Resolutions and Goals | 2017

I was planning on posting this list as a YouTube video, but I like it better as a written list. There will be a new YouTube video on Tuesday, January 24th, where I review Hayao Miyazaki’s book, Starting Point: 1979-1996. (Edit: I’m giving myself a few extra weeks since this video is going to take a long time to script, film, and edit.)

  1. Be braver with compliments. Complimenting people makes me nervous. Regardless of whether the person in mind is a stranger or close friend, I often hold compliments in my head rather than saying them aloud. I still don’t know why giving compliments makes me jittery—maybe I’m afraid the person won’t believe me (which sometimes happens), or maybe I’m afraid that my comment of praise reveals too much about myself (which is scary since I’ve spent most of my life as a shy person, and since I am still sometimes shy). This year, I’m going to tell people I like their sweater or their taste in music. I’m going to tell them they are gifted and should pursue their goals. I’m going to promote a safe and supportive environment.
  2. Go on a date. Not a coffee date—a real one, a sweet one, a great one. Hold hands. This might seem like a silly goal—obviously, it requires another human being, and I’m only going for it if we are mutually interested in each other. I’ve been single for a little over a year (which has been great), and lately I’ve been thinking that I want my next first date to be a real one. Coffee dates, to me, aren’t real dates. They’re pre-dates. They’re interviews. They’re interrogations disguised as casual appointments. They give the relationship a foundation of revealing a lot of personal information right away, of emotionally flooring it. I don’t want to begin a potential relationship like this. I want to go to dinner and a movie, go ice-skating or rollerblading, go to an improv show or for a walk in the park. I want to smile at a cute guy who smiles back at me. I want to slowly get to know one another, to coast instead of speed.
  3. Find a one-bedroom apartment that allows pets. Eventually, my roommates will move out. Instead of finding two new roommates (I’ve lived in the same house for the past three years, with a total of six roommates), I’m thinking about finding a place of my own where I can have a cat. If I have a cat, I don’t think I’ll be lonely.
  4. Get a cat. It’s happening.
  5. Be a better fish owner. I… yeah… I need to clean my fish tank more.
  6. Finish writing my first book. The graphic memoir and young adult book I’m writing is currently 64 pages long. I’d like to finish writing approximately 200 pages by June 2017, and begin looking for the right publisher.
  7. Read at least 30 books. I want to read consistently, but I want writing to be my main creative focus in 2017, which is why I’m reading at least 30 books instead of 50.
  8. Read diversely. And share what I’ve read.
  9. Do a great job at my new job. I’m thrilled to begin the new year with a new job, and one that I’m really excited for.
  10. Be better at budgeting. I’m not terrible at budgeting, but I can definitely do better.
  11. Visit my parents at least once per week. Because my family is important to me, and they currently live close.
  12. Continue keeping in touch with friends, and continue making new friends. Most of my close friends live far from me. Some by a few hours, others by a few states, and one by a continent. I want to maintain these friendships for the rest of my life, and I want to continue making new friends that live close to me.
  13. Commit to a consistent schedule on my blog. Having a creative outlet is also important to me.
  14. Eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, and exercise regularly.
  15. Research which brands in the grocery store and which coffee shops are fair trade. Commit to only purchasing from these brands and coffee shops.
  16. Research which brands of makeup are cruelty-free. Commit to only purchasing these cruelty-free brands.
  17. See if there is anything I can do about the fact that my state still taxes feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons.

I might add to this list throughout the year.

What are your resolutions and goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

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Five IRL Cartoon Houses

I am unashamedly obsessed with cartoons. Fair warning— there will likely be several more blog posts about animation in the future.

Here are five houses based on cartoons and anime that impress me:

  1. The Up House

One of two popular structures inspired by Carl & Ellie’s home, this small yellow structure was made by the National Geographic Channel in 2011. Once finished, the house was carried by eight-foot helium balloons, mimicking the liftoff sequence from the film.

Watch the flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV6rNqin4P8

  1. The House from My Neighbor Totoro

The replica of Satsuki and Mei’s house from the beloved Studio Ghibli feature was designed by Goro Miyazaki in 2005 for the World’s Fair, and can be found in Japan’s Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park in Seto.

