My Weaknesses

Everyone is always trying to better themselves. You see so many of these self-help books and motivational speeches and cute quotes on phone cases nowadays. That’s nice and all but one thing these all seem to never touch on is one’s weaknesses. That’s the key, y’all.

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Good question, Gabe. Here are mine. Until I can conquer these, I will never be my best self. I need to be the ultimate me. I need to be able to defeat past me, should time travel ever be possible. But for now, here’s a quick and handy list of things that you need, should you ever want to get me in a vulnerable position.

  1. Lightning. Is anyone strong enough for this? Maybe the Michelin Man.
  2. Grates in the sidewalk. I am sorry if I have to cut around you when walking but I would rather step in dog poop than on a grate. I don’t trust them.
  3. Mint chocolate. I can control myself well enough around regular chocolate, but not mint.
  4. Nice people. Honestly, someone can just be nice to me for like five minutes and I’ll spill my all secrets. Unfortunately for them, my secrets are all like ‘I have no idea what I’m doing in life’ and ‘I laugh when I’m uncomfortable’.
  5. Musicals. Why is everyone singing? Why does everyone know the lyrics? Why is this necessary? I dunno, man. But I’m watching it.
  6. The little number notification bubbles on apps. Those must be removed right away. I will stop what I’m doing to mark an email as ‘read’ just so I can go back to zero.

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    This is my personal circle of hell.
  7. Blooper reels. Somehow, watching some actor mess up their lines is always funny. Sometimes I watch bloopers for shows/movies I didn’t even watch.
  8. Puns. Even the worst are good.
  9. Seeing my reflection. My face isn’t even that exciting visually, but every time I pass a mirror or a window or some kind of camera, I gotta look at myself.  Just to, like, make sure I’m still there and my hair isn’t doing something weird. To be honest, whenever I’m Skyping or FaceTiming someone, a solid 80% of the chat is spent looking at my own face.
  10. Series finales. I’ll cry. I’ll cry every time. Even if it’s the worst ending to a show. I’ll probably still sob. This should be number one on this list. This is probably my biggest weakness.
  11. Christmas music. I’ve been listening for almost a month already. It always puts me in a better mood.
  12. Popcorn. No explanation needed.
  13. When a professor is erasing a chalk board but doesn’t do a good job and there’s those marks still there. Yeah, I hate that.
  14. Garage sales. Do you have junk on your driveway? I’m already there. (Related: this post I wrote on garage sales)
  15. Baby animals. I don’t care that I’ll get hives if a puppy licks me, I’ll still pet it.

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I am such a flawed person. There are only fifteen here, and if I had the time, I could probably list more. I have work to do. I need to one day be able to say “No, I don’t want popcorn.” Gotta build up that strength. You know who has two weaknesses? Superman. He’s weak for kryptonite and innocent civilians in danger. That’s it.

Anyways, what are your weaknesses? I highly suggest knowing them so you too can work on not falling for them.

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: December 2016

This year is almost over and I think we’re all pretty glad. It’s been a wild year. But before it ends, we have to celebrate December, and as a lover of Christmas, I can’t wait. December is the best month. Even if it sucks, you know the music will always be good.

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Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month:

  • Christmas. Of course. The best holiday to exist.
  • Writing one exam and then heading home for like three weeks so I can not cook or do laundry. That’ll be nice. Home also means more than 10 TV channels, so I’m looking forward to that, and seeing friends
  • Hairspray Live on the 7th. Hairspray is a fun musical and I’ll take any opportunity to watch musicals (as you can tell from my last post), so I’ll definitely be tuning in to this (even if it overlaps with the mid-season finale of Arrow).

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  • My friend and I are going to see a play downtown. She got free tickets and I haven’t seen her in a while, so it’ll be fun to hang out with her and see a cool show.
  • There are two movies coming out (Passenger, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, and La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) that I’m not dying to see, but they look good if the reviews are positive, I’ll likely find my way to a theater.
  • New Year’s Eve. No plans yet but probably something will happen.
  • That feeling of finishing my exam and assignments and knowing I literally have no more responsibilities. It’s so freeing and calming. Priceless.

 

That’s my December, folks. Once I get past the first nine days of studying and doing assignments, it’ll be smooth sailing and familiar faces and I can’t wait. What are you looking forward to this coming festive month?

 

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My Musical List (And Some Bootleg Discussion)

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Three years ago, when I was in high school, I started getting into musicals. I don’t recall why or what drove me to them. If I had to guess, I would say it was likely my love for Glee and Team Starkid, and in the ven-diagram of related subjects that I’d come across on the internet, Broadway musicals is right in the middle.

