Discussion: Political Statements in Jane the Virgin

I posted awhile ago about all the reasons the TV show Jane the Virgin is one of my favorites.  As season 3 comes to a close, every one of those reasons still holds.  Jane the Virgin is definitely in my top five favorite TV shows ever (up there with Parks and Rec and Breaking Bad, in case you’re wondering).

Jane the Virgin is also one of the most politically active fictional TV shows I’ve seen.  Other shows may use politics as a small plot point here and there, but Jane the Virgin sets itself in modern day, where the characters can react to politics and other current events as they happen.  It makes the show even more relevant than it already is, and may serve to get viewers more interested in current events and activism.  And it makes so much sense that the show is like this, because Gina Rodriguez, who plays Jane, is very politically and socially active.  She advocates for many minority groups on social media, and has an Instagram feature called #MovementMondays where she highlights minority actors and activists to get her followers learning and excited about change.

One example of current politics done well in Jane the Virgin is the status of Jane’s grandmother, Alba.  Alba is a Venezuelan immigrant, and when the show begins, she is completely undocumented.  For this reason, she is deathly afraid of police and other authority figures, and wants to apply for her green card but is afraid her lengthy illegal status will get her deported if she applies.  Jane and her mother help Alba overcome her fears and apply for her green card, and she later ends up marching in a protest to advocate for herself and for her boyfriend, who is undocumented when they meet.  It’s a very real situation for many here in the US, and Alba becomes a stronger character because she overcame her fear.

But there are other political statements that feel like they’ve been forced into the plot.  For example, Jane begins dating Fabian, one of her father’s coworkers, and feels she is ready for casual sex.  So she goes for it, showing up at his apartment dressed to impress, but Fabian ends up talking to her for two hours about books.  She’s frustrated, obviously.  But at the beginning of the scene where Jane tries to bring up her intentions, Fabian first asks a question about one of the books, to which Jane replies with a statement about free speech for everyone.  Then they launch into the sex conversation.

To me, that interaction felt forced.  It didn’t flow like a real conversation might have.  We didn’t see any of the previous book conversation, and after that one statement was made, there was no follow-up.  It wasn’t part of the plot, or part of any character’s development.  It was social commentary with no basis in the story, stuck into a conversation seemingly at the last minute.

Another thing that bothers me is the use of Jane’s child, Mateo.  At this point in the show, Mateo is about 4 years old.  Like any 4-year-old, he notices things about the world and wonders about them.  But I don’t know if the statements he makes are ones that a 4-year-old would think to ask.  He asks about abstract and complex concepts often.  Of course, young children are often much wiser than we give them credit for, and can surprise us with incredibly deep questions.  But the way they ask them is different than the way an adult or an older child would ask them, and I think Mateo’s writers may need to further study the way 4-year-olds process information.  Also, the fact that Mateo is even used at all to further the show’s political agenda (because it’s clear there is one) is a tad cringe-y to me.  Kids themselves do ask intelligent, political questions, but Mateo is used more as a mouthpiece for the writers than his own character, and that’s not the high quality storytelling that Jane the Virgin has shown previously.

Another show that makes political statements often is the comedy Last Man Standing.  Its views are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from those on Jane the Virgin, but the statements are usually more tastefully made because the characters’ political leanings are often a crucial part of the plot.  The father character on the show, Mike, holds opposite political views from his oldest daughter and some of his friends, and these differences are sometimes the basis of entire episodes.  As a sitcom, political differences make good fodder for jokes intertwined with the characters’ (and presumably the writers’) deeper values.

Last Man Standing, which aired on ABC, was discontinued on May 10, 2017 after 6 seasons.  Six seasons is a pretty good run for any show, but some are saying that ABC stopped it because the show is staunchly conservative.  I hope that’s not the case, for two reasons.  One is because TV shows should be protected under freedom of speech and expression, and removing a show because it differs in values is a little sketchy.  The other reason is because having different perspectives represented in TV is important.  People use TV for a ton of different reasons, but arguably the biggest is to relax.  Most people have come home from work or school and vegged out in front of the TV for a few hours, because it gives us a break from our own reality.  It gives us a reason to laugh or cry, and it gives us something to enjoy even when we’re so exhausted we can barely move.  Different perspectives need to represented on TV because everyone watches, and we all like to see ourselves.

