Showing posts with label geeky lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label geeky lifestyle. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

An Ode to DVDs + my recent haul

Last month when my sister and I discovered that the only sole local DVD rental store was closing, the news was bittersweet. Many Christmases or afternoons while my mom shopped for groceries were spent at this store where we could hang with the cashiers and talk about movies.

We'd be lying if we didn't see the signs that a massive clearance sale was looming. Last year the shop divided its space into DVDs and (overpriced) pop culture merchandise you can find in Target or HotTopic. The move essentially cut the movie buff demographic in half. Who wanted to see all the dvds squished to the side for toys and gadgets you could buy next door at Wal-Mart? People sprinkled in to rent movies and even attend midnight release parties, but not in droves like they used to.

It was weird to visit the store as it was closing down, and seeing all of these DVDs marked down, like WAY WAY DOWN. (I can't lament too much about this: I saved like $200....) That's really where this very rare dvd haul comes from.


In this awesome world of streaming whatever we want wherever we are, are DVDs officially going out of style? I guess, in a lot of ways, yes, especially for people who don't live like a cave person.

Similar stores like Blockbusters aren't around anymore. Grocery stores have RedBoxes, so renting is still available but the physical location of hanging out with other geeks or parents taking their kids pick out a special Friday night movie (a faded tradition my aunt I had with me and my cousins) has become a thing of the past.

With all of the instant access we have to movies these days, it's hard to remember a time when DVDs were in-style. Almost twenty years ago news broke out that these strange but awesome little discs were going to replace VHS tapes. It was a totally weird concept: discs? like a CD? how would we tape shows to them? WHAAATTT? That's not gonna last. Subsequently, Me and my sister spent that whole summer saving up for our own television, DVD player, and our first buys: The Mummy and Twister. DVDs were once the ultra-cool way of the future.

The massive transformation of VHS to DVDs soon ushered in other eras like Dial-Up to Wifi, CDs to Ipods, and VHS Players to DVR devices.

Some things never really disappear. Vinyl records for the masses temporarily vanished but it's been coming back. People used to claim that books would be dead and replaced with kindles and ebooks, but literature is flourishing with bookworms. In fact Barnes and Noble sales have plummeted online but risen with physical stores. The community is as active as fandom culture with the conversation about what are you reading and what do you want to read growing exponentially.

But the future for movies looks more and more like it's going to be online in some form of streaming content; less dvds, less movie theaters, less of it in a physical sense. Which is ironic considering this I blog about movies that I, for the most part, watch on my tablet.

When everything is just tapped into online by a smartphone, tablet, or our televisions now, the tangible feelings I have towards movies are getting lost in the shuffle.

My sister and I made memories searching up and down the aisles for that one title we wanted to take home with us, or muddling through the subtle disappointment when some indie movie wasn't in stock and hoping for better luck next time.

Sometimes it's nice to have something physical of a movie similar to the popular ebooks and physical copies debate. Kindles are great to carry 100 books wherever we go, but physical copies are more intimate i.e. holding a book in our lap while sipping a cup of coffee or cuddling into bed.

I'm ALSO a person who, as much as she loves to stream Jessica Jones over and over, has thought: when is Netflix gonna release this on DVD? Not only do I have regular EPIC moments of brain-fartery, but I do get a little giddy popping a DVD in and getting comfy for a movie night, and that somehow feels different to me than streaming.

Amazon, and what's left of stores like Wal-Mart, Target, etc. will surely still stock DVDs as far as we can tell. Getting a movie shipped to my house is a great convenience, but makes the experience of being among other movie buffs a thing of the past. DVDs might not be going out of style just yet; they're just taking on another form that I'll guess I'll have to get on board with....soon.

P.S. The haul itself was pretty good. I bought a fair amount of movies I just wouldn't pay full-price for i.e. Leatherheads, Eat Pray Love, and Loser. I was so excited to get Gone Girl and have watched it....quite a few times. I think my sister and mom suspect there's something wrong with me.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

5 Ideas To Get Out of A Streaming Slump

Maybe it's the summer heat down here in Florida, or I'm just in a really bad movie rut. Because I am having a really difficult time watching any kind of movie. And, nothing feels less inspiring as a movie buff or blogger than to watch a dozen movies and come away feeling BLAH about them all.

Sure, we all don't like a movie here and there. Typically, even when I watch a flick that isn't an instant fave or something I'd watch again, I still try to find something redeemable.

