These Are a Few of My Favorite Things


In search of a shiny new year filled with creativity and awesomeness? I know just the year for you. Look no further. The hottest and most current year is 2021. This year has everything!

Oh, hello!

Welcome to the first in a series I’m calling Fangirl Friday. Posts on these days will cover anything from sharing things I love, discovering and learning about new things, and overall fandom of any topic. This may include upcoming offerings of some fanfic I’ve been working on.

After the ‘kiss off’ to 2020 in my previous post, I’d like to ring in 2021 with some of my favorite things that have helped me keep on keepin’ on during life’s ups, downs, and sideways moments.

Reading Apps

I love a good book. I miss the tactile sensation of turning pages. Last year, reading got kicked to the curb next to my writing slump for the better part of the year. But I know that to be a writer, it helps to read a lot on various topics, both fiction and non-fiction. As much as I’ve enjoyed having a book in hand, limited physical storage space has led me to increase my obscene ‘To Read’ pile a hundredfold with the use of handy dandy reading apps. Some notables are Kindle, YAC Reader, Apple Books, and Kobo.

There’s so much to choose from: novels, cookbooks, biographies, graphic novels, comics, self-help, humor. Something for everyone. I haven’t really gotten into audiobooks, as yet, because I find myself getting distracted more easily and/or falling asleep mid-chapter! I’ll keep trying because I know this medium is amazing.

Podcasts

Having said that, I do enjoy a podcast. I’ve taken to listening to podcasts when I’ve been out for a socially distant walk this past year. Podcasts help me focus on something other than the increasing condensation against my face as I breathe into the mask du jour (still on the hunt for a good and safe one that doesn’t annoy the bejeezus outta me!).

I’ve been into Apple Podcasts because it’s already on my devices. Any other suggestions?

It’s probably due to the format of podcasts that they seem to work better for me. It’s like listening to the radio, essentially. But hey, call me Flexigal. I’m open to diving further into the world of audiobooks.

Streaming Services

Binge this, because This. Is. The. Way.

If ever there was a year to catch up on a film or series, dive into a new series, or lose yourself in action, adventure, comedy, drama, home renovation, and great bake-offs, 2020 allowed us to do it. There are so many titles out there, so many reasons to suspend disbelief from the world around us. My mainstays have been Disney+, Netflix, and Prime Video. Thousands of hours of content upon which to feed your senses.

It gives me hope as a writer to see how much can still be done with storytelling due to all the advancements in technology. Streaming services certainly helped us escape in recent times and immerse ourselves in worlds other than our own.

Tech

Alright. We’ve touched on some software and now, let’s get to the hardware. I love my gadgets and have curated my collection based on usability as well as curiosity. I’ve been an Apple devotee since 2007. Currently, I’ve got their laptop, iPhone, iPad, Watch, and a partridge in a pricy tree. It pained me to have 2020 end with a busted phone. However, the angels at Apple Support are helping me get back on track. My laptop is an 11″ Macbook Air circa-2015, so by Apple standards, it’s a relic. I’m holding on for dear life to make sure they last for as long as possible because, while they do last a long time, I’d need a lot of magic beans to replace them. There are actually more things I have that fall under gadgety goodness but I’ll save them for another post. Suffice it to say, priciness aside, until someone can convince me otherwise, it’ll be Apple all day, everyday.

What were things you enjoyed to get you through the last year? Were there some that you just couldn’t get used to? Have you found alternatives to old faves and have you discovered new loves? Let me know in the comments below!

This is a new year. Let’s make it a happy and productive one. I hope that you’re doing safe and well and I’ll see you back here soon.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.

Represent!

As a child of the 80s and 90s, I was privy to the dynamic evolution of media and social media, as a whole. When it came to seeking out my people on such platforms, however, it was sorely lacking. In researching for today’s post, I found myself immersed in nostalgia and the absence of relatable content.

Years later, I see big moments for Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color (BIPOC) and we’ve come a long way. I feel that as a POC writer, I have a responsibility to provide relatable content that was missing for me when I was looking for ways to understand who I was in this world. That journey continues to this day.

There are the token minorities in books, tv, or film or the headlines that make novelty of who we are. For instance, in a recent article, the headline included the phrase Black Batman. Did they mean that the comic would be about a black man taking on the persona of the Caped Crusader or were they actually now qualifying the superhero himself? “Look! It’s the Black Batman!” doesn’t have that catchy vibe. Why is this even news? Why can’t we be telling stories about complex and flawed characters and not have to point out the person’s ethnicity in order to drive the story forward?

Shouldn’t we be able to tell a captivating story that can reach millions of people without bringing race into the equation?

I, myself, am part of the problem, to a degree. I grew up reading and watching certain characters that I began writing what I knew. Margaret asking God if he’s there, the twins at Sweet Valley High, the spy named Harriet. All girls at different times in their lives and all people that looked nothing like me.

At least in a couple movies, I had Short Round and Richard ‘Data’ Wang (incidentally played by the same actor, Ke Huy Quan). But for the most part, if I were to follow a certain show on a regular basis, the person I connected with the most was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Appsh!

But where were my people at?

For most of my life, I thought I was of Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish heritage. However, thanks to Ancestry.ca, I’ve learned that my lineage breakdown is as follows: 58% Southern China, 37% Northern Philippines, 5% Southern Philippines with a fluctuation in percentages in Myanmar, whatever that statistic means. Outside of programming I watched while I lived in the Philippines for a decade or so, I didn’t see or read much about people like me to feel a connection.

It warmed my heart to discover that Blue’s Clues & You (a reboot of the popular Blue’s Clues I watched with my nephew and niece when they were younger), returned with a Filipino character. In a recent episode, he introduced his grandmother and they ate a Filipino dessert together. They also showed a traditional sign of respect to one’s elders. This was a perfect example of how people should be able to see the lives of others unfold in the story with the cultural references or ethnic-related issues woven into the narrative in an organic way.

Yes, I was thrilled with Mulan and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But what about stories in the more recent here and now, of it all? With great works such as The Joy Luck Club, Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, Andi Mack. and the heartwarming Over the Moon, I was starting to feel a better immersion of relatable storytelling.

Prior to that, I was more into stories with talking animals, robots, or other entities, because I could just dive into a story and focus on the characters rather than the literal color of their skin. In upcoming posts, I’m going to talk more about the novels I’ve been working on and how I felt the need to make some serious changes because of this current hot button issue.

When I searched for Over the Moon on Netflix, it was under a category called the Representation Matters Collection. Representation does matter, but we need to work towards an era where the discussion of it won’t matter anymore because it’s a common occurrence.

As I posted to my POC writers’ group, I’m proud of how far we’ve come when it comes to representation in books, tv, and film, but I hope that one day, representation in these and other forms of media is no longer breaking news, but just another facet of intriguing and relatable storytelling.

As always, stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.