Monthly Look Ahead: October 2016

Oh, October. This month has never been a favourite of mine. Not only do I lack interest in Halloween but it’s kind of the only thing stopping me from going into full Christmas mode. I don’t want to be that person who gets hyped too early, but after October it’s suitable. That being said, I do have a handful of things to look forward to this month. And, like always, you’re more than welcome to take my image and participate in this month’s look ahead on your own blogs.

monthly look ahead

  • Fall TV is still returning. I have the DC lineup coming back, so The Flash on the 4th, Arrow on the 5th, Supergirl on the 10th and Legends Of Tomorrow on the 13th.
  • Also The Middle and Mr. D are back on the 11th.
  • Thanksgiving (in Canada)! Time off from school is always appreciated.
  • Also this month I have a reading week! My school never used to have a fall one, but now we do. I’m excited to go home and see friends but I also know I’ll have a lot of literal reading and studying to do. Yuck.
  • On the 20th, Fox is airing The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live, and it stars a bunch of cool people. Rocky Horror has some good music, but I’ve only sat through the full movie once and I don’t remember it being anything standout, so we’ll see how it goes.

Image result for rocky horror live fox

  • Pumpkin seeds! I’m going to go buy a pumpkin (and probably carve it too) just so I can roast some pumpkin seeds. They’re so good and make for a great healthy snack! (Oooh, side note: should I do a post on that or nah?).
  • Okay, I’m adding Halloween to this list, but that’s because last year I actually hung out with friends and I may do that again. No plans have been made or even talked about, but there’s a chance. Here’s hoping!

 

Thank goodness I have some fun things going on to balance out the piles of reports and readings I’ll have to do. I’m already stressing!

I look forward to reading what you’re up to this October! Leave a comment with a link to your post and also comment telling me what your favourite Halloween candy is! Mine is Skittles!

That’s all for now!

Follow me: Twitter / Facebook / Bloglovin’

 

 

My #DreamCrate: Putting The Fun In Functional

Recently Lootcrate contacted me and asked me to put together a blog post on my dream lootcrate. For those unaware, Lootcrate is one of those services that have a monthly subscription and buyers get shipped a box (or “crate”) of fun, nerdy merchandise. Usually these boxes have a theme, so people can know a bit about what they’re getting, or opt out of buying that one.

I’ve never subscribed to these for two reasons. One, I’m a student so the money ain’t exactly flowing. And two, I have no need for a ton of (for the most part) useless merch. For example, I love looking at the newest Pop! Funkos that are released, but I personally can’t understand why people buy a whole bunch. They just sit there on peoples’ desks or shelves. They’re nice too look at and bobble their little heads once in a while, but I personally have no use and could never justify the money.

So I decided to take Lootcrate up on their challenge and design my dream crate with the theme of functionality. The following things are very useful but still are cool and nerdy items that any fan would love to have! Here’s what I’d include:

 

Image result for captain america shield t shirtShirts are functional. You can wear them whenever. This shirt is also gender neutral. As much as I’d wear any shirt sporting an Avengers’ logo I’ve always liked how symmetrical Cap’s shield is, which is why I went with this one.

 

Image result for nerdy messenger bagsI’ve been looking for a nice messenger bag/beach bag (I don’t know what different bags are called) that’s smaller than a backpack but big enough to hold more than a wallet like my current cross body bag. This bag is a subtle colour and style but has the cool Zelda logo. But really any bag will do.

 

Image result for marvel toothbrushes

We all brush our teeth, right? So some good quality yet fun toothbrushes would be totally useful! Imagine: a pack of six tooth brushes, one for each Avenger.

 

Image result for batman water bottleI use a water bottle when I play Quidditch but the one I have now is some school one I got at frosh week two years ago, so a cool Batman one would be wonderful. Reusable water bottles are always great because you never know when you may need one. I think a Batman one would specifically be amusing because I can totally picture Batman using one but being completely unhappy with the fact that he needs to rehydrate. I dunno, it’s funny in my head.