After watching a string of movies that just weren't any good, where I just felt like I wasted my time, where I couldn't find something that made me go Well it was all right because this actor's performance stood out or at least this scene made me laugh, doubts arise when I go to watching something new: what if I just don't end up liking it? or it gives me nothing new to think/write/talk about?

Basically, my curiosity or excitement to watch movies has dried up for the time being. I know I want to watch something but I just don't know where to start. I wanted to fix how I or others can get back on the film wagon. These are five ideas on how to get out of a streaming slump. Good luck!

See What's Popular

Hype by critics and other movie goers can easily ward off interest. Sometimes that praise pays off. See what's popular around town; what gets good ratings on RottenTomatoes and IMDB. There's nothing wrong with following the herd sometimes.

Ask Friends

Your loved ones have surely seen something recently that they liked or are prepared to tell everyone to avoid like the plague. Ring up, or text a friend and simply ask. Also, browse around on some movie blogs and see the reviews circulating that might give you the confidence to check out.

Letterboxd is a great tool for gauging what other movie lovers are liking or hating. (I like to use it as a diary of what I've seen already because sometimes my Dory-ness kicks in and I forget.) When you follow fellow letterboxers, you can easily get new ideas of things to watch because their activity shows up your dashboard. You're easily reminded of "Hey, I meant to check that out!".

Watch an Old Fave

If your tingly senses are so strong for watching something you've already seen once or a million times, go for it! No amount of trying to find something new or cool or what other people have seen is going to shake what you are really in the mood for. GO - dig into your list on Hulu, Netflix, or dvd shelf, and dust off your old favorite! Nothing wrong with an oldie but a goodie.


Browse for Similar Tastes

After you watch an old favorite or take a recommendation a friend made, you might want to watch something similar. Luckily, the web has some options for suggestions.

TasteKid recommends similar options to any movie you search on. You can not only find movies on this site, but also books, tv shows, and music.

MovieLens is a similar website to Letterboxd, only you don't have to manually add movies to a watch-list. On a star system you rate or hide a list of movies you've seen, and their generator picks personalized options for you. When you start a free account, you even get to choose your favorite genres, which is already a step in eliminating some overwhelming choices.

Kick its Ass

So maybe you're doing a few of the above and still nothing clicks. While you're browsing, close your eyes and just pick something at random. Try something, or anything, and see if it floats your boat. Take a leap of faith and don't let doubts overwhelm your experience. You found it: now kick its ass and watch it - no holds barred and no regrets. GO FOR IT.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ranking the Best and Worst Every Flavor Beans

One of the best things about being a fangirl is when food, places, or merchandise come to life straight out of a book, movie, or television show.

Every Harry Potter fan has wanted to live out fantasies from J.K. Rowling's series - receiving a letter from Hogwarts, having the wand choose us, and so many other things. We've all definitely wanted to snack on Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans from Honeydukes. When I got my hands on some Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (truly from HoneyDukes!), it was pretty freakin' magical.

What's fun about Every Flavor Beans is that you never know what flavors you're gonna get. I'm not sure if the manufacturers have a quota for certain flavors to be in every package, or if it's just random. Mine had at least one of every flavor, so I felt very lucky.

(If you're looking to try some of these out for yourself or haven't visited Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks yet, you can also find them here!)

For my first try, I picked random ones and tried guessing the flavor. Let me tell you, I didn't think a jelly bean could get as good as Marshmallow and then as bad as Vomit or Dirt. Gradually I ranked the best and worst, and thought it'd be fun to share my thoughts below.
Harry Potter instagram

Initial Thoughts: 

Banana - Sorry Minions! It's not a good flavor, no matter what incarnation it takes.
Black Pepper - Pretty spicy!
Blueberry - Strongest flavor next to cinnamon and soap but tastes GOOD.
Booger -  Doesn't have a specific taste but feels slimier the longer it lasts in your mouth. UGH.
Candyfloss - Cotton candy with a hint of floral-scented perfume. Nice!
Cherry - Already my favorite flavor, so it's hard to not love this. Tastes exactly like cherry.
Cinnamon - Maybe my tongue is just sensitive but it's HOT! so so HOT!
Dirt - Imagine garden manure as a taste. Yep, that's it.
Earthworm - Doesn't taste too different from dirt, maybe slightly less stronger.
Earwax - It's deceptive to tell Earwax apart from Sherbert Lemon. Their colors are pretty similar. It's surprisingly crunchy.
Grass - Pretty sharp flavor, kinda like the smell of freshly mowed grass.
Green Apple - A little disappointed. It's not as sour as you would expect.
Marshmallow - Like a fluffy mini-smores you can pop into your mouth anytime. COOL!
Rotten Egg - Actually, sweeter than expected. I thought it would be muskier.
Sausage - A little difficult to tell Sausage apart from Dirt. Simple BBQ flavor that's not overwhelming.
Sherbert Lemon - I can see why it's Dumbledore's favorite. Sweet and not too sour.
Soap - YUCK. NASTY. Actually made my stomach churn.
Tutti-Fruitti - Fruitilicious with a hint of bubble-gum, but not very memorable.
Vomit - ABSOLUTE WORST. Exactly like bile.
Watermelon - Some tasted like fresh watermelon, others tasted warm and rotten.

