Notes on the Last Few Weeks

Hello, again! Welcome back to The Inky Saga. I’ve started this blog post without much of a plan but a desire to share how my life has been going. I have wanted to talk in-depth about what’s going behind the scenes since the mid-April, but it was hard to talk about anything when everything was still up in the air. I prefer not to speculate too much on this blog; it’s often painful to look back on.

I had thought I might layout my summer plans and priorities for the blog in this blog post, tentatively titled “Summer Plans,” but I realized in hindsight, that I couldn’t just  move forward on this blog without first explaining how I got to my current mental state. If you aren’t particularly interested in following my life journey, then here’s the TL;DR version: my dad was sick, I had a bunch of job interviews, and I’m all about that bullet journaling life now. Come back later this week for my summer plans!

For those of you still that are still here, curl up and get comfortable. I hope you enjoy this little slice-of-life blog post that covers life since about April 14 to the present that I’ve written and polished for your reading pleasure.

I Have Been Reading…

Reading was a constant and comfort during the chaos that was April. While I’m still not using Goodreads much, I do tweet when I start a new book. That’s how I know I started reading The Illuminae Files on April 14, 2019.

After I finished Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor (see my review), I had a sudden urge to start reading again. I had yet to read the final installment Obsidio, another book I had listed on my spring TBR, and always knew I would want to reread Illuminae and Gemina again before I jumped into the final book. It was the perfect time for escapist reading. These books are massive, but oh so much fun. I reached for them mainly over the weekend and on nights where I didn’t have much else distracting me. I was able to read a lot over Easter weekend, especially after my dad got sick and needed to go to the hospital.

He had a colonoscopy the Wednesday before Easter, which went fine, but he had been having stomach trouble before then. By Saturday we knew he had not been digesting anything he eaten since the operation and could no longer keep his food down. He was at the hospital for about four nights, because he needed an IV for hydration and nutrition. After some time on a liquid, then a soft food, diet, he was back to normal. But he did get pink eye quickly soon after returning to work followed by a sinus infection. Yes, he was a mess last month!

Around this time, I had also started going on a bunch of job interviews. After months of applications, it was such a long-time coming! I could not believe how quickly I accumulated interviews, all within such a narrow time frame. It was about one every day for about eight days. I attribute it to the time of year and also my newly acquired Red Cross experience.

Before I jump into my interview experience, I will say that I’ve also finally read The Promise by Chaim Potok, another book that was on my spring TBR. It was amazing, although I do have some criticisms and a lot of questions actually. I’m not sure if I’m confident enough to dedicate an entire blog post to the book, as I’m sure a lot went over my head.

I Started a New Job…

Out of all the interviews I did, I only received one job offer and it was for the first interview(s) I did funnily enough. I had gone in for an interview for a voter registration clerk position, which was really just a seasonal position for which I would be put on a list and get called about my availability during election season. Fortuitously, the elections office had an opening in their department and the woman who interviewed me reached out to the department head across the hall while I filled out paperwork about interviewing me on the spot.

That second interview went really well and I was essentially offered that position as well, but I did let her know that I still had a few interviews lined up in the immediate future. She was extraordinarily accommodating, probably because there was no immediate urgency in filling that recent job opening. She just asked me to keep her updated.

None of my other interviews resulted in job offerings, which I admit was kind of surprising and disappointing. I put in my two weeks notice at my recreation job, because I had really hoped I might have gotten at least one other position to serve as my new main job, as I figured I’d still be able to work voter registration on the side. In the end, I have had to chalk it up to lack of office experience and just the sheer amount of competition in this area for city/county jobs.

Anyway last week after a family trip to where my parents are moving, I decided to call back the elections department head who interviewed me that first day and she was still interested in hiring me, so we arranged to have me start this week! I went in on Monday and got the lay of the land. I think working here will be a really good experience. I’ll have my own desk and just one office mate, there’s a really nice break room, and the job duties sound right up my alley. It sounds like I’ll just be updating polling station records, checking up on judges and workers leading up to elections via phone, and helping out in the warehouse with polling equipment and with training sessions.

Right now I will only be working about three days a week, so I’ll have five-day weekends! It also sounds really flexible right now, given that the next election isn’t until November, but there should be a lot of opportunities to work over-time. Cumulatively over the year, I will be working about 29 hours/week, which is the limit because they don’t want to have to provide me with full-time benefits (i.e. healthcare). It’s frustrating, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

I think I will request my work days be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for the time being, just so I can have long weekends during which I can visit my parents when they eventually move or go out of town just in general as I do want to travel more this year. It’ll also allow me to continue to work stretches of uninterrupted time with the Red Cross.

