Roundabout- Questions Uploaded, Answers Pending

It’s a well known stereotype that this time of our lives (high school/college/early 20’s) is meant for three things; Misadventures, mistakes, and generally figuring out what you want to do with your life.

It’s a difficult time, I’m coming to realize, and things don’t usually wrap up as nicely in real life as they do at the end of a late-night sitcom. Sometimes they don’t wrap up at all and then you get a lesson about the importance of closure, but that’s for another post.

There are so many questions that you never really thought you’d have to ask that suddenly become very pressing during this time of your life. And the ratio of answers to questions is discouraging to say the least.

I have been blessed to have a supportive family and parents who have helped me in so many many many ways. Also they are available to if not answer the questions I have then at least point me in the right direction where I might find the answers. I recognize of course that my family is quite odd in this way and our dynamic is far from typical. And this, I believe, is a huge part of the reason we have so many young adults who are searching for answers in what are very clearly the wrong places. They’ve had enough of shrugged shoulders and blank stares and so they go in search of answers somewhere- anywhere– else. At some point they cease to care if the answers are right, just that there is a person on the other end.

We are a pretty lonely generation. Despite our social media and our cell phones and everything else that ties us all together, we still manage, just as every generation before us has, to think to ourselves that we are the only ones dealing with these questions. We convince ourselves that everyone else has already gotten their lives in order. That we are the only ones left in the dust. When in fact if we took our eyes up off of our feet and looked around, we’d find the room we’re in well crowded.

If you, like me, are in this stage where it seems like the questions are too many and the answers are too few, please know that you are not alone. If nothing else, we can all sit around with some 3am pizza and ponder these questions together.

New Video- Books I Own But Haven’t Read Yet!

Hello there internet! It’s been a long time, once again. I managed to find a little extra time this weekend and decided to make a video. Let’s talk about books, shall we?

P.S It’s Martin the Warrior! Thank you! I found it!

Go Set a Watchman- Discussed, Chapter One Reviewed

Since the day its release was announced on February 3rd of this year a steady stream of media attention has been covering the developing story of the release of Harper Lee’s novel, Go Set a Watchman.

The controversy surrounding the book’s release stems from a few places. First, the subject matter. Second, Harper Lee’s desire to see this book published (see her reaction to the question when it was first written)

To add more fuel to this discussion, Chapter One of Go Set A Watchman was released this morning in a brand new, interactive, online format that’s clearly been targeted at Millenials whom the publishing industry has feared for a long time don’t have the attention span or desire to actually sit down and read a book.

Talk about hitting all the right buttons! Let’s take a look, shall we?

“Scout was all of us…”

It’s well known that Harper Lee’s famous novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a work of literary genius and one that’s been read and re-read by thousands of high school students across the United Sates. I remember reading the book in my Sophomore English class and having long discussion with my classmates- in and outside of the classroom- regarding the difficult subject matter it covered. Scout was all of us- we identified with her questioning of the system around her. We talked about race, tradition, sexism, gender roles, and family dynamics through the lens of the story.

Despite all of this, anyone who knows the history of this book knows that this same subject matter is also the reason the book has been repeatedly banned, challenged, and fought over. So it’s no surprise that people are more than a little concerned about what content and questions might be hiding in the pages of To Kill a Mockingbird’s sequel.

“How do you feel about your second novel?” another asked. “I’m scared,” Harper Lee replied.

Harper Lee was never one for the spotlight. Even after her first novel’s immediate success, that led to an Oscar-winning film and a Pulitzer Prize win, she really wanted nothing to do with the media or the fame. Combine that with a history of strokes, rumors of Alzheimers, and a number of quotes over the years on why she’s refused to take the stage– and people start to wonder, why end that now? What’s changed? Not to mention Harper Lee’s age (88 years) has possibly given a sense of desperation to the publishing companies. They see the years growing shorter and after 55 years, everyone wants to get their hands on that infamous manuscript.

I have no doubt that Go Set a Watchman will be another work of brilliance and excellence from Harper Lee and that it will soar to the tops of the charts along with it’s predecessor. But I also find it difficult to reconcile myself to the fact that we as the public may never know if this is truly what the beloved author wants.

“Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical…”

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 9.52.05 AMWith all of this floating around in the air, it’s no wonder the potential readers have been getting antsy. Yesterday, however, at least a little bit of this was released as The Guardian published the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman. What’s even more interesting, though, is the format it was released in. Really, it’s something you just have to look at to believe. 

The new format for the novel is online, free, interactive, and comes in both text and audiobook versions. Sound familiar? It should. These are all classic ways that the publishing company has started trying to connect with the Millennial generation. Genius move by the industry? Most Likely. And now with it’s release, readers and left to wonder what the July 14th official release will look like.

As for the actual reading of the first chapter, I can only give my personal opinion. And in that vein, I would give it 5 stars. If the first chapter is anything like the rest of the book, then Harper Lee will without a doubt have another prize-winning, soon-to-be-classic on her hands. It’s fascinating to see Scout (now Jean Louise) all grown up. She seems to have mellowed out, and at first that scared me, but as I kept reading I soon realized that the beloved tomboy hasn’t lost her spark yet. And that’s just Scout. Atticus Finch has been a source of inspiration and a recipient of so much admiration, that fans had a right to be a little nervous about his return in this sequel to the classic. Reading the first chapter, I was reintroduced to the Atticus I know and already love- the kind, self-sacrificing, upright father- with a new, darker twist. It seems time has taken its toll on Atticus and the whole Finch family. Could we possibly see his death in the course of this book? I would say it’s more than likely. Just the possibility is heartbreaking.

In Conclusion, July 14th Can’t Come Soon Enough!

Preordering the book from Amazon as we speak :)

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Hiatus (Sort of)

Hello Internet World!

I’ve missed you, believe it or not, and I feel I owe you all a bit of an explanation as to why I’ve been so absent lately.

What it comes down to really is work. I’m just super busy right now at Riverwoods- which you guys can hear more about in various videos where I’ve talked about it. I’m really enjoying what I’m doing and I’m learning so much about what it’s like to really try promoting an organization via social media- particularly an organization not your own, so having to learn how to play by someone else’s standards, opinions, and preferences! Which reminds me- I won’t be able to do this right now, but once the summer is over and I can get back to making videos, how would you guys like to do a Social Media/Internet World Q&A? What kinds of questions would you have? Hopefully I can learn something from it too as I’m by no means an expert.

So what else can I tell you guys about? Hmmm… I bought 2 new mugs! The obsession continues. The first is by a Youtuber I adore named Carrie Hope Fletcher, and the second is from a late-night Walmart run with Nick :)

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Books? I haven’t really had much time to read this summer, though I have made it through the first five books of the Chronicles of Narnia via Audiobook on Youtube. It’s been so much fun to revisit a series I’ve loved for so long! Even if I haven’t actually read a lot this summer, I have collected quite a list of To-Be-Read books that I will have to fly though as soon as school starts. What have you read this summer? Any good suggestions?

Some things I’m excited about:

1. Youtuber books! Specifically Carrie’s book- All I Know Now, and Dan and Phil’s book- The Amazing Book is Not on Fire

2. Watching the Women’s World Cup #USAvJAP game with my family! (As I’m writing this the USA had a 4-1 lead- apparently the biggest Halftime lead ever in world Cup History in either men’s or women’s leagues!)

3. Packing and reorganizing my life for college- yes, it’s getting to be that time already. I can hardly believe it either… So much to do so little time…

As this summer continues, I may not be blogging or doing videos very often, but I am still active on my Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts! So please make sure you follow me in any or all of those places to keep up with all of the adventures.

Have a great rest of your Sunday, and I’ll talk to you again soon!

Love,

Micah Lee

Quick Clips- Life at Riverwoods!

I’m having an awesome time working at Riverwoods this summer! Hopefully I’ll have time to upload a real video for you guys soon though. This is a short one! :)

Fox Valley Christian Action- Sponsor a Camper Campaign!

Hello all!

I have been so excited to tell you about this project for so long! And now it’s finally here! I just… Whew… deep breath, Micah. Ok. Here we go!

