2020 on YouTube and 2021 goals

Hello I’m Rogan and welcome to the last post of 2020! Before I do anything else, I want to give a big thank you to all of my Patrons – those who have been a Patron for a while, and those who signed up recently – for supporting me, despite this year being what it was. I really appreciate you all, and I always want to improve what I give to you, so if you ever have any ideas, please let me know! Alright, let’s get into it!

Today is going to be a review of my year on YouTube, not in general because, [zoom in] you know, 2020 that. In 2020, I made 56 videos, including this one. So that’s slightly more than one video a week. Remember this for later in the post. Anything I mention from now on will obviously be linked down below, and some will be in the cards. First, I want to go over some videos I’m pretty proud of and some videos I would like to do differently.

A couple of my favorites are my ASL translations of two songs, Poor Unfortunate Souls and Commander in Chief. For the first one, I planned for a while, practiced my translation, and obviously did make up and costuming for that. For Commander, I literally translated it the night it came out, my video was up a few hours later. I did discuss a couple of lines and got feedback from people I trust. I’m still pretty pleased with the end result! If I had the equipment, I would have done it in front of a black background, rather than my room but *shrug* I still like it. Another video I’m pretty proud of is the interview I did with Jules about the improv class that her business, Hypernovas, taught and I took. That was a fun interview, and definitely something I’d recommend you watch, even if you’re not interested in improv.

Looking over my videos, I realized that I’m actually pretty happy with how most of them turned out. The only things that I wanted to do differently were in terms of set-up, like I mentioned for Commander in Chief. I want to have a better set-up for whenever I do something like that again. A great example is my ASL Storytimes. I used Zoom for their virtual background, which worked for the most part. I was just really bothered by the inconsistent background whenever I moved a certain way. It was definitely not designed with signing in mind! I won’t be re-doing them, but that’s one thing I want to do better for future ASL Storytimes. And that’s it for this portion of the post, really. I’m satisfied with my videos overall.

Now, I don’t do resolutions, but goals are a different thing. Let’s talk about my goals for 2021. I’m keeping it fairly broad, no specific numbers or anything. I would recommend you watch CGP Grey’s video about themes, this is where I’m taking most of my inspiration from. He basically says don’t make specific goals like reading x number of books or running x number of miles every day. Choose a theme for the year, like Year of Reading, Year of Health, etc. That way, what the theme means can change as you go throughout the year and things change. Just go watch it. My theme for 2021 is consistency. I have two lists of goals, one is more general, and the other is book stuff and that one doesn’t really fall under the theme, but we’re just going with it okay?

Consistency is something I’ve always struggled with, and want to improve. Remember earlier I mentioned 56 videos, slightly more than one a week? That’s great, but if you look at it month to month, it’s all over the place. Of course, some of that is normal because of Vlogmas and I typically do a bunch of videos in June for Pride month, which is fine! I just would like to have the amount of videos I make a little more even throughout the year. So one of my goals is to make at least one video a week. I’m not doing a specific day, just a video per week. And if I do more, great! Another goal I have is doing more videos regularly for series like ASL Ponderings and Regional Signs. I do have lists of ideas and signs, I just need to actually work on doing those. I also want to continue my new series, Rogue with Rogan, so be sure to drop some ideas for what I can do! Like I mentioned, some of my favorite videos of 2020 were ASL translations of songs and storytimes. I definitely want to do more of those next year.

Regarding Patreon, I currently do weekly vlogs for the $8 and up tier, but I admittedly haven’t been the best at doing those. Part of it is I don’t know what to talk about every week since there’s not much going on, so I’m still figuring that out. Consistency comes in again, I want to actually do these every week. I also want to post more stuff for the other tiers, like behind the scenes which is $5, but I’m not sure what that would be. Again, I need to figure it out. Overall, I want to give my Patrons more, because they are giving me their dollars which I appreciate a lot.