I do hope to dedicate a specific blog post to my work with the Red Cross, but I’m a little iffy on it, just because of proprietary regulations over ownership of words/works I create about or during my volunteer experience. I might need to ask my supervisor. I feel like she wouldn’t mind and would like me to do it for our region’s blog, which I wouldn’t mind doing, but it wouldn’t be the same as something I would write for The Inky Saga.

In summary, I have a new part-time job and will still volunteer my social media / communication skills to the Red Cross. I’ll also continue to apply to job openings that open up locally. I desperately need a full-time position but figure if I can juggle two part-time positions that pay relatively well, I may be able to survive comfortably for the time being while I accumulate work experience that could ultimately result in the dream job, or something close to it.

I Am Still Bullet Journaling…

It will come as no surprise that I am still bullet journaling, given that most of my most recent blog content has concerned this hobby. I still love it. I get such satisfaction from designing and executing my spreads. It reminds me of how excited I was when I first started blogging, so many moons ago. I still enjoy blogging and have a desire to create long-form blog content, but I’m also enjoying being more active with the international bullet journal community on Instagram.

Most of my productive free-time hours (especially around the end of each month) are spent browsing for new ideas on Instagram, planning my upcoming spreads, and finally bringing them to life in my dotted journal.

I like how this hobby is not just about the journal for its own sake, but also a means for executing other goals. It inspires me to meet my daily goals of eating right or job hunting and also pursue my other passions, of reading, writing, etc. And it’s as private or public as I decide to make it.

All that being said, bullet journaling is a priority at the moment, coming before the blog in many ways. I think that it is a good thing. I used to blog at the expense of the other areas of my life, thinking it would somehow result in the kind of life I want to have. Now I see the blog as a supplement to my bullet journal, a place to elaborate on the significant and best parts of my life and experiences but not the main project of my existence.

endnote

As I wrote at the beginning of this blog post, I’m itching to share my summer plans! Less is up in the air now that I’ve committed to my new job. I have made decisions that will impact how I spend my time off-line and on, and I think it is only right I lay it all out for you soon. Truthfully, writing these blog update posts are as much for me as they are for people who follow my blog! I always write the posts I would want to read, as I am the type of person who enjoys looking back at my past blog posts and remembering where I was at those points in time.

If you’ve read this blog post through in its entirety, know that I appreciate you and your interest in my current life as a paper bag / drifting through the wind / wanting to start again.

Thank you for reading!
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Top Ten Favorite Page-to-Screen Adaptations | Top Ten Tuesday

Before I get started, let me just say that I’m not one of those people who thinks that the book is always superior to the movie. Nor am I someone who has to read the book before I see the movie. Maybe when I was younger did I think that I needed to do that, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that it doesn’t make sense to compare one art form to another. They constructed and consumed differently. It’s literally like comparing apples to oranges.

I think there are many cases throughout modern history that show an amazing movie or TV show can emerge from a mediocre book. It’s just as likely that an amazing movie or show can come out of an amazing book, while making significant changes to the source material.

Ready Player One was a book I loved and was able to binge-read overnight after starting it early one evening. While I was reading it, I felt I could see it play as an epic mini-series in my head. After all, the protagonist undergoes several major changes throughout the book. It would’ve been a dream part for a young actor to play. I could envision places where the story could end between episodes. When I found out it was going to be a movie, I was hopeful but my expectations were not high.

By managing my expectations, I was able to enjoy the movie. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot changes, which I recognized were necessary for the constraint of a movie’s conventional screen time. There were some amazing changes that helped the movie shine on its own; I’m thinking specifically of the ode to The Shining and how the one-who-got-away arc was portrayed!

Some of the books I’ve listed below I have not yet read, but I included them and their adaptations purely on my love of the screen versions! So while I cannot speak to the source material, I can say that I would be willing to check them out in book form should the right occasion ever present itself. So I guess the books are listed based on the virtues on their adaptations!

Page-to-Screen Adaptations

The Hunger Games

I read this book in college after watching the first movie. I wasn’t fond of the first-person present POV and felt the movie did an amazing job bringing Katniss and The Hunger Games alive in a way that made me care and feel for the oppressed people of this dystopian world in a way I’ve not felt since these movies. I was not compelled to keep reading the books, but I did keep watching the movies!

