I Pay Nothing To Blog And I Shall Continue To Do So

In the blogging community, there are two types of bloggers: those who blog for free and those who don’t. There’s nothing wrong with either side, but the divide is noticeable. In the last few months I’ve been branching outside of WordPress for networking and I see a lot of bloggers (big ones, too) praise self-hosting and its perks, so I’ve been looking into it. I mentioned here that buying a domain and going self-hosted seems like the next step for someone like me who has been blogging for a while and does so regularly and wants to grow.

There are, of course, a bunch of pros and cons to going self-hosted and it’s important to know them before you make a decision. The pros are all very appealing, but the fact is one can still blog successfully without them.

And that’s what I keep telling myself every time I consider changing things up. As I’ve mentioned, buying a domain from WordPress isn’t too expensive, and I think that if I did decide to do anything, it’d be that. I don’t think I can handle full self hosting. There’s too many things to consider and maintain. Hosting, domain, coding, subscribers…and I’m a fairly tech-savvy person, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like for others. And then there’s havoc when your site goes down. That never happens to me.

So aside from the maintenance effort I would have to apply, why am I not going self-hosted? Because I don’t need to. I blog for fun. Most of my posts are casual rants I wrote instead of studying or sleeping. I’m not selling anything or trying to eventually sell something or trying to create a community or anything. I’m just here because I want to be. It costs zero dollars and zero cents to let y’all read whatever nonsense I put together and you in turn pay zero dollars and zero cents to spend five minutes reading it and hopefully commenting/liking/sharing. I can’t justify spending money to let you guys read the exact same content from a website that doesn’t have .wordpress in the URL. In fact, most people who have their own domains say one of the reasons they have it is because it makes their site seem more professional. But I literally have a post about Snuggies, so I lost all professional credibility a long time ago.

And I really like WordPress. It’s easy to use and they don’t try to extort money from me and they have so many cool features. I especially love the Reader. All the other bloggers have to use Bloglovin’ (which I am on if you do use it) but I can follow blogs right in Wordpress’ Reader, and they’re all there and neat and formatted and accessible. WordPress also allows a lot of customization on the free plan. While there are a few things I’d change if I had CSS access, for the most part I am completely satisfied with how my blog looks. I chose the colours, the font, and the general layout. It’s exactly how I want it. For free.

I also read that if you get a new domain, you lose some things in the process. Not only do you probably lose readers because some people (myself included sometimes and I’m sorry) can’t be bothered to click the redirect link and open a new tab, but I think you lose all your likes. Comments and followers should transfer, but likes go. Maybe that’s not true or maybe there’s ways of fixing it. Still, it’s a risk.

I know there are so many .wordpress or .wix or .blogger users out there and I know that a lot of them probably also feel the pressure to upgrade, but I hope this post is a reminder that one is perfectly capable of running a successful blog without paying for anything. Blogging is about writing and personality, two things that can’t be bought.

Buying a domain or going self-hosted is a big deal and by no means do I wish to talk someone out of it with this post. If it’s something you want, then of course go for it! This post is just to take an opposing stance on a rather large topic in the blogosphere.

And I’m not saying that I’ll never buy a domain or try going self-hosted. I’m just saying that for the foreseeable future, I am comfortable with how things are now. And that’s fine. This is fine.

I’d love to hear thoughts from both parties so please leave a comment!

 

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Why Can’t These Ladies Tie Back Their Hair???

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to action movies/TV shows is when the female characters have long hair and they don’t tie it back. It drives me insane to watch because of course their hair always looks nice (that entertainment magic!) but I know how impractical it is.

Listen to me: long hair is annoying. I know this because I have long hair. I love my hair, I do, but my left wrist always has two hair elastics on it because there are moments I just gotta tie it back. Like sometimes I have to tie it back when I’m studying or writing an essay because even constantly looking down at my keyboard or a book causes my hair to fall in my face. I also tie it back when I sleep because I don’t like it choking me when I turn my head.

And while I love seeing more and more amazing ladies in midst of the action on various superhero shows and whatnot, I get so annoyed watching a lot of them engage in combat and quick movements and knowing that in real life, their movements would be very hindered because of their long hair. It’s very impractical in battle.

The other night while watching the mid-season finale of Agents Of SHIELD, I tweeted this upon seeing one character have her hair back in a braid:

(Natalia Cordova retweeted it and my mentions blew up and my night was officially made)

A braid is even better than a pony-tail because that way the hair is constricted even more. I personally do not like my hair pulled back in a pony-tail and I try to only do it when I’m alone. I just don’t think it suits me. So when playing quidditch, I’ve been experimenting with only tying the front part back, which frees my peripherals (and is also a look Yo-yo has rocked). But if I ever really needed all my hair back, of course I’d sacrifice my vanity for the greater good.