Moving onto book goals! My biggest one is to reduce how many unread books I have on my shelves. [scratches neck] It’s a lot. I counted them, and I have 64, 65 books on the shelf. I’ve had some of these books for a while, and I do want to read them, I just prioritize other books over them. I’d like to cut down on how many books are sitting there. No number or anything, just less. One of the ways I’m going to do that is participating in the Read Yo’ Shelves readathon, which happens in January. It’s a readathon dedicated to getting you to read books on your shelves, which is great. I’m not going to make a formal TBR for it, but I will be using the challenges to guide my picks a bit. A BookTube goal I have is to do more individual book reviews for specific books. In all this time that I’ve been making book videos, I’ve done ONE individual review. Soooo yeah, I would like to do more. Mainly for books that hit my specific identities, like deaf and queer. One book I’ve been wanting to do this with is This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story, and I will finally do it in 2021 at some point. Another thing that I’d like to do is a re-read of a series, but I’m still not sure what format I want to do for that. The series I want to do is Young Wizards by Diane Duane, and it’s currently eleven books long. So I don’t know if I want to do one video of reading the whole thing, or video per book, or what? Let me know what you think.

Side note, I’m really not looking forward to figuring out my December book wrap up, because I read a total of 16 things. Luckily, five of those were from the Queer Lit Readathon, so I won’t have to do those again but still, eleven things! [big sigh]

Alright, I think that covers everything I wanted to talk about before closing out 2020! Let me know what you think of all this. Am I being too ambitious? [chuckle] I want to be clear, I’m definitely not looking at any of this as hard and fast goals. If I don’t achieve these, that’s okay. Like I said, consistency is just a ~theme~ and if I do even a little to push myself in the direction I want to go, I’ll be happy with that. Are you doing resolutions, goals, or a theme? Comment below! Stay safe and healthy, I’ll see you in 2021.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

‘Twas the night before Christmas | ASL Storytime

This is a translation of the original poem, which has been included below.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

The Prince and the Dressmaker | Defacing | Vlogmas

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to Vlogmas. Today is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I follow a BookTuber, iLivieforbooks, and she will from time to time do defacings of her books. Drawing on them, decorating them, beautiful art on her books. I thought it seems like something fun to do with my books, and I’ll start with this book. Now, this book already has a scribble from a kid, because I bought this used, so… The book is The Prince and the Dressmaker. It’s one of my favorites. And here’s the kid’s scribble, I will use my defacing to cover that up.

So, for my process, because I’m one of those people who hates to start with physical because I don’t want to commit to anything. Like, what if I don’t like it? So I went ahead and took a picture of my copy’s cover, played around with it in Fresco, a drawing program. Played around with different ideas, until I found one that I liked, just today. I was drawing it, and yep I really like this. I want to do it. I’ll show you what that looks like. (Note: in the video, I hold up my iPad to show the digital version I drew.) I’m not showing you too much detail, because I want to transfer that to the physical thing. We’ll see how this goes. Enjoy!

[Montage: drawing in pencil, pulling out brush markers and selecting colors, starting with yellow-orange border around the characters then adding short curved lines in a repeating pattern, moving onto green leaves and purple flowers, and finishing with repeating straight green lines to fill in any remaining space.]

I’m done! I don’t have a lot of time because my battery’s dying and at the end of its life. So I’ll just show you a pan, and let me know what you think in the comments! I hope you enjoyed this.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Name signs for companies | ASL Ponderings | Vlogmas

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome back to Vlogmas! Today, I’ll be talking about a question I got through email, and I thought it’d make a good video. As is obvious from the title, the question was about name signs for a company. This person had learned ASL, but it was a while back, so they were a little vague on rules around name signs. They remembered that back then, it was a rule that only people got sign names, and companies didn’t, they were to be spelled out. Also, sign names are given to the entity, not created by them. This person asked if there are name signs for companies, and if they could create one for themselves.