 

Image result for rubix cube pepper and salt“Hey, pass the pepper cube.” Honestly, these are so neat! There are so many cool s&p shakers but I like pepper chunks and the fact is shakers only give you pepper dust, so grinders and mills where it’s at. Not to mention that a solid 60% of my meals involve a lot salt and pepper, so these are perfect! Fun and functional for sure!

 

Image result for pac man oven mitt

Oven mitts have never looked so cool. Even the inside of the mitt is designed to look like the Pac-man map, and it provides better grip. Amazing.

 

And there ya have it, folks! My (fun)ctional dream crate. Honestly, I could probably list so many more things, but I’m being realistic and pretending this is a real crate, so I’m limited. As much as I hope to one day be in such a financial state that I could happily subscribe to all these cool crates and stuff, I think that even if I was, my logic would take over and I’d know that I don’t have a need for seventeen key chains and forty three mugs. I do, however, have a need for Tshirts and a pepper mill and a water bottle, and an even bigger need for those things but in nerdy styles. Gotta rep, y’know?

I’d also love to know what functional nerdy items you have or want, so leave a comment telling me.

That’s all for now!

Follow me: Twitter / Facebook / Bloglovin’

Spies Are Forever (It’s A Musical)

I’m a bit late to the party, but I just had to write about this! Plus I get to use my ‘Best Things On The Internet’ category which I don’t often do!

For those who haven’t heard of Spies Are Forever, it’s a musical from the Tin Can Bros, which is an online sketch group made up of Joey Richter, Corey Lubowich and Brian Rosenthal from Team Starkid. So essentially, this can be considered a spin-off Starkid musical. Spies Are Forever also features music from TalkFine, who has also worked with Starkid, and it stars the TCB, Curt Mega, Lauren Lopez, Joe Walker, Mary Kate Wiles, Tessa Netting and a new guy named Al Fallick. It was all funded via kickstarter, which is pretty cool.

Anyways, it’s about spies and it’s got music and I’m always down to watch anything a Starkid member puts out, so this was great. Obviously, I couldn’t go see it live earlier this year because I live in Canada and it was only showing in LA, but Starkid knows what’s up and they know to put things on YouTube for us far away folk, so everyone can enjoy their work after it’s been live. Plus, the Tin Can Bros‘ work is mostly all YouTube anyways, so it was perfect. Spies Are Forever was put up one part at a time for a few weeks but I waited until it was all up to see it…and then some because I forgot to check.

Overall, it was a great show, especially for the group’s first attempt at a full length musical. I know all of them have been in shows before but participating is different than organizing.

The first thing that really stood out to me was Mary Kate Wiles’ voice. I’ve been familiar with her work since her role as Lydia Bennet in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but I’ve never heard her sing. She has a really nice voice, and I was impressed at her ability, as well as several other of the cast members’, to sing while doing an accent.

In terms of the music, it was great. There were several catchy songs, as well as several that really had charm and humor, and several that really fit with the theme of spies in the sense that they were cool and slightly retro. I also think they’re all lucky that so many words rhyme with “spy”. Everyone’s singing abilities were top notch, but I feel like the dancing wasn’t anything outstanding.

I loved the characters. Curt Mega played a character named Curt Mega (a little silly, but it’s a decent spy name so…forgiven) who was just a really slick, cool, classic spy. But it was neat to see this guy’s other sides like when he was interacting with his mother. Lauren Lopez played Cynthia Houston, and she was the best. I’ve always loved Lauren’s characters, so this is just another to add to the list, but Cynthia was just great. Definitely the funniest of them all. Mary Kate Wiles had a very Black Widow vibe with her red hair and Russian assassin role, but I appreciated it. Joey Richter’s best character was the bomb salesman with the nephew, as I loved that song he sang. While Tessa Netting’s character was a little clichéd, she played it well, and Barb was really likable overall. The only character I wasn’t 100% sold on was Brian Rosenthal’s Baron Von Nazi. He wasn’t very scary considering the role and the puppet thing was really odd. But there wasn’t a character I really hated, so that was good. And lastly, without giving too much away, the big reveal about a certain character was a really predictable, but considering the theme of spies, it was alright and almost expected. They did it well.

