Currently

I just realized I missed a day in my Tuesday/Friday update schedule for the first time since I started, without being on hiatus, and without even noticing? Sometimes time just slips away from you.

So I thought I’d just check in, share some of my finds from the Internet with you all, since I am definitely plugged in way too much.

Currently 32715

 

Planning on making super flaky scallion pancakes from scratch soon

Trying out healthier living with a fitness tracker, tracking my food & water intake, and some exercise apps

Putting off training for another 5K though…

Dancing along to this dance compilation video:

Finishing my first attempt loaf of homemade banana bread

Thanking the weather overlords for giving us one warm day yesterday and not having it snow today

Thinking critically about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a great show that has gotten several dialogues started

Preparing for a lot of fun to come in April

Reflecting on what Kazuo Ishiguro said at his book reading & signing, and my conversations with my friends from that day

Feeling intrigued by the new Sriracha snack line, as a casual fan of the famous spicy sauce

Congratulating my friend and NoVa Yelp community manager Gretchen on her engagement!!!!!

Congratulations!!

Congratulations!!


Just a super quick little update to let you all know what I’ve been up to these days. A March favorites round-up will be coming, and I have planned things out for this little space of mine. I hope you all like it (and that it pans out!).

Happy Friday all! How have you been lately?

Spotlight: JL8

On my 12th birthday, I received a graphic novel from a friend. This was at the height of my manga-loving days. (Heck, it was not the only graphic novel I received that year.) But this one was different because it was the a hard copy of a web comic.

That was my introduction to the world of web comics. I’ve read several over the years, and maybe I’ll spotlight a few more, but today, I want to talk about my favorite. A few years ago, I definitely would not have been table to tell you what my favorite was. I have several web comics on my RSS reader that I read daily.

JL8 is my favorite by far.

JL8 is written and drawn by Yale Stewart. The title means (I believe) “Justice League 8″, as in it is a comic about the Justice League characters as 8-year-old children. The description of the comic as found on the official comic Tumblr is:

“JL8″ is a side project of “Gifted” creator Yale Stewart. A weekly webcomic, it follows the adventures of popular DC comic characters as children in elementary school. Mostly funny, with a dash of pathos, it should be an enjoyable read for any fans of DC Comics characters as well as people who enjoy the traditional syndicated comic strip.

Confession: I have both laughed out loud and cried while reading this comic. And while re-reading it. That’s how good it is.

One of Yale’s commissioned pieces, featuring the JL8 gang, their teacher Mr. Schwartz (likely for Julius Schwartz, editor at DC) and gym instructor Mr. Darkseid

If you never read the comics, like myself, you’ll like this. Yale does a great job of writing the comic in a way that the important characters and their personalities are introduced to you. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t know anything about Superman or Batman prior to reading this comic; a few strips in, you get that Clark (Superman) is friendly and optimistic while Bruce (Batman) is broody and a bit of a darker character.

If you are a big fan of DC comics, you are going to love this web comic. Although Yale writes the comics in a way that a complete stranger to the DC comic universe can still enjoy them, the comics are his source material. From reading the comments on the strips as he uploads them to the Facebook page, fans love how characteristic of each person the actions in the story are. There are little nods to events and characters in the comics. If you’re familiar with the comics, you’ll be able to spot foreshadowing and Easter eggs. While I’m not able to enjoy these, the DC comics fans on the Facebook page seem to really love them, and even I’m able to see how much thought and forethought goes into incorporating the source material on Yale’s part.

#15, showing our Justice League cuties during reading hour and already letting us know a lot about each character very early on in the comic

I love how much of each character’s personality comes through, especially in their interactions with each other. This is easily one of the most well-written web comics I’ve ever read, and the art is great as well. Yale has even worked for Marvel, drawing for Nova #100!

Yale Stewart for Marvel

I cannot recommend this comic enough. It is updated the least frequently, at once a week when Yale isn’t doing conventions, but it’s really worth it. I like to go back and just reread it from the start, that’s how good it is. (Also, if you didn’t know who Karen Starr is when I mentioned her in my sidebar, she’s in this comic!)

All images belong to Yale Stewart.

Find Yale at Facebook, Tumblr, deviantART, and Twitter
Follow JL8 at Facebook, Tumblrlimbero (smoother comic reader but unofficial so not always up-to-date), and Twitter 

Do you read JL8 or other web comics?
What are your favorite web comics? 

St. Patrick’s Day Look 2015

I wear green one time a year.
That time is today.
Yep, I got a new green dress. So now I have more than one, how exciting. Another update that you may notice is I have replenished my Mardi Gras bead collection so that I could add a gold strand to my look. I actually really like this dress. The only green I wear is emerald green (love me some jewel tones) and I love the fit and flare. It is a bit short for how flared it is (read: I can’t bend down without flashing my safety shorts to the world) but the flare is what makes it fun!

I still think that the article I shared last year by the Irish American who does not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is worth a read. I only celebrate by dusting off my green clothing and sometimes watching the classic Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM), The Luck of the Irish.

Also, I’m sharing this gorgeous video narrated by Liam Neeson for Discover Ireland for a quick look at Emerald Isle. (And also so you can listen to Liam Neeson’s silky smooth voice.)

 How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, if you celebrate at all? This blog post is essentially the extent of my celebrations!

Reprehensible

I don’t have too much to say today. So I’ll just share a few links that might help shed some light on what’s been on my mind for the past few hours.

Recently, the University of Oklahoma cut ties with its chapter of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon in light of a video surfacing where members were chanting racial slurs.

