My 2014 Goodreads Challenge Results + “Good Enough” Book Review

Well, guess who blew her 2014 Goodreads reading challenge out of the water and by the beginning of August?

2014 Goodreads Challenge completed

2014 Goodreads Challenge completed.

This lady right here. I upped my book challenge from 12 to 15 books because I finished book 12 back in July.

By happenstance the majority of books I read this year are by authors who are women and writers of color, which I think is quite good considering I enjoy and thus gravitate toward mainstream YA fiction. I grew up consuming this genre, which I love, but am painfully aware of how it is not all that diverse.

I delved more into YA and kid lit this year to recapture the early reader experience of experiencing another’s point of view for the first time. More accurately the first of many times, but that’s another blog post. I now have a better understanding of what inspired my obsession with reading at a young age. I would like to continue reading more in this genre for the rest of Summer.

Book Review: Good Enough

Good EnoughGood Enough by Paula Yoo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun read with an added bonus of the protagonist’s perspective being that of a young WOC! This novel focuses on Patti, written with flaws and a good sense of humor, as she recounts the stress-filled college application experience during her senior year of high school.

This is an absolutely American story which happens to be from the lens of a first-generation American with immigrant parents. She juggles the near-impossible expectations of her parents, her Korean-American community, and societal ladder of her small New England town, while sharing Korean comfort food recipes and top ten lists of amusing ways she deals with making sense of her world.

What I liked most about this novel is that I easily related to the Patti’s experience as I remembered my own days of university interview and application experiences.

While I recognize that her home life story is an experience common to many, I can also see how it would reinforce this first-generation American, particularly Asian-American trope of having parents so singularly focused on instilling superior educational and extracurricular achievements to make their kids competitively qualified for a top American university, that they come off as one-dimensional and interchangeable– I’m talking  about parents who are devastated that their student got a B+ on one test (not a final exam) and are legitimately worried it will bring shame on their entire family when others find out.

I look forward to reading more from Ms. Yoo.

View all my reviews


What I learned at VidCon this year Part 2

Hillywood Show meetup

Hannah & Hilly Hindi were kind enough to pose w/ me in Downtown Disney.

Hannah & Hilly Hindi were kind enough to pose w/ me in Downtown Disney.

Saturday, June 28th, was the last day of VidCon. Hillywood Show rockstars Hannah and Hilly Hindi hosted a meet up in downtown Disney and I just couldn’t miss it. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you may have seen their new Rocky Horror Time Warp themed parody. If not, you should watch it now. I’ll wait…

See why I couldn’t miss this meet up? They completely nailed every detail.

Also, they are the nicest online video creators I’ve met. They met with everyone at the meetup one two-on-one and then took time to hold a Q&A once they were through speaking with everyone. I plan to post that to my YouTube channel when I can optimize the file size. I’ll share the link here.

Though I didn’t attend VidCon itself I feel like I still got to experience the best parts of the event. Three things I’ve learned are

  • To be an active part of the online video community start creating content regularly and seek out others doing the same.
  • Talk to everyone and find out what inspires them to create content. Everyone’s got an interesting story.
  • Don’t be afraid to start. There isn’t a more supportive group of people than other online video creators.

Here are three resources to help you get started on Twitter YouTube Creators, Maker Studios, and FullScreen Inc. for inspiration check out The Hillywood Show on YouTube!

 


What I learned at VidCon this year (and I didn’t even go!) Part 1

VidCon 2014

K1 Speedway go-karting fun

K1 Speedway go-karting fun

Though I technically didn’t attend the titular event this year I had a great time at the VidCon pre-party hosted by TubeFilter and Beachfront Media at the Anaheim K1 Speedway. I jumped at the chance to race around a go-kart track with my nephew (a newly-minted h.s. graduate). I also ran into friends and YouTubers galore, including a couple of crowd faves like Tay Zonday and Spandy Andy as well as one of my newer  favs, AkilahObviously.

If you’re looking for actual VidCon content not to worry. Here are a couple of links with great info.

Did you go to VidCon? What was your favorite moment?

I’ll post part 2 of my experience next.

Happy Independence Day!


Women Pioneers in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

On Tuesday, June 10, I attended a fantastic event called See Jane Salon, on Women Pioneers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) put on by the Geena Davis Institute for Gender Studies in Media.

Women pioneers in STEM panel at Google

Women pioneers in STEM panel at Google on June 10, 2014.

