šŸŽ¶ I was gone for a minute now I’m back – šŸŽ¶

Surprise! Surprise!

Look who’s back on the blogosphere! (A.K.A. Me)

After returning from a two-week long family vacation to Virginia last month, I immediately bought the domain to ‘roeknowsbest.com’. I’m not entirely sure why, but it was one of the first things I did. I felt frantic, anxious, and disorganized when I came home. Something about reality hitting you after a vacation – and two weeks can sometimes seem like two months. Yikes! Time!

So I bought the damn thing, perhaps in an attempt to control a small part of my life, the other part being 99% destined to Fate by way of Serendipity somehow…I don’t know, I’m still figuring it all out.

So within the past two years, I haven’t posted anything (aside from a short poem) on Roe Knows Best since my Nonna’s death, which occurred literally two years agoĀ today.

Needless to say, I really didn’t feel like writing anymore after that.

Also since her passing, everything I’ve attempted to bake or cook has been an absolute disaster; My heart’s not in it anymore. It doesn’t bring me the joy it used to.

But I don’t know…My mind whirrs and stirs and sings sometimes and I got the feel-good notion that, “Hey, maybe I should start up that blog again!”. It felt good to think the thought and imagine things to write about and laugh about and share with you all.

And today, being the two-year anniversary, seemed fitting.

Honestly, I think a large part of rebooting Roe Knows Best had to do with reading Wil Wheaton’sĀ Just A GeekĀ a few months ago. It just inspired me so much to get out there and do the thing. As my first real celebrity crush and I being a major Trek nerd, Wil Wheaton pulls a lot of weight with me. The book really hit me harder than I thought it would; I related to it on an astonishing level. And it’s so funny/interesting because when I was a tween and early teen (’02-’05), I would go to wilwheaton.net on a regular basis, reading his blog. Until I read the book, I forgot all about those years; Those years you had to seek out your websites and your fandoms – Before news feeds and social media! I even recall reading the first chapter or so ofĀ Just A Geek from his site. (Also in the acknowledgements at the end he says he listened to The Get Up Kids and Saves The Day while writing/editing the book?! How freakin’ cool is that?!) It’s definitely a book that’s changed my life.

 

So some other things going on…

  • I’m aiming to graduate with a second Bachelor’s degree in May 2018. Internships and job interviews still make me nervous as hell though. Every day is a balancing act between cynicism and optimism.
  • I’m currently (and happily) employed.
  • I’ve met so many cool people within the past two years, it’s frankly unbelievable to me.
  • More or less, I feel like I’m in a pretty good mental space. Granted, I always guilt-trip myself for still living at home and not having life figured out at 26, but I mostly try not to entertain the thought or when I do, give the ol’ middle finger to voice in my brain that guilt-trips me out. (Also my parents have been extremely kind, sweet, understanding, and supportive and seem to be very much against my self-guilt tripping)
  • I’ve been reading A LOT more. WOW. Check me out on goodreads.
  • I recently got into and finished all of Gilmore Girls – DEAR.LORD. everyday I wake up with an explosion of feels regarding this series. Will someone please sit down and talk with me about the Gilmore greatness?!
  • I also wrote a pretty dope paper on Captain Janeway last year and presented it TWICE (once at the NJCA conference and the other time at the Montclair State University Student Symposium), so I now consider myself to be a Janeway authority. When am I meeting Kate Mulgrew? For real though – It is one of the best papers I’ve ever written and I am incredibly proud of it. Hell, if you wanna read it, I’ll send it to ya!

 

Some goals I’d like to achieve with this BLOG REBOOT (#RoeKnowsBest2020):

  • Sharing songs/playlists/albums I’m currently into (in hopes that you’ll check them out too).
  • Sharing feelings and, perhaps at times, things I’m going through, openly and honestly. Mental health has become increasingly important to me as I’ve gotten older (especially after my own minor mental breakdown after the presidential election) and I think the best way to overcome certain obstacles is to ultimately know that we’re not alone. And if you’re reading this, I want you to know that you’re not alone. If you know me, you know I usually project myself to the outside world as a positive, happy-go-lucky person andĀ I am. But I’m also undeniably human and I experience an array of emotions including but not limited to intense doubt, anxiety, and at times depression. Life is freakin’Ā hard, but it is also pretty amazing and incredible and I think it’s worth seeing through.
  • I’m still writing songs, but home recording became so damn exhausting and Pro Tools is expensive. (Additionally, everyday I send up a prayer up to Baby Jesus that my 2009 Macbook (that definitely needs a new battery and hard drive and that I’m more than qualified to install/replace but it’s falling apart physically, so it’s like why bother?) doesn’t die on me. I’m afraid to install a document on this thing, nevermind a full-fledged DAW. Also, it only has 4 GB of RAM; It’s a miracle I recorded anything at all on it. But really, I’m just waiting for the thing to die. It’s a mess. But with that said – I’d really like to start recording more videos of me performing songs again, whether they be originals or covers. If anyone has a local studio hook up, let me know! I’m definitely overdue to record a song in a professional space.
  • Engaging you all as readers/friends/fans/fam. If you’ve made it this far down the post, you are so great. Thank you. One of the coolest things in life is communicating and connecting and again – affirming that we are not alone; Community and acceptance and validation are so important (at least to me!). Feel free to join my email list, which you should be able to do so on the upper-right hand side of the page. That way you’ll get a email every time I post something new. šŸ™‚