Patrick Melrose

Last year was a great year for mini-series adaptations based on books for cable network television. Showtime brought us Patrick Melrose (2018), the semi-autobiographical story of an upper middle class British man who was abused as child and grew up to become a self-destructive man. Almost every episode was set in a different decade, checking in on Patrick as he came into adulthood and struggled with his past and, ultimately, his parents’ death. It was so moving, I almost wanted to read the books. Ultimately, however, these kinds of books are not what I’m ordinarily drawn to.

Sharp Objects

The other amazing mini-series that came out last summer was Sharp Objects (2018), based on the book by the author of Gone Girl. Amy Adams portrays a troubled journalist, similarly scarred by her childhood, who is summoned back to her hometown to cover the investigation into the disappearances of two young girls. It’s an amazing whodunnit mystery set in the South complicated by the small town’s secrecy and hidden prejudices. The soundtrack is also fantastic.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

The movie adaptation for this book came out a few years ago and was a great example of how to take a source material and make it your own. The director, or screenwriter (who was the author?!), made a lot of subtle changes to the story and characters, none of which took away from the characters but instead rounded them out a bit more. I found the book hysterical and the movie kept a lot of that humor intact, which was really satisfying as there is still a sad story at the core. I think the movie might have been a tad melodramatic towards the end. To me, the book and the movie are very different, but I love them equally.

Atonement

I adored Keira Knightley and James McAvoy growing up, so I saw Atonement (2007) when it first came out, even though I might have been a tad too young for it. I followed the story and themes well enough, but I’ve really come to appreciate the true beauty of the film and its narrative devices as I’ve gotten older. All the actors in this film are brilliant. I’ve tried to read the book a few times over the years, and it hasn’t managed to hold my attention. I do think I may be ready to make another attempt soon!

Never Let Me Go

I can’t remember if I read the book before watching the movie, but I know that I knew about the movie before I knew of the book. It was one of my first forays into adult literary fiction and a book that defined my senior year of high school, strangely enough! I can’t remember how far the movie varied from the book, but the actors brought the Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy to life beautifully. And I think the movie stayed true to the ambivalence of the book regarding the dystopic vision of organ donation.

Interview with a Vampire

Okay, so this was an odd one to include on this list! I read the book when I went through an Anne Rice phase as a freshman/sophomore in high school. I had seen the movie in bits and pieces on TV growing up. I think we probably owned it on VHS. But having read the book, I think the movie is a great adaptation. The book is extremely mature, verging on erotica. Maybe it was supposed to be erotica. I don’t know! But I remember being really impressed by Rice’s writing style growing up. Anyway, the movie makes the story more palatable for a general audience and highlights the theme of eternal life’s loneliness from the book really well. The movie can stand alone on its own two feet!

Little Women

I think I read an abridged version of Little Women when I was younger, and I think I found it relatively enjoyable as an adolescent. I think the source material is ripe for great adaptations, similar to Pride & Prejudice (which I did not include on this because it’s too obvious a choice!). Jo is a relatable protagonist for all the rebellious young girls no matter the time period! I loved the Little Women (1994) movie with Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, and Christian Bale.

It

I tried reading the book a summer or two ago and struggled mainly because of how long and laborious the first chapter was, but I could recognize it was also beautifully written. It’s a bucket list item to read something of Stephen King’s and I’d like to read this book ahead of the next movie that is to come out. I often don’t feel compelled to read a book before the movie anymore, but I do want to be able to analyze the movie from the lens of the book.

From what I’ve read and heard, Andrés Muschietti’s films are great adaptations. All I know is that the first movie was beautiful and the teaser trailer recently released shows the next film will be as thrilling, if not more so, than the first.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I think the first two page-to-screen adaptations of the Harry Potter series were wonderful, but I don’t feel like the director/screenwriters did much to heighten the experience of the world. The movies were magical because they captured it from the books, which is all you could really ask for. But I think Alfonso Cuarón did a beautiful job bringing the third book to life and adding his own personal flair and style to the experience. In case you didn’t know, he also directed The Little Princess (1995)!

Let me know what you think about any of my picks in the comments down below! I apologize for the lack of images or links in this post, but I almost didn’t post it. I came on a last minute trip to visit family and I didn’t find the time or will to finish this post beyond writing it. I think it’s time to try something new for the blog and for myself, but I’m still mulling things over. I want to be more regular, but I think it’s time call a spade a spade…

Thank you for reading!
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Akata Warrior (Akata Witch, #2) by Nnedi Okorafor

Book Review of Akata Warrior by The Inky Saga

I did not set myself the most ambitious reading goals this year, and it has been a struggle to just read one book per month. However, I was really happy to get to read Akata Warrior, the sequel to Akata Witch, which I read and adored last year. The magical adventures of Sunny and her coven are so much fun and full of heart.