Since we’re all watching TV anyway, adding some political and social commentary in there can be beneficial.  When it’s done artfully, it gets people thinking, and then maybe acting.  When it feels forced or not genuine, it alienates people from the perspective it’s trying to portray.  That’s why the best way to insert commentary is to do it subtly, make it an important plot point so that it doesn’t feel forced, and don’t overwhelm the show with it.  Regardless of my complaints, I feel that Jane the Virgin, overall, does an excellent job balancing social and political responsibility with superb storytelling.  I just hope the writers don’t go overboard.

The Maiden Name Dilemma

This has been on my mind since before I even got engaged.  To change my name, or not to change my name?  That is the question.

Lately, the more I think about it, the more I lean toward no.  I’m pretty traditional, but this is one thing that doesn’t sit quite right with me.  At risk of sounding feminazi (the horror!), I feel like it’s an antiquated practice that I could do without.  In the “olden days,” women changed their names to signify that they were now under the care of their husband rather than their father.  It was a sign of commitment, yes, but also a transactional symbol.

Obviously, that’s not really how name-changing is seen these days.  Most women change their names as an added symbol of commitment and as a public symbol of the switch from single-ness to marriage.  And if that’s what you want to do, that’s all fine and good.

To me, though, there are enough symbols without me also having to change my name. Our commitment to each other will be displayed through our marriage certificate, our rings, and our wedding.  Everyone important to us will see us get married.  We will both make the mental, emotional, and financial commitment (which really has already been made).  And after the ceremony is over, we will both wear rings on our left hand that say to everyone who sees them, I am a married person.  To me, that’s plenty.

Marriage, in its proper form, is a legal, emotional, and financial commitment between two individuals.  I am already a whole individual, and so is he.  Therefore, I think that the legal documentation, the rings, and the ceremony are sufficient public symbols.

There are obviously some cons to not taking his name.  The first and most obvious is that he is a traditional person as well, and I know he’d like for me to take his name.  That, honestly, is my biggest hangup.  It’s a little difficult to balance my own wishes with his, but that’s what marriage is.  Two individuals essentially becoming one unit comes with a ton of issues like this, as I know most are well aware.  Probably (definitely) more aware than I am.  We will have to discuss this and come to an understanding.

The other big issue is potential children.  I don’t particularly want any children, ever, but in case we do have children, whose name would they take?  I would be fine with them taking his — again, I’m fairly traditional, and I got my last name from my father, so I have no problem with them having his.  But that would be something that would have to be discussed.

I haven’t completely decided what I’m going to do yet, and I have some time before I really have to make that decision.  But it’s definitely something to think about.

I know many people have strong feelings on this; feel free to tell me what you think and/or share your own experience!

 

I Want More Spanish Books Everywhere

You all know I love reading, and that I just graduated with a degree in Spanish.  I posted here (before my impromptu graduating-and-moving blogging break) about how I’m planning on keeping up my Spanish skills.  One of the biggest ways I’ll be doing that is by reading in Spanish, so every time I go to a library or bookstore I browse the Spanish section.

Just in the last week or two, I’ve been to four bookstores and library branches.  And of the places who actually have books in Spanish (some don’t have any at all), all of the ones they have are condensed into just two, three, or four feet of shelf space.  That’s not a lot, when you consider that entire niche sub-genres — like, say, vampire young adult fantasy novels — may have the same amount of shelf space.

Here in America, we have vast bookstores.  We have sections for bestselling fiction, literary fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, Christian fiction, and chick lit fiction.  We have romances, erotica, sci-fi, thrillers, epic fantasies, and crime dramas.  We have biographies and memoirs, how-to everything, travel sections, technology books, books of just photos, books to read in the bathroom, every type of cookbook you could think of, and dozens of different magazines.  We have books on every religion imaginable, and many bookstores have one or more aisles dedicated entirely to different versions of the Bible.

Aside from books, bookstores also typically have huge sections of stationery and notebooks, small gift items, and coffee shops.  Barnes and Noble has the Nook e-reader section complete with its plethora of accessories.  Bookstores have sections just for kids, with books and toys geared towards them, and entire sections blocked off for music and movies.  Do you want me to go on?