 

Closing Notes:

Visually the blog is in pretty terrible shape. I plan to change up the theme, fix up the menu, rewrite my About page, I don’t know…that’s all I can really think of for now. Any suggestions to spruce up the page? Let me know! I wanna make it pretty/visually appealing.

Thank you all again SO MUCH for tuning in.

Here’s to creating more RKB content for you to enjoy!

I’m putting on my thinking cap…and ONWARD!

All love.

xoxo,

-RKB

 

Day 12: From Comment To Blog Post – Be Inspired By The Community

Todayā€™s assignment: Write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Donā€™t forget to link to the other blog.”

Alright, so yesterday I commented on three blogsĀ and after weighing the comments I left and debating how much I was inspired by the posts, I decided I wanted this post to be about Cosmos and why I believe it will positively impact the future of pop culture.

I commented on the ALL THINGS SCIENCE blog (You can see my comment here) expressing my excitement for the return of intellectual/scientific programming to a mainstream media channel (even if it is FOX…). In my eyes, this is huge.

Last night’s episode was killer, by the way. It talked about COMETS, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Halley, and stars. I love the graphics, the animation, I love Neil deGrasse Tyson narrating and leading this “Spacetime Odyssey”, continuing to carryĀ the still-blazing torch of Carl Sagan. It’s awesome, inspiring, enlightening, and absolutely refreshing to this a show like this make headway, even with the controversial creationists nipping at Cosmos’ heels. We get to see the both sides of the public’s reaction to science in real timeĀ and no matter what the other thinks or believes, this can mean nothing but good because we areĀ finally talking about these things out in the open. Science is making good dinner/social media conversation, making up for lost time when it fell out of the regular conversation scope for awhile; Blame it on the postmodern age if you must but whatever the reason, science has made a comeback in our daily dialog and these conversations won’t be going away anytime soon.

Another thing I mentioned in my comment yesterday, was how happy I was to see Star Trek-alum Brannon Braga’s name in the Cosmos credits. Good for him playing a critical role in Cosmos (Executive Producer) and ensuring its success! The world of science and the world of science-fiction are very closely related in my opinion.

When in comes to fantasy and science-fiction, it’s believability that is important; When it comes to real life scientific facts and calculation, it is the imagination that must be called forth so that the scientist may be encouraged to continue discovering. The two are crucially linked. For example, warp drive and transporters – They don’t exist in today’s world, but knowing how far we’ve come scientifically, technologically, we know that one day itĀ mayĀ beĀ possible,Ā and possibility and believability are two skeleton keys on the keychain of innovation and can be the promise of a new tomorrow.

Before we accepted our solar system as heliocentric, something probed the mind of Copernicus. It must’ve been part imagination and part “what if”. Through observation and staring at the night sky, he somehow figured it out and let me tell you, his discovery was probably not motivated by prestige, popularity, money, or fame. The questions presented themselves to him and he fervently searched for the answers, devoting his life to something he cared so deeply about.

I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was practically born. There’s a home video floating around somewhere where at the age of 2 or 3 and while teething on a wooden spoon, I am captivatedĀ watching Next Gen or Voyager playing on the screen. And because of this early exposure to Star Trek, I’ve always credited Captain Janeway as being my first legitimate, positive, female role model (and these days I’m more vocal about it because I think it’s important to talk about) and I have my dad to thank for that; He was the one who realized the importance of presenting a character I could look up to as a young girl, especially within the strange, patriarchal-based world we currently live in. I don’t think he could have anticipated that that sense of allegiance continues to carry over now at 23-years-old, but I think I look up to Janeway more now than I did then. I will even go so far as to say I would not be who I am today, had Captain Janeway never been introduced to me. I’m 100% sure of that. (I can talk about how much Captain Janeway has influenced my life ad nauseam, but that is a different post for a different day.) šŸ™‚