Official Rankings:

Best: Marshmallow, Cinnamon, Blueberry, Cherry
Personal faves: Marshmallow, Candy Floss
A-Okay:  Banana, Sherbert Lemon, Sausage, Tutti Frutti, Watermelon
Most Creative: Bogie and Dirt. Bogie doesn't have a strong flavor but creative texture. Dirt is right on with its flavor (I'd imagine anyways).
Could Be Stronger: Green Apple, Rotten Eggs, Earwax, Grass
Worst: Vomit, Soap, and Dirt. Interesting to try, but all made me absolutely nauseous.

Have you tried Every Flavor Beans?
What's your favorite or least favorite flavor?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

♫ Florence and the Machine Concert ♫

Florence and the Machine Concert Orlando 2016
I don't really know how to talk about music. It's not really my thing to geek about here. Mostly because it's a little bit more personal than movies or books. I can't really express how a song canmake an impact, physically and emotionally. A little less than the mental commitment it takes to engage my imagination towards books, or immerse myself in a movie, a song can wash away stress, make me blissfully happy and on top of the world, or just take me to another place.

But after attending a concert by Florence and the Machine recently, there was just no stopping me from gabbing about it everywhere. 'Cause it was AMAZING.

Florence and the Machine Concert Orlando 2016
Amazing probably isn't even the only word I can think to describe it. If you know her music, she's very ethereal, bohemian rock. With a visual album How Big, How Bold, How Beautiful (similar to Beyonce's recent HBO hit Lemonade), she doubles-down on what her life has been like since becoming a chart-topper in 2010. Alcoholism and a near mental breakdown inspired her latest work. She rocks on about destructive hangovers, keeping a solid foundation among chaos, and finding her way back.

Having attended Lady Gaga's Fame Monster/Monster tour way back when, there was a slight anticipation of seeing a persona more than a band. Not that Lady Gaga can't sing or perform, but sometimes the image, the squad, the branded lifestyle can outdo the music for a lot of mainstream artists (for me, at least). Not that Florence is mainstream, but she's a little off the radar than what typically produces a commercial radio hit. My sister and I thought Florence might re-create her Odyssey album verbatim with visual effects of the sky, dancers, and a story playing out on megatron screens. I didn't know what to expect, but I guessed it would be like a bohemian-rock version of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life.
The second she hit the stage, it was just a concert but not just any concert. She moved through a line-up of her most recent tracks like Third Eye and some of her earlier hits (Dog Days Are Over) with ease - no brand or studio enforced persona. Just a kick-ass girl in a pink and white suit with flaming ginger hair rocking out.

Thankfully, my Elastigirl-like arms weren't mistaken for selfie sticks and banned, so I captured what I could. Super tall people surrounded me, so I tried to avoid the mysterious shadows of hands popping up. I apologize for the shakiness. Most of the time I was shooting way over my head. My little point-and-shoot does the best it can.

Ship to Wreck is only about a minute long (above). (Here's a link to the full song!) It's my very personal favorite song from her string of tracks, so I only recorded a little breaking out into a dance.

My sister absolutely loves What Kind of Man (below). There was no way I could pass up trying to record. This is much more of a fuller video, so I didn't disappoint.


Her whole album comes from someplace so organic, I can't even really imagine where its source is. The way she arranges words to music, and then music to videos, is edgy but not grabbing for attention; ethereal and light but also honest. She wrestles against lovers and herself, wanting love but also struggling to not let it tear her down, or understanding what motivates her to wreck parts of her life.

Watching Florence was like a mix of Janis Joplin and Freddy Mercury coming to life. Like Joplin, her genuine love of her music shows through every note. She does these gentle movements with her hands, like she's grabbing insane high notes and roars out of thin air. Like Mercury, she knows how to command attention. Everyone is just pulled into every song bellowing with her. Like them both, she has an insane amount of energy running all over the stage - not in a bid to just run all over the stage like a maniac, but just like the music can't be contained.

