Saturday, February 15, 2014

Life Updates

First of all, I once again changed the blog name/URL. Even when I changed it last time I wasn't completely happy with it but I kept it around for several months anyway. This time I really do like it and plan to keep it permanently... probably.

Lately I feel as though I’ve been slacking in the “personal” aspect of this blog – I’ve been keeping a fairly regular posting schedule, but the last time I actually shared something that happened in my life was my trip to New York City last December. Part of this is due to the fact that I’m a full-time student so I don’t feel like I have all that much to share, but then I realized that beneath the 30+ hours of homework I do each week there is actually quite a lot happening. (And if I'm honest, I'm partially doing this to cut down on questions about myself from people I know in real life.) 

Every year around this time when the seasons start to transition again I get the urge to change big things in my life. Of the important, interesting, life-altering changes, I've officially applied to change majors from Undecided to International Studies. I most likely won't hear back until the end of March but I'm excited to have definitely narrowed it down to something I'm passionate about and am thrilled to study. I've also begun looking for a new job this summer. I hope to finish updating my resume this week and then I can start using my university's resources to look for internships. 

As to progress on my New Year's resolutions, I'm getting there. I've read a few nonfiction books, much fewer than I would've liked, but I've balanced it out by reading loads of articles on a weekly basis (and thus maintained my status as an in-the-know citizen). I have read a higher quality selection of fiction books, so I've succeeded so far on that front. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, I applied to enter International Studies, and I've been doing some research into other majors and minors offered at my university, as well as narrowing down where I want to study abroad and beginning to search for summer internships.

Most of what has been happening recently are small steps toward (hopefully) bigger and more exciting changes. I have broad ideas of what I want to accomplish in my slightly less than 3.5 years left of college (study abroad, undergraduate research, internships), and this semester I can only begin the processes. But, I am making progress and I am slowly but steadily getting to where I want to be later in life.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 | January Favourites

movie - Gravity. With the Academy Awards coming up in a little over a month, I've spent January catching up on some of the nominees. Gravity was my favourite visually. It's a gripping thriller of an astronaut fighting to stay alive after being trapped in space with limited resources. While the storyline was engaging, it was its visual appeal that really hooked me. The effects were entirely believable, a fact that I better appreciated when I learned that the director, Alfonso CuarĂ³n, waited several years for the technology to catch up with his vision for the film before starting production. I also loved the uncommon way that long scenes were shot -- the opening sequence is an uninterrupted 12-minute long section. Gravity has been nominated for Oscar nominations in a wide variety of categories (it's tied with American Hustle with 10 nominations each) alongside 80 other awards and nominations, proving it to be a truly spectacular piece of film.
TV show - Sherlock, Series 3. After being on hiatus for two years, the third series of Sherlock was met with frantic anticipation and plenty of tears from the Tumblr fandom. And it didn't disappoint. Although it was vastly different from the previous two series, it was a good change. There was more character development in nearly every character and we were able to better see what makes Sherlock the way he is -- we get glimpses into his childhood and more family moments with Mycroft and their parents. Molly grows more of a spine around Sherlock, Anderson is made likable, John gets married to Mary (a fantastic new character), Lestrade's name is mixed up on more occasions, and most importantly, a certain famous somebody returns. There were lots of surprises and comical moments and sad moments and overall it was a fantastic season.

TV show, honourable mention - Being Human (UK), Series 5. Netflix put up the 5th series of Being Human in December and I finally got around to watching it this past month. It was a fantastic way to end an amazing show; I love when producers know it's the final season and so they can tie up all the loose knots and give the show a satisfactory ending. The thing I always loved about Being Human was that each season was completely unique and different from each other, so they could take this final season in a new direction and give the characters a happier ending than the original characters received. I wasn't too sure at first when they introduced the devil as the season's villain, but they surprisingly pulled it off really well and kept him unlikeable and creepy (yes I'm looking at you, Supernatural). The new trio was completely different from the original set but were just as loveable.
book - Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I've never read any of Adichie's books before this one, but if Americanah is anything to judge by, I may have found my new favourite author. Americanah is one of the most thought-provoking and beautifully written novels I've ever read. Despite it being work of fiction, the author wove in her own Nigerian background to tackle issues of race and relationships in the modern world. Other reviewers have wrote that they didn't feel Adichie completely addressed each of these topics and while I agree, I preferred it this way. Each section of the book showed which area the main character, Ifemula, struggled with the most at that point in her life, which gave the narrative a realistic feel.

album/artist - Warpaint by Warpaint. I'm surprising myself by putting this on here as I've never been a Warpaint fan, but the release of their sophomore, self-titled album was enough to sway me over to their side. I enjoy the atmosphere the album provides more than the actual music itself, but their soft rock sound has a way of growing on me. Warpaint has joined my ever-growing collection of study music. Favourite track: Biggy.

album/artist, honourable mention #1 - Tribute by John Newman. Newman's debut album released in the US this month and it's been getting plenty of airtime on my computer. His 60s-esque blend of soul and pop is highly addicting and the songs get stuck in my head all the time. There's nothing truly groundbreaking with this album, but if you want something that's fun to listen to, I highly recommend this one. Favourite track(s): Losing Sleep and Gold Dust.
album/artist, honourable mention #2 - All This Bad Blood by Bastille. This is more a quick mention since I've already talked about this album in an earlier post (found here), but I just wanted to briefly share that it released in the US this month and I've been listening to it constantly. Favourite track: The Draw.

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