Image result for spies are forever pictures

Another thing I loved was the way they set up the casino in one scene. The way they set up the stage so the audience could see the cast but still imagine that they’re sitting around a card table was really cool. Little things like that impressed me.

Spies Are Forever is a funny and clever musical that any fans of Starkid, spies or musicals need to see. If you liked Kingsmen and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. but thought they needed some fun tunes, then you’ll love this!  It’s all on YouTube, so here’s the playlist! I don’t know if there will be a part 2 to this show, but I hope there is, because it really is a treat to watch!

 

Follow me: Twitter / Facebook / Bloglovin’

 

 

 

 

What’s In A Name?

Names. We all have them. Of course now I’m thinking of that episode of The Office where Michael and Dwight are calling David and he calls back and asks “who is this?” and Michael freezes and says “I was never given a name” before hanging up. Classic.

Anyways. Names are brands. They are online (as in Twitter handles) and they are in real life. They make a difference. They have power. I mean, Voldemort’s name was basically a homing device.

Image result for hello my name is

I don’t hate my name. It’s not a weird name, so there isn’t much to hate. I dislike some nicknames that derive from it but that’s too bad for me. I also have come to like some of my nicknames. Speaking of nicknames, does anyone feel like you must be on a certain level of friendship to use one? Unless that person introduces themselves with the nickname, I feel very weird calling them it, even if I know the person. Is that silly?

On another note, do parents ever wonder if they named their kids right? Because I’ve never had a chance to name a child, or even a pet for that matter, but just based on things I have named, I do regret them.

Like when I was in grade six, I loved Webkinz, and when I finally got my hands on the illusive pink dragon one, I named it Crystal Rose. I regret this name. Not that it’s not a nice name (though in hindsight it is a little stripper-like) but at the time I was hardcore obsessed with author Chris D’Lacey’s The Last Dragon Chronicles and I’ll always regret not naming my dragon something that started with a G in honor of them.

But I guess that’s not as bad as those parents who named their daughter Kaitlyn but spelled the “ait” part like the number eight in roman numerals so this child’s name is “KVIIIlyn.”

Image result for kviiilynThat baby looks full of anger already and I don’t blame it. Substitute teachers will hate this.

I even regret some names on my blog. Once in a while I wonder if “Coolbeans” is too unprofessional. I love it, but does it fit and will employers take me seriously? And that number 4…should that be removed? Obviously I didn’t plan on using it, but someone took coolbeans.wordpress.com, so I added the 4, my favourite number. But I remember in one of the Blogging U courses I took last year, someone suggested that I remove the 4 from my title as numbers can make it seem spam-y. It was a valid point, but I ended up keeping it because I worry about people remembering the 4 when searching for my blog, so by having it so clearly there in my header, I hope it helps. But even my father forgets the 4 when he’s telling people about my blog… And I know that coolbeans.com is taken, so if I were to hypothetically buy a domain in the future, I’d likely still have to keep the 4 anyways. But it’s okay, I feel like the 4 is a part of coolbeans now, so it doesn’t bother me too much. What does bother me is that some inactive account has @coolbeans4 on Twitter and I have to use @coolbeans_4 like a loser.

And then there’s my username. Desperate not to worry about it too much when I made the blog, I went with the first thing that wasn’t taken, which was I Am Donovan, or as WordPress has it, iamdonovan. I hoped that by capitalizing the I and A and D people would know that I  mean “I am” and that I don’t have the name “iam” but I can’t control how people read things. Here I am a year and a half later and I still fret about these things.

