Call the Wolves

Heartwarming is what I would like to call this book. At the same time, this book was heartbreaking. Throughout reading the book Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, I was pulled in different directions concerning my feelings toward June and her unconventional family. The dialogue was realistic, and the family dynamics were so natural. Brunt did a fantastic job creating the characters for this story.

This book takes place in the late 1980s and surrounds the AIDS epidemic as June must confront that her uncle, whom she loves dearly, dies from the disease. She must learn to confront the world without the one person who understood her while discovering more about him along the way, making unconventional friendships. I think that anyone would love this beautifully written work of art.

This is Romance? Pt 1

I’m a sucker for romance. That being said, I have some standards. Such standards include having some kind of conflict, whether an external force causing friction in the relationship or some internal conflict of not feeling good enough. That being said, The Notebook is the worst romance novel I have ever read.

For years, I was told that The Notebook was the most romantic movie ever made. In my thinking, the book should be better. It wasn’t. Now, I have adored other books by Nicholas Sparks, such as Safe Haven and The Lucky One. There was just literally nothing going on in this book. Our couple spent a day together, and we’re just supposed to believe in happily ever after? Yes, they grew old together, but their relationship, in essence, amounted to nothing. I honestly expected more from this novel. There is a sequel, and I don’t know what it will entail, but I’ll read it. See if this relationship gets any better.

Semester 2 Grad School Reflection

A second semester in the bag. I’m feeling pretty good about school, even with the pandemic and everything. Full disclosure, I do have my final grades in, just checked them, in fact, and saw that I got all A’s. For that reason, I might be a bit biased about my assessment of the last couple of months.


First, I absolutely hated the fact that there was no spring break. Totally understandable with a pandemic, but I just wanted days off. Yes, I’m a grad student, and I technically don’t have vacations unless I specifically get in planned. Still, I just wanted some time to not think about classes. I wasn’t going to go traveling anywhere because I’m a homebody. Still, I just needed the mental break because moving to where spring break usually is, I felt myself getting into a rut, and I couldn’t dig myself out of it. Mental health-wise, this semester, I struggled for a bit.


Secondly, I was able to throw away my notebooks from the past couple of years. I was incredibly proud of myself because I always had this thought in the back of my head of “What if I need this information?” I thought getting me to throw them away would be to transfer the information to the cloud. It was even on my 2021 goals list. Earlier in May, I actually said forget this. I just got tired of transferring the information and tossed the notebooks in the recycling bin. This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but it is to me.


Lastly, I wanted to mention that I was able to “go” to a conference. It was interesting with everything being online and having to talk with presenters with a chatbox. I did have to deal with one incident dealing with racial undertones. It was surprising, and I had no clue what to say at that moment. Heck, I have no clue what if it were to happen in front of me right this second. It was just so weird to have something happen directly to your face. As in, me being the only African American in the virtual call with my camera on… It still blows my mind months later.
Other than that, I have nothing to really report. This summer will be enjoyable. I have many experiments going on, and I’m hoping that a paper may come out of this. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

My 2021 Goals

A new year is starting, and what else is necessary when that comes around? A list of goals that I want to achieve. I don’t call them resolutions, but you can think about them in that way if it makes you happy. Many of these goals are achievable with diligent work throughout the year, and a couple are stretch goals. Something that might not happen this year, but something that I would definitely like to accomplish, and I can use this year to get closer to the goal. Now, since I’ve survived the terrible year 2020, here are the goals that I want to work on for 2021. Now, these goals are in any particular order, but I’m going to number them anyway.