We have all of this in some form in almost every bookstore you could ever walk into.  Now, there are almost 43 million Spanish-speakers in the US as of 2015 (and not all of them are of Hispanic/Latino origin), which is almost 10% of the population.  This number is only getting higher as the years go by.  And yet, despite this, bookstores allow only a small fraction of their shelf space to books in Spanish, and this tiny amount of shelf space is expected to encompass the highlights of every genre that is offered in English in the rest of the store.  It’s ridiculous.

Now, I do have to admit that while I couldn’t find any statistics on it, I don’t think Spanish speakers read in Spanish as much as anyone reads in English.  I discussed this with one of my Costa Rican teachers when I spent a month in Costa Rica studying abroad.  We were in the “getting to know you” stage, and she asked me what I liked to do for fun.  I told her one of my favorite things was reading, and she asked me how many books I read a year.  I told her it’s probably 20-24 on average, and she was astonished.  She told me she reads maybe 1 or 2, and that most people she knows haven’t picked up a book since they got out of school.  Of course, this was a small town in Costa Rica, not in the US.  I have no way of knowing whether reading is something that is valued in Spanish-speaking households here, because apparently it hasn’t been studied.  That’s something I’d like to see.

I also want to mention that I have never been in a bookstore or library in, say, New Mexico or California, where the number of Spanish-speakers is much higher than in Tennessee, where I live.  Maybe in those states it’s more common to have larger sections of Spanish books since the customer base is larger.

Regardless, though, there are Spanish speakers everywhere in the US.  It’s the second-most-spoken language here after English, and as such, I feel like it should be given a tiny bit more than a measly three feet of shelf space in a bookstore.  Maybe more Spanish speakers would read and write if bookstores offered more than the same old Harry Potter translations and copies of Cien años de soledad in the Spanish section.  Maybe more people would learn it as a second language if they could read different types of books at different levels in Spanish.  Maybe brick and mortar bookstores could save themselves from going the way of Borders if they tapped into the Spanish-speaking market.  I don’t actually know if any of this would actually help anything (honestly it probably wouldn’t).  But I’d at least like to see some more effort.

For now, I’ll have to stick to reading through every small Spanish section I can find, and I’ll also try to find translations of works originally in English.  But I would truly love to see just half an aisle of Spanish books when I go into a bookstore or library.  I might have to take another trip out west.

In Praise of My Favorite

I have always thought that I don’t get stressed out easily, but really it’s just that I don’t stress out about the same things my friends stress about.  Throughout my high school and college years, my friends have been worried about grades and relationships, primarily.  While I did yearn for a boyfriend in high school, I never worried about grades.  I worked hard, but I didn’t stress out about an 88.9 versus a 90.  I always did my best, and then took what grade was assigned.  Grades don’t bother me — I know I can pass classes, and when I’m truly invested in a project I take a lot of pride in my work.

So while a lot of my friends are panicking about final exams and presentations, I’m coasting right through that.  What I’ve been panicking about recently is my job and living situation.

I’ve always been one to plan for the future.  I have a good idea of what I’d like to do.  But if you’ve been reading this blog awhile, you know that I have had a lot of trouble job hunting.  I have realized that part of my problem is that the jobs I’m applying to are ones that want to hire immediately, and until this Saturday (!!!), I’m still in school.  I’m not physically in the city I’m moving to, so it’s difficult for me to schedule interviews, and I’ve lost a few opportunities that way.  This is so frustrating when I’m trying to be proactive.

An added stressor is that my fiancé and I are trying to find a place to live.  He has a job set up, but we are having to apply for apartments using only his expected income, which obviously limits us to a tighter budget than it would if I had a job already also.  We’re to the point where we need to find one, and fast, and while we have viewing appointments set up for this week, it’s just stressful not knowing.

All this stress has gotten to me these past couple weeks.  I haven’t really been myself, because I’m so frustrated with my job search.  I know I will be able to find something eventually, but at the moment I feel like I am the one holding us back.  And then there is the fact that my parents still aren’t thrilled with the idea of us moving together.  It’s just a lot to handle, and I haven’t handled it very well.