Visit Totoro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRzxfeohz5A

  1. The Kids Next Door Treehouse

While designed in detail, Sector V’s treehouse was never actually built. (At least, I assume it was never built— if it were, wouldn’t news have spread faster than Nurse Claiborne’s pink eye?) The layout emerged on cartoonnetwork.com’s “Ultimate Holiday Wish List” in 2003, promoting the house for one million dollars.

Witness the ultimate hideaway: http://nypost.com/2003/11/29/tree-house-1m-heres-a-hideout-too-fancy-to-waste-on-kids/

  1. The Swamp House from Shrek

At Universal Studios in Singapore, you can find Shrek’s swamp house. (And Far Far Away, which is fairly close by.)

Beware of ogre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tykKGRMbvb0

  1. The Building from Futurama

Good news, everyone! The Planet Express building exists in our millennium, and it’s located in Liège, Belgium. Well— not officially. In reality, the construction is part of the Cointe Observatory built by the University of Liège in the 19th century. But the similarities are striking.

Read about the world of tomorrow: http://io9.gizmodo.com/dilapidated-observatory-looks-like-the-planet-express-b-1441279249

If you could live in a cartoon-inspired house, what would it be? Titans Tower? Elsa’s ice castle? The temple from Steven Universe? Tell me in the comments!

Featured Favorites: Bee & Puppycat

If you’re a fan of Sailor Moon or Adventure Time, chances are you’ll watch and re-watch Bee & Puppycat. The animated short was created by Natasha Allegri, storyboard revisionist for Adventure Time and creator of the characters Fionna and Cake. Her artistic inspirations for Bee & Puppycat came from magical girl series like Sailor Moon and other early 90s anime.

The show stars wacky and easygoing protagonist Bee, who recently got fired from her job at the pet store. While walking home in the rain, a mysterious creature— “A cat? Maybe a dog?”— falls from the sky. After taking Puppycat home, Bee is faced with an absurdly magical and perilous task, and must decide if she is ready to accept both the responsibility of heroism and the likelihood of an unpredictable lifestyle.

A hodgepodge of genres, Bee & Puppycat features a mash-up of everyday and fantastical dilemmas: from navigating newfound adulthood to battling alongside your talking pet in Fishbowl Space. The short manages to cover both the ordinary and the overwhelmingly odd within a span of ten minutes. There’s also lasagna.

The first half of Bee & Puppycat was published on Frederator Studios’ YouTube channel, CartoonHangover, just over three years ago. Since then, each episode has gained over 1.5 million views.

Frederator Studios is responsible for popular cartoons such as The Fairly Odd Parents and Bravest Warriors. Fred Seibert, executive producer of Bee & Puppycat, expressed his enthusiasm for the show and the fact that it’s created for women, by a female writer, with strong female lead. “It’s taken me twenty years to convince anybody to make cartoons around girls,” he said in a video with YouTuber and fan Hannah Hart.

Just four months after the release of the short’s first half, Bee & Puppycat received so much positive feedback that Frederator Studios launched a Kickstarter to develop a full season.

Eccentric and delightful, Bee & Puppycat is one of the reasons why cartoons are making a comeback.

Watch Bee & Puppycat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOG_UtLxh58

25 Things I Learned in 25 Years

I saw this trend on YouTube and wanted to try it, especially since I recently turned a quarter-century old.