And now that I’ve started writing for other sites, I’m even more keen on making sure there’s unity between my online presences. This past summer I started writing and editing for Popwrapped, an entertainment/news website, which has been cool. And since it’s such a large site (over 2 million Twitter followers!) I knew it’d look good on a resume and possible employers would want to see my work, which is why I go by V Donovan there. Which, of course, made me wish my blog username was the same. Luckily, WordPress lets people change their public display name as much as they want, so at least my names match on the surface, but my username is still technically iamdonovan on both sites, and if I change that, it’s gone forever. I’m still debating whether to change it, but it can stay for now. But y’all can still call me Donovan. I prefer it.

Isn’t it ridiculous though? I spend so much time worrying about names and numbers and underscores. I feel like I’ll never be content. Does anyone else share my struggles?

I think that when I have kids, I’m just going to let my husband pick the names. I mean, I don’t think I could survive the crippling guilt I’d inevitably feel.

Of course now I’m thinking of that episode of Glee when Finn comes up with the best baby name and shows Quinn.

Do you worry about names or regret any?

That’s all for now!

Follow me: Twitter / Facebook / Bloglovin’

Why Apple Shouldn’t Get Rid Of The Headphone Jack

Well, it’s basically confirmed. Rumors have been going for several months, but now new images were released showing that Apple will be removing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and instead will use wireless Bluetooth headphones. Tech geeks around the world may be squealing with delight but I am not. I think this is a very bad decision that will really change a lot of things that most people don’t even realize.

Image result for iphone 7

While this is kind of cool from a tech perspective, I’m being practical. I am a realist. And now I’ll explain why this is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing.

First of all, those ear buds are tiny. They’re sure to get lost. And I guess Apple is smart for that reason because they’ll sell more and more as people will keep needing replacements. Please look at this image I photoshopped so you get my idea.

chang

But here are some facts to really help you understand. The 3.5 millimeter headphone jack has been around for over 50 years. It was first used on a Sony radio in 1964 and since then, your current headphones can fit any device, from radios to mp3 players to phones to laptops and more. You’ve never had to worry about anything. Not to mention that headphones can be bought anywhere. You can buy $300 ones and you can be $2 ones and they all work just fine.

But think about it. Apple is changing that. And Apple isn’t just some small insignificant company. Apple is leader in our world, a titan of the industry. When the iPhone 5 came out and they changed the regular charging port to the smaller lightning port, I was sure no one would go for that as it’d mean buying different cables and different speakers. But guess what? Now I’m the one struggling to deal as I can’t easily find the old charging cables in stores for my 4S.

Is that our future? In five years will some of us be struggling to buy headphones with wires? Will we not be able to find devices that work with our old 3.5mm headphones? A lot of companies follow what Apple does in terms of technology, so this can perhaps affect everyone, not just loyal Apple users. You Android users think you’re so much better…until you’re not.

I love Christmas music and each December instead of streaming the music on my phone for the majority of the day, I carry around a small black radio. It’s slightly smaller than a brick (seriously!) and it also plays cassette tapes, so you know it’s old. But my headphones work on it and I can listen to as much Christmas music as I want on the go for free. Will I even be able to do that next year?

And to think that this change is all in the name of thinness. By removing the 3.5mm jack, the iPhone can get thinner than it could before. And I wonder, do phones really need to get thinner? Taller or wider I can somewhat understand. But thinner? No.

But what really bugs me the most is how profitable this change is for these companies. Apple will not only make millions selling the iPhone 7, but it’ll also make a fortune on the headphones. Apple will be able to privatize and sell brand name buds that people will need to purchase in order to listen to music. They’ll be able to sell new speaker systems, new adaptors, new phone cases and more. And then other companies will get in the game, changing all their products to keep up, and the consumers will just have to fork over the money at some point or another.

Image result for i dont wike it

If it ain’t broke, right? Like I said, the 3.5mm headphone jack has been working perfectly for 50 years. I think it could last another 50. And then Apple can do what it wants with it. I’ll be too old to care.

Maybe I am just thinking way too big. Maybe people won’t like this change either. Maybe the old and new style can live in tandem. But maybe not.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Are you excited to be wire-free?

 

P.S. This is my 100th post!

Follow me: Twitter / Facebook / Bloglovin’