Media I've Consumed

Everyone does the "books I've read," list for the Peace Corps. I'm not a big reader, and by "not a big reader" I mean "it took me two years to complete Harry Potter 5" and "I've read maybe one book in the last three years."

But I now have time. There's all the time I need and all the time I want!
Hopefully my glasses don't break and I don't wind up like this guy:

I do plan to read books, but it's not the only media I consume. I'm much more of a TV/music kinda gal.

Sure, the literacy project encourages reading, but books aren't the only things that have words. I like the poetic cadence of lyrics resting alongside music notes. I love the dialogue and the visual storytelling of films and television.

Thus, here is my list of media consumed thus far.


  • Currently listening to:
    This website is amazing, and there's an accompanying app. Basically, you choose a country in the world, and you choose a decade. Voila, you have a playlist of 1960s Peruvian tunes. Or 1900s American classics. Or Russian hits of the 1990s. I think it's really fun to share here, to get locals exposed to what other countries' music is like. My only gripe is that it appears to have been created by a bunch of hipsters, so while you're getting the expected stuff from anywhere prior to the 1970s, it seems that the more recent decades have more indie tunes. You're more likely to hear a B-side Biz Markie hit for the American 1990's than a Britney Spears track. 
  • "Never Be Like You" (song) by Flume feat. Kai
    It's orchestral, it's twinkly, it's swirly. Then the bass kicks in with a thick bounce and I just can't get enough of its beat or twitchy clicks and switches at the chorus. And the soft croon of Kai's voice over it all is lovely. I can listen to this song on loop for hours...and have. I sing it when I'm walking in the bush, I mouth the lyrics when I'm in public, and I scream it at the top of my lungs when I am alone.
    Favorite Lyric: "What I would do to take away this fear of being loved, allegiance to the pain."
  • Signs and Signifiers (album) by JD McPherson
    I love rockabilly and some old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. This is the 2010s mashup of Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, but without a twinge of any modernization so he sounds just like the originals. His music is especially well-received here in Vanuatu as a good American counterpart to their stringband music. In Pele, I grabbed my baby host sister, Donna, and swung her around to "Fire Bug" and she loved it.
  • Favorite Lyric: "I took her to the winter ball and melted all the snow; that little gal starts dancing and she torches up the floor." -- Fire Bug
  • Little Neon Limelight (album) by Houndmouth
    This is an indie/folk/neo-country/Americana album that had me falling in love after hearing the opening track "Sedona." It's dusty, its's perfect to enjoy while sipping lemonade in the hot summer sun or while making a road trip through the southwestern USA.
    Favorite Lyric: "Ya know I am nobody's girl...just wasn't made for no diamonds or pearls" -- Gasoline