This summer, as you probably already know, I am working at an organization called Fox Valley Christian Action as part of their Riverwoods Family Camp Summer Staff. As an Administrative Assistant and Media Manager, I’ve been keeping plenty busy, and this is one of those days that I’m particularly excited about it!

Riverwoods provides a week of free summer camp to kids and teens from low-income and government funded housing communities in the Fox Valley area. The camp provides a safe place where these kids can come to learn and grow and encounter God in a new way. Being a non-profit, FVCA is funded by faithful donors and fundraisers… which makes what I’m about to announce all the more important and exciting! (Drum roll please)

God is doing amazing things at Riverwoods this summer and I’d like you to be a part of it! Check out the video to hear more about what we’re doing!

FVCA on GoFundMe: http://www.gofundme.com/sponsor-a-camper
or check out the donation page on our website: https://getinvolved.fvchristianaction.org/pages/campers-are-here

New Vlog! Lincoln Park, Chicago, and Zoo Adventures!

Train rides and zoo trips and macarons and trips to the city… These are a few of my favorite things!

It’s been such a long time since I’ve had a weekend off, and this one was pretty perfect! If you live in or around Chicago and have never been to Lincoln Park Zoo, or the surrounding town, go this summer! Adorable rowhouses, parks, mom and pop shops, and of course the FREE Lincoln Park Zoo. The rain even decided to hold off for us :)

I haven’t vlogged in a long time and I think I kind of forgot how much it drains my phone battery, so photo credits to Savannah for the last bunch you’ll see in the video! Check it out and don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Roundabout- What in the World is Micah Up to?

Hello there Internet!

Wow, what have I been up to? Now that’s a loaded question, but I’ll try to answer as best as I can without rambling. (No promises though! :) )

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If you watched my last video, you will know that I am currently working at a camp in my area called Riverwoods, which is part of an organization called Fox Valley Christian Action. I’m at the camp now, and it has been so crazy! The Leadership Team is all here now, and we’re enjoying spending time working together to get ready for camp through all of our different roles. Not only are we preparing for camp, though, we’re also going through an intense spiritual “boot-camp” while we’re here. This involves having one day a week that is entirely devoted to prayer, fasting, and worship, as well as having spiritual and other leaders from our communities come in to speak to us on other days. For me personally, this whole experience has been eye-opening as I’m being introduced to some radically different ways that people interact with and experience God.

Of course, I miss my family and my friends (both those at home and those from Judson) like crazy, but it won’t be long until I’ll be able to visit them!

If anything that I’ve mentioned about Riverwoods has caught your attention, please go check out our Facebook page. One of my jobs for the summer is to begin managing Riverwoods’ social and creative media, so I’ll be doing a lot on that page and elsewhere this summer!

Still working on that novel….?

Yes! For those of you who have asked me, yes, I am still working on The Grey Mansion, the novel I drafted way back in November during NaNoWriMo. And although it’s slow going during the editing process, especially with everything else going on, I’m working through a great program called AuthorLaunch, which was founded by author and speaker John Acuff. This includes weekly lessons as well as videos to help writers along in the long process that goes from first draft to publication.

Fun Stuff…

Really this is just a small space for me to talk about my favorite things, so here we go! Please go and check out any of the things I’ve got listed here, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Favorite Recent Movie: Avengers: Age of Ultron (No surprise there)

Current Favorite TV Show: Marvel: Agents of Shield (I haven’t finished Season 2 yet though so no spoilers please!)

Current Favorite Snack: Fairtrade Earl Grey chocolate by jelinachocolatier (found it at meijer and it’s amazing!)

Current Favorite Tea: Her Tea by YourTea (I am really enjoying this tea company! Go check them out! Their teas are really good for you and taste awesome too)

Youtuber(s) I’m Binge-Watching: Carrie Hope Fletcher (Tea, books, tea, Le Mis, London, Music, Disney, did I mention tea?) Rhett and Link (Gooooooodddd Mythical Morning!)

Current Favorite Quote: “Live the full life of the mind, exhilerated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.” -Ernest Hemingway

What I’m Looking Forward to: Camp starting in June!

