success Stories as a non-profit that introduces concepts of toxic patriarchal masculinity and rape culture and then discussing “how their lives have been affected, and in many ways defined, by them”. Over a weekly course, men “find space to talk about their feelings” and many “make conscious efforts to free themselves from it”. Eventually they hope to deliver this program nationally, and I hope to god it happens. People learning about patriarchy and men learning about how living under it affects them too makes my angry sad feminist heart swell.

This tweet from AP: I’m so glad we’re on the same page about calling a racist spade a racist spade.

Do not use racially charged or similar terms as euphemisms for racist or racism when the latter terms are truly applicable.

AP Style Book 2019

Ky Ryssdall and Beth Ruyak’s voices: Every once in a while I listen to Marketplace on NPR when I happen to be driving, and lately I’ve started listening to it from the podcast app on my phone. The podcast is fine, but what I want to talk about is THIS MAN’S VOICE. What the fuck? It is such a nice voice. How does he get it that way? Has it always been that way? Did he get a vocal coach to make it that way? I have the same questions about Beth Ruyak, who hosts the Insight show on Capital Public Radio, my local NPR station. They have such nice voices. Every time it comes on the radio I’m like oh ho ho.

3. non-favs

Me health: After about a week and a bit this month, I started feeling super sick. It’s a mystery ailment, mostly involving nausea, and my doctor is confused about what’s going on, as am I. They think it could be a stomach problem. As of now, I feel OK, but it comes and goes and I hope it goes away forever soon.

5. camera roll + reading list

After I got my email rejection for a summer internship I was really hoping to do, I kind of just sat in my bathroom feeling bummed for a while. Luna came over and cuddled with me :’)

How to Fail Like a Pro episode from Freakonomics: The week I got the internship rejection was not a great one, as I was also sick and got waitlisted at UC Berkeley. In the spirit of rejection (and in recognition of the fact that I was totally bitterly wallowing), I listened to some podcast episodes about failure and picking yourself up and growing from it and all that. This one from Freakonomics was a really good one, and I wrote this thing that Jorinde Voigt, a painter and artist, said down in my phone to remember –

It’s not about failing or winning, it’s just about being and doing.

Jorinde Voigt

WOOP, There It Is! episode from Hidden Brain: In the same dejected frenzy, I listened to this episode from Hidden Brain which featured the psychologist Gabriele Oettingen, author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside The New Science Of Motivation. Long story short, those who have stronger and more positive fantasies are less likely to achieve them in areas ranging from job seeking to forming relationships. Oettingen devised WOOP as a way to actually reach more of your goals – it stands for Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan. You start by deciding your wish or goal, and then you envision the outcome if you were to achieve this wish of yours. But then you pivot and see obstacles in you that may hinder you from achieving this wish. Oettingen stressed that by focusing on obstacles within you rather than the environment or the situation, you maintain agency and only work on what you can, instead of just making excuses when you get a C instead of a B grade. After you know your obstacles, you make a plan to deal with them so that you can get your wish.

What the Hell Else Can I Do to Get a Job? from Bitches Get Riches: I don’t think I’ve mentioned this blog before, but it’s a personal finance blog written by two women and it’s hilarious, well-written, informative, and conscious about stupid things like sexism and capitalism and this lone Internet reader highly recs! In the throes of my internship rejection woe I worried about how I could ever ever find a job. These were some good tips about putting yourself out there and finding opportunity, which is something I need to work on as someone generally uncomfortable with asking for more ketchup at a restaurant. I also read, like, six more articles about retirement, because that’s a thing you worry about when you know your parents are not super financially savvy. This retirement 101 post and this traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA comparison were both helpful for this Gen Z-er who learned about mitochondrias in high school and not taxes or how on earth I’m going to pay to live when the funds for Social Security run out by the time I’m wizened.

Why Did New York’s Most Selective Public High School Admit Only 7 Black Students? episode from The Daily: At one of NYC’s top public high schools, only 7 out of 895 spots in the freshman class were offered to black students. This is fucking bonkers. As a Chinese American person, school demographics are something people who share my ethnic and racial background talk about a lot, and I am part of a group of people that is talked about a lot in regards to school populations. This episode was challenging to listen to because I can totally understand how immigrant Asian families feel but at the same time I disagree vehemently and wish they could see that it’s not about us vs. them, it’s about justice vs. segregation. It’s about equal opportunity for everyone. Right now black and brown kids lack the same opportunities white and East Asian kids commonly have and face challenges once they’re in systems of prestige and education.

The NHS exercise guides: Pls don’t laugh at me lol I’m such a couch potato and I’m trying not to be. I’ve never been ~active~*, not even as a kid, and um what do u kno a sedentary lifestyle usually means you will be in uncomfortable pain and die early. Fun times!!!! This was helpful for a potato like me in figuring out how much exercise I should aim for, as well as how fast I have to walk for it to count as moderate exercise.

The Sacramento Bee’s CA Influencers series: Very much unrelated to how I think about influencers in this blogging day n age lol – the Sac Bee, the newspaper in the capital of this fine state, does this series with the people ~influencing~* the state and the country. It’s interesting and good to know

The Light Triad: Psychologists Outline the Personality Traits of Everyday Saints from Discover: I think my bf found this on Reddit. If you like personality quizzes, you’ll love this!! Lol, the dark triad measures the more sinister aspects of personality (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) and this year, psychologists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Hawai’i-West O’ahu developed a counter part light triad test consisting of humanism, Kantianism, and faith in humanity. Interesting article to read, and you can take the light triad scale test for yourself at one of the researchers’ website!

UC decisions came out this month and I got into UCLA, where I’ll probably be going! A relevant meme:

Explicit Design: An artist on Instagram with very minimalist and v nice art! I saw a tattoo of their work and it was gorgeous.

Cleansing Tools & Techniques from Snow White and the Asian Pear: On this month’s skincare article rabbit hole, I learned about Go Hyun Jung’s cleansing rules – never touch your face without washing your hands first, wash properly and at length, and wash against the grain of your skin. This means “instead of starting from the inside and sweeping out like you do with a toner or general skincare, start at the outside of your face, and using tiny circular motions, slowly work your way in towards the center”. Also, don’t apply cleanser all over your face right away, to ensure the dry patches of your skin don’t dry out too much. Go hyun Jung says you should apply cleanser to the nose, forehead, and outside of the face, and then move from the outside inward. I’ve been trying the washing against the grain of my skin thing and I can’t say I feel anything different on my fingertips, but my skin’s been looking pretty good lately!

5. goal recap

GOOD THINGS I DID!

  • Get accepted to UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara
  • Tried acupuncture for the first couple times
  • Filed my taxes
  • Got A’s on all my essays/exams in my classes

NOT SO GR8 THINGS I DID!

  • Got waitlisted at UC Berkeley
  • Got rejected for the summer internship I wanted to do
  • Got very weirdly sick – this one has had a big impact on this month. I’ve stayed home sick a bunch and taken time off from school, my internship, and work, so I haven’t super gotten things done. I’m trying to be OK with it instead of mad at myself for not getting stuff done, because illness is, you know, a Rl Thing, and I’ve been brainwashed into wanting productivity and business at the expense of my wellbeing. This month was a little slower than usual and I spent the bulk of it trying to feel better. That’s OK.

Thanks for reading u guys! I hope May is off to a good start for you.

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