She Would Rise: Grisha binge-reads and fanmixing playlists

Yes, it’s 2019, and I’m still stanning Grishaverse like it’s 2012. It’s been a while since I have picked up a book and read it, and it’s been even longer since I picked up multiple books and binge-read like sleep is beneath me and caffeine is my favorite friend. (‘Cause sometimes that’s how it is. Sometimes stories are just that good.) But only twice have I re-read a book, and never have I almost re-read an entire trilogy. Until now.

The first of Leigh’s highly anticipated post-war, Niko-centric Grishaverse duology dropped early this year, and it was all the hype and excite I needed to start my renewed bookfest. As soon as I had my copy, a friend and I ate through the entire 527 pages within four days. It contains a bunch of old favorites and some new, many laughs, a few twists, tears, and a little Surprise! Bomb at the end. (But is it really a surprise if I knew that was coming? Come on, we knew she wasn’t done with him yet.) Naturally, of course, no soul can escape King of Scars without the handful of Shadow & Bone references, and ah—my heart panged a little bit each time Alina’s name came up. How I missed her.

So, I re-read Alina’s story from start to… okay, not to finish, but I almost made it there. Prior to that, I had to catch up on Leigh’s newest Grishaverse books: first up was Six of Crows followed by a balancing act between Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars, and wow to Leigh’s writing strengths. Everything feels richer, more fleshed out, than what I remember experiencing with Shadow and Bone. Which is not to say S&B is barebones, shallow, or messy, but they are Leigh’s first set of books ever published. To compare the preferences and style between now and then is interesting!

Perhaps the biggest difference is easy to spot, and that’s alternating POV. I used to hate seeing this in literature, because it seemed as though I always grew attached to one character in particular and skimmed through all other chapters just to return to The One™. And since making my small comeback into Reading Again, I’ve lost count of the number of YA books I’ve come across that employ this. So, is it a trend Leigh joined in on, or did she already have the idea of employing several main characters? Don’t know; don’t care, because I love it anyway.

I love reading from the perspective of everyone, looking at a single scenario or detail from each unique character’s way of seeing. I love picking up their inner thoughts, their feelings, and getting to know who might otherwise have been a side character I’d have to guess at. I love finding out how they view each other and themselves, and—definitely—observing romances from more than one angle. There is much more to glean when you read from multiple angles, although that statement is perhaps dependent on the writer’s savvy (and Leigh’s got it). But jumping from three back-to-back alternating POV books to just the one first person viewpoint of Alina, and Alina alone? It was more Alina than I could handle.

Ouch, the 2012 version of myself would be furious and offended if she heard that. She loved Alina. Adored her. And I still do, but it’s *seven years later and I see things differently now. Chalk it up to the ounce of maturity I’ve gained and a slight change in preferences. For one, Alina wanting to command the second army? With no experience? Ha ha, she’s funny. And Mal? Why did I ever hate him? Why was I ever mad about Ruin & Rising’s conclusion? I was dumb.

(*omfg has it been that long???!)

Of course, I’m still the annoying-ass Grisha stan I’ve always been. You wanna talk Grisha? I will tire you out. And what about the upcoming Netflix adaptation? I can’t stop screaming my excitement. The hope of more Grisha books? Always, and you can bet on me re- and re-re- and re-re-re-reading them time and again. I can’t stop. Playlists? YOU BET. I’m all for it.

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[Listen on Spotify]

I don’t know why, but I love Grishaverse. I can’t pinpoint any single reason for my unwavering attachment to this cast of characters and their fantasy world, but I’m here for it until the day I die.

あけましておめでとうございます♡✧( ु•⌄• )

It’s belated to say but may 2019 be the year of focused dedication and success, not metaphorically squirting lemon juice into people’s eyeballs, ’cause I feel like killin’ it. I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, and if I ever do, they exist in thought before evaporating into nothing, but I want 2019 to be different. There’s a ~Big Thing~ creeping up this year, which is the slight possibility that I will be accepted into my preferred school’s nursing program.