Thanks for checking out today’s post everyone :) please subscribe to this blog and keep coming back for more! Hopefully I will be writing more and doing more videos as I get into the rhythm of this summer. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!

New Video! (Finally!) A Quick Update and I Have A Small Obsession…

Hey there Internet! Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about this blog or my YouTube channel. Things have just been really busy lately and if you watch this video you’ll find out why!

Meerkat vs. Periscope: The Faceoff Continues

As we take a look at these two new apps and wonder about the effects they are going to have on our growing digital world, it’s natural to think that these two simply sprang up overnight. One morning they were just there when yesterday they were not.

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So where did it all start?

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According to The Telegraph, an online news media resource, “Meerkat, formerly known as AIR and Yevvo, was founded by Ben Rubin in 2012…It debuted at SXSW festival [South by Southwest for those of us non-tech-festival-goers] at the end of February. Periscope was co-founded by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein, launched little over a year ago, and was purchased by Twitter in January for a reported $100m.” This was as of March 30th of this year. Since then, Twitter has fully launched Periscope and cut all ties with Meerkat, a fact which didn’t seem to bother the Meerkat CEO when he said in an interview, referring to Periscope:

“We don’t look at it as a rival,” he said. “That was a decision made within Twitter with their own agenda. We have our own agenda. We are lucky to be independent and outside.”

And so the stage is set. Meerkat is currently running a little less that 23,000 tweets per day, collecting just over 200,000 tweets in all. Periscope, likewise, has collected 110,000 tweets over just the past month, with 51,000 on the day it launched alone. The graph below comes from an article by The Daily Post on the subject.

 

Now, as the article mentions, these numbers are not insignificant. However, when compared to the “…6 million tweets strong hashtag #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik, powered to the top of the trending category by teen angst caused by a member of One Direction leaving the band, and the streaming apps might as well not exist:” (The Daily Post, How Many People Are Really Using Meerkat and Periscope?) 

So although it seems the services are starting to gain footing, there’s still a long way to go before either one becomes a well-known media service.

But which one is better?

In terms of actually debating the quality of either service, a lot of it comes down to subjectivity.

Meerkat markets their product by highlighting the simplicity of its design and user-friendly nature. As soon as a broadcast is started, a tweet is automatically sent out with the link to the livestream, and you’re good to go. As soon as the stream ends and you press stop, the livestream is gone and can no longer be accessed.

Constrastingly, Periscope seems to feature a few additional items. The most significant two are 1) Each livestream is saved for 24 hours. Anyone with the link can continue to watch a replay of the livestream during that time. And 2) With Periscope, you can create Private Broadcasts, limiting the availability to only a few members,

Both apps allow interaction during the livestream via twitter and posting comments on the live feed. Though both services offer these features, recent updates have the two in a neck-and-neck race for which one is easier to use. It comes down to the same subjective debate as Androids vs. iPhones. So much of either service’s user friendliness depends on your own personal preferences.

In the realm of video control and interface, Meerkat is a clear winner. The below is a screenshot of a Meerkat livestream setup, used in the article Live Streaming App Face-Off: Meerkat vs. Periscope on tomsguide.com.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 8.39.44 AMAs the writer of this article mentions, the screen does look a little cluttered. However, as of this point, only Meerkat allows users to film in a landscape format. Periscope is currently limited to a portrait view, even when the camera is held horizontally. And we all know how annoying those portrait-filmed videos on youtube are. Beware the black side bars of death!

So who’s the winner?

Once again, this argument is very subjective. While Periscope’s 24 hour replays make it much more available and eliminates the fear of “missing out,” Meerkat’s screen display and filming options (landscape vs. portrait) must also come into play when talking about product quality.

As a definitive answer cannot best be reached simply by talking about the subjects, I have plans to, in the next couple of weeks, host 2 livestreams- one via Meerkat, the other via Periscope. I will release a date and time for the event when I know for sure when it will happen, so please keep your eyes open for that.

With that, I leave you to draw your own conclusions. Experiment with both of these apps and let me know, in the comments, which one you liked best. Thank you for sticking around and I’ll see you again soon!