  1. Read 50 books…at least
    This is a goal that is on my list year after year. It’s also pretty easy to keep track of my progress using my Goodreads account. This approximates to about a book a year, but if I let life get in the way, I wouldn’t even do that. I do love reading, but it is something I have to think about doing. Now, 50 books aren’t the end goal. If I’m far from December and already have 50 books, I’ll usually add to the number by some interval I see fit. Fifty books are just my starting measure.
  2. Publish Every Week
    For this blog, I’ve been relatively all over the place with my posting schedule. I started toward the end of the year because instead of trying to get two or three posts out a week, I’m focusing on only doing once a week. This has been a lot more manageable, and I don’t have to stress about what I’m going to put out every week and end up going on hiatus for months. If I’m having a good week or two of scheduling content ahead, if I have, for say, a test to study for, I don’t have to worry about this blog. I can entirely focus my energy on my test.
  3. Finish “One More Cloudy Day”
    For this one, it is not really a measurable goal like many of the others. “One More Cloudy Day” is a text-based interactive fiction game that I have been working on. It has only been recently that I’ve really been pushing myself into writing the story. I’m still tinkering with my work style when working on this project, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. By finish, I want to have, at the very least, a rough draft of the game: having the story and some general coding done. From that, I’ll check the writing and grammar because I know that that’s going to be a hot mess when I get done, and make sure there is nothing too broken that makes the game unplayable. For now, that is my goal for this year. I do have some stretch goals associated with this project, but I am nowhere close to thinking about those in-depth right now.
  4. Complete a Cross Stitch
    One thing that I got into this year was cross-stitching. I really like it, and I find it very relaxing, but I’m very slow at it, and I recently got a pretty large piece with lots of colors. It’s going to take a while; I just want to finish one work. I think that is manageable for me, considering all the other projects I’m doing and my skill level.
  5. Transfer Notebook Information
    This isn’t really a goal that I feel the need to get on top of. It’s more along the lines that I want to get this stuff out of my apartment. I was the person who kept all of their notebooks and textbooks. Now I feel the need to keep all of my textbooks, but at the same time, I can’t get rid of my notebooks. I want them gone, but I can’t get rid of them. I’m hoping that transferring all of the information will let me let them go into the recycling bin. Got to be environmentally responsible.
  6. Begin Writing Project
    I don’t know what writing project I was thinking of starting, but this goal depends on completing goal number 3. I am working on these projects by myself, and I want to do the best I can. Stay tuned.
  7. Continue to do well in grad school
    I will admit that I should have thought about school a lot earlier on this list, but I didn’t. I am a student, and that should come first. Now that I got that nonsense out of the way, on to the next.
  8. Have a published manuscript
    With the work I am doing in school, I would like to have a paper published. I don’t expect in any way to be the first author, but I think it would be really cool to have a paper with my name on it.
  9. Get Cells to 3 months
    Part of my work in the lab includes cell culturing. By getting my cells to three months, I mean have a three-month cell culturing experiment. This is something that I really have to plan for, but it needs to be done. It will hopefully get me lots of information for my project.
  10. Downsize
    Along with the many things that I have managed to get myself in this year, I began reading books and watching videos on minimalism. I am definitely of the opinion that I could own fewer things. I don’t know how less I will go, but definitely less. I’m not planning on having a huge trash day, sorry Marie Kondo. Still, I am definitely taking in the principles of minimalism. I’m not buying something until I’m out of it or am going to need a replacement really soon. I currently have duplicates of things, so I won’t buy a new one until all those duplicates are done. For example, I don’t know why I have a bunch of razors, but I do. I’m not going to buy a new one in a while. I’m only keeping something if I really want it and donate what I can. In that way, I will slowly but surely “downsize.” Many people may disagree with my plan, but that’s what I’m doing.

Semester 1 Grad School Reflection

I have started writing this the day I finished my last final for the semester. Well, you could say it was my only final. Either way, it’s over with, and I can relax until late January. Now, I couldn’t say I have the most typical grad school experience with a pandemic and all. All of my classes were online, an experience I must say that I never had before. Also had meetings entirely online. Zoom was the entire way that we connected with others. Even though we were distant, I could still tell I was the only African American woman in my year. The only African American. At this point, I’m the only African American student in my department, from what I have seen, wandering around the halls whenever I was trying to figure out what I was doing with my life in between meetings.

I also felt very isolated semester. The halls were silent of people, and my main company were those from my lab and the pictures that joined me in my Zoom meetings. Even though I really only interacted with six or seven people in real life, I did have some fantastic groups that I really enjoyed: a graduate student and post-doc organization, an accountability group, and two book clubs.

First, let’s start with the organization. This was done through my home department and is a way for everyone to get together and talk about things. In a way, this felt like the only part that tried to still have get-togethers and lunch together. What we would do would be to get take-out lunch boxes and eat together over zoom. It wasn’t everything, but it felt that someone was trying to do something while in this pandemic.