It works via competitive selection in which your grades convert into a score—bonus points if you have CNA hours under your belt or a previous degree—and the highest-scoring 25 students are picked. While my score is competitive, the one and only B I earned—courtesy of microbiology—might cost me. In which case… I will be rejected, I will have to repeat the course for an A, and I will need to reapply to the program in 2020. My intuition tells me to prepare for rejection, which I am nonchalant about—unless that is my complete and utter unpreparedness and lack of confidence overriding positivity vibes. I’m not ready to be ready for acceptance, but just in case, I want to treat the next seven months as if I will—in the off chance that I do—make it in.

issei Continue reading

Running Playlist #2

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Or you can squeeze them into your adversaries’ eyes and watch them cripple from the sting. Then run like hell until you’ve squandered away that rage!pit fuel.

It will make you feel better.

RUN MIX 2 COVERA

The past month to month and a half was like a ball of All Things Stress, and I was trapped inside it. When your troublesome life-things from your own life weigh you down, it can suck. But when circumstances beyond your control explode in your face, and when other people’s troublesome life-things expand outside of their personal bubbles—latching their nasty piranha-teeth onto you—it does suck. It’s an energy-draining leech, and it might follow you wherever you go. Such is life sometimes, and I am de-effing-pleted. I even gave up running simply because I had no spirit or vigor to do anything that was not absolutely necessary. All I wanted to do. but could hardly manage, was sleep.

Well, crazy times are over. Temporarily. I know they will creep up again; they always do. But other people’s problems are no longer my problem, and I’m starting to tackle my long list of Things I Procrastinated On For Three Months—starting with my student loan. But I hope I can take this weekend to calm my still-on-edge nerves, dorama myself to death and chill. And after that? Make some headway on timing those J-subs for Eerie Mienai Kao! But also: get back into my normal routine this week (while still workin’ that list), which includes my morning/sometimes afternoon runs.

This playlist runs for about an hour and twenty-seven minutes even though my runs usually last between 40 – 50 minutes, but I have included both warm-up and cool-down time in this. Warm-ups 👏 are 👏 so 👏 important! As is a good muscle stretch afterward, and I tend to forget that. So, I figured, best to take some song-cues from my music. Before I head out I typically do dynamic stretching—then, I head out the door, walk for a minute or two, and run. With this, however, I walk for at least 10 – 12 minutes, and likewise for my cool down and stretch period. I’m ready for you, Tuesday! I’m prepped, ready, and eager to get back out there.

Oh, and if anyone needs any: I still have baskets of lemons over here.

The 2018 Jdoramathon Challenge

For the past two years I’ve challenged myself to watch a certain number of Jdramas. It’s an anything-goes-as-long-as-it’s-Japanese deal, and the idea is to watch as many doramas as I can without restraint. Challenges often impose various requirements, such as with genre or episode count, and sometimes this works out in wonderful ways in which I find shows I love that I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered. Other times, however, interest quickly dissipates, and I’d simply rather watch a set of other shows that end up not meeting any of the challenge’s requirements. Thus continues my long history of seldom finishing what I sign up for and the reason behind of my yearly “Drama Challenge.”

In 2016, I vowed to watch at least 50 doramas, and in 2017 I said I would see 40 at a minimum. Unfortunately, just as I was unable to meet 50 in 2016, it doesn’t appear that I will make it to 40 this year. Ah, oh well. But instead of lowering the number to 30, or even 20, for next year, I changed the rules… by a lot.

On a sheet of paper I wrote down 26 different conditions that must be met, ranging from airdates, genre, themes, writers, and actors. I then headed over to Random.org where I listed the English alphabet for shuffling. From there, the new, re-arranged order of letters was put to a numbered list where they were paired with their respective requirements. For example, S is the seventh letter on my shuffled letter list, which corresponds to the seventh prompt: a drama based on a novel. As you might have guessed, the goal is to find a drama adapted from a book whose title starts with “S.” In this instance, I chose Shokuzai—a drama adapted from a novel by the one and only Kanae Minato. This process was repeated for the remaining 25 items.

In doing this, however, I realized a couple things: X is frustrating letter! And what is perhaps even more frustrating is that us Jdrama fans have very limited resources. Those who know and/or live in Japan have some advantage, but for the rest of us? We are restricted to what is subbed, and some of those subs are confined to locked communities. Moreover, not all dramas are subbed. Although the same can be said for all foreign content, strictly speaking within the Asian drama fanbase, Jdrama subs do not come in a plentiful amount like Kdramas. To top it all off, the nature of this challenge limits what can be watched.

