#Adulting: One Step At a Time

Since my last post in November, I have

  • quit my part-time job as a barista
  • completed my internship
  • moved to a new city
  • started a new job

And in case you’re wondering what place finally took me on…

tumblr_om2ibsc6oc1qfal8qo1_540

A M Montgomery 2017

You’re looking at the most recent Executive Fellow for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or CPB for short. Never heard of them? But you have.

Pretty much every program you watch on public television or when you listen to public radio, do you know who that’s funded by? Support Provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Viewers Like You. Thank You.

cpb

 

 

viewers-like-you

 

 

thank-you

 

 

 

I won’t say much about my new position except that yes, I did move for it since it’s in D.C. and yes, it’s a paid, full-time fellowship. And that’s all I will say about that.

I will say that I am in a new chapter of my adulthood. It’s weird.

Suddenly, I’m fully responsible for paying rent and utilities, dressing as a working adult everyday (which means dressing appropriately AND dressing fashionably), living harmoniously with three housemates who also happen to be strangers to me, shopping for groceries, maintaining relationships with both family AND friends (which is tough because I’m now near neither), figuring out what to do on the weekends or decorating my room, and the hardest part? Cooking for myself. Every single day. (but that’s another story for another time)

Truth be told, I’m grateful for these preoccupations as they are so different from what I was worried about pre-move (How will I get anyone to take me seriously?) and they distract me from the big worries I try not to think about (What will I do with the rest of my life? Specifically? Truly?) and the even bigger worries I can’t really ignore (How do we evaluate the state of our union with all of these changes?). As you can see, there’s a lot to think about.

But there’s a lot to be excited about as well.

I’m employed!

I live in the capital! (Where there are tons of free museums! Free!)

My friends are only a bus or train ride away!

My mother is proud of me!

 

I hope to blog more this year, about my trials of adulting, of navigating a new space with its own rules and customs, of figuring out my next steps beyond where I am now. Though, given how unexpected my life has turned out so far, I’m willing to keep an open mind.

+++

What I’m Listening To: (Podcast/Radio Talk Show) 1A on NPR (B/N: Thoughtful yet 1aapproachable way of staying informed about all the changes in the U.S., the precedent behind them, and their effect on people’s daily lives)

What I’m Reading: (Fiction) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales; (B/N: Interesting take on a YA protagonist going from suicidal to becoming a DJ, but sometimes unclear characterization and cliched writing; trigger warning: suicide attempt, cutting)

(Fiction) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell; (B/N: You guys know how I feel about this author, but this is the first book of hers for adults that I’d read; Despite the tangle of misunderstandings and unrealistic mess it creates, the story is surprisingly heart-wrenching and the ending is surprisingly cute)

What I’m Watching Now: (DVD) Seasons 1 and 2 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (B/N: This show is hilarious, usually without being offensive, and stars a Jewish man, two Latina leads, and two Black men, one of whom is gay in the show, and the best part? The show focuses on these detectives doing their jobs, not their diversity as tokens in the plotline! I love every character, but would pay money to hear Captain Holt say “Velvet Thunder” in person)

Onslaught of Book to Movie: Review of “The Martian”

(Warning: There are three words of profanity in the following post)

Okay, so I cheated. It’s not a huge deal but I broke my own rule and is it awful that I don’t feel bad about it?

Let me back up a bit.

I don’t get out much. Why go pay to see a movie I may not enjoy when I could read the book it’s based on for free? Besides, aren’t the books supposed to be better anyway?

Thus began the rule that I must read the book before seeing the movie. If I see the movie before, I probably won’t read the book at all.

I’ve broken this rule three times in my life with:

  • The Bourne Identity
  • Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

and now, The Martian. In these cases, I read the books soon after I saw the movie, and it was usually a struggle since the reading the books take more time and I already know what’s going to happen.

The Martian was different.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 2.59.46 PM

If you’re looking for a sign to go read or watch the movie, this is it. The Martian is the best movie I’ve seen all year (yes, that includes Avengers: Age of Ultron). Plus, the movie, directed by Ridley Scott, is so close to the book, you’re not really missing out. I enjoyed reading the book because it gave me even more details of hilarity.

So what is The Martian about?

Written by Andy Weir, the book begins in the year 2035, NASA’s Ares III crew is on a manned mission to Mars. They’ve landed and are doing routine collection and repairs when a dust storm, so severe it tips their shuttle Hermes, hits. They need to evacuate immediately.

They’re all trailing back to the ship when a piece of debris (antenna from the communications unit) pierces the astronaut, Mark Watney’s, suit and sends him flying backward, out of view.

The commander of the crew, Melissa Lewis, orders the rest of the crew into the shuttle before going back to search for Watney. Inside the shuttle, the rest of the crew members (Dr. Chris Beck, Beth Johanssen, and Dr. Alex Vogel) aid in the search for Watney, but the telemetry readings from his suit give no signs of life or pressure.

