Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Special Friends Moments: Meet Jean Wang of Disciplines of Culture!

I get to meet so many wonderful people in the blogging world. This sweet sister has been a dear friend, and a sounding board for me within the industry. I'm delighted to finally get to introduce to you Jean Wang and her blog "Disciplines of Culture":

1)Tell me a little about yourself.

I love to eat. I think lately that has been the number one characteristic that has stuck out in people’s minds about me. I’m always talking about food. But seriously, I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. I spent a few years of high school in Taiwan. Then I moved to Texas where I spent the majority of my time in the Lone Star state in Austin. I have a BA in psychology and a business certificate and went back to school for a bit for a BA in French and creative writing. I love trying new things and am always looking for a new activity. So far I have tried my hand at composing music to skydiving. I hope to race a few laps for fun at a local speedway.

2) How did you get started in blogging?

I honestly can’t remember the first time I started blogging. I remember being 15 and building sites with Angelfire and Geocities. So I know around that time, I was blogging probably with Xanga or Blogger. I think it was Blogger.

2)Remember your first blog post? Share some of it with us.

This is my fourth blog with Wordpress. Honestly, I don’t remember my first blog post. I don’t even remember my first blog. But my first blog with Disciplines of Culture came from Jean’s Palate which was solely focused on restaurant reviews. I reviewed six.one.six located in the new JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.

“Grand Rapids is becoming the place to be and catching up with the times. With the opening of the JW Marriott in late September, downtown has become a hip place for the professional, technology-savvy generation. Is the restaurant it houses, six.one.six, as hip and vibrant as the interior of the JW?”

4) How many books do you read and review on average per week?

I read and review 3 books on average a week. I love to read.

5) Favorite snack when reading?

When I read, I am usually too busy multi-tasking to eat. I will read while I am waiting for a computer game to load or while I am half paying attention to a movie.

6) Share a tidbit that reveals your book addiction level?

HAHA. Great question. I bring a book with me everywhere I go. I love waiting in line at the post office and I have been sad when there is no line. If there’s a line, then I have time to read. And technically I am not wasting time because I have to be in that line anyway. Even though I know a short line or no line would be better. It’s just my funny logic.

I can also walk and read without tripping. However, I have been known to trip while talking or while just walking. I am a klutz.

7) What's your favorite genre?

My favorite genre is non-fiction. I love books that will teach me something new. I love reading books about finance and Christian living. I think they go well together because the Bible contains more scriptures about money than just about any other subject. Also I love to pick up foreign language textbooks and read them. Learning languages is a passion of mine. It’d be amazing to communicate with so many interesting people. Not everyone speaks English.

8) Most memorable moment as a blogger/reviewer?

My most memorable moment as a blogger/reviewer was when the owners of Brick Road Pizza in Grand Rapids, Michigan, found my blog post and commented. I also saw that in one day my unadvertised blog got 250 hits. I was a little frightened because the owners thought the review was bad. I knew the review was passionate, but I did not think it was bad. I loved the pizza but the cookie pizza wasn’t up to snuff. I have a sweet tooth, but I also have standards—the cookie was too small!

9) Share a hidden talent with my readers.

I can hit a high C two octaves above middle C. That’s about as hidden as it gets because all my other talents require being on stage and the highest I’ve sung in public is B-flat, half a step below high C. I may have hit a D once in voice lessons but I am aiming for that F. I would love to be able to sing Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute.

10) You're an industry gal. What's the best/worst thing blogging has done for the publishing industry?

Blogging is sharing ideas with other readers, some bloggers and some not. So by definition, blogging has allowed word-of-mouth to go so much farther than neighbor to neighbor. People get book suggestions from people they may never meet but have a connection with. It’s amazing because most of my friends will not read any of the books I enjoy and so thanks to blogging, I’ve met people who can suggest books that may be of interest to me.

The worst thing blogging has done for the publishing industry is take content out of context and material is no longer attributed to the correct author. I can’t think of specific examples but I know that has happened or is bound to happen eventually.

11) What is your dream career?

My dream career is one in which I can write, travel some, translate (specifically from French to English or Chinese to English), utilize math in my daily life (I LOVE doing math problems), and stay up to speed on ever-changing technology. I’ve worked in child care, in a software company, in a publishing company, in a tutoring center, and for the government. I loved them all. Now if I could just combine aspects of each into one job and make a career out of it.

12) Any interests in your life besides blogging?

Of course reading. I love to play piano and sing. I love to eat...did I already mention that? I love meeting people from all over the world especially in my own backyard. I have noticed lately all the international friends I just happen to encounter and make and I know God’s put these people in my life for a reason. I feel very blessed.

13) Favorite place in the world to be?

Under a pine tree, I am hidden but surrounded by nature. Or I would love to be on private land by a stream, creek or lake.

14) If money was no object, what would you ultimately want to do?

I would travel the world and write travel essays. Then I would stay in one spot for a long enough time to finish my novel. In my spare time, I hope to spend lots of time in Africa. I sponsor a child there and I am trying to figure out when I can finally meet her. Africa’s always been a place on my heart and there is much need there.

15) What's one piece of advice you'd like to share with other reviewers/bloggers?

Write and read. Writing will give you practice and reading will give you inspiration. Plus, you meet new people reading blogs and they can give you advice too.

16) Chocolate preference: milk, dark, or white?

Milk, definitely milk. Funny story, my friend and I always have this debate on which is better, milk or dark. One day, he showed me a Wikipedia article on chocolate and a line in it said, “Dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate.” I’m sure there was something to preface it like, “Because of these properties...” but that line has since been erased. Well, I believed it. I was wary of Wikipedia when it first came on the scene but have now taken some information more seriously. I have edited Wikipedia articles myself and did not see any notes showing that this edit was pending moderation so I believed it. My friend wrote on his Twitter account, “Would my account be banned if I altered a Wikipedia article to make something sound true?” Okay so that may not fit into the 140-character parameter of Twitter but it was something like that and that’s when I realized I had been duped. Oh well. So don’t believe everything you read in Wikipedia. And milk chocolate is still better than dark chocolate, I contend.

17) Coffee, tea, milk, or juice? And how do you like your preference?

I have cravings. It depends on what they say to me.

Coffee...black unless I am in the mood for a sweet treat that will also wake me up...cafe miel...
Tea...chrysanthemum or masala chai
Milk...lactose free from

18) Which review are you most proud of?

I am proud of all my reviews. I wouldn’t publish them if I weren’t proud of them. The publication of the reviews means I obviously want to put those opinions out there and I stand by them. But if you want a less diplomatic response, I guess, I prefer the reviews that garner a comment. There are a few of those.

19) You're blog has a voice and flavor that is unique. Tell us what else you write about on your blog.

I write about restaurant reviews, books, and movies. I had hoped to review music too but I have found myself eating up books that I receive so I have no time to listen to new CDs. Every now and then I throw in my thoughts on culture, especially my own as a Taiwanese-American. I hope that explains the name Disciplines of Culture.

20) Where can my readers find your reviews/interviews/features?

Right now, my blog is located at http://disciplinesofculture.wordpress.com but as soon as I get everything moved over to http://jgwang.com that is where I will be. Please however, follow me on Twitter: jeangwang.

Please stop by and visit Jean and tell her Deena sent you:-)

Happy Reading!


P.S. If you're interested in being featured on my blog, or know someone you want me to shine the spotlight on, let me know via email at thedeena63 at hotmail dot com!

1 comment:

CeeCee said...

Thanks Deena and Jean!