For example, there are several Jdramas that concern number 26: watch a drama whose main character is in some way disabled, has a mental illness, or is terminally ill. But how many of those dramas start with W? I could find none, and I was forced to swap the original requirement with a new one. This issue adds a new layer of difficulty, but then I guess it’s also part of the challenge here. Without it, I wouldn’t have found a handful of new dramas to watch. Still, I’m unsure if I’ll do this again next year unless it’s altered to include more diverse choices. I guess I’ll see.

At any rate, I initially created this challenge as a way to forcibly expand my dorama horizon. Since this was, first and foremost, made as a personal drama watch challenge, I don’t intend to make a large announcement. You are, however, very welcome to share it, and should anyone come across this and wish to have a go—by all means, go for it!

StA-1

If you decide to take this on, comment here or link your own blog posts and and I will update this post respectively. (I will be keeping track of my own list over here.) There is no official sign-up, either, so it’s not limited the year 2018. Likewise, this needn’t be restricted to only Jdramas. Feel free to take this challenge and adapt it to your preference. Continue reading

Running Playlist #1

Here’s a good morning from me this Saturday with some music that will either lull you to sleep or make you rip your earbuds out. Whatever genre tastes suit your fancy. For me, this is a great, eargasmic mix during my runs—usually in the early hours of the day. I know most people might go for a different flavor to drive up the motivation, feeling pumped, but a nice flow of future bass and chill trap is enough to keep me focused and running—and, more importantly—well-paced. Because it seriously sucks when you’re fatigued a quarter of the way through a run (or any workout), and then realize 30 minutes later that you have to use your own legs to make the extra long trip back to your car. It’s really not fun when body heat dissipates and that 31℉ (-0.6℃) chill starts biting at you.

So here’s to steady but still intense cardio and not walking through the cold for an additional 20 minutes:

running mix 1 cover

  1. Easy / Son Lux (Arandel Remix)
  2. Ark / Ship Wrek & Zookeepers
  3. Holdin On / Flume
  4. Say My Name (Feat. Zyra) / ODESZA (Jai Wolf Remix)
  5. Pity Party / Melanie Martinez (KXA Remix)
  6. Fly / San Holo
  7. Run / Alison Wonderland (Wildfire Remix)
  8. You Know You Like It / AlunaGeorge (DJ Snake Remix)
  9. Bloom / ODESZA
  10. No Diggity / Chet Faker
  11. The Girl / Hellberg (JPB Remix)
  12. My Friends Never Die / ODESZA
  13. Leaving You / Savoy & Sound Remedy
  14. The Buzz (Feat. Big K.R.I.T, Mataya, & Young Tapz) / Hermitude
  15. With You / Dirty South (Jai Wolf Remix)
  16. Drop The Game / Flume & Chet Faker
  17. Fly Away / Krys Talk (JPB Remix)
  18. Gemini (Feat. George Maple) / What So Not

[YouTube Playlist | Spotify Playlist*]

*Spotify doesn’t have a few of these remixes, so either another remix or the original song was used in its place.

Zoodle Veggie Bowl, or that thing my mother says is weird.

Or I may as well simplify it to just “veggie bowl,” because that’s what it mostly contains. In any case, I started a search for foods low in carbs but high in protein and fats. I’m not strictly following the Keto diet—or any diet, apart from anything that will help me lose a stubborn 1.5 pounds. As part of my never-ending journey toward better health and improved fitness VS. sweet-tooth attacks and hectic schedules, I joined Joanna Soh’s DietBet challenge to help keep myself in-check during the holiday season. Which, for me, also includes a birthday, and having a chocolate cake plus pumpkin and apple pies sitting in my fridge is a Real Challenge. It’s torture, whenever the thoughts spring up.

ah5-v2

For the most part, I don’t think there is anything too incredibly unhealthy about my natural inclination toward food. Which is to say that I actually love healthy foods! I’m not exactly stern, either, or even particular, about various diets, foods, brands, organic or nonorganic, and so on. As long as I don’t grab a bag of Lays and call it dinner, I think I’m good. I hardly eat out, and the only times I end up gorging on junk food is when I’m drowning in a stress pool that’s up to my eyeballs. The latter, unfortunately, happens a lot during school. Especially when I take intensive courses with equally intense instructors—much like the one I have coming up this January. I’ll be damned if I come out of this course 10 pounds heavier than I came in with, just like I did with the last three classes I took. I’m still trying to lose those pounds; not add to them.

