File under “I did not write this headline” and I only say this because I don’t want anyone to think that I believe Disney Plus is a useless subscription. For me, a fan of the MCU, Disney+ has been wonderful during the pandemic and unemployment. I still won’t pay for ads on Hulu, though. Sorry to my child who hates watching the ads during her anime binges. I am that frugal.
Also, as a newshound, it has been difficult to cancel any of my newspaper subscriptions. Writing this piece did, however, make me list out the number of subscriptions I have, and how much I spend, which I am going to share with you here. Better have a seat.
The Seattle Times, daily deliver plus online access: $188.50/qtr = $754/yr
The New York Times, online: $17/month = $204/yr
The Washington Post, online: $10/month = $120/yr
SCC Insight, via Patreon: $5/month = $60/year
So, yeah. I can write about giving up subscriptions, but doing the actual unsubscribing is a bit of a different story.
I will say, I have been unsubscribing to a ton of marketing emails and it’s quite liberating. I went through Gmail for a few minutes every day for a week and unsubscribed to 5-10 mailing lists. Made me feel accomplished.
According to my research, pup owners spend something like $1400 annually on dogs. I am pretty sure I’ve spent at least that over half a year! All for you, Bailey, all for you.
These do-good brands are for the dogs. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
My personal favorite is Small Batch, a freeze-dried treat out of San Francisco. Humanely raised meats; certified-organic, non-GMO vegetables, farmers dedicated to sustainability and land stewardship. For the dogs (and even cats). It’s amazing to see how the dog food industry has come over the years.
And maybe this explains why I am way over my doggie budget. I am paw-sitive it is worth it.
So, the people who I talk to on the regular since the fall probably have heard me mention that I’m taking an online class. It is CS50, Harvard’s popular Introduction to Computer Science course, and thank goodness it is self-paced because it’s taking me a while to complete.
Taking this course has been enlightening (also frustrating as hell). Just as freelancing has given me an opportunity to work a few muscles that had been dormant for a bit, learning how to code and completing the homework assignments have provided a chance to work another side of the brain. Problem-solving and language-learning is part of it, but also getting out into forums and seeking help on Reddit, Discord and other platforms has been part of the educational experience.
I’ll say this about the developers community (or maybe the CS50 community?) …They’ve been an incredibly supportive group. People from around the world coming together to share knowledge is inspiring.
Well, I didn’t write about my CS50 experience (which is ongoing, 2.5 lectures to go), but I did get to research and write about some other suggestions for online classes that can help your career (and yourself).
And I’ll add some additional thoughts that didn’t make it into the story.
Chan says 93% of your message impact is based on your body language. It’s not just what you say but how you say it. Especially as we are all doing inteviews over Zoom, job seekers need to amp it up even more.
Chan suggests for Zoom interviews, having an office vibe in your background. You want to come across as professional. You also really, really need to practice. Set up your camera to double-check lighting. Make sure your audio is working well before the interview. And if something fails, don’t sweat it. Use humor to lighten the mood if A/V difficulties gets your nerves.
Head vs. Heart!
Chan said these words a few times, and I included it in the story as well, but there’s something to be said about responding from your heart and not your head. When you over-worry or over-analyze you are more likely to respond with your head, like, ‘this is what they want me to say.’ Instead, speak from your heart. She spoke of making that connection with your interviewer.
Anyway, Diana was generous with her time and has a great presence on LinkedIn, so I recommend giving her a follow.
Writing this story finally had me sit down and watch “Crip Camp,” the 2020 documentary, produced by the Obamas’ production company. Ever since watching it I walk my usual dog walk route along the neighborhood and think, “those campers at Camp Jened is a big reason why this corner is wheelchair accessible.” Or, I think, “Why is this sidewalk intersection NOT wheelchair accessible?”
I have certainly noticed the uptick in TV shows featuring characters with disabilities. Last week we were watching “Nancy Drew” on The CW and a main character is using ASL with his hearing-impaired father. It’s not even mentioned, they just start doing it, which is such a change from the days of “on a very special Blossom.” We still have a ways to go, though.
GLAAD reported that just 3.5% of broadcast scripted shows include a character with a disability. Compare that with the CDC reporting 1 in 4 adults in America live with a disability. It is wildly disproportionate, and will likely be years before more accurate representation is met.
I enjoyed writing this piece and I learned quite a bit. I was also nervous that as an able-bodied person, I could not fully represent the community. I reached out to a mom I know who advocates for this community, who put me in touch with another mom, and also reached out to an organization that supports the intellectually and developmentally disabled in King County. Advocates from Arc of King County gave me more suggestions than I could use (many of theirs focused on movies or TV shows that were a bit older than the audience I was writing for), so I wanted to list them out here.
The Reason I Jump, was a 2020 film festival favorite. It follows the experiences of five young nonspeaking autistic people around the globe. The title comes from the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, who, at the age of 13, gave a voice to his experiences as a nonspeaking autistic child.