  • Currently Watching: The Bold Type, Season 1 & 2
    I often turn to The CW or now, Freeform, for content that is fun and light-hearted, to break up the daunting chore that can be watching hours of The Handmaid's Tale, or The Americans, or WestWorld, or any other hit dramas that don't have a lot of "fun" injected into them. The premise of the show is three girls who work at Scarlet Magazine (very much like Cosmopolitan) in NYC. It follows their love and work lives in the big city. While I went into this show thinking it'd be pure fun and thus, pure fluff, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only does it overturn typical TV tropes, but it covers a wide array of topics that are very of-the-moment in politics, sex, and women's culture. They have a big scary boss a la Devil Wears Prada, but that trope is quickly overturned, since she's just a big scary boss because she's so powerful, yet she has a kind side, and she empowers the three girls and mentors them when they need it. A character's taboo relationship with a superior is appropriately addressed by a visit to HR, and not in a dramatic way, but in a way that hey, this is something that employees have to do. The friendship between the girls is always strong throughout, wherein they support one another but aren't afraid of calling out their friends for dumb decisions. They don't compete, but love and support. Imagine that, injecting reality and great female relationships into a mainstream program geared towards young women! The jobs the girls have at their age (mid 20s) are realistic, and despite all this reality, the drama is never short. Storylines include a friend who is a Muslim immigrant having fears of being deported, a woman who realizes that despite her sexual experiences, she has never once had an orgasm, and one of the girls covering a story about how a female congresswoman uses her clothes to shade her controversial talking points at major events. It is crazy to think how wildly refreshing all of this is.
  • The Handmaid's Tale, Season 2
    No spoilers, I promise. This hit show is based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, which was written in 1985 but gosh, does it fit right into the current political landscape. You know that boiling frog metaphor? Atwood, in the novel, writes, "Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you knew it.” The book, and the show, take place in a dystopian future, a future following a world where women's rights were slowly stripped away, and Christianity and religion overthrew politics, and changed everything. I enjoy the show, but wow, is it DARK. Binge-watching it can be...emotional.
  • Atlanta, Season 2I really enjoyed season 1 of the FX series Atlanta. It's funny and odd in a surrealist way, reminiscent of Louie, if you've ever seen it. However, I haven't been a fan so far of season 2. There was an entire episode around the main character frustratingly never getting his haircut from his favorite barber because various things kept popping up along the way. It wasn't funny as much as annoying, and that's how I've found most of this season. 
  • iZombie, Season 4 When I first heard of the show, I thought it was a dumb name. It's based on a comic, and it's created by the same guy who created Veronica Mars, which is my favorite show of all time. It's a crime procedural wherein the main character, a zombie, inherits traits of a dead person after eating their brain, as well as acquires the ability to get flashbacks of the dead person's POV, thus helping her solve crimes. There are also underlying themes, and in the most recent season, zombies are "out" but now Seattle is in a lock-down to keep them contained. It's an entertaining show, and a little sillier than V Mars ever was, but I enjoy the writing, and I'm a fan of everyone on the cast. 
  • Amerian Gods, Season 1 A weird show that is sci-fi and comedy and drama, based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name. Because it's based on a book, you can expect it to have more complexity but also some hidden layers to be fleshed out later, as there's always more content in a book adaptation. I didn't enjoy the first couple episodes, but once I started the first few minutes of episode four, I was hooked. Surprisingly, the main character Shadow and his unexpected road trip buddy, Wednesday, are the least entertaining, in my opinion. I liked it once Laura, Shadow's wife, was fleshed out and there were more supporting characters that popped up as a result. If this show ever becomes more about Shadow, I'm out. But if it stays along the path of this ensemble festival of weirdness, I'm in. 
  • Westworld, Season 1 Michael Crichton famously wrote Jurassic Park and he wrote the script for the 1973 film on which this television series is based. I love me some good ole' scifi. This show is about an amusement park filled with androids that make your wild west fantasies about drinking in saloons, seeking out treasure, and dueling bank robbers come true. The androids are so lifelike, you often can't tell who is human and who isn't. But don't worry, the robots are programmed to not have any sentience. Nothing can go wrong...right?
  • Dear White People, Season 1
    I loved the movie by the same name, which was created by the same writer/director of the new Netflix series. The show has a few of the original actors reprising their roles from the film. The movie was clever and funny, and addressed modern racism with wit. The series, like the show, follows an ensemble of black characters who attend a fictional Ivy League college. The movie was awesome because it was concentrated with sharp dialogue and interesting plot, but the show allows for some breathing room without losing pace. Every character is written with heart and is relateable, so even the bitchy girl on campus isn't cartoonish. As a white person, I will never claim to completely understand black culture or race issues, but I love when great programs like this make it into mainstream culture to open me up to hear about issues from different perspectives. The way it's shot and presented is beautiful. The soundtrack is amazing, and this show has introduced me to some amazing indie R&B musicians. Basically, 10/10 WOULD RECOMMEND.
    Favorite quote: (Spoken by character, Sam): “When you mock or belittle us, you enforce an existing system. Cops everywhere staring down the barrel of a gun at a black man don’t see a human being, they see a caricature, a thug, a [n-word]. So…nah! You don’t get to show up in a Halloween costume version of us and claim irony or ignorance. Not anymore.”
  • Riverdale, Season 2
    I am a sucker for teen shows, so I was seeking out something new when I saw this latest addition to the CW lineup that's conveniently on Netflix. It was described as "The OC meets Twin Peaks." I have only watched the former (I'm getting around to Twin Peaks, trust me), and I wouldn't say it has much comparison other than it's one of those "pretty teen shows." It is a show that takes the familiar Archie Comics characters and puts them in a noir setting where one of their classmates died. Jughead is the moody outcast, Veronica is the rich girl whose dad went to prison for embezzlement, Betty's overbearing mother and life stress gives her anxiety issues and the bland dude who fortunately doesn't have a ton of story time. In Roger Ebert fashion, I will critique it at its face value. It's nothing mindblowing, it's nothing particularly's a teen drama about a murder...and it's pretty great at being just that. My only critiques are the gay character (Kevin) is relegated to being the token gay best friend and Cheryl Blossom seems like she was written out of Glee (which is a TV show I absolutely despise).
  • My Mad Fat Diary, Season 1
    It's about a girl in high school dealing with the usual teen things, but while grappling with various mental disorders. It's funny, relatable and heart-wrenching all at once. This is my second- or third- time around watching it, and it's just as good as the first time.