The pilot of the shuttle, Major Rick Martinez, keeps the shuttle upright as long as he can but before long, they need to blast off. The crew of six has turned into a crew of five as they begin the long journey back to Earth.

The rest of the book is the crew and Earth mourning Watney.

Just kidding.

How boring would that be?

Turns out, Watney is still alive. He wakes up long after the storm and his crew are gone, hustles himself to their makeshift base and stitches his wounds. He takes to the log in the Habitat and records,

I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked.

If that doesn’t set the tone for the rest of piece, I’m not sure what else does. Watney begins rationing his food to last until the next Mars mission (it won’t be for years), even growing potatoes on Mars (He’s a botanist!), repairs the communications with Earth, and generally just tries to stay alive despite all the mess Mars throws at him.

Plus, he uses a lot of duct tape. Like a lot.

The book (and movie) throws a lot of science at you but it’s enjoyable because it does so with layers and layers of humor. I wish I laughed as much during AP Chemistry (sadly, there was only pain there).

Even though it’s pretty depressing and downright boring to be the only person on an entire planet, Watney finds a way to kill time in between being avoiding death from Mars and finding a way back home. Here’s one example, during one of his scouting missions for the next Mars site:

LOG ENTRY: SOL 381 I’ve been thinking about laws on Mars.

Yeah, I know, it’s a stupid thing to think about, but I have a lot of free time.

There’s an international treaty saying no country can lay claim to anything that’s not on Earth. And by another treaty, if you’re not in any country’s territory, maritime law applies.

So Mars is “international waters.”

NASA is an American nonmilitary organization, and it owns the Hab. So while I’m in the Hab, American law applies. As soon as I step outside, I’m in international waters. Then when I get in the rover, I’m back to American law.

Here’s the cool part: I will eventually go to Schiaparelli and commandeer the Ares 4 lander. Nobody explicitly gave me permission to do this, and they can’t until I’m aboard Ares 4 and operating the comm system. After I board Ares 4, before talking to NASA, I will take control of a craft in international waters without permission.

That makes me a pirate!

A space pirate!”

One of the many gems you have to look forward to if you watch or read The Martian. So, as for me, is it a “yay” or “nay” for the book and movie?

In terms of scientific accuracy, humor, ’70s soundtrack, and even a tug on the old heartstrings, definitely two thumbs up.

(Source)

(Matt Damon as Mark Watney in The Martian (2015) Source)

Senior Summer: Clean Your(Online)self Up

Back in the olden days, people used resumes and work samples and maybe a few word-of-mouth connections here and there to get jobs. Today, however, employers want to be absolutely sure the person they’re hiring is the person they’ve presented themselves to be in interviews. And for that, they get a little help from this new-fangled invention called the internet.

It’s more than just good shopping these days as employers use social media to check up on you. Here are some tasks you, a potential job candidate, are employed to work on this summer:

  • If you don’t already have one, get a LinkedIn profile. If you do already have one (and if you followed the first sentence, you should!), improve it and make it even better. There are tips here.
  • Next up, all other social media accounts. We’ve heard the trite advice of not posting compromising pics and petty comments, but what about the type of blog you run? Your Profile settings? The apps you play? They may need to be adjusted some and here’s how.
  • Lastly, make yourself heard…in the right way. When you do post online, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress, make sure you’re respectfully yet interestingly grabbing your reader’s attention, formatting your communication in the most effective way possible, and most importantly, presenting yourself as, well, you. Be funny, passionate, intelligent, whoever that may be, and let your online presence show that.

With this advice in mind, you’re well on your way and hopefully, won’t be rejected for a position (summer or otherwise) again.

Season Caught-Up/Series Complete: Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra

(Finally finished! I sincerely miss the drawing styles of Michael Di Martino and Bryan Konietzko, who also created my all-time favorite series, Avatar: The Last Airbender; seriously, Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series)

Book Read: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

(Not my pic; GeekGirl 's pic and she gives an excellent synopsis here)

(Not my pic; GeekGirl ‘s pic and she gives an excellent synopsis here)

(The last book in the Traveling Pants series left me with more tears than laughs and was tough to read at times, but overall, a good book and a comfortable ending to the series as well. Definitely a book about friendship but in a different way than in the previous books in the series.)

Senior Summer: Maybe I Can Actually Get Stuff Done This Summer? Maybe?

There’s no good time to make and keep a goal…except maybe during a three-month vacation? Short of launching a multi-billionaire entrepreneurship or being employed as a teacher (and even the former isn’t likely to take breaks, giving how tech is innovated these days), a three-month vacation isn’t likely to ever happen again.

So why not take advantage of it? Some scientists say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. That pretty much means that you have three tries to get it right this summer.