My fiancé obviously notices this.  And I always, always forget what an incredible support he is to me.  When I get stressed or frustrated, I tend to distance myself, because even now I dislike feeling dependent, especially financially.  I like to be a self-sufficient person, and when my lack of a job is the thing hurting our apartment search, it’s mildly devastating.  But I need to remember that he and I are a team.

Whenever he notices that I’m not myself, he goes out of his way to help me out.  He’s kind and patient with me, and doesn’t let me keep my problems to myself.  He asks me what’s wrong until I admit the real problem.  And then he listens to me, and he understands.  And then he reassures me that yes, this sucks, but we’re going to make it.  This is life, and sometimes it’s frustrating, but I don’t have to deal with it alone.  And then he just acts like a goofball until I end up laughing.

I can’t explain enough how good this is for me.  I can be a negative person, and I also tend to give up when I get overwhelmed.  He reminds me of the good things that are happening in my life, and reminds me to take things one step at a time.  These past few weeks since we got engaged have been stressful and intense, but that is no better reminder that it’s for this and a million other reasons that I’m so, so excited to marry him.

Keeping Up My Spanish After Graduation

It’s officially one week till graduation. Aside from all the other things this means, it hit me this week that graduating means losing a set time and place to practice my Spanish every week. While I would love to get a job where I can use Spanish, I don’t know that that will be an option. So here’s how I’m planning on keeping up my skills. 

  1. Listening: there are a lot of Spanish telenovelas on Netflix. But I’ve found I don’t like that type of show. I’m more into crime thrillers than the over-the-top family and relationship dramas frequently used in telenovelas. So while I’ll keep trying Spanish TV shows and movies, I downloaded the BBC Mundo app so I can watch a video or two a day. (And I can read the news and culture stories as well.) I have also been exploring the Latin channels on Spotify, so by slowly developing a taste for Latin music I can practice my Spanish that way as well. 
  2. Reading: I love reading anyway, so consciously trying to add Spanish books into my reading list shouldn’t be too difficult. I’m looking forward to working my way through some Spanish classics as well as reading translated works I’ve already read in English. 
  3. Writing: This will be harder to practice without an outside party to check over my grammar. But I may try to write some fiction or even just journal in Spanish. And I’ve done enough papers in Spanish that I know which mistakes I’m prone to make. Maybe there’s a Spanish-language fan fic site I can find. That’s something I’ll have to look more into. 
  4. Translating: I don’t know that I’ll find myself doing this very often, but it may help me keep from forgetting specific vocabulary. Plus, I have a very new, very nice Spanish-English dictionary, so I might as well use it. I could translate a news article, or a blog post, or even a book chapter if I’m feeling ambitious. This would be something good to do when I’m bored and want something to focus on. 
  5. Speaking: This is the one skill I’m not sure how I will be able to practice. This is the skill I have the lowest confidence in, and I’m not really an outgoing person. Those two things combined might make it a little difficult to find a practice partner. I feel like there may be a conversation group somewhere in the city I’m moving to, but the homebody in me doesn’t know about that. So this will be something to work on. Maybe I can find a little old Spanish-language lady that needs a companion a few days a week? Who knows. We shall see!

Among the many challenges that come with graduating from college, this is one I feel most confident I can keep up. Spanish and languages are a passion of mine, so I’ll definitely be more likely to practice. And if I can make it a habit, I’ll have that many less problems if I ever do find myself in a job where I get to use Spanish frequently. Here’s to hoping!

Change Comes With Compromise

News first: the boyfriend is not the boyfriend anymore; he’s the fiance, because we are engaged.

We’ve been together almost 3.5 years, and have been talking about this for a good bit of that time.  It’s so surreal that it’s finally happened, but I’m so ready.  We’re both ready.

His proposal, though, came in the middle of a roller coaster of a week.  For one, last week was the second-to-last week of class before finals, so all our projects are culminating.  Then, on Monday, his dad had a heart attack (he is fine and back home now, thank goodness).  Wednesday morning I butted heads with my parents about my plans for after graduation.  Wednesday afternoon he proposed, because it was the first sunny day after he had picked up the ring, and he didn’t want to wait any longer.  Thursday evening I went home to see my parents, to show them the ring and talk about plans.  Because of all of that, I changed my mind about 5 times in 2 days about what I’m going to do in May, and reached a compromise only after a lot of vacillating.