The other two groups were more so based on an outside department in charge of all the graduates, aptly named the Graduate College. Anyway, this accountability group had me working for three hours at night with a couple of people every week. It is also where I learned the joy of the Pomodoro technique. 25 minutes on. 5 minutes off. It is now the only way I do work. It keeps my eyes from going wholly turned inside out. I wasn’t doing school work for three hours, but I did get a lot of work done on my personal projects. Not only that, but I’m probably going to keep it up through the next semester,

Also, I was part of two reading groups. This semester I read Degrees of Difference: Reflections of Women of Color on Graduate School by Kimberly D. McKee and Denise A. Delgado and Deep Work by Cal Newport. I personally enjoyed reading Degrees of Difference. It was a way of preparing myself for all the grad school might offer for me. This semester, I felt privileged that I did face any harassment based on my race or sex. I was also privileged to have a group filled with many people of color, a rarity from my science lab’s experience. It was a welcome change from what I was used to seeing and had prepared myself for.

Now, I’m going to get a lot of flake for my opinion on this, but I didn’t really enjoy reading Deep Work. I agree with some of the points that Newport made but hated reading the book. Often, it felt like he was coming from a privileged position and didn’t realize that others do not have the same luxury that others have. He relented somewhat to the social media front for socializing functions when friends or when it may be something necessary for work. There was so much I felt that he was overlooking. But that could easily be because he has never seen or experienced nor talked to someone who was in a situation much different from himself. He sure didn’t interview people much different from himself. In short, I agree with the idea but disagree highly with the execution.

Other than that, I’ve been working on a couple of projects in between classes and seminars (as of writing this, I have not yet gotten my final grades). It was fun. I’ve been learning many techniques around the lab and getting competent at doing experiments by myself. I also have spent tons of time reading journal articles. Honestly, I’m starting to understand some of what the people are saying. I still have to use a lot of brainpower to read the papers, but it is getting easier.

Other than that, I don’t really have anything to report. If anything happens, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Chao

Know the Mind in 20 Minutes

In a continuation of my feat in watching every documentary and documentary series ever, I watched The Mind, Explained. It is a spin-off of Explained, but this one focuses exclusively on the brain, dealing with topics such as dreams and anxiety. I will say that I felt completely attacked by the episode on anxiety in the fact that is exactly how I feel when I’m overcome by anxiety. Once I got over being attacked, it felt completely validating as I had a hard time explaining how I felt in the midst of a panic attack with others.

The episodes we’re interesting and very informative. I don’t know the most about psychology or neuroscience, so I cannot comment the validity of what was being told, outside of the anxiety one. I would definitely check this out if you are interested in these topics. I just hope that there is another season in the works.

Remembering the Lost Soul Pt 1

I have finally gotten around to reading a book series that I have been meaning to. This omnibus has been sitting on my bookshelf for years, and I gave finally started going through it. The series is the Remember Me series by Christopher Pike. The first book is aptly named Remember Me.

The book starts with the reader finding out that our protagonist, Shari Cooper, is dead. It’s an interesting way of introducing a character, but it did instantly capture me into the story, wanting to know what happened, which is great considering the plot of the book. Shari doesn’t remember how she died, so she goes through this book trying to figure it out. She follows her friends and family around trying to find out what happened to her and meet interesting characters along the way. I wish that I could tell you a bit about them, but they’re huge spoilers for the story overall. Just know that cool ghost powers are discussed, but no true haunting.

If you are interested in mysteries, I would greatly recommend this. It is also interesting to solve a mystery from the dead person’s perspective. I honestly don’t understand why this is a series of books right now. It seems like it is better off as a one-off book, but I’ll just have to continue and see.

King of the Tigers Pt 7

Here I am, finally done with this mind-numbing show that took the country by storm. If you missed my last posting, you can find it here. But now, on to the rest of the drama.

King of the Tigers: Pt 6

I am back with what I think is the second to last episode of the completely crazy adventure that I have been on. I honestly think that I have lost come IQ points along the way. If you haven’t read any of my previous posts or watched this insanity, I would suggest you go to Part 5 to see the links for previous posts.

King of the Tigers Pt 5

I took a small break from this crazy show. Turns out, it is now the perfect way to distract myself from from what’s going on in the world. If you haven’t read my previous posts, click the number for the episode below. After this, there will be spoilers.

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