I decided to go popular (literally) for my first musical and try Wicked. I chose to read the book first, and I enjoyed it. At this time, I wasn’t as familiar with bootlegs, so I settled for listening to the soundtrack. This, I later learned, was a mistake as I assumed that the musical followed the book better than it actually did. Seeing the show live downtown nine months later was awesome but slightly disappointing as the soundtrack didn’t match up to the plot like I had envisioned them to. That bugged me more than it should. (Related: why I hope the Wicked movie is more like the book)

In May of that year, I also went on my school’s arts trip to New York City. I had never been, so it was very exciting. On that trip we saw three Broadway shows (Les Miserables, A Raisin In The Sun, and Aladdin, but the second is just a play) and that was such a great experience. But as we wandered around Times Square and I saw the marquees for all the other musicals playing, I realised that the three we went to see were not ones I would have chosen. So in that grubby hotel room we stayed in, I sat on my bed and opened a note on my phone, and started a list of all the musicals I wanted to see. That list had 11 shows, and I considered that a lot.

But in the past three years, that list grew to 20 and now over 30 musicals. I am now a huge musical theater fan and nine times out of ten, when I listen to music, I’m listening to various show tunes. I wanted to wait to blog about this until I had successfully crossed everything off my list, but I just keep adding musicals on, so the end is not in sight! So instead I figured I’d show my progress, along with a list of musicals I had seen before I started keeping track.

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Some of these I loved, some I liked, and some I wouldn’t watch again, but I am glad I saw them all.

And that brings me to my next topic of discussion: bootlegs. While I was fortunate to see a few of those shows live, and a few were movies that I watched, most of them I saw via bootleg. I have no little shame in this. Sometimes I stream movies, I’ve admitted to occasionally streaming TV, and I download music that I didn’t pay for. Sorry, but I’m a student and I don’t have the money to pay for every bit of entertainment. And you know I’m not the only one who does this. But with Broadway, it’s different, because for me to experience the full, legal thing, I need to go to New York. I’d need a roundtrip plane ticket, a hotel room, food, and then a ticket to the show, which could be pricey itself. That’s very different than the 12 bucks I save by not going to a local movie theater. Not to mention that some of the shows aren’t even running anymore or are sold out, so even if I were to somehow get to New York, I still wouldn’t be able to see them.

There’s the argument that bootlegs take money away from the show, but I disagree. Bootlegs let people who are on the other side of the world see shows they love and experience theater. I’m somewhat lucky because when shows do go on tour, they sometimes stop near me, but that is not true for many people, so bootlegs give them a chance to see it, even if it from someone’s shaky iPhone. Shows aren’t losing money because it’s money that they won’t ever get. But they may get money from purchase of the soundtrack or other merch. Because if people are like me, they won’t listen to the music until they see the show, so basically, the bootleg is bringing in money.

Bootlegs don’t replace live shows the way that streaming a TV show replaces seeing it when it airs. There’s no comparison at all to the environment and quality. People have said time and time again that if they could pay for a professionally filmed stage musical they would, but there isn’t even an option for that. Broadway caters to people who can get there, and that’s somewhat understandable, but if hockey games can be streamed, why can’t a musical? There IS this new service called BroadwayHD that is trying to give us what we want, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have the new, big name shows that I personally want to see.

What are your thoughts on the matter? I’d love to hear them, but I beg you to do it politely. I’ve seen many bootleg debates go down on Tumblr and it’s a horrific, rude mess that I want no part of.

I’d also love to hear what musicals you think I should add to my list. What are your favourites?

 

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Fantastic Beasts Review (Spoiler Free!)

Fantastic Beasts was really fantastic. Everyone’s going to say that but it’s true! I saw it last night. My Quidditch team got advance passes and since we got there super early we got to see it in IMAX (thanks Warner Bros!!!). I was so excited.

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I was also a bit nervous. I trust JK Rowling, but there was a split in the fandom when The Cursed Child came out (though I liked it) and I know people were apprehensive about a promise of five Beasts movies based off a book that didn’t even have a plot.

But it really delivered. Obviously I’m not going to spoil anything but a general plot is that Newt Scamander, a British wizard, accidentally loses control of a bunch of magical creatures in New York sometime in the 1920’s. I like the 20’s and the fun, classy vibe so I was happy with this.

The really cool thing is that it could have been a standalone movie. There were, of course, many fun references to Harry Potter and the magical world we know, but it really didn’t rely on it too much. And I liked that. It made it feel new and fresh. The new setting and the different kind of magic and terms removed the familiar Harry Potter aspect enough to rejuvenate the wonder. Harry Potter was largely about Harry and his life. Fantastic Beasts was about the magical world that we all want to know more about.