My original plan had been to not move back home at all.  He got an internship in a city to the southeast of us, and I was looking for jobs there as well.  But first, my parents began asking me whether I would come home for a month or two after graduation.  Then, my job prospects dimmed, as I kept applying and applying but got very few calls back.  When my plans didn’t change, my parents got restless, since to them, the lack of a ring signaled a lack of commitment on his end.  I knew that wasn’t the case, and while that was frustrating to deal with, I can understand that view.  After a couple emotional discussions with my mom, I changed my mind completely and decided to move home until whatever date the fiance and I get married.

But I couldn’t feel good about that either, since he and I planned to move together and I would be leaving him in the lurch for those few months.  So I had the idea to move back home right after graduation.  But in June, I’ll join my fiance.  It is a compromise, and by definition those don’t really make anyone completely happy.  But I will get to spend some time with my family, and an added perk will be that I will have more time to job hunt.  Neither of my parents are completely happy about this decision, but they’ve both accepted that it’s the one I’m making.

The real struggle for me is that when it comes to my family, I am a pleaser.  I want to make my own decisions, but it is hard to be the first one really leaving the nest and thus the cause of some grief on my parents’ end.  It has to happen, and I’m excited to have my own space and my own life, but it is not without its downsides.  There comes a moment in time where the paths of the parents and the child separate, and my time is now, and it’s weird and hard.

Of course, it’s not like I’m going to drop off the face of the earth.  When I move to join my fiance, I’ll only be moving two hours away from my hometown.  It’s about the same distance from there as my school, and the drive is a lot easier (according to my dad).  Even though I’m notoriously bad at keeping up with people, I’m not just going to let my family float away.  They’re too important for that.

I know they know this, and I know they’re going to be able to accept whatever decision I make, even if it takes awhile.  What’s made this more difficult than it had to be is my job situation — I have tons of applications out, and on the off-chance I finally get a job, there’s the possibility I’ll move earlier than expected.  I have a plan, but it’s a little bit contingent upon various prospective employers.

So what I’m trying to say, I guess, is that my life is messy right now.  Up till now, I’ve always had a clear plan.  I still have long-term goals I want to achieve.  But the immediate future is unclear.  When will I get a job?  When will I move out?  I don’t know.  It’s a little stressful.  But it’s life, and it’s gotta happen sometime.

What I’m Reading: April 2017

Two weeks until graduation and I somehow still have had time to (mostly) devour two books, both of which I got from the library when I knew I shouldn’t have.  But the high quality of these two books makes up for any time I maybe should have spent doing something else.

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How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents follows four sisters from the Dominican Republic who are forced to move to New York with their families in 1960 due to political strife.  Told from the perspective of all four girls, in 15 separate but intertwined stories, the story is written in backwards chronological order.  Secrets alluded to in the first few stories are slowly revealed as you read through the chapters, as the girls get younger.  With every chapter, you understand a little more.

It took me a chapter or two to really get into this book, because the first chapter has so many inside jokes and allusions you just don’t know about yet.  But the writing is incredible.  Alvarez does an amazing job of making the characters realistic as they get younger.  The way their understanding of the world changes throughout the book is fascinating, and each story intertwines a little more with the next until finally, at the end, the story is complete.  This is one I would love to study in a classroom setting, or in a book club.  This is a book that needs to be discussed and relished.  It was unlike anything I’ve read before, and unlike many of the books that draw my eye, it is one that can be read multiple times without getting too predictable.  There will always be something else to pick up on.

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The Namesake is about a boy named Gogol whose family moves to the US from Calcutta.  Gogol is the main character, but the book follows his parents just as much as it tells his story.  It’s a growing up novel, but with a wide perspective.  It’s very similar to books by Alan Brennert in that the scope of the novel is very wide, focusing on many decades and many people.  But it is not overwhelming.  It’s written in a comforting, quiet tone that immediately makes you feel as if you are part of the Ganguli family.  I haven’t quite finished it at the time this will post, but it is one that I can tell will have an impact.  The style is also somewhat reminiscent of The Kite Runner, except not as sad.  I also realized that this book has been made into a movie, so it is definitely one I’ll have to try to find and watch.