I made a video in September talking about proper nouns, and this falls solidly in that category. I’ll link it here. I briefly mention that we create sign names for brands all the time. I’m going to talk a little more in depth about that now.

This person is correct that generally it’s people who get sign names, but that “rule” of companies not getting sign names isn’t true today. Sign names can only be given by deaf people to whoever’s getting it, it cannot be created by the person/entity that wants a sign name. To be quite blunt, no one wants to fingerspell the name of a company every time we mention it, especially if it frequently comes up in conversation. A quick list of companies that have their own unique sign: Starbucks, McDonalds, Whole Foods, In-n-Out, Mozzeria, Google, Disney, Linguabee, Taco Bell, Amazon, and many more. (Note: watch the video at 1:37 to see these signs.)

Many companies that are abbreviations or have a name that’s easy to abbreviate such as Microsoft, MS, don’t get a unique sign name. If their name is something that already has signs, like Burger King, we just sign the literal words. Of course, there are exceptions. Deaf companies can create sign names for themselves, because they are run by deaf people. There have been some companies that worked with the deaf community to create a sign name, the best example being Glide. If you don’t know what it is, this is what came before Marco Polo, the app. They’re basically video texting apps, and have become fairly popular in the deaf community. When Glide exploded in popularity with the deaf community in around 2015 I think, they took notice and their community media manager, Sarah Snow, decided to learn sign. Over time, they built a relationship with the deaf community and put out a request for sign name ideas. They gathered up the most popular ideas, and put them up for a vote. That’s how we ended up with the current sign for Glide. *That* is the right way to do it. Amazon has a sign name created by its deaf employees, [A-backwards Z with pinky finger], which is another way to do it, having the employees come up with it. I personally don’t use it, because it’s not my favorite and I’ve already been signing it [A-Z] for most of my life. However you want to look at it, the sign name must be created by the deaf community in some capacity.

I also want to add something that I told the person in my email reply. If your company decides that they want to have a sign name, there are a few questions you have to ask first. Does the deaf community already have a way of signing your company’s name? Whether that’s literal word for word of your name or abbreviations. What’s your purpose for wanting a sign name? Is it because you want to build a relationship with the deaf community and work with them, or is it just for bonus cool points? Really think about why you want to have a sign name before you go around asking for one. 

I’ll link my previous video about sign names here so you can learn more about them. I hope you learned something from today’s video! Leave any questions you have in the comments.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

English Idioms in ASL #2 | Vlogmas

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to Vlogmas. I realized that in my previous videos, I signed day 5, day 7. Really, those are the dates, not the actual number of the video. So let’s just move on.

Today, I wanted to do a few more English idioms. I will link the previous video up there somewhere. In the previous video, I signed the literal wording, the ASL translation, then explained it. For this time, I will sign just ASL. The English captions are for what the idioms are. And, because this is really for those who already know ASL, I’m not going to explain in-depth. If you don’t understand why I signed it that way, go ahead and ask in the comments. Most of them, I think are pretty clear why I signed it that way. Ready?

Don’t beat around the bush.
After some reflection, he decided to bite the bullet.
Don’t jump the gun.
She seriously rubbed me the wrong way.
Well, she’s got the best of both worlds.
I let them know that their package would be delayed for one or two days, and they blew their roof.
I’ve been telling you this over and over. Get it through your thick skull.
She let things get out of hand.
The boss wasn’t happy, but she decided to let her off the hook.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

That’s it for today! Leave in the comments one of the following: are there any of my translations that you would do differently? Are there any future English idioms that you want to see translated to ASL? I have a list, but I want to know what you want to see. Or something else? Up to you! I know some of you might ask me about idioms in ASL. I’m working on that, it might be a future video, maybe. That’s it for today, thanks for watching!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Pilot | Rogue with Rogan | Vlogmas

Note: Below is a transcript of the video along with descriptions of some clips, since it heavily depends on visuals and is somewhat in the style of a vlog.

[Rogan standing in their room, talking to the camera.]

