Angie Thomas’ debut novel The Hate U Give is an incredible story about the ways a black teenage girl navigates through different areas in her life after witnessing an act of police brutality. It is easy to see which parts are directly influenced by recent events (rest in peace Eric Garner and Edward Crawford) and the Black Lives Matter movement which helps demonstrate how this is both a modern story and yet a sadly ageless tale for black Americans. Empathetic and heartfelt, I hope this book provides its readers a better understanding of systemic race and, more importantly, a call to act for a more just world.
2017 kind of felt like this gif – alone by a glacier in the midst of a thunderstorm but I survived and that’s pretty good considering.
It was a psychologically difficult year due to politics and the constant reassurance that my existence and of those I love are simply not wanted anymore in the country I was born and raised in. Then there was the move and getting to know a whole new area. What made things bearable was the Internet, honestly. Finding journalists and creatives of color surviving and creating helped a lot. Discovered creating as a coping mechanism.
I have plans and dreams for 2018. “Exercise my heart”. Take better care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally. Let myself be vulnerable. Ask for help. And continue to survive.
- Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh – Mazzikaw Khof
- GDJYB – Backspace
- Kamishiraishi Mone – Nandemonaiya (MAXONE remix)
- SNSD (Girl’s Generation) – Genie (Tell Me Your Wish)
- Ryuseralover – Red Velvet/Exo: Dumb Dumb/Monster Mashup
- Loona (Odd Eye Circle) – Girl Front
- BTS – Save Me
- BTS – Spring Day
- Jay Som – One More Time, Please
- Daniel Caesar – Best Part (featuring H.E.R.)
- Daniel Caesar – We Find Love/Blessed
- H.E.R. – Changes
- SZA – Broken Clocks
My most played game – Overwatch. Sometimes maddening, other times hilarious, it made me think of 6v6 combat as a puzzle. What playstyle do I prefer? How can I use that to help the team and accomplish the objective? It doesn’t hurt that that characters have a lot of personality, thanks to the wide variety of emotes and voice lines.
Persona 5 – Effortlessly stylish and cool, and yet utterly WTF in the way only a Japanese role-playing video game can be, you literally live day-by-day as a maligned Japanese high school student. But at night, you become a Phantom Thief, where you enter distorted dimensions and fight warped mental perceptions in order to make reality a better place. Fight monsters, manage your time. friends, and resources, and see if you can make a difference.
Wolfenstein: The New Order would have likely been my game of the year if I hadn’t seen how many hours I put into Overwatch. Released in 2014, this installment of the Nazi-killing franchise envisions an alternate timeline where the Nazis triumph and BJ Blazkowicz must resist and survive. This game could’ve easily been an ultraviolent run and gun (and can be if you want) if not for two pleasant surprises – 1) broken stealth mechanics so if you want to be sneaky and kill someone by throwing a knife at a guy’s knee, go for it and 2) the writing which makes for some deeply intimate moments for the game’s cast of characters. The New Order does a great job making things incredibly personal for our protagonist and his friends, something that I felt was lacking in this year’s sequel The New Colossus. Add in the trauma of this past year’s politics? Violence can be cathartic. Resistance can be healing.
Seedship is an interactive fiction game written in Twine. You are a ship AI that is tasked to find humanity’s next home. It’s a simple game, challenging and fascinating. The game gave me a sense of wonder and occaisionally loneliness. It’s very much like life, I suppose. You do your best with what life has given you and hope for the best.
See you around, kid.
I found The Force Awakens more of a nostalgic retread instead of using the new trilogy as an opportunity to try something new. (Rogue One was pretty to look at but an utter waste of a cast.) The Last Jedi manages to evoke nostalgia without it feeling heavy-handed while introducing new ideas to the franchise.
That doesn’t mean that some things could’ve been executed better. Finn and Rose’s arc was a mess – I have no idea how Finn has grown in this movie and what is Rose’s role in this movie? I’m glad Rose and Kelly Marie Tran means that there’s a larger space for Asian American women but her character arc had a lot of Mary Sue elements – grieving backstory, fierce idealism, can-do ability, somehow shows a hero a reason to fight in the war? (Which I don’t buy. And the romance? Where did that come from?) Vice Admiral Holdo is used as a foil for Poe to grow into leadership but I felt like she was mostly there so she could sacrifice herself instead of Leia. While I liked Yoda coming back to grandstand Luke in force powers one more time and to tell him what to do, why have the Jedi Master Force Ghosts been letting Luke stew for a decade instead of helping him out?
I was hoping that Rey would kill Luke in this movie and explore the concept of grey Jedi (having both light and dark because the Force just wants balance, man) as well as seeing how the franchise could show redemption for both Rey and Kylo Ren but that is not to be. The Last Jedi felt more family-friendly with the abundance of porgs and reinforcing the idea that anyone could have the Force instead of another fixation on bloodline purity. I’m pretty sure I’m not the audience the new Star Wars franchise is aiming for, but that’s okay.