  • Tickled (2016)  I knew nothing going into this documentary other than the brief description as stated on Netflix. I'd rather not give much away, so I will tell you the same. Basically, a filmmaker seeks to do a documentary on the silly sport of "competitive tickling" and it turns into a story of a seedy underbelly and an exploitative company...and...that's all I'll leave you with. It's really good, and even creepy in parts. Not what I expected, and I loved it. 
  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017) For those unfamiliar, William Moulton Marston was the man who invented the lie detector with the aid of his wife Elizabeth. He and his wife had a polyamorous life partner named Olive. Through his studies in psychology behind emotional behavior and DISC (dominance, inducement, submission and compliance) theory. After years of the trio's romantic forays, Marston discovered that many sexual experiences that were then considered smut were representative of his theory, in fetish that  we now know as BDSM. All of this then influenced his creation of Wonder Woman, a strong female comic book character that's often tied or gagged, and uses her lasso of truth to coax criminals to admit to their crimes. The movie covers Marston's personal life, as well as his conflict with Christian groups who found the comic too salacious and kinky for children. It's a truly fascinating story, the movie is well-edited, and the acting is brilliant. 
  • Ibiza (2018) A romantic comedy about three girls who go to Spain for fun, and end up meeting some guys. I really hate rom-coms because they are usually dumb and only geared towards the fairy tale ending of "this is my one and only!" I appreciated this movie and would recommend it to others because it's realistic for a thirty-something group of girls going on a vacation. They find hookups, and they aren't just casual. They enjoy their time with the guys but make a real connection with them that makes the plot more interesting that just screwing some guys and heading home. I also love Vanessa Bayer and Gillian Jacobs so I was thrilled to see them both here. I really related to this movie and I thought wow, this is a romantic comedy after which I don't feel the need to rip out my eyeballs!
  • Frances Ha (2012)It's about a post-grad girl in NYC just living her life as having a job but not really having a job, having a best friend who is fading away from her into a serious relationship, and finding new roommates all the time. I heard about it described as "the most accurate portrayal of post-grad life" and that hits the nail on the head. It's a funny character study and Greta Gerwig has a natural way of showcasing humor without trying too hard. The opening sequence, of just scenes playing out between Frances and her best friend, displays a real friendship unlike any other movie/show I've seen. Just that clip of her reading a magazine and eating chips while her bestie is working out to a video on her laptop is perfection. I love it. 


  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    Not a spoiler, but Plath killed herself by sticking her head in an oven when she was thirty. This is her only novel, and it's a roman à clef about Plath's early 20s. In the early chapters, it's an honest look at what life is like for most women in their early 20s. Then it covers her spiral into a mental breakdown.
    Favorite quote: "I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."


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