Hello! I’m Rogan and welcome to Vlogmas day nine. Today’s video is a pilot. I actually filmed all of that in September, around Labor Day Weekend. So…a while ago. I finally edited it, and I decided to upload it for Patrons first. So they could see it and say if they liked it. Then I’d upload it for the public.

I was making and cooking stuff with a friend and we were joking around. I was looking at the recipe for cooking. I decided to make it up and change some things. My friend was joking and said that I should do a series called Rogue Cooking with Rogan, or something like that. I thought that was a good idea, and didn’t mind doing it.

I will go ahead and call this series Rogue with Rogan. Why? That means I can do it with cooking, baking, art, crafts, a variety of things. Like maybe something that has instructions, I read it, and maybe go rogue, not following them. Let me know what you think. Maybe some ideas for future Rogue with Rogan videos. You will see me signing Rogue Recipes with Rogan, that’s because I hadn’t thought of keeping it more broad. So ignore that part! Enjoy.

[Rogan standing in the kitchen, holding the camera and talking to it.]

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to Rogue Recipes with Rogan. Today, I will be making applesauce in an Instant Pot. And I will link the recipe here. You can follow along if you want, or just watch me go rogue. Okay, so… The recipe I’m using is one I’ve used before to make applesauce. The recipe is from Tastes Better From Scratch. It’s a really good recipe. But… I’ve never once actually followed this recipe. It’s really easy. Just a cup of water, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Chop up everything, get rid of the cores obviously. Pits, obviously. Throw in, leave for eight minutes, I think. [Checking the recipe.] Yep, eight minutes on high pressure, and that’s it. Really easy, fantastic, and it turns out delicious.

[Looking out of a window, Rogan pointing at two large five-gallon buckets filled with plums. A metal bowl filled with small purple plums, water running over them, shaking the bowl. Rogan’s set down the camera on the counter and starts talking again.]

Okay. So I’ve gotten all my fruit that I will be using in this. So I am definitely not following this recipe at all, because it says to use large apples. [Holds up an apple.] These aren’t large. And it uses only two kinds of apples. I am using… Two different kinds of apples, these are Chelan apples. [Holding up two red-yellow apples, one at a time, while talking at the same time.] They’re fine, but they’ve kind of…gone to the point where they may not be that good to eat directly, but they’re still good to eat. You know what I mean? And then I have these. [Holds up two other redder apples.] They’re from my apple trees. I don’t actually know what they’re called. They’re Washington apples. This one is fine, but this other one is so ripe it burst. [Holds apple close to camera, a crack is visible around the whole girth of the apple.] So… yeah, this needs to be used soon. I’m just going ahead and putting this in the apple sauce. Then we have this plum. [Holds up a large plum so dark it’s almost black.] Which is not what you saw, these. [Tapping the metal bowl from earlier.] It’s too soft to eat. WAY too soft. But it’s still good to have, so I’m cutting it and putting it in the applesauce, sure. Then we have… [Tilting the metal bowl to show plums inside, a couple fall out.] Italian plums, that I got from my friend’s place. So these, I got a whole bunch. He has like four Italian plum trees at his place, so I got a whole lot. I’m going to use all of this. Cut it up, put them in the pot, and cook!

Actually, I’m going to mix the liquid first. So one cup of water, and…tablespoon of lemon. [Opens the refrigerator door then looks back.] Or lime? [Comes back with a bottle of lime juice.] I know the recipe says to use lemon, but… I think why not lime, because plums are usually pretty sweet, so this may go well with it. Why not? It says tablespoon, but… [Pours directly from the bottle, pauses, pours some more.] That’s more than a tablespoon, but it’s fine. [Cuts to Rogan walking back with a filled measuring cup.] Cup of water. And then… Cinnamon. [Walking back with a bottle of cinnamon.] Half a teaspoon. [Makes a “come on” face at the camera. Opens the top and pours some cinnamon in.] That’s definitely more than half a teaspoon, but… This is apple/plum sauce. Who doesn’t love cinnamon in this? And honestly, you can always add more or whatever to taste. So if you’re not sure, go ahead and put less. After baking–baking? Cooking, if you’re not happy with the taste, you can add more. I always love cinnamon, so I’m just liberally putting it in. Now I’m just put this aside to wait. Cut up everything, and cook.