Florence and the Machine Concert Orlando 2016Funnily enough between songs, the softest British voice would emerge, anxious with adrenaline and also a timid kindness. She questioned if we were enjoying ourselves and if it was okay to share a story of what inspired her to write. One second we'd have this amazing BOOMING voice, and the next she shyly thanked us for allowing her to share what she created.

Part of me feels like you have to be there, in the moment when it comes to any kind of music - especially with a concert. The energy is just so hard to explain but seeing Florence was electric. It was the kind of concert, like a lot of music, that just changes you and creates an everlasting memory. This concert was the second stop on her U.S. tour, I can't imagine if she was feeling trepidation after such a long break. She was very surprised and grateful by how many of us were following her lead. I'd really gladly do it again any day.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

I Survived The Ultimate Captain America Marathon

Batman used to be my favorite superhero.  It's fair to say I was far outside the Captain America bandwagon when The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier hit theaters. At the time other movies pressed my attention much more like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Divergent, respectively. When my sister introduced me to the Sentinel of Liberty with the Winter Soldier in 2014, a whole new world opened up.

My first time watching the movie sparked an obsession for everything Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter, Bucky Barnes, and their whole universe. Two years later and I was quite literally jumping out my pants for the Ultimate Captain America marathon. I didn't know I could get so excited! It was months in the making, and then it was finally here!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kindred Spirit Guide: Bridget Jones

Are you looking to find your spirit animal? To help you define your pop culture spirit animal, I've matched traits of personality, humor, and even sex to famous and favorite movie and tv characters. Here is my latest guide with iconic British literature and film character: Bridget Jones.

Your Special Totem: A diary, in which you write what you mean when your write..but then you don't mean what your wrote. Eh, we all know diaries are full of crap anyways.

In Your Circle You're Famous For: Verbal diarrhea.

Your Life Motto: It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.

Personality: There are elements about the ridiculous with you like not being well-gifted at public speaking. Despite what self-consciousness makes you feel like, you're not an idiot. Every year you start out wholly and beautifully optimistic to make changes and empower yourself...then somewhere along the way you let the world be harsh to you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

10 Magical Lessons I Learned from Once Upon A Time

Lessons I Learned from Once Upon A Time
Once Upon A Time is one of my favorite shows. For those who are not familiar of the ABC series, the creators of Lost took our favorite fairytales and turned them on their head.

Emma Swan, also nicknamed the Savior, encounters iconic fictional characters like Snow White, the Evil Queen, the Savior, Rumplestiltskin, Peter Pan, Jiminy Cricket, and Pinocchio in the real world, a place known as Storybrooke, Maine.

What I love about this show is that it takes characters we know from books, movies, and legends and watch them forge through pain, make sacrifices, pined for real love or faced their fears. It's always refreshing to watching them overcome challenges in positive and enlightening ways. Whether it's defeating evil or accepting their inner wickedness, Once Upon A Time offers plenty of life lessons.

Monday, May 18, 2015

10 Geeky Things That Helped Me Survive Community College

For many students (not judging), drinking and partying is a fun way to let loose from obligations at school. Call me a prude but being hungover or tired the next day never sat well with me. Again, call me lame, but I usually sat at my laptop binge-watching shows, movies, or clips. Sometimes a movie or a funny montage helped me laugh away stress or refocus my attention from endless hours of studying.

For others who are feeling the pressures of academia, and similarly may not be the partying kind, here is a compiled list of favorite things that helped me survive. I hope it may serve as inspiration to keep track of what helps you endure your own desperate or bored days ahead.

Gravity
The two year waiting period it took to see this movie in 2013 was such a relief. Not only because it was good, but that it was SO GOOD. Ryan's attempt at survival took my breath away the first time I watched it. When I listened to the soundtrack, despite causing so much terror in the film, surprisingly helped me fall asleep when I was too anxious about school the following day.

Harry Potter
There aren't any words to express the impact of Harry Potter on my life. Even though I didn't fully experience the Harry Potter series as a fandom until the last movie was released, the books and movies on repeat allowed me to escape into another world. The series also helped me realize my own love of writing, which I had been putting off and inspired me to accept my final degree change to English.


Matthew McConaughey / Oscar speech
My boy McConaughey delivered an awesome performance for The Dallas Buyers Club. He gave an even more impressive and inspiring speech when he accepted the Oscar for Best Actor. I loved his philosophy of needing three things in life: something to look up to, something to look forward to, and something/someone to chase.