With narration of portions of Higashida’s book, alongside interviews with family members, the film provides viewers with a sensory experience that highlights the emotions within these young adults from India, Britain, the U.S., and Sierra Leone, to empathetically convey to a neurotypical audience what it is like to live within a neurodivergent mind.
A young man stricken with polio, finds love, refuses to give up on life and the couple spends their lives helping other polio patients. Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy star, with Andy Serkis in his directorial debut!
Two men with autism travel the world with the goal of changing attitudes about disability and intelligence. One of the women I messaged with emphasized the impact this film had on her, as she raised a nonverbal child for a while.
I also wished I could have written about “Raising Dion” and the “How To Train Your Dragon” series. Perhaps there is a second installment that needs to be done…
I remember as a kid getting $5 a week for an allowance. I can’t remember if I actually got the $5 on a regular basis or if, like I do now as a parent, I was given it when my parents remembered. I also am trying to remember what I did with that money.
When I was a little bit older, I babysat and made some pretty good money, relatively speaking. I had an added advantage in that my older sister handed down a few of her jobs when she stopped babysitting, so I had a couple of regular gigs throughout middle school and high school. Sweet.
I worked during the summers in high school, and all through college. For at least a quarter and through the summer of my last months at the University of Chicago, I actually held a job and had a paid internship. I have no doubt this work ethic, on top of the somewhat neurotic way I viewed money on account of being surrounded by mostly rich kids at a prep school during the critical teen years, has crafted my view on money and finances.
Based on this, you might think I have served my child well with a financial education starting at a young age, yeah? You would be wrong! Work ethic? What’s that? Value of a dollar? Sounds fishy. It’s a lot harder to instill in your kid in this day and age, but I’ll keep trying.
It’s why I loved working on this story for GOBankingRates.com. Financial literacy is critical in this day and age, where buying items is as easy as tapping on your phone. Student loans today aren’t want they were before, and gimmicks and scams are that much more trickier to catch.
But you can start early, as the experts in this story suggest.
This story was published the week of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and I didn’t feel like writing or posting. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that this short list of books represents what America means to me. Immigrant stories, learning about racism and antiracism, overcoming defeat and achieving dreams. Maybe even more fitting, I’m typing all this while watching Inauguration Day coverage on TV. American flags, national anthems, feeling hopeful and optimistic.
For the past few years I have made a point of focusing my reading on books by women and POC. There are good stories that deserve to be told. I don’t want to get on a high horse around this. But I do believe it is important to walk the walk and talk the talk. If you don’t know what or who to read, you can start with this list (if you enjoy young adult reads), and I also suggest making use of The Seattle Public Library’s “Your Next Five” feature. You can tell a librarian (all via web form or email) what books you just read or enjoyed, and they’ll give you recommendations. Be upfront that you want to read POC authors and they will find you a book. Or, you know, your local independent bookstore. Or, if you must, Twitter.
So, if you haven’t heard the biggest news, get ready: We got a puppy! That is actually old news. Bailey has been a part of our family since October. But taking care of a puppy sure did occupy a great deal of space in my head, so I was thrilled when Carly, Lead Editor at GOBankingRates.com, suggested a piece about budgeting for your new pet.
I focused on cats and dogs since they make up the majority of pets in U.S. households. If you must know, 86.9 million households in the U.S. report having a pet. That is a lot of pets.
Anyway, this one was very fun to write and research, and I included a couple of examples of pet expenses that I have heard about over the past year from friends. That comes at the very end.
2021 is getting off to a sluggish start. I’m still wrapping up the stuff from the last year that I wanted to mention on the blog, like this piece that I wrote for GOBankingRates.com. Funny thing, a year ago I was working with GBR as a publishing partner, reviewing their content, suggesting edits and pitching their stories to my fellow editors for promotion.
Today, I am freelancing for them, writing stories that once upon a time I may have been reviewing.
The headline of this blog post is a bit of a lie. “Hoosiers” is not one of my favorite movies from the 80s. And I didn’t see “Fame” until I was writing this piece. But “Fame” is really good! And the other movies I wrote about in this piece are ones I really truly love.
I’m not going to talk about every movie covered, because you should read the story! But one common theme I am seeing as I look back is how much I connected with these films despite the now very glaring fact that none of the main characters of these films looked like me. So obviously devoid of Asian-American teens, as if we didn’t exist.
Okay, I’ll say this one thing about this one film. Dead Poet’s Society takes place in the 50s at an all-boys (and all-white) prep school. I suppose the only thing I really had in common here was that I was also in prep school at the time. My sophomore English teacher revealed to our class that he would watch this movie before the school year started to get pumped for teaching. Like, is that weird? I remember being a bit mortified that I liked the same movie as him. Probably not that weird.
Those students went through the emotions that I was going through at the time. Learning to express myself in front of others; trying to figure out who I was. Big for me was is dealing with imposter syndrome. So, yes, I identified with a film about white boys in the 50s.