And that brings me back to my zoodle veggie bowl. While I am tirelessly trying to lose a pound and a half for DietBet this week, I’m also looking for healthier go-to meals to turn to next month. Things will become crazy: multiple all-nighters pulled in the same week, entire days spent in the lab just to study, crying, screaming, head-desking, memorizing 12 pages of nervous system facts and respective body locations in two weeks, trying not to completely die from weekly test-cramming… The list goes on, and with those comes the urge to make the easiest, quickest foods, and I don’t want to fall victim to that cycle again.

Like I said, I am was on the hunt for Keto-esque foods… But not to a tee. I ended up tossing nutrition labels aside and went for foods that I know I love and are good for me. They’re also not high in carbs! Apart from that, I decided not to care too much with the amount of protein and fat, as I don’t believe myself to be deficient on either of the two—although it’s the main reason for adding two of the ingredients.

Here’s what came of my adventure in the produce department:

zoodle bowl

Chicken and olives, of course. Chicken is a great source of protein, but the olives here—I’m sure—don’t add a great number of healthy fat per single serving. But I love olives, so I had to have them. I also love tomatoes and will add them to almost everything! Naturally it was one of the first things I considered mixing in, ’cause I have to have my tomato dose. Also added to the mix: broccoli, peas, carrots, zoodles, and a serving of Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger Dressing.

I steamed the broccoli for close to five minutes, simultaneously cooking the zucchini noodles on the skillet until tender. Zoodles are by far my favorite pasta alternative, by the way. Just one zucchini holds significantly fewer calories and carbs than a serving of pasta! You can make zoodles using a spiralizer; unlucky me, however, can’t find mine, so I used a peeler instead. Shh. You can also be shh about my peas and carrots, because they came out from the darkness of a can. When it comes to fresh VS. canned VS. frozen, I have my veggie preferences—anything but frozen, but preferably fresh. Canned? I don’t mind it, but most foods taste a little nicer when “fresh,” I think.

After all was made and done, I couldn’t help myself and—even though I said I wouldn’t—I added some of my much-loved Newman’s Own dressing. Here’s where my mom had to let her opinion be known: “Dressing? Like a salad dressing. That’s weird. I don’t get it. Ew.”

It’s okay, mom. You don’t need to get it.


Ingredients:

  • One zucchini, peeled or spiralized
  • 1/2 C baked chicken flavored with lemon juice and pepper
  • 1/2 C peas and chopped carrots, cooked
  • 1 C steamed broccoli
  • Diced tomato
  • Black olives (I added four)
  • 2 TBSP Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger

Weird or not, I loved this. It’s healthy, I think it tastes good—it looks good—and it’s filling. Ooh. I ticked off so many good points with this one that I might end up eating it all week.

Update: Address Change

It’s been a long time coming.

When I took steps in creating this blog, I merely wanted to move away from my netspace and associative name of strictly bookish writings. And so—hurriedly, and without much thought—considering how all of my common and known go-to handles were reserved by others (who else uses theairtwit?!), I ran with one of Fringe’s Walterisms.

But Walter and Fringe, as much as I love both him and the show, don’t feel like “me.” They’re just not part of my identity, online or off. So as much as I wanted to make use of this place, I don’t feel connected to it or have ever wanted to make it something I am known by. Which is exactly why I am now saying sayounara to Vagenda Implied, trading it in for the new name, Mighty Mangoes, Go! (mightymangoesgo.wordpress.com, because “mightymango” and “mightymangoes were also taken. Christ.)

Unlike last time, however, I won’t make a new account attached to a different email. This will be done through my settings, but what this will change or mean—if anything—for currently posted content and subscribers, I don’t know. Regardless, I will make the change official within the hour this post goes live, and—soon after that!—other changes will go into effect (namely new banners and other image uploads to reflect the address).

It’s about time I started to make proper use of this place, after all. As I always intended.