I also love the African representation in the book. These books comment on identity in Nigeria, which is as varied as complex as it is in America. I think is so important that children read a book set in different countries, especially countries that we don’t often see portrayed for a young adult audience. Africa is such a huge continent and in many places, it is surprisingly not that different from certain parts of the United States.

In this post I will talk about the plot and potential spoilers from this sequel. Like with my last review of a sequel, I’m not sure how many people will read this post. So I’m just going to assume it will be people who have already read it and want to talk about it! If you’ve not read Akata Witch, I highly recommend it. You can check out the review I wrote last year.

SEE: AKATA WITCH BY NNEDI OKORAFOR

 • Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor 

Released: October 16, 2018 by Speak
Pages: Paperback, 512 pages
Theme(s): Identity, inner strength, power of knowledge, friendship, balance
Genre(s): YA / Fantasy / African-American Fiction
Age Group: 10+
Goodreads | Amazon*

*Affiliate link disclaimer

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book. Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysterious town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Akata Warrior picks up some time after Sunny and her oha coven have defeated Black Hat and are well into studying independently with guidance from their individual mentors. The book actually started with a really great recap in the form of a letter from the snarky Obi Library Collective of Leopard Knocks’ Department of Responsibility! I had been worried I wouldn’t be able to follow the story, but I ended up recalling most of the first book. I was actually only fuzzy on the ending, probably because I was so unsatisfied by the plot’s main conflict.

In this book Sunny is being haunted by the evil spirit Ekwenzu who wants to bring on the destruction of the natural world. She manages to separate Sunny from her spirit face Azue, which to everyone’s surprise does not kill her. Instead Sunny is forced to navigate the magical world without her spirit guide and find inner strength and confidence in herself.

In this second book, we see Sunny grow closer to her brothers. Each sibling is so different, they all have live such different lives despite all having lived under the same roof. It’s really nice to see them start to opening up and trusting each other with their vulnerabilities and trouble they get into. It is through her brothers that we see a real-life problem plaguing Nigerian higher education: confraternities.

I had never heard of this problem and was glad that Okorafor included this little side plot that was so relevant to the story because of the leopard world’s value of education and the story’s Nigerian setting. It is horrifying to see how people are press-ganged into these secret societies full of corruption that ultimately seem to have nothing to do with the honest pursuit of knowledge.

One more minor thing that I found highly unsettling was the development of a relationship between Sunny’s friend Chichi and her older brother Chuckwu. It’s super creepy to think of a 18-year-old guy who is obsessed with body building off at college being attracted to a literally underdeveloped child! Chichi is supposed to be this tiny little girl. The first book makes it seem like Chichi is older than she looks, but I don’t think that makes it okay!

I think drama of a love triangle was the main the point of throwing Chuckwu into Chichi and Sasha’s relationship. Maybe it can be chalked up to cultural differences, but I do feel it was highly inappropriate even if their relationship was more innocent.

Aside from the horrors of reality, this book was a lot of fun! My favorite parts of these books is always following Sunny as she discovers more about the leopard world and all of what’s possible. The flying wood cutter, Grashcoatah, was a particular delight. He was like a playful Loki in giant grasscutter disguise!

Like the first book, I feel the second suffers from a similar weakness in the plot. I was really in shock again about how many things happened that Sunny did not see fit to explain to the Leopard adults, particularly her mentor Sugar Cream! In the Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events books, the children are always trying to tell adults first and it’s only when they realize they are not being taken seriously do they realize they must act on their own. I’m not sure why it doesn’t even occur to Sunny and her friends to confide in more older people with more experience!

I also really didn’t like how disconnected the climax felt from the rest of the book. I actually did like the slow unraveling of the discovery that the house Sunny had been learning about in her grandmother’s letter was Ekwenzu’s home in the spirit land, but it was not a very smooth transition from the mystery the coven was chasing by visiting the mythical city of Osisi. To be honest, though, maybe I’m just used to stories where the protagonists know what they need to do. Sunny and the gang are plagued by problems not at all personal to them but derived from ancestral conflict.

If I had to rate this book by stars, I’d give it a 4 stars. It’s a very fun read and does what a great fantasy book should: ignite our imagination but also reflect problems we face in the real world. My biggest critique is just the same as it was for the first book; a lacking plot. Ultimately, however, that is easy to overlook since the rest of the book is so fun and I truly care about the characters.