Check out their event summary:

How can media encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science? One way is to feature exciting and dynamic portrayals of female scientists in movie and TV shows. Sounds easy enough, but the Geena Davis Institute’s 2012 research on the career occupations of female characters in family films, prime time and children’s television showed that there was a 15:1 ratio of male to female characters in science. Why is this so important? Because by 2018, there will be 1.2 million US job openings in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, with a significant shortage of qualified applicants to fill them. This See Jane Salon will showcase real women pioneers in STEM along with entertainment industry leaders who are creating great female characters in science.

The panel included Andrea Fernandez, Creative Director GoldieBlox, Dr. Kathy Magliato, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Taryn O’Neill, Actor, Jaime Paglia, TV and Film Writer/Producer The Flash (and co-creator of Eureka!), Christina Reynolds, Development Executive Amazon Studios, Amanda Segal, Co-Executive Producer, Person of Interest, Laura Tenenbaum, Communication Specialist NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, and moderator, Megan Smith, Entrepreneur, VP Google.

 If she can see it she can be it

What I liked about the panel was that they didn’t focus solely on the unique challenges of being a women in their chosen fields. If you’re a woman, particularly a WOC, you already know the challenges of being underrepresented in whatever field you’re in, STEM or not. That, unfortunately, is what a lot of women-centric panels of this sort turn into, running out of time before any solutions are discussed.  To about 200 attendees, 95% of whom were women, they provided real data in addition to the anecdotes of experiences, which I found refreshing.

I’d joined a Google+ hangout on Disrupting Entrepreneurship and Innovation  with Megan Smith about month ago and she reiterated on stage some interesting points about hiring practices and systemic bias toward women in stem fields. The fewer women that are present in a group, the higher the tendency to expect that women to represent the ‘female’ point of view, rather than a single person’s point of view. Also, for any given job criteria, a woman will tend apply only if she meets 7/10 of those characteristics, where a man will tend to apply if he meets just 3/10. I live-tweeted a few other things which you can find on Twitter using a hashtag search for #stem on June 10th.

I hope to attend more events like this and become a part of the solution for this issue. Do you have a favorite tv show or movie that features women characters in stem? Mine is the show ‘Eureka’ on Syfy. Let me know yours in a comment.


A to Z challenge summary and sonder

Last month, depending on how you look at it:

1. I completed an A-to-F challenge. The A-to-F challenge went great! I’m now ready to do something else interesting.

2. I bombed my attempt at the A-to-Z challenge. To not be a quitter on top of a failure I should struggle to the finish, holding my nose as I slog through the next 20 blog posts that I will not enjoy writing.

One of those options is way more appealing than the other. I’m going to work on some updates to this blog and explore a new perspective. I’ll leave you with my favorite word of the moment.

Sonder

sonder definition

Sonder definition. Is your mind blown?


A to Z Challenge: Footloose and fancy-free

Footloose and fancy-free. I progress further toward a goal I’ve been reaching for far too long to turn back now.

Flying Over Malibu

Say cheese, Malibu, CA. #nofilter

Ferrying over SoCal in an airbus always fills me with a feeling of wonder. I don’t know if that or my insistence on sitting in a window seat when possible will ever go away.

Flexing my finger to push the button on the camera phone screen at just the right moment I attempted to use the screen to frame a good shot, but I kept lifting my eyes above the phone to take in the real view before it was too late. Eventually I pushed the button.

Fortunately I took the time to crop the plane’s oddly colored wing out of this photo, just for you. You’re welcome.


A to Z Challenge: Enumeration

Enumeration keeps you alert and responsive. If you learn to recall the good things that have unexpectedly happened to you each day you will soon learn to recognize the opportunity in being prepared for the unplanned.

Each time I make plans to do something they tend to turn out differently. Instead of getting frustrated when this happens I’ve learned to just go with it. Now I either plan for change or plan to be at least open to the likelihood that things will change.

Expectation management leads to something else getting reinforced.  It’s that I shouldn’t get too attached to my plans in the first place. Life will go on if things don’t go exactly as expected. They are only plans, not an algorithm. I am not a robot and neither are others I interact with unfortunately. It’s okay and even good to explore a diversion now and again.

Eventually I’ve become more at ease with change and I even look forward to seeing the degree to which things don’t go according to plan. Many times with a new perspective, things end up better than expected.


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