What’s so great about Star Trek is that it tells storiesĀ that are relatable, memorable, and innovative. After our planet had been explored and charted, where else were our stories supposed to go but to the stars? Gene Roddenberry was smart enough to realize that. Since TOS (The Original Series) with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, et al, Star Trek has projected an ideal future of people working together to solve problems regardless of their race, gender, (and in this case) species. It gave (and still continues to give) people a myth to live by, to follow (For more on Star Trek, myth, and Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ I suggest watching William Shatner’s 2012 documentary ‘Get A Life!‘ where all this is broken down really well), to better inform our lives somehow. There are archetypes that break through in every movie, in every installment of the TV seriesĀ that personally reflects on our inner being and make us reflect on ourselvesĀ asĀ human beings.

This is a great, wondrous thing. Despite television’s upsets, downfalls, and passivity and all the garbage that somehow makes it on to the screen (Neil Postman would probably have more to add about this), here we have a phenomena of sorts: A fictional TV show so uplifting and marvelousĀ it has inspired, encouraged, and motivated hundreds if notĀ thousands of people to become doctors, astrophysicists, scientists, engineers around the world. These stories are real. They have been documented and cataloged, especially in quite a few Star Trek documentaries. This continues to fascinate me and I think it is an important thing to recognize – Pop cultureĀ can lead to marvelous, positive things!

When a show like Cosmos gets put on the air, it is no small order. It is a massive step (the first of many, I hope) towards progress, towards uplifting the human race to get out there, explore, learn, think, do the most with our corporeal bodies as we humanly can. When children watch this show they are captivated, when lost 20-somethings like myself watch this show we are temporarily calmed about our futures and eager to learn more. TV shows like this have the capacity toĀ change, change for theĀ better. This is the stuff that makes kids want to be a part of this world. Not feel the need to participate in a decaying social construct that encourages destructive behaviors and habits and treating human relationships with disdain and not compassion (i.e. the majority of Reality TV).

If we can collectively make a pact to create and influenceĀ positive pop culture, I am sure we can make this world a better place to live in, to be a part of, emotionally and scientifically. This is the beauty of Cosmos, the beauty of Star Trek, and the potentiality we all have to play a role in making good things happen in our world, by encouraging these wonderful things. We have been starved for too long. I welcome Cosmos as our first dose of delicious pop culture nutrition, and I for one can’t wait for my second helping.

 

Building For The Future: GoldieBlox

GoldieBlox

Oh my gosh. Have you guys heard about GoldieBox?! It’s the newest company on the market of building games for girls, with hopes of opening them up to the world of engineering at a young age. These cool inventions also come with a read-a-long book series that follows the tales of protagonist/girl inventor Goldie, as she creates inventions to help her friends. When playing and building with these toys, these little engineers probably don’t even realize is that while they’re having fun, they’re also working on improvingĀ spatial skills, engineering principles, and creating self-confidence in problem-solving [GoldieBox]. Ā Plus there’s more than one way to complete a project, so girls don’t feel restricted to one right answer.Ā This is what I’m talking about when I go on about how pop culture can influence society. Toys are part of pop culture!

GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine
GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine

Engineer, founder, and Stanford ’05 graduate Debbie Sterling created a whole line of engineering toys for girls to help inspire them and spark their interest at a young age. How genius! In fact, “she has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math” [Engineer Girl].Ā The line has been very successful and reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. I had the chance of catching her short interview on ‘CBS This Morning’ and was inspired in the 5-10 minutes Ms. Sterling spoke about her wonderful idea. Drawing from her own personal experiences, while at Stanford she realized how much the engineering field was dominated by men (Female engineers only make up 11% [The Mary Sue]) and when suggested by her high school math teacher that she major in Engineering, Sterling was embarrassed to admit at the time, she didn’t even know what it was. Interestingly enough, she also descends from a line of strong women pioneers as her grandmother was, “one of the first female cartoonists and creator of ‘Mr. Magoo'” [Engineer Girl].