The movie was really fun overall. That also made it stand out from the other Potter films (especially the last few as they were really dark the whole time). Fantastic Beasts had so many jokes and fun moments and cool visual effects all the way through and it was really enjoyable. The beasts themselves were really neat! The niffler was adorable and Picket the bowtruckle is the new baby Groot (can someone please draw me a picture of baby Groot and Picket dancing or something???) but I think there should have been at least one dragon. The more dragons the better.

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I want one!

As for the cast they were superb. Eddie Redmayne was amazing. He’s so likeable and adorable and that really carried over to Newt. The two girls in the movie were also great but Katherine Waterston (who played Tina) stood out. I really liked her and hope we see a lot more of her. As for the no-maj (or muggle) played by Dan Fogler, his role was very interesting. There wasn’t really a magic-less main character in the Potter movies, so I think us viewers really connected to Jacob. We want to be a part of the magic just like he was.

I also wanted to mention Ezra Miller. I don’t want to give away anything but I’ve really only seen him in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, and his character in Fantastic Beasts, Credence, was very, very different from the hilarious Patrick. I enjoyed his performance a lot though (despite the horrible haircut he was plagued with). I can’t wait to see him as the Flash!

The plot was definitely interesting enough to make four more movies out of. I must say, I was a bit confused in the first half of the movie as to how the subplot with Credence tied to Newt’s story, but it was all revealed in the end and the set up for the future was captivating.

I always appreciate movies that cover all ranges of emotion and Fantastic Beasts really did. The rule of thumb for this movie: when Eddie Redmayne cries, I cry.

I also cried when it ended. I don’t know why. Well, I kind of do. I was just really feeling the magic, I think. Harry Potter has shaped so much of my life and I’m glad that this new series is reinstating a new feeling of awe and excitement and happiness that I didn’t really feel as a kid because I missed a lot of the movies in theaters. I don’t care that I’ll be thirty-something when the last Fantastic Beasts movie comes out. I’ll be packing up my future kid(s) and my future attractive husband and hitting up the nearest theater.

It doesn’t matter what you may have thought about The Cursed Child, go see Fantastic Beasts if you want to experience the magic that we all fell in love with. It’s so good. Too good. I loved it.

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Actual footage of me at the end of the movie

P.S. I was kind of sad my favourite fantastic beast from the book, the Chizpurfle, wasn’t in the movie. Next time, please!

P.P.S. Last week a few Quidditch players and I went to the red carpet for this movie and though only the girls signed my poster (because we were unfortunately behind a pole! #bitter), it was still really cool to be within meters of the stars!

 

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3 Songs I Relate To On A Deep Level

Do you ever hear a song and the lyrics just speak to you? Like the songwriter reached into your specific soul and then wrote a song? I know a lot of songs are purposely general so many people can connect to them, or connect to parts at least, but once in a while I find a song that could have been written by me because it’s just so…perfectly perfect.

I think it’s brilliant that I can find songs that really define me. So here are three songs in no particular order that I relate to on another level.

1. ‘Here’ by Alessia Cara

I like going to parties. I have one friend who is great about inviting me out when he can and I always have a good time, but really, it’s not my scene. Those parties are always too loud and I hate the EDM music and I never drink enough to really have fun. I’m always Party Mom, but I’m okay with that. So the fact that a young, up and coming artist like Alessia Cara would release a song about not liking such a huge part of youth culture is really cool. She expresses herself honestly but not rudely. Really, I’m just glad to get an invite, so I’ll go and play Kings Cup and make small talk with randos, but it’s not what I’d rather be doing.

2. ‘When He Sees Me’ from Waitress The Musical

This is my favourite song from this show, which by the way has an amazing soundtrack, so huge shoutout to Sara Bareilles for her fantastic music ability. But this song! I totally understand Dawn’s fear of putting herself out there and her fear of rejection as well as love. Do you ever really know a person? I’ve seen enough episodes of Who The Bleep Did I Marry? to know that you really can’t be too careful. But this song is just so beautiful and fun and deep and hopeful and real. This expression of emotions is so fresh and relatable. There needs to be more characters like Dawn out there.

3. ‘As Long As There’s Christmas’ by Aselin Debison

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. That will never change. I love Christmas music and this song is such a fun, sweet song that really sums up how much this holiday means to me and how I’ll always look forward to it with a childlike glee. She mentions so many lovely and heartwarming parts of the season and they’re all parts I and surely many others love too. This isn’t my favourite Christmas song, but it speaks to me the most and I always turn up the volume each time it comes on. It’s a happy song and I love that.

What songs speak to you? Feel free to send me a link so I can hear them and get to know you better. Songs are able to express feelings and notions in such a unique way, so I think it lucky to be able to find a few gems that you really identify with.

That’s all for now!

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