Dear Hank and John
I’ve been listening to DH&J since the eighth grade, and it still feels as good as the first time. It’s a podcast where Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green answer questions, give us dubious advice, and bring us all the news from both mars and AFC Wimbledon, which is now my favorite football team. If you’re in the shower, or cleaning your bookshelf, or on a run, or doing any other random, mundane task, do your brain a favour. Listen to this stuff.
Looking for something even more dialed down on the energy and dialed up on the crazy? Hank Green and his wife, Katherine, read, discuss and critique the week’s wildest tweets in this laid-back, chill podcast. They’re best listened to at the same time they were recorded-at night, preferably when you’re done with the day and are ready to listen to two adults freak out about the social internet.
Also a side-project of Hank’s, SciShow Tangents is for the nerds out there. Joined by Hank are SciSchow Producers Stefan Chin and Sam Schultz, and Crash Course Content Manager Ceri Riley. Together they try to one-up, amaze and delight each other with wacky science facts, and if you’re into that as much as I am, then you’ll be playing this podcast till you die.
My Brother, My Brother and Me
Comedy on steroids. That’s all I can say.
The Anthropocene Reviewed
John Green reviews various facets of the human-centred planet on a five-star scale. You get to hear John talk about artists, and comet sighting, and cholera, all in a voice that will lull you to sleep. Good for an insomia-filled night.
I thought it would be easier to write this one in advance, cause I have a history of tardy posting habits, but to be honest, I can’t. I tried anticipating what it might feel like to be enjoying the last day in a school that’s been home for a decade, and I failed.
The thing about goodbyes is that they rarely ever announce themselves beforehand. I mean, most of the time, you don’t consciously decide to end something, it just ends. And that’s why I feel grateful that all of us get to decide that this where we say our goodbyes. This is where we let go and make our own roads and this is where our journey, which so far we’ve gone on together, takes its own course. To steal from John Green, “no one says goodbye unless they want to see you again.”
Now, I know that we’re going to be seeing each other for a few more at least, and most of us will be going to the same school next year as well, I know that slowly, our connections might fade. Not all of them will stand the test of time. We’ll move to different cities, different countries, half way across the globe, our lives will begin to mean new things altogether. I’m not one to feel sentimental about change, but I know I’ll miss the memories and the people and all the things that made these years feel so good. The small things, especially. Walking to the canteen, standing by the lockers, the way the entire class bursts into laughter some times – these are the things that we’ll remember. And I’m grateful.
Endings are hard, and being asked to move on isn’t comfortable, but that’s where the beauty of life lies – in changes. I wish all the people I’ve spent these ten magical years with the best in life, and I hope, more than anything, that we keep these memories with us forever.
Hampstead, February 27th, 1818
Hampstead, 27 Feby
My dear Taylor –
In poetry I have a few axioms, and you will see how far I am from their centre.
1st. I think poetry should surprise by a fine excess, and not by singularity; It should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.
2d. Its touches of beauty should never be half-way, thereby making the reader breathless, instead of content. The rise, the progress, the setting of Imagery should, like the sun, seem natural to him, shine over him, and set soberly, although in magnificence, leaving him in the luxury of twilight. But it is easier to think what poetry should be, than to write it – And this leads me to another axiom – That if poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.
Your sincere and obliged friend,
Dat’s right. It’s a new thing, where I spend more time on the Internet than I already do, and bring you the season’s best in music, literature, poetry, YouTube, and whatever it is that seems to interest me anymore. Also, in my head, winter ends as soon as February begins, so forgive me if you’re reading this and it’s still freezing.
Let us begin.
Couple new genres explored. In December, I came across TwoSet on YouTube, and now I feel like I’ve been following their content for years. Because of that, I’ve exposed myself to a lot of classical music lately. I pretty much listen only to classical music when I’m by myself these days, to be honest. I also tried to learn to play Moonlight Sonata and Chopin, which unfortunately for me, is batsh*t crazy hard.
Classical music aside, I also listened to a lot of lofi music, and jazzhop, which I have been a fan of for a while, but I was never really into it until now. Like always, I definitely strayed away from mainstream pop music (in all languages), and I found myself listening to Dutch and French rap more than listening to Justin Bieber’s Yummy (which I still haven’t listened to fully). Listeners beware; if you’re going to listen to my winter playlist, please don’t put it on shuffle, cause you could be listening to piano music one minute and the dulcet tones of Cartier the next.
I read too many books this winter.
No, that’s a lie. I read like five. And all of them in the last two weeks.
I didn’t read enough in 2019. I’m not gonna lie. I feel like a barely read anything. So this year, I’m doing the Reading Challenge on Goodreads and I’m gonna read 50 books or more. Given that I’ve already read like five books, and given that I keep this level of enthusiasm for the entire year, I should be good.
I’ve picked up Science Fiction again after a long, dry spell with no sort of fiction books on my shelf. It’s refreshing to read a good work of sci-fi and feels its effects afterwards. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, Dark Matter and Recursion by Blake Crouch, all wonderful examples of what good science fiction is like.
Also, follow me on Goodreads, I post a ton of reviews and ratings on books I’ve read!
Winter hasn’t been the most stress-free time I could have hoped for, but it was certainly the most eye-opening ones. As another academic year is coming to a close, I get closer and closer to a world where none of the safety and comfort I currently have will exist. It’s easy to think we have things in control, when in fact we’re all just sailing along the tide, dancing to the universe’s rhythm. And so, I’d like to end this winter with an E.E. Cummings poem that I already put up on my blog, but is worth repeating:
O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
prurient philosophers pinched
,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
them only with
As always, the earth will answer the cold, grey winter, only with spring.