If you read this post in its entirety, let me know if you’re read these books yet! I’m truly curious, as I never used to review sequels in the past. I didn’t see a point. If the first book grabs you, you’re going to want to read the sequel naturally. But I guess people can be curious about where the story goes without wanting to sit through a story and characters they feel so-so about. I, for one, am extremely interested in continuing to follow Sunny’s story and see where this series goes!

Thank you for reading!
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It’s Hamtaro Time ♪ ♫ | May Bullet Journal

Hello, and welcome back to The Inky Saga! Wow, it’s been a minute since I posted. April was extremely busy between work events, Red Cross work, job applications, and even interviews! I’m very glad I did all my weekly spreads ahead of time, because it likely wouldn’t have happened during the month. My free-time was spent walking my dog, watching new series/movies, and READING! Yes, I’ve finally been reading again! I just finished my marathon of The Illuminae Files with Obsidio this weekend.

In April I had an interview almost every weekday for the last two weeks. After obtaining the first job for which I interviewed, a seasonal position, I decided to put in my two weeks’ notice at my current job. I was ecstatic to have a good reason to leave, because I was starting to get emotionally drained. Nevertheless, I’m still applying and interviewing at the moment, hoping to find something more steady that would be able to support me more fully.

Anyway, I managed to start working on my May bujo spread during my free-time last week. It was a major stress-reliever as I waited to hear back on my interviews and pass the time between my morning and afternoon shifts. Bear in mind, I haven’t completed all my weekly spreads yet! But today I will show you what I have mostly done.

Why Hamtaro

For the longest time, I had a different theme in mind for May. Since I’ve been in the mood for murder mysteries all year, I was aiming to create something original based around that theme. However, my job search activities picked up this spring and I barely had time to do anything more ambitious for myself. So that theme has been tabled for the time being.

In April (or was it March?) I was asked to fill in at another school and I met a kid who liked to like draw anime characters for the counselors. I’ve come to realize we’re all dorky artists somehow! For me he did a really cute Hamtaro!

I discovered Hamtaro around the time I got my second gameboy, the advanced SP pictured on the left. My brother and I shared two Hamtaro games, Ham-Ham Heartbreak and Ham-Hams Unite! I have been playing these games about once every year for the past 3 or so years, generally around finals while I was in grad school for stress relief. So, essentially, this theme idea came to my mind at the perfect time.

I knew I wanted another simple theme for the month and something that would still be fun to draw. It was just a matter of looking up iconic imagery from the show (available on YouTube) and the games I already have then deciding on the practical  layouts I knew from experience would work for me.

Sneak Peak into My BuJo

This is the first month where I’ve decided to play around with color! I worked my city’s annual kids festival in April in the art village and one of the crafts was this amazing map of the United States that the visitors could add as much or as little color as they wished. Most of my time was spent coloring with the Sharpies we provided that day, in between helping the kids with their crafts obviously. ^_^

It occurred to me that I actually owned a color set of Sharpies, which I purchased while I was still working on my undergraduate degree. After testing them on my Pen Test page to make sure the ink wouldn’t bleed through, I decided to use color to bring the ham hams to life! They worked better than I thought they would, the colors showing up beautifully on the page. They also dried so fast, so I didn’t have any problems with the color smearing (unlike the pens I use)!

All that being said, I only have my title page, my monthly log, a two-page habit & media consumption tracker (not pictured), before I jump into my weekly spreads. I only did the first three weeks, but I know what I’m doing for the last two weeks. For those spreads, you can watch my Instagram @theinkysaga. I’m aiming to become more active on there as I continue along my bujo journey.

It’s a little off topic, but I have been thinking more and more about how I could provide the layouts I design for anyone who wants to use my monthly spread alongside me. It’s definitely a long-term goal and one I hope to achieve in the next year or so. I see all my “original” monthly spreads as first drafts, so one day I would like return to these spreads and revise/recreate them digitally.

Materials I Use*

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endnote

In other news, I have another blog post scheduled for later this week! I also would like to share a job search update once I’m more confident in my position and my short-term living plans, as I’m thinking I will need to move at some point in June. I’ll need to start looking at apartments in my area if I get a job I want here and if not, well, I may be relocating. Regardless of this uncertainty, I do plan to blog more consistently now that I won’t have to wake up before dawn for less than two measly hours of work.

Thank you for reading!
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