[Camera shifts focus to the counter and a cutting board, timelapse of cutting the various fruits. Cuts back to Rogan.]

I had to pause cutting for a little, because… Well, I was going a little too quick and cut myself. [Shows bandaid on thumb.] Well. It’s not really cooking if you don’t hurt yourself, right? Right?

[Shift back to a timelapse again. Cutting is finished and Rogan starts stirring with a spoon. It suddenly slows to normal speed, he reaches in to pick something out. They move the bowl and lean into the camera.]

Make sure you get all of the stickers!

[Rogan tries to pull the sticker off with their fingers, pulls only part of it. Gives the camera an exasperated look, picks up the knife and cuts it off the apple, tosses it back into the bowl. Cuts to a close up of in the bowl, all the mixed fruits together. They pick up the bowl and carry it over to the InstantPot, putting it in. Rogan twists the lid on, closing the vent on the back, plugs it in, pauses to pet a loaf of bread, then sets the InstantPot on manual, adjusts to eight minutes, and gives a thumbs up. Cut to Rogan standing and talking.]

Now we just wait. And what you saw earlier… [Pointing at the loaf that was petted earlier.] That is plum bread I made yesterday. So good! So good. We went a little rogue on that recipe too. It had, it said we needed to use brown sugar. We had no brown sugar, so we just used regular sugar. I will check in again when this is done.

Finished! [Shows the InstantPot, the time shows L0:00.] Now…do this. [Reaches behind to carefully open the vent and release pressure.] Leave until it’s finished. I will take the scooper and mash up it a little. Put it in a bowl, fridge–no. Let it cool first. Let it cool first! Then put it in the fridge. All good to go.

[Looking inside the pot, the fruit has turned into a bright red/purple color and has softened. Rogan mashes it with the mixing spoon.]

Okay. That didn’t really work…the way I expected. A little too much liquid in it. So… [Looks inside the pot again, stirring it a little.] I may strain out the juice, put that aside. So I can have actual sauce. But keep that juice! Keep that for drinking, or… I don’t know. I’ll find out. That is what happens when you go rogue. Things don’t go quite as you expect. Still, I enjoyed this. I’m looking forward to tasting this. And I’ll see you next time. [End.]

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Round 6 Vlog/Wrap Up | Queer Lit Readathon | Vlogmas

Vlogmas day seven! This post is the vlog for the Queer Lit Readathon. Enjoy!

[It’s daylight, Rogan is standing and moving some while holding the camera in one hand and signing with the other.]

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to the Queer Lit Readathon vlog. I will try my best to remember to actually vlog throughout the week. But we’ll see what happens. Today’s the first day. I will be starting with…[shows iPad with a book cover] Tarnished Are the Stars. Because that book is a library loan, and it’s due in a few days. So I need to finish that first. But I’m really excited, I’m looking forward to it. [Shows Clap When You Land physical copy.] That’s a new book, the library just got it. So I’m excited to read that! I don’t know if I will read that next or something else. I don’t know. We’ll see what I feel like. That’s my first update for this week. Let’s find out how good I am at updating!

[An iPad lying on Rogan’s lap, showing the cover for Tarnished Are the Stars, a mug of coffee next to it. Cut to Rogan sitting in a dimly lit room.]