While appropriate disciplinary action against the fraternity is being explored, many people are pushing for something more valuable: a change in the culture. This one chapter of SAE is definitely not the only group guilty of this kind of behavior, as evidenced by the trending Twitter hashtag #NotJustSAE.

Last night, I learned that my alma mater has its own problems with Greek life culture. An email from January 2014 went viral among the student community. I won’t share the email here, but the language was just awful. When I saw it, I thought it was a joke. I mean, the kind of language that was used was almost a caricature of privileged frat bro mentality, how could it be REAL? At the school I attended, no less?

In this email, the author expressed his excitement for rush week, as many people would; it’s an exciting time for anyone in a Greek organization. However, in this very short, 3-sentence email, he is able to do a few things:

  • Use 3 racial slurs in a row, seemingly in an attempt to impress with how many he can use in one breath
  • Demean women
  • Write the phrase “f*ck consent”

I think I stared at my computer screen when I saw this and then immediately hopped over to Twitter. I know that my school community is active on Twitter, especially the POC community. My alma mater was out for blood.

The president of our university released a relatively tame statement last night. This was rather late at night, so I understand why it wasn’t thorough. Today, he took to Twitter to answer the many student concerns about this email. After all, folks were calling for expulsion, banning the fraternity. They were criticizing the weak “diversity training” that was going to be mandated for that fraternity, the lack of attention to more effective sexual assault education for Greek organizations.

I don’t have much else to add that hasn’t already been said. Something needs to be done. Free speech does not infringe upon freedom to be offended. People felt unsafe after reading this email, especially WOC (women of color). That doesn’t mean that the student should be doxxed or have to feel unsafe himself, but something needs to be done. It is not a coincidence that people associate Greek life with these types of incidents. It is not a smear campaign designed to paint them in a bad light. There is a problem within these organizations, maybe stemming from the fact that many of them date back over a century and, because of the insular nature of fraternities and sororities, have not had external checks on their culture.

Not really in the mood to say much else about these incidents at this time. But please do let me know what you think.

What is the best way to respond when something like this happens in your community? I was wondering this last night and stopped wondering when I checked Twitter to see that students were alerting not only the school administration but as many news outlets as they could @reply.
What would you do if you received an email like this from your rush chair?
What if the sender of this email was someone you knew well? Maybe a friend or a roommate?
What should be the disciplinary action in response to an incident like this? 
We get into tricky free speech territory, and SAE is already planning on seeking legal action against their university. What is appropriate? What action is best?

Because you only live once?

As I’m in-between full-time jobs and/or possibly starting school in the fall (shhhhh), I have been more careful about where I spend my money than usual. (And I’m pretty frugal as it is.)

But you know what? Sometimes, experiences that cost money give you a lot more in return.
Also, I like to think that I’m investing in things to look forward to this year. Remember how I said that I said yes to more opportunities in 2013 and then didn’t do that in 2014? Well, time to say yes again.

Because I’ll admit, when I hit those mood lows, I don’t look forward to the next day, week, month, year, whatever. I get very stuck in the stress of living in the present and stressing over the past that I don’t even want to begin stressing about the future. It was really important during really difficult weeks of school for me to give myself something to look forward to at the end of the week so that I didn’t just give up in the middle of the week, no matter how much I wanted to. Even if it was something like: “Okay, Starr, you have three exams this week BUT if you survive them, you can buy an éclair for dessert on Friday. For lunch AND dinner if you want!” (Fact: I love éclairs.)

I hit a low like this last week. It wasn’t fun; I felt like I was just existing and it was getting really exhausting. Don’t get me wrong; there were no thoughts of self-harm involved here. You know that feeling at the end of a really long day when you barely want to change or wash up, you just want to collapse onto your bed and close your eyes and put the day behind you?
Take that and concentrate it and you’ll get an idea of what I was feeling. Very emotionally exhausted by life, specifically by worrying about life, and not seeing an end to that worrying anytime soon, which was exhausting to think about it and of itself. I just felt so… done. Spent.

So, this weekend, I’ve been giving myself things to look forward to, investing in myself for those days and weeks and months when I don’t want to do things and need to be forced to leave my room.

Here are a few things I have planned over the next few months that I’m pretty excited for!

  • March 22 – Kazuo Ishiguro reading and signing for The Buried Giant
    ishiguro-kazuo2014_640

    • I haven’t found a friend to attend this with yet, but maybe I should really work on being comfortable attending things alone?
    • Linking to his US book tour if you’re interested in an event in your city or mine!
  • March 27 – NSO Pops: Do You Hear the People Sing ft. Lea Salonga
    • I have never seen the NSO before and I love Lea Salonga, so I cannot communicate how excited I am for this!
  • April 8 – Christine & Karen‘s visit!
    • Super excited for them to come visit, especially because I actually have never attended the Cherry Blossom Festival!
  • May 17 – Color Run DC

    • I know, I know, I hate paying to run around, but apparently having money on the line is the only way to get me to practice evading kidnappers?
    • If you’re interested in joining me, I do have a team set up, so let me know :)
  • September 18 – Stromae concert
    • Tickets haven’t gone on sale yet but I’m excited to see Stromae in person!
    • Also I haven’t been to a concert in a long time, so this will be fun
    • Linking to his US tour if you’re interested in seeing him perform in your city or mine!

I have other things going on, but these are the things I’m locking down just this week.
(And also I’m just super excited for Karen and Christine to visit, but that’s been in the works for some time now!)

These are gifts to myself, to reward myself for just surviving. I wish I didn’t need it, but some days I do. And it’s important to treat yo self, right? I’m still learning to do this.

How are you planning to treat your self in the coming weeks?