Here are just a few characters off the top of my head who would benefit from doing the same.

Peggy Carter’s one flaw.
Kara always seems to be fighting and flying on slightly windy days and yet, her hair is ALWAYS free. She'll tie it up for Thanksgiving dinner, but saving the world? Nah
Kara always seems to be fighting and flying on slightly windy days and yet, her hair is ALWAYS free. She’ll tie it up for Thanksgiving dinner, but saving the world? Nah
Natasha's hair in Avengers was perfect: short, stylish, and out of the way. Then from Winter Soldier onwards she decides to wear it long with a center part. Did they teach that in the Red Room?
Natasha’s hair in Avengers was perfect: short, stylish, and out of the way. Then from Winter Soldier onwards she decides to wear it long with a center part. Did they teach that in the Red Room?
SHIELD slaps their logo on everything. How about some SHIELD hair elastics, yeah?
SHIELD slaps their logo on everything. How about some SHIELD hair elastics, yeah?
 Hair aside, both Sara and Laurel also have the mask to interfere with vision. What a combo. Though, admittedly, sometimes in Legends Sara does have her hair kind of slicked back or tied up if it works with the time they're in...
Hair aside, both Sara and Laurel also have the mask to interfere with vision. What a combo. Though, admittedly, sometimes in Legends Sara does have her hair kind of slicked back or tied up if it works with the time they’re in…
That headband thing is doing NOTHING (except look cool)
That headband thing is doing NOTHING (except look cool)

But not all characters are disappointing me. Here are a few more gals off the top of my head who’ve at least done something to help, even if it’s not the best:

A ponytail is good, but what if Electra used her bandana thing to hold her long bangs back?
A ponytail is good, but what if Electra used her bandana thing to hold her long bangs back?
Pigtails are not a common look for anyone above the age of seven, but Harley's hair is out of her face. I feel like they could still be a hassle though, with the hair being at the sides rather than the back.
Pigtails are not a common look for anyone above the age of seven, but Harley’s hair is out of her face. I feel like they could still be a hassle though, with the hair being at the sides rather than the back.
 Most of Bellatrix's hair is pinned up and back, which is a start, but clearly she still has hair in her face. That being said, I don't think she cares.
Most of Bellatrix’s hair is pinned up and back, which is a start, but clearly she still has hair in her face. That being said, I don’t think she cares.

And then there are the ladies who know what’s up. They know to tie back their hair or have a haircut that is ideal for their line of work. Here are a few:

It's the best gif I could find, but Jesse Quick has her hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. Nice.
It’s the best gif I could find, but Jesse Quick has her hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. Nice.
Look at this. All her hair is pulled back in a tight bun. And though her bangs are free, they're above her eyes and won't interfere with her vision. This is just another reason as to why she's Fury's right hand (wo)man.
Look at this. All her hair is pulled back in a tight bun. And though her bangs are free, they’re above her eyes and won’t interfere with her vision. This is just another reason as to why she’s Fury’s right hand (wo)man.
I've never even seen this movie but I gotta give props to Rey for tying her hair back (and in her own unique style).
I’ve never even seen this movie but I gotta give props to Rey for tying her hair back (and in her own unique style).
Rita Vrataski from Edge Of Tomorrow had her hair pulled back all the time, even when doing yoga. Amazing.
Rita Vrataski from Edge Of Tomorrow had her hair pulled back all the time, even when doing yoga. Amazing.

 

Hair is a great thing and I have no plans to lose mine, but it is a hassle and it is a thing that interferes with action and I wish the makers of these shows and movies would stop trying to pretend it’s no big deal. I don’t care if the characters are like me and don’t look their best with their hair back, I’d rather everyone be safe and functional than attractive. If surgeons have to tie their hair back when doing surgery and the teenager who serves my nuggets at McDonalds has to wear a hair net, I don’t understand why the people who save our fictional worlds can just run around with their hair flapping all about.

If I have to hit up Walmart and buy hair elastics to send to TV and movie sets I will, just let me know.

Is anyone else bothered by this? I mean, I guess dudes who’ve only ever had short hair don’t fully understand (which is probably one reason why it’s happening), but I hope any male readers I have read this and get a feeling for what I’m feeling. But while we’re on the topic of males, this problem can affect y’all too:

Gods need hair elastics as well.
Gods need hair elastics as well.

 

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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.

Image result for weaknesses gif

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.

    Related image
    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.

Image result for baby animals

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.

monthly look ahead

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).

Image result for hairspray live

  • 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)

same

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.

list-1 list-2 list-3 list-4

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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