Keep it simple. Don’t be super ambitious like run 5 miles everyday if you haven’t even broken in a pair of sneakers. Maybe just running three times a week. If you want to enhance your photog skills, learn how to use free apps and take an artsy photo everyday. Tackle a Buzzfeed challenge. Start off small.

And once you have a goal (or goals, maybe you are ambitious!), here are some tips to help you reach it.

As for me, I have been woefully remiss on my leisure activities this year. Surprisingly, being an English major doesn’t allow me a lot of time to read for fun or watch for fun, so I’ll be tackling (fingers crossed) a book and a show a week–either catching up on a current show or finishing the series of a cancelled show. (Below are this week’s:)

That said, I also, finally learned how to use the app I bought over a year ago. You can get Gif Brewery through the Apple Store. I finally had fun with some old videos:

A M Montgomery 2015 Gif

A M Montgomery 2015 Gif

Good luck on your goals, guys!

Season Caught-up/Series Complete: Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix

(Great series but so violently graphic at times, I had to cover both my eyes and ears)

Book Read: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

(Dessen is very predictable when it comes to romance; that said, I wish it would have ended a bit more realistically)

Finally! A Book About College!

When people ask of my hobbies, in addition to sleeping and writing, I like to add: “Oh, yeah, I read bad YA novels, too.”

He or she chuckles, confused, and repeats: “Bad YA novels? What does that mean?”

“Young adult novels that are terrible, in prose or plot development or character development.”

Truth be told, I like to read all young adult novels; it’s just that the terrible ones tend to get a greater immediate reaction out of me, and there are so many of them!

A typical trait of many YA novels is the middle/high school setting. When I got to college, I wondered why there were so few college-setting books? Is it because what goes on there has been glamorized by television–with the booze, the sex, the drugs, the fun?

It started to make me believe that I was doing the college experience wrong. I am not engaged in any of the above debauchery. A typical Friday night includes gorging myself on Dining Hall pizza and ice cream before heading back to the dorm and arguing with my friends over which movie to watch before we agree to watch some harmless rom-com or retire to bed, reading a book.

“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell reiterated all that I think of college and more. Not only is her main character a triple non-partier, drinker, and smoker, but she actually spends time doing her homework–an aspect of college previously unheard of in the pop culture media!

Image courtesy of "A Reading Nook: YA Book Blog" Don't Judge by Its Cover

Image courtesy of “A Reading Nook: YA Book Blog” Don’t Judge by Its Cover

Fangirl stems around a girl named Cath, who is heading to college in Nebraska, where she hopes to major in English and become a fiction writer. She doesn’t really want to make friends; she has her twin sister, Wren, there and her sorta-boyfriend, Abel, back home, and her fanfiction. Yes, her fanfiction.

Previously undiscovered in media in detail, Rowell presents the culture of fanfiction through Cath, a major writer on the fanfiction site. Cath basically writes the Harry Potter equivalent fanfiction of a Harry and Draco pairing, and she has quite a following. She’s on the clock; she wants to finish her story before the actual last book in the series comes out, but everything will be fine, right?

A few weeks before school starts, Wren tells Cath that they shouldn’t room together. Cath needs to break out and find her own friends, that’s what college is for, right?

So while Wren embraces the drinking and party culture with her new best friend/roommate, Courtney, Cath attempts to stay out her cranky, upperclassmen roommate, Reagan, and Reagan’s “maybe boyfriend”/excited puppy best friend, Levi’s way when going back and forth to her room between classes.

I refuse to spoil the book anymore because I think anyone who is in college, was in college, going to college, or even thought the word “college” in any way, should read this book. Honestly, whatever pre-conceived notions you think you have about the plot and characters are going to be upended and tossed aside.

Rowell is absolutely brilliant in presenting this other side of college, this absolutely realistic side (that is never shown) and in conveying the unfolding of events in Cath’s life in such a way as to not appear as “deux ex machina” when things go right or “saw that irony coming!” when things go wrong. Not only does she explore the relationship between classmates, siblings, significant others, and parents in a coming-of-age story, we, as the readers, also relate to the relationships contributed to inanimate objects, such as fictional characters, books, assignments, that still greatly affect our thoughts and our lives, a paradox in and of itself.

For me, it does beg the question of whether of not I would still love this book, if the main character were not so relatable to myself. Part of the reason, I disliked John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” was because the lifestyle of underage drinking and sex, and fantasies of a person who was almost completely indifferent to your existence seemed weird, odd, and out-of-place. How would “Fangirl” change for me, if I were to read it from Wren’s point of view? (Answer: I would probably be rooting for Cath whenever she showed up).

Fortunately for me, I do not have to make that choice, as Rowell has already written and published the book from Cath’s point of view. For now, I do not have wonder if I love the book; I can simply say thank you to Rowell for finally creating a “college” book from a different point of view. Thank you for making this book not only part of my top three of favorite books, but also for making it not part of my “Bad YA” hobby.