  1. “Your feelings are real, but that doesn’t mean they’re true.” My friend Lauren said this to me, and I’ve always remembered it. This phrase calms me down whenever I’m worried about something.
  2. “Quietness is not weakness.” Growing up, I wanted to be louder. I thought loudness reflected confidence, and I was nowhere near loud. By my mid-twenties, I learned to be confident in my quietness. Now, rather than trying to change this quality, I use it to be a better listener and a better friend.
  3. “Third-wheeling is a lot more fun than people think.” The same is true for fifth-wheeling. I enjoy getting to hang out with my friends and their significant others. I gain a new friend, and I get to watch my friends fall in love. They also let me make ridiculous couple names for them. (Shout-out to #BriTy and #Brennaaron.)
  4. “Doing yoga over a waterfall is as magical as it sounds.” It’s worth the four-mile run to get there.
  5. “Writing a strong female character is not difficult.” Don’t get discouraged by the formulaic heroines that either hold themselves back or try too hard to prove they’re worth rooting for. Don’t let these formulas make you believe writing a strong female lead is difficult. Believe in your character. Women are awesome, you are awesome, and your character is awesome.
  6. “Don’t deprive yourself of your own agency.” While several things are outside of your control, you have more control over your life than you realize. Don’t just let things happen. Make things happen.
  7. “Don’t narrow down an entire human being into one action, one line of dialogue, or one mistake.” Remember this next time someone cuts you off in traffic. (After you honk your horn.)
  8. “Everyone on this planet, including yourself, is a spiral galaxy.” We’re complicated beings with contradictory traits. We’ll never understand ourselves or each other fully. Never make assumptions about others, and never stop learning about yourself.
  9. “You are a transparent person.” You feel what you feel, and it shows on your face. That’s completely fine.
  10. “You don’t have to finish a book you don’t like.” Whew.
  11. “You don’t have to laugh at a joke that you don’t think is funny.” Especially if the joke is offensive.  Once, in middle school, I made a joke that I didn’t realize was harmful. Instead of laughing, my friend told me this was a serious issue that I shouldn’t take lightly. I was thankful someone pointed this out to me, and I never joked about it again.
  12. “You don’t have to smile when strangers tell you to smile.” You don’t have to look a certain way for anyone. Scowl at that man in the grocery store parking lot who asked you to smile. You’re carrying a fifty-pound grocery bag, not walking the runway.
  13. “You don’t have to look like anyone else on this planet but yourself.” Your face and form are beautiful because they are yours. Don’t try to change them. They are already perfect.
  14. “Buy an entire pizza just for you.” Trust me; it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
  15. “Drink more water. Please.” You’ll be healthier and you’ll get fewer headaches.
  16. “Try Vitamin E Cream.” It feels like an oasis on your face.
  17. “Know which terrain is your favorite.” Your favorite terrain includes an abundance of trees, mountains, and rain. If you’re surrounded by these things, you’ll feel at home no matter where you move.
  18. “Wearing makeup means you like wearing makeup.” Wearing makeup is not a reflection of insecurity, nor is it of a desire to impress people. Anyone who judges you for wearing makeup is basically judging you for wearing fuzzy socks– fuzzy socks and makeup are comfortable clothing items that express your personality. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
  19. “The 90s was the best decade for cartoons.” This one is subjective, but it’s a popular opinion I agree with. I’ll always remember Hey Arnold!, Doug, Rugrats, and The Wild Thornberries. Especially since they all showed up on Hulu twenty years later.
  20. “To my ten year-old self: hold on to the reason you write.” You write at home, on the bus, and at school because you love it. In the future, when writing seems less fun, it will be helpful to remember what writing felt like when you were younger.
  21. “To my thirteen year-old self: you are so, so, so important.”
  22. “To my eighteen year-old self: you are a great writer.” Yes, you’re getting Cs and Ds on some of your literary analyses, but don’t get discouraged. Something just isn’t clicking yet.
  23. “To my twenty-two year-old self: you are a great writer.” Congratulations on being accepted to graduate school! You’re going to love it.
  24. “To my twenty-four year-old self: try writing comics.” The thought of writing a 60-page thesis of comics seems daunting now, but trust me; it will be one of the best decisions of your life. Suddenly, it will all make sense why writing became a lot less fun after you stopped adding illustrations.
  25. “To my twenty-five year-old self: you have to grow up now.” You don’t have to stop watching cartoons, wearing footie PJs, or buying noisemakers on your birthday. (Because, well, you did all these things on your 25th birthday. And all these things are fun.) Continue being a kid at heart, but stop holding yourself back. Persevere in your creative goals and adulting goals. Win NaNoWriMo. Finish writing your first book. Don’t keep dishes in your room. Do the things you need to do, even when you don’t want to do them. Don’t be afraid to try new things, meet new people, and move to new places.

I can’t wait to see where, and who, you’ll be, one year from now.

25birthday