Find the link to the original Tumblr post here.
I found this on Tumblr, and I thought, well, I don’t get a lot of questions, but I still want to answer them, so here goes:
a. what other poets style do you emulate the most?
John Green, even though he’s not a poet. He waxes poetic about everything. Other than him, I’d say Yeats, Wordsworth, Tagore, and Rupi Kaur.
b. do you write with too much imagery or too little?
My mom says my writing has a good amount of imagery.
c. write four poems in one day or go three weeks without writing anything?
I know for a fact that I once wrote four poems in twenty minutes, so I guess I could do it again.
d. do you have your poetry organized or are you more likely to write half a stanza on a one dollar bill and then spend it by accident?
Who writes on money? Jesus. But I definitely scribble lines and couplets on any empty space I find. Fun fact: I have like a seven-stanza poem about Fortnite spread across the Grammar section of my English material.
e. bird imagery or ocean imagery?
f. what was the last poem that you 💛?
The Palace, by Kaveh Akbar.
g. do you write about people or landscapes?
I write about people finding themselves in the landscapes that surround them.
h. dreams or real events?
What’s the difference?
i. who do you write for?
I write for two people: 1. Myself. 2. The person who will read this and decide to do something good to the world.
j. what is the worst thing about your writing? what is the best?
I like how the question first asks what the worst thing is and the best later. The worst thing, I suppose, is that at least in my head, my writing seems like a letter of apology to the universe. Too many lessons learnt, not enough dreams for the future.
The best thing about my writing? Well, everything else. At least when I’m writing, I feel like someone who’s learnt a thing or two about my life, and I’ve noticed that when you talk about what you’ve learnt, others listen and agree.
k. what’s the best line you’ve ever written?
Oooh, that’s a good question.
Look, if I didn’t know better, I’d say my best line is yet to come. I still have a long way to go before my words get really good. That said, there is this line from this poem I wrote called rose, and it goes, “If I let go of myself/ I wish you’d still pick me.” I like that line. I think we’re all at this stage in our teen lives where we’re being asked to make a choice: own up to who you are or be left out. And to let go of the roles community gives you to find your own is not easy.
l. how much do you edit a piece before you consider it complete?
I don’t edit sh*t.
m. how long does it take you to write a poem?
Depends. On good days, fifteen minutes. On bad ones, a week or two.
n. ghosts or angels?
Angels. Castiel being my favourite.
o. god or sunlight?
p. soft or harsh?
Soft for sure. I’m a real softie.
q. safety or happiness?
Safety. Happiness is subjective.
r. how long have you been writing?
s. who is your favourite poet? you have to pick just one.
Percy Shelley. To a Skylark is my all-time favourite poem.
t. what is your favourite line of poetry?
you scale the summit & jump off the mountain just to know why every heaven isn’t always for your kind/
to stay true regardless/ to remain real/
takes wild, violent & tender love.
u. would you be 🆗 with never being well known?
Obscurity is one of the most underrated blessings a writer can get. I wouldn’t it trade for all the money, fame and connections in the world.
Maybe I will one day. But I know that I’ll miss the days when no one knew who I was, and I didn’t care.
v. slow or frantic?
Slow. At first, at least.
w. what colour is your poetry?
The colour of a fading sunset. It smells like a new car, or the ground after it rains.
x. who, if anyone, do you send your new poems to?
I usually don’t. I’m pretty self-conscious about my work, so I don’t share unless it’s already out there. However, on some occasions, I have mailed drafts of my poetry to my friends from the Counter Speech Fellowship.
y. is your poetry light or dark?
Dark with a hint of gold.
z. write a couplet (a short poem with just two lines) about pulse points.
What the hell are pulse points? Hold on, I gotta google this, lemme check.
Ok, I got something:
I checked for a pulse/ But all I felt was perfume in my veins.
Well, that sure was fun! I hope you enjoyed reading these questions as much as I did answering them. Cheers.
the things that made January amazing-
- Instagram (or the lack thereof)
- TwoSetViolin’s 2mil Tchaik drop (scheduled live-stream on Feb 7!)
- Driving the streets of West Hyd. All time fav timepass.
- Andrew Huang and his music genius brain.
- Falling in love with architecture.
- Math. Kill me, I don’t care. I freaking love math.
- Bach and Lauv, with the same level of importance.
- Book-reading. I read eight whole books this month.
- Staying at home. Not having to go to school.
- Ricky Gervais at the Globes. God, that was refreshing.
- Daniel Shiffman.
- Austin Kleon and his blackout poetry.
- The community library, which was essentially the only reason I studied during the vacation.
- Badminton in the evenings.
- Cream Stone plans after dinner.
- All the podcasts that were playing on my phone (one day, Dear Hank and John was running all night).
- Science fiction literature.
- Fairy lights in my bedroom.
- Feels Like Home by Sigala.
- Nike Training Club and their collection of lactic-acid producing workouts (my legs are still sore).
- PewDiePie (strangely).
- Seth Everman. Jesus, that dude.
- Fanfiction. I’m not afraid to admit I indulged in a lot of fanfic in January.
- how i’m feeling (out March 6th)
- Sweet, sweet poetry by e. e. cummings.
- SDCC videos on YouTube.
- Seasonal chillhop music.
- Dreams, and the power they have over us.
Apparently this song reduces anxiety by 65%. How interesting.