There you have it — a shorter what I’m reading post than usual, but two books that come very highly recommended.  It doesn’t really matter if these are your favorite genre or not — if you like books with good writing, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy these.

 

 

Goal Update: April 2017

We’re halfway through April, so I’m technically late for a goal update! I have only 2 weeks left of college (!), and I remember that during my last goal update I unofficially culled some goals, so this will likely be a bit shorter than normal. 

Life Goals

  1. Be intentional about communication, especially with roommates. Well, I am glad I made this goal, because otherwise I may not have said anything to my roommate when I came home one night to see her boyfriend, who I’ve never met, drunk and standing in doorway of my apartment in only his boxers. To say that was an uncomfortable, infuriating situation is a huge understatement. But because I did have this goal, and because my boyfriend, who was with me when I happened upon that lovely scene, was also very angry, I quelled my hatred of confrontation and talked to her the next day. And because she is a nice person, she apologized, and has talked to her boyfriend. And we are both moving out in three weeks, so hopefully it won’t happen again.
  2. Get physically stronger, or failing that, just don’t be a couch potato. This was one of the goals I almost threw out the window, but modified instead. However, since getting a new phone, I discovered a fabulous yoga app. I expect to have more specific goals to use it when I start my new round of goals after graduation! I may even give the app its own review post, because I am loving it. 
  3. Read more non-white authors. I’m honestly not even actively trying to find these anymore, since I already had several great ones on my TBR in March. But great-sounding books keep appearing in my path, and they keep being by non-white authors. I’m not complaining. Check out my TBR.
  4. Food: Cook, and stick to $15/month on coffee. Cooking is now an opportunistic thing. But I have stuck to my coffee budget, even though I’m already at my limit for April due to a $6 boutique coffee shop honey lavender latte. No regrets. 

    Education/Career Goals

    1. COB Ambassadors: all goals on this have been killed. RIP. 
    2. Apply to 5ish jobs a month. Yep, still doing this. Doesn’t seem like it’s paying off, though. It’s starting to stress me out. 

    That’s it for the goals. Here’s to the home stretch to graduation. 

    In Which I Regret Keeping Spiders in My Room

    The apartment I live in is a great college apartment.  It’s cheap and close to campus, and that’s all I need. But it’s a bit old and surrounded by trees, so since I moved in I’ve had a bit of a bug problem.

    First, it was slugs. There’s a door in my room that opens to a wooden deck, which, when I moved in in January of last year, was covered in leaves. Naturally, this leaf pile was home to lots of bugs. This was fine, except when it rained. When it rained, slugs would find their way to my not-so-greatly-sealed door, think, Oh! It’s not raining anymore! and proceed to crawl around on my carpet. I’m not about to squish any slugs, because ew, so more than one slug almost thirsted to death trapped under a mug until I could get my boyfriend to throw it outside. 

    In the spring, I swept all the leaves off my deck and put a line of salt on the carpet right inside, and that solved the problem. 

    But then it was beetles. That summer, it was very hot — one of the worst droughts came through the area than it has seen in years. Somehow, a colony of lightning bug-looking things found their way into our front door jamb, seeking the cool air. We had out landlord come spray, but that didn’t deter them. Usually they’d stay outside, but occasionally a few would have a meet up in the living room. It was the winter that finally got rid of them. 

    After that, I didn’t see a whole lot of bugs for awhile. One or two small spiders made their way into the corners of my room, by the back door, but honestly, I don’t mind spiders. If they’re small, they generally stay on their webs and kill smaller bugs. It’s a mutually beneficial situation, so I tend to leave them. 

    The real problem appeared about three weeks ago. One day, my boyfriend and I were getting ready to leave my apartment. I opened my closet door to get a jacket, and disturbed something near it. INTO MY CLOSET ran a 2.5 inch centipede (and I’m not exaggerating on size). I was horrified. We looked around for a while, but it had completely disappeared. 

    Last night, I hadn’t forgotten about it, or my spiders, either. Over the weeks, a few more had joined ranks in the ceiling corners, and the original ones were getting bigger. As I was about to go to bed, I noticed a really huge spider on the  ceiling dangerously close to my bed. I finally decided it was time for them to go.