Speeches (of any kind)
At the height of the Harry Potter phenomenon, J.K. Rowling gave a commencement speech at Harvard. It's so inspirational an illustrative book of her powerful words will be released next year. Like McConnaughey's speech which really came into use towards the end of my collegiate life, speeches or TED Talks can give amazing perspective on your goals or offer inspiration for the future.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I really don't know how many times I've watched this splendid adaptation. One characteristic that always made me go back for more was Sam (played by Emma Watson). Her goals to discover who she is, succeed in college, and want someone to fall in love with her (not an idea of her), made college easier to bear and feel less alone.

Silver Linings Playbook Trailer
Perhaps the most dated and unrelatable item on the list is this one. For a whole semester I had to wait an hour for one of my sister's classes to end before we could drive home. The library computers were running on hamsters and there was really nothing for me to do (not even homework). The biggest way I entertained myself was switching between reading Silver Linings Playbook and watching this trailer again and again and again. The trailer (not really the movie) was a ridiculously huge fandom for me.

Find that trailer to a movie you really want to see and hype yourself up; give yourself something to look forward to passed all those project deadlines.

Waterloo
Even though I'm a genuine fan of ABBA, Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep is a bit of a guilty pleasure. It's shameless flamboyancy is best when the cast gathers for a closing credits performance of Waterloo. They are just having a lot of fun. Can anyone ever forget the image of Pierce, Colin, and Stellan in those jumpsuits?



Bloopers
Once Upon A TimeThe Office, game show mistakes, hilarious Family Feud moments - you name it. Laughter is truly the best medicine.


Craig Ferguson
The Late Late Show offered wacky, and even thought-provoking, moments. It's impossible to sum it up with one pick. In the video above, Larry King takes over the voice for talking robot Geoffrey. It may the best and worst idea Ferguson ever had. Also check out every interview of the late Robin Williams as a guest. CLASSIC.

Gordon Ramsey Uncensored
Yes, laughter is the best medicine. And, expressing your frustration through uncensored Gordon Ramsay rants is a close second. His rants are downright shameful, make anyone's ears bleed or jaw's drop. Sometimes listening to them were just what I needed more than even the cheeriest video. These videos are not safe for a workplace but they might help you make it through another frustrating day.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Let's Go (Back) To There: Twister Soundstage

Universal Studios Twister Movie Attraction
I love Twister. One of the perks of living in Florida is the occasional visit to Universal Studios Orlando. An attraction that somehow has managed to avoid renovation is the Twister Soundstage; a walk-through that promotes the 1996 movie and replicates a major action scene where guests "survive" a twister. Every time I go to Universal Studios I'm not gonna lie that I have to do this attraction. It's a little cheesy and hokey but it's entertaining and a throwback to a fun 90s blockbuster.

As early as summer 2014, recent rumors have risen whether it's time for this dated yet still popular attraction to be replaced. Hope you enjoy the ride!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Life (So Far) As Illustrated by Movie Characters


photograph by Alexei Izmaylov

Today is my birthday; I turned twenty-five. To be honest, my mind was entirely blank about how to commemorate the day on this blog.

Celebrating my birthday isn't really my thing, but as a person who is always reflecting on something, it's a great opportunity to focus on how events, people, time, and especially movies, change perspectives or made me grow. In the birthday post last year, my stroll down memory lane was about films thatshaped my movie-watching experiences so far.

Friday, August 1, 2014

AFI's Best in Film 100 Years 100 Movies Exhibit Photos

Each Walt Disney World theme park celebrates something unique; for Animal Kingdom it's nature, at Magic Kingdom you see all of your favorite characters, and so on. Disney's Hollywood Studios, once upon a time named MGM Studios, celebrates the worlds of film, television, and music with attraction rides, shows, and restaurants inspired by icons from Hollywood and beyond.

If you've been to Disney's Hollywood Studios in the past ten or fifteen years, you may have come the Studio Backlot Tour. After a vehicle ride of movie props showcased on the theme park grounds, guests are taken to a brief walk-through museum of film props like costumes, photos with information, and old film cameras. For almost several years the exhibit showcased famous film villains like Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood, Darth Vader and storm troopers from Star Wars, and Aliens from the Alien series.

Recently on a visit to Hollywood Studios, I was pleased to see that the museum has an entirely new look with artifacts from Hollywood's most iconic motion pictures. Now titled: AFI's Best in Film: 100 Years, 100 Movies