So, the first day of Queer Lit–really, I have time to read more but I’m going to stop reading for now. I finished Tarnished Are the Stars. That’s the first book finished, that’s a good thick book out of the way. I liked the story, the concept. It did remind me a lot of Cinder. But I’m not sure if that’s because that was put in my head before I read it, or just because of the parallels. The worldbuilding was…a little bit weak. It’s not as rich as I would have liked. This focused a lot more on people, their personal experiences, their thoughts. Nothing wrong with that, just that I appreciate it when there’s more worldbuilding. That didn’t take away from this story. Well, not too much anyway. I enjoyed it! I gave it four stars out of five, so… If you like YA, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, kind of, this is good. The reason why I said sci-fi AND fantasy, kind of, is because… In the synopsis of this book, it says that people have clockwork hearts, and that tech is illegal. I…personally, find it a little bit too unbelievable. That’s just me, coming from a really strong science background, and really, fascination with science and how things work. I understand that in the real world, that kind of thing would not work for long without maintenance anyway. And it does mention maintenance, but… He invented a heart for other people that works without needing maintenance. That, I’m like… Not really how it works, but okay. Basically like a steampunk pacemaker, almost. I think? Maybe? I don’t know. I really did enjoy this. We’ll see how my other reads go.

[iPad showing cover of Death Threat. Cut to Rogan, sitting on a couch, good natural lighting.]

Day two update! When I got up this morning, I decided to read Vivek Shraya’s Death Threat. Because I thought it should be a quick read. Well. Yes. I finished it in like thirty minutes. It’s a really fast read. Not a bad thing! Just different, interesting. I may have misunderstood reading it a little bit. I thought it would be about more varied death threats, and so on. But no, it’s just one person sending a few letters. It’s not really what I expected. So that’s why I’m a little… um. Not… I don’t know. It’s not bad, it’s interesting and the art is pretty good too. It’s about a stranger who starts sending Vivek emails that are telling her that she should kill herself, you should be–have to accept that you’re a man not a woman, and so on. It’s really transphobic and yeah. So… It’s not bad, I gave it a good rating.

[iPad showing the cover of The Summer of Everything, quickly tapping through pages to first chapter.]

Now I’m going to start The Summer of Everything. Partly because I don’t want get up and get my other book upstairs, Clap When You Land. That’s due sooner, so I’m like hmm, probably should be starting that. But I don’t want to move right now so I’m just going to start Summer of Everything. I’m excited because I really liked his other book, Running With Lions. I’m excited to see what this book is about.

[Physical copy of Clap When You Land, flipping slowly through inner cover, dedication, a poem, and finally, the first page of the first chapter. Cuts to a physical copy of Confessions of the Fox, opening to the first page of the first chapter. Cuts to black. Comes back to Rogan standing in their room, talking to the camera which is stabilized on something.]

So… That’s it for the vlogs this week. I know. I started out good, but then lost it. That’s fine. The first two are already out of the way.

The third book I read was The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters. YES. When I finished, because I was reading a library book, it recommended “others you may like” and one was How to Be Remy Cameron. I immediately borrowed it, because yes, I want to read everything by him. The Summer of Everything is about Wesley Hudson, Wes for short. He’s home for the summer, after recently going on a trip to Italy. He’s back for the summer, and has decided to figure out his life before college starts in the fall. Also… He wants to finally ask out his crush, Nico. The crush has been going on for a while, and they’ve been best friends since childhood. This is probably not the best description of the book, but. Yes! The ending was not all happy happy, but I think it was the perfect mix of happiness and also sadness. It’s just…so good. All the feelings, honestly. Yes. I would recommend this, yes!

Next, I read Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. I… Seriously, I love everything by this author. So if you haven’t read anything any of her books, *clapping* do it! This is another good one. It’s about Yahaira who lives in NYC, and Camino who lives in the Dominican Republic. Camino is excited that her father is coming home to visit for the summer. She arrives at the airport, waiting for him to arrive, and finds out that he died on the flight over, the plane crashed. Yahaira is called to the principal’s office and informed that her father died in a flight leaving NYC. Both are grieving. After a while, they find out that their father had secrets, and they didn’t know about each other until that plane crash. That’s the story. This is really good, heart-wrenching. Obviously, I have no shared experiences as these girls, but the way Acevedo tells this story is powerful. This is told in verse poetry. Same as her first book, The Poet X. That’s really good. I really enjoy that format of storytelling, even though I’m not that into poetry. This format of storytelling is really good. If you enjoyed The Poet X, you will enjoy this too. This is really a story about a family hurt by secrets held by one man, how they figure it out, navigate that, how they heal from it. The family dynamics in this are really good. It’s a powerful story, and it’s not just this one story, it’s a common story that happens pretty often. So yeah, this is really good and I would recommend it.