    I prepared for my battle well. I’m only 5’1″, so I got my kitchen stool. I also grabbed a huge wad of toilet paper so I wouldn’t have to feel the spiders as I squished them. So I went for the big spider first. But even with my stool, I couldn’t reach him. I tried my desk chair next, which was iffy since it’s a swivel chair. I didn’t want him to fall on my head, so I put the chair as far away as I could and reached out and smacked. 

    Success. I felt him squish into my nail, which was gag inducing, but he died. And he fell on my floor. So I thought, hey, my tissue paper is still clean. I’ll kill the rest with this. But even with the chair, I was too short for the rest. 

    I had to resort to our straw broom. I swiflty stabbed each spider with the straws, then brushed their bodies onto the floor so I could collect them all and throw them away. (Y’all probably think I’m so gross for having all these spiders in my room. I am.) But once I got done killing all the spiders, I looked at my floor and realized the whole thing was kind of dirty. 

    No problem, I thought. Neither of my roommates were home yet, so I’d just vacuum my room real quick. My floor would be clean and the spiders would be gone. So I went and got the vacuum, and turned it on. 

    I vacuumed by my room door first. Then I went toward my desk. I picked up my backpack to get it off the floor, and as I returned to the vacuum, from under my desk RAN THE CENTIPEDE FROM THREE WEEKS AGO. 

    I screamed a high pitched shit! and decided to chase it with the vacuum, because what else could I do? 

    I finally got it under the vacuum, and it didn’t come out. I paused, and looked in the dust reservoir, which is clear plastic. I thought it might be crawling around in there, and I wanted to be sure. But I didn’t see it. 

    I wanted to look around, so I propped up the vacuum handle. And from underneath the rollers, out popped the centipede — minus all its legs. And that is how I killed the centipede. Safe to say, from now on, I will not be keeping bugs of any kind. 

    A Non-Tech Person’s Case for Android

    I’ve owned a total of 2 smartphones in my life. One was my iPhone 5, which my parents gave me for my high school graduation. The other is the Google Pixel I’m currently using to type this blog post, which I received only a little over 24 hours ago — again, from my parents for graduation.

    Lord knows I could not have afforded to replace my iPhone, so I’m doubly thankful that my parents did. After having my iPhone for 4 years, it had gotten persnickety. It was on an exponential decline. It glitched all the time. Apps took forever to open, if they opened at all. Neither camera focused anymore. The screen was coming off. And on the last few phone calls I got, it thought headphones were plugged in when they weren’t, so I couldn’t hear a thing.

    But that’s to be expected from an old phone. My real bone to pick with Apple is more than that. The longer I had the phone, the more I learned I was an Android person. (Having an Android guy as a boyfriend helped, too.) I found I didn’t like Apple’s exclusivity with charger types. I was annoyed with the storage options. And as I used other people’s Androids, I felt my phone was so cluttered with all the apps on the screen.

    So my boyfriend helped me shop around, and I ended up with the Pixel, which so far I love. Even though I’ve only had it a day or two, here’s why I already much prefer it over iOS.

    • Customization. This is the age old argument for Android, but it’s true. With an iPhone, you don’t have a lot of control over where apps go. If you want some hidden, you have to put them on another screen. On Android, I can have only my most used, quick access apps on my front page.  I have a weather widget displaying the temperature. I could add my WordPress stats if I wanted. And apps I don’t use as often I don’t have to put anywhere, and Android will hide them for me. But when I do need them, all I have to do is swipe up.
    • Voice commands. This may not be true for all Android devices, but the voice controlled assistant for the Pixel is incredible. She understands everything I’m saying, and gives me relevant solutions. Siri did not do that for me at all.
    • Charging accessories. Apple has always annoyed me. Why is it so special that iPhones must have their own charger type? Android devices use either micro USB or USB type C, which are both universal cables – ie, you can also use it for your tablet, or your camera, or your mom’s dumb phone. (The type C cord is just starting to become the standard, so it does only work with newer devices. But regardless, it will be becoming the industry standard for tech – something the lightning charger can never boast.)

    That about hits my limit on tech knowledge, so I’ll let actual tech nerds take it over from here. But the truth stands: I’m a converted Android person now, and I couldn’t be happier.