More Than A Princess
More Than A Princess

GoldieBox started out as a successful Kickstarter project in 2012, which then developed into a thriving toy business. Ā It raised, ”Ā over $285,000 in 30 days…and has been featured in numerous publications such as The Atlantic and Forbes” [Engineer Girl].Ā Before the Kickstarter project went live, Sterling was told, “‘construction toys for girls don’t sell’ and ‘you can’t fight nature'”, but like all great success stories the people who dared utter those statements were proven wrong. When asked why people love Goldiebox, the response was perfect, “‘I think it’s in part because the passivity of the average girl-marketed toy is frustrating to so many people from all walks of life. We’re not interested in condemning femininity or suggesting that a girl shouldn’t be a princess if she wants to be. We’re about giving girls the freedom to use their entire brains, whether they build a rocket launcher, or a parade float, or a catapult. It’s up to them'”Ā [Intuit Small Business Big Game]. Isn’t that AWESOME?! See this super cool commercial featuring the Beastie Boys’ “Girls“:

As an interesting side note, Sterling/GoldieBlox was recently sued by the Beastie Boys for using this song for their “commercial” without proper licensing [SF Gate]. Granted, I understand that Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA), “requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising” [GoldieBlox]Ā but this isn’t some heartless company trying to sell beer or cigarettes or cell phones, this is a company that has the potential to change and influence an generation of girls to believe they’re worth more than the bombardment of pink packaged toys they constantly see in every toystore. Something as great as GoldieBlox can help break gender lines for an entire generation. Surely MCA were he alive would’ve realized the honor in contributing to that. Not only did GoldieBox transform a sexist song (namely, the last verse) through empowering lyrics encouraging girls to build things, and besides the fact that hip-hop is a culture primarily BASED on sampling and reappropriation, Adam Horovitz (a.k.a. Ad-Rock) is married to world-renowned feminist, riot grrl pioneer, female advocate and musician Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, The Julie Ruin, and Le Tigre. What a confusing move. I won’t say anything more as I do have great admiration and respect for both The Beastie Boys/Ad-Rock and Kathleen Hanna. But come on. I think the commercial is a great bit and the song was an excellent choice, both catchy and easily recognizable just trying to motivate young girls to believe they can be more than a princess.

Debbie Sterling was actually in the audience of Stanford graduates when Steve Jobs made his famous, now viral Commencement SpeechĀ [Huffington Post]. Ā And because of that it should be no surprise that after hearing that speech firsthand, she was been so successful at passionately pursuing the project and tearing down barriers. Sterling has been quoted as saying,Ā “we don’t have a national shortage of princesses, but we do have a national shortage of engineers” [Intuit Small Business Big Game]. I stand by her and her ideas and wish her all the success in the world.

On a personal note, as a young girl I was raised to think outside the princess bubble. Ā Sure I had Barbies and dolls and played dress-up from time to time. But I was constantly showered in books, encouraged to write, draw and paint, and at the age of 4 or 5 began watching Star Trek Voyager with Captain Kathryn Janeway in command. She served as a positive female role model then and continues to hold that role today in my life as 23-year-old young woman.

I watched the Magic School Bus, Bill Nye The Science Guy, played computer games that taught me musical instruments of the world, how to problem solve, and how to read. I was told that instead of being a cheerleader, I could be my own cheerleader and was actively involved in piano lessons, gymnastics, karate, soccer, basketball, and softball. I was a die-hard Yankees fan at the age of 7 and independently picked up a guitar at 14. Perhaps these are all things not part of a stereotypical girl’s childhood. Maybe it doesn’t even matter if it is or isn’t. What I know is that the way I grew up and the things I did and the fact that I was allowed to follow my interests made me the woman I am today. I think it is important that Ms. Sterling is focusing on trying to open up an area for young girls they didn’t even know existed, and making them feel welcome and inclusive in world that has for so long been dominated by boys. Sterling says, “The biggest challenge is one of alienation and not feeling understood by your peers. It’s important to stick to your guns and maintain your perspective” [Huffington Post]. I believe Sterling also understands that how a girl or any child grows up and what toys they play with/gravitate towards, is the beginning of a lifelong process which helps cultivate interests and can determine the direction of their futures.

Sterling is helping to encourage and inspire an entire female generation that they can excel in fields that have so long seemed out of reach or vacant by their fellow female friends. I can’t wait to see how far GoldieBlox gets and wish them all the best. I hope parents and teachers alike embrace this wonderful new product, along with the future little engineers in hopes that they’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed learning about it. The future can sometimes seem bleak but when I hear stories like this, it makes me beam from the inside out. To echo Rosie the Riveter, “We Can Do It!”

“For the past 100 years, construction toys have inspired our boys to be thinkers, builders, and inventors. Our girls deserve the same…I created GoldieBlox because I believe that every girl is more than just a princess” – Debbie Sterling [Intuit Small Business Big Game]