Last, I finished Confessions of the Fox, just in time for the end of the week. This story is about Jack Sheppard, a famous folk hero. But he’s actually a thief, he’s famous for breaking out of prison, stealing important things, and so on. But this story twists that and asks what if Jack was actually trans? Back in that time, the 18th century I think. A while back, London still had no sewers, everything was put in the streets, filthy, that time. With the Plague Ships, that time period. The way this is presented, it’s like a manuscript for a book that was never published. The person who “discovered” the manuscript analyzes it and adds footnotes. Kind of adding information about that situation, the history behind that. And it uses a lot of slang from that time, with a footnote explaining it. The footnotes are almost a story of its own. The person who discovered the manuscript also adds stories about their personal life, and they’re also trans. They say that it seems like an authentic manuscript, but is it? Because all along, there’s been no mention of Jack being trans, no mention that they weren’t white. It had a lot of characters that, in common folktales, were white, but in this story, that person is really Black, that one is Asian, or others. Because really, London is a very diverse city, but people… In historical fiction, it’s often white-washed, really. I’m really unsure about the footnotes, because… They do add to the story, and it’s really interesting to see the person who discovered it, their story. It is interesting, yes. But I feel like this book excessively uses slang that’s not easily recognizable today. I’m wondering if that was really necessary? And because it had so much odd slang, we often had a footnote that “translated” the slang. I feel like this would have been much improved if, instead of footnotes for a single word saying it means this, having an index in the back. Or even the front, whatever. Just having a list of all the words in one place, instead of the footnotes, because… If I’m reading through, put it down for a bit, then come back to it. That word comes up again, and I don’t remember what it means, I have to flip through all of the footnotes to be able to find what that word is. Yeah sure, footnotes for expanding, more in-depth information, that’s fine. But singular words, no. It’s really interesting, this mentions the use of the term chimera, what they used to use to describe intersex people. That was a nice little expansion on a historical use of that word. And they did have a surgery, top surgery for Jack. I did enjoy this book overall, just the footnotes. That’s the only part I’m unsure about, and bothered me a little, but overall I enjoyed this. Yeah, I would recommend this if you like historical fiction, re-imaginings, that kind of thing.

I realized partway through filming, I forgot to mention which challenges and such, so I will do that quick right now. I will just cover which squares go with which books. [Video has a visual bingo board, with checkmarks appearing on the corresponding squares as Rogan lists off the books.]

  • Tarnished Are the Stars
    • Ace/aro
    • See Yourself
    • ???: Steampunk
  • Death Threat
    • Pre/Non-Medical Transition
    • Graphic Novel
  • The Summer of Everything
    • Group read
    • BIPOC
    • #ownvoices
    • Non-coming out
    • Queer friends
  • Clap When You Land
    • Background Romance
    • Host rec
    • MC Not Like You
  • Confessions of the Fox
    • Winter vibes
    • Retelling
    • Adult fiction (historical)

I covered all of the things! And just in time too! It’s not often you can hit all sixteen challenges with only five books. I’m pretty happy that happened! So… Let me know if you’ve read any of these books. Which ones you liked, didn’t like, whatever. Any recommendations for future books? Oh, also, why not ask you this. For these bingo board challenges, do you have any categories that you haven’t seen yet that you want us to do? Or that we’ve done in previous rounds, but you want to see again for the next round? Let me know! That’s it for today, thanks for reading.

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