Projects Overload


My most important project right now: raising money for Pet Partners, a nation wide non-profit organization that trains and registers therapy animals and their humans. The idea is to “sell” baked goods to raise money for these animals, but I’ve been doing more of a “donate and get your prize when we both have time to schedule a pick up.”

Cupcakes (baked by and approved by me) are involved for those of you local to San Antonio or are able to make the trip at some point during this fundraiser. Find “Jess’s Treats and Sweets Fundraiser” on Facebook for updates and more details on donor goodies for those not local. To donate online, go to the website pictured above.

Next up, since I am now in the business of supporting others, I have been forced to join (correction: graciously invited to join) a podcast where we talk about all kinds of nerdy stuff, and then we get off topic and make all kinds of inappropriate jokes; it’s a wonderful time! totpodIf you listen to this podcast AND found your way to this blog or vice-versa, I will mail you a TOTPOD (Thinking Outside The POD) sticker! Just leave a comment or message me here. 

You can hear the sound of my voice here among those who graciously let me join their group. You can also follow us on Twitter @totpod which we are planning to use more often! Keeping up with this weekly podcast and talk of being more prevalent on social media has inspired me to also better keep up with this blog so that I can shamelessly plug it into the podcast. Brilliant!

The plan for Doggy Paddling Through Words: I want to update biweekly because weekly is too much for something like this, and I can’t read that fast. I’ve been reminiscent of my college film club days lately, so the plan is every other Thursday starting now. I figure I’ll alternate between book reviews and updates on my personal projects.

This makes my New Year’s resolution of disconnecting moot because how do I get this blog out there without cross promotion across all social media? And the podcast demanded I reactivate my Twitter, so I can cross promote for them as well. I should clarify, this podcast consists of my boyfriend and his two friends who have become good friends of mine, so I kid when I say things like “forced” and “demand.” The podcast is a lot of fun. Anyway, how else is an introvert supposed to gain a following for this blog if I don’t stay connected to the world without leaving my home?

So in honor of my (now moot) resolution, I went through and deactivated a lot of my online accounts. What I didn’t delete/reactivated: here’s my plug.

  • @jesswiththedogs on Instagram, lots of pictures of my dogs among other awesome things.
  • @jesswriting on Twitter which I’ve only used to distract myself during NaNoWriMo season. My boyfriend gave me a great idea for this NaNo season though, follow and stay tuned! Until then, I want to tweet clever things.
  • My personal blog on Tumblr, where I ramble about things in my life other than writing though also not kept up with very well. But my latest post is a comparison between dogs’ lives on opposite ends of the world.
  • I also kept my Youtube channel full of my stupid little films I did in college. I can tell you I don’t have much planned for this (I am thinking about it though), but I do want to do more films, so if someone has an idea or needs my help, I am all ears.
  • I also have this fairly obscure one called Listography. It is literally what is sounds like. I’ve made lists of things just for myself to remember, but if you wish to see my life in lists, here it is.
  • If you wish, you can even find me on NaNoWriMo: I am jess.szeto.

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I am revisiting another old NaNo project about three different women and how their lives are connected. This one’s from 2015. That is a terrible log line, but that’s all I got right now, but here’s the cast I made up via Google images.


And here’s a project I did finish but only the first draft: a TV job board/card game because I don’t get enough frustration at the job itself! I call it TV RPG: a card game. The cards are completed as far as what they do goes, but they still need to be tweaked and illustrated.

Next blog post should be about the unfortunate incident that led to the fortunate incident of me reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Sweet and Unfortunate Series

Sweet Valley High and A Series of Unfortunate Events (now an original Netflix series).

“Nostalgia’s a bitch.” – Damon from The Vampire Diaries (Yes, I love that show). 

The first part of this is a Literary Disco read. Episode 3 to be exact. If you click “Literary Disco” a few words back, it’ll take you straight to that episode. Sweet Valley High. I’m writing this review before listening to the podcast myself, so my initial review is honest and my own.

I never read Sweet Valley High as a kid, so I picked one up, chosen by the Literary Disco gang: “Double Love.” I always saw it on the shelves, but it never appealed to me, judging from the covers (something I always do).


Reading this book was like watching a tame episode of Gossip Girl, and I will not lie; Gossip Girl is one of my guilty pleasures. Sweet Valley High: Double Love was an annoying read for me though (I am in my twenties reading a book for kids) because it was written at a middle school reading level, but when it comes to stories about girls back stabbing each other, I’d prefer to watch it on TV than read about it.

I did not finish the book, and I can’t say if I would have enjoyed it if I picked up the book as a kid. But I think the fact that I remember these books and made the decision back then not to pick them up answers that.

However, I did have an interest in reading Madison Finn by Laura Dower which is a similar genre: girl making her way through middle or high school wanting to fit in. I was drawn to the cartoon cover, and the summary on the back kept my interest. It sounded like a story I could relate to. I also remember enjoying the Mary-Kate and Ashley book series. Sweet Valley High was just not a cup of tea I wanted to try I suppose.

While we’re being nostalgic, as I kid, I also enjoyed Magic Tree House and A Series of Unfortunate Events. I am not re-reading Magic Tree House, but I am working on reading the whole Unfortunate Events series for the third time (if I remember right).

  1. When I picked it up as a kid.
  2. When I started doing the summer reading program a few years back.
  3. And now around the news of it’s arrival on Netflix.

I am on Book the Ninth, The Carnivorous Carnival, and unlike Sweet Valley High, I enjoyed this series as a kid, and I still enjoy it now, and that is a good quality in a book: timelessness. There are thirteen books total, and I am determined to finish the series because I don’t think I did as a child.

I got to say though, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a big fuss about the content of this series that is in the Juvenile section of the public library. Not young adult but juvenile (children’s books). It contains death, child abuse, and committing of many heinous crimes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great story, and I am not complaining, but I wonder how ten year old me could read such a dark series.


I watched the Netflix series which only covers the first four books in one season. Wes Anderson had nothing to do with it, but it does remind me of his works; it’s quirky. I was reluctant to like anything that tries to remake things from my childhood because I know that the executives know that I will watch for nostalgia’s sake, and that’s how they’ll get their money.

With this hesitation, I wasn’t sure if I was a fan of the actor playing Lemony Snicket (the author’s name on the book series) reading me the books that I had recently already read myself. Upon more watching, I realized that Netflix actually stayed true to the book, so I am a fan of the Lemony Snicket character in the Netflix series.

The meta jokes Netflix threw in are pretty funny, too. They also added in what I thought was a spoiler, but I made the wrong assumption. This particular non-spoiler is not in any of the books I’ve read so far, but it does make sense for them to add it as well as extra Count Olaf scenes that aren’t really in the books either. It’s a good series for a general audience even if they hadn’t read any of the books which is a good and smart thing.

I basically hate how much I love the Netflix series. And the books still get my paw of approval (see what I did there since this blog is, “Doggy Paddling Through Words?”).

Next time, I’ll tell you of an unfortunate event on my travels that caused the fortunate event of me reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.