My Online Shopping Nightmare

Hi hello, are you an Amazon Primer? If you’re not then it’s probably just because you’ve never tried it. This past Christmas, as usual I left my shopping to the last minute. While I was at work stressing about all the shopping that still had to be done my boss kindly offered me her Amazon Prime account to get all my Christmas shopping done with one click. Amazon changed everything for me. However, I was playing a dangerous game. It’s so easy to get consumed by the one-click and done lifestyle, especially for someone who is already addicted to shopping as is. Really, Amazon sets up the perfect shopping environment: rude people, walking up and down aisles trying to find what you’re looking for, or the dreaded long lines!! You can do all your shopping from the comfort of your home. Don’t have a car? No worries, you can have it delivered! Sick and stuck in bed? No worries you can do it snuggled up in your blankets! Shopping sure has changed over the years.

 

The other day my friend said she had to go PICK UP her groceries. I went with her thinking, maybe I heard wrong but boy was I in for a surprise when she walks up to a locker says some magic words (she just keyed in some code) and there were her groceries. I thought that was incredibly advanced. Suddenly, I swear it felt like I just blinked and next thing I know Amazon Go happens. If you haven’t heard of Amazon Go it’s basically a store with no cash registers. You are only granted access when you scan in with your Amazon account and that’s basically it. You grab what you need and walk out. Thanks to some witchcraft (cameras) Amazon knows what it is you have “purchased” and charges you Amazon account. See, I find all of this stuff super cool but again it’s so dangerous! I have no self control, making this easy will just lead to me spending ridiculous amounts of money. I guess I should just get used to being broke now.

Jessimae Takes On Vancouver

There’s nothing I love more than to have a good laugh with friends. I’m sure you like laughing at life just as much as I do, I mean how could you not? My favourite kind of comedy is a very honest humour. The kind that immediately makes you red in the face because you can totally relate to it and you’re also lowkey glad that you’re not alone. Girl Code was my first introduction to this kind of comedy, where these women came and just got really real about all the disgusting, crazy, and weird things almost every woman has probably done. I don’t know about you but for me, I often felt like I had to hide some of these things because I was taught that saying something like “I have to poop” out loud wasn’t ladylike and made me less desirable. I quickly learned that wasn’t the case, and that’s all thanks to the Girl Code gang. Girl Code first started back in 2013 and ever since then I have followed several of the comedians through their careers. When I heard that Girl Code OG Jessimae Peluso would be visiting Vancouver while on tour, I knew that I had to go. I had to shoot-my-shot, slide into those DM’s (Ok, I emailed) and set up an interview. Keep in mind it has now been 5 years of me following these ladies lives via social media so I know random tidbits about their lives that a complete stranger wouldn’t, and that kind of makes me feel like a stalker.

It had been a while since I had done an interview so of course I was nervous and Hello!!! I am a huge fan so I was internally fangirling. Right off the bat, the moment Jessimae greeted me with a hug, I knew I had nothing to worry about. She was friendly and conversation with her flowed easily. She’s that person in a room that talks to everyone like she’s known them forever and you desperately want to befriend. I’d like to say she’s confident but that word just doesn’t seem to be enough. She has this self assurance that just puts you at ease, instantly grounding you to the present moment. I know it’s a cliche to say it was a magical interview but honest, it was! It’s always magical when someone can have you border-line crying in laughter (it’s only borderline because I was trying really hard to compose myself and also I was still internally freaking out) but also blow your mind with their very real opinion on life. If you don’t believe me then just go see for yourself. She has 2 shows both tonight and Saturday night at the Comedy Mix downtown. Stay tuned for the full interview!

Poetry Reimagined

Chances are that your first introduction to poetry included the classic works of William Shakespeare or some other great historical poet who, let’s be real, has long ago left the face of the Earth. So while I can appreciate these amazing poets and their work it’s not always the most ideal starter poet. In fact, in recent years poetry has been reimagined and many of these great present-day poets have flourished. People have really shown their appreciation for the art. One of the reasons I think people have been very receptive is due to the fact that the poetry is more relatable and it’s more in tune with the times. Poetry has actually evolved to the point that some of these modern poets go on tours and share their work live.

 

  • Rupi Kaur: Just last year Rupi Kaur has visited Vancouver twice to share her poetry with Vancouverites. This canadian poet has seen so much success in the most recent years with the release of her books Milk and Honey (2015) and The Sun and Her Flowers (2017).
  • Jhene Aiko Efuru Chilombo: After the release of her most recent album Trip, Jhene Aiko Efuru Chilombo released her first book 2Fish which is full of poems and short stories she has written over the years. Poetry is a very personal form of expression but this book takes it even further with hand-written copies of some of Chilombos work.

  • Alysia Harris: I first discovered Alysia Harris in a youtube video in which she was performing a spoken word poem. She does an exceptional job of telling a story through a sea of metaphors that to some may seem scattered but that’s kind of the beauty of it. I have yet to read her book How Much We Must Have Looked Like Stars to Stars but it was the winner of the 2015 New Women’s Voices Series.

  • Joshua Bennett: The day I stumbled upon Joshua Bennett was the day I fell in love with poetry again. He’s a master in his craft and his success is proof of just how talented he is. He has done several tours performing his poems live and sharing his thoughts in efforts to spread awareness on societal issues he is passionate about. His book The Sobbing School gives very deep look into both the historical and contemporary black experience.

 

These poets are just examples of how poetry can be used to make a change and how beautiful of an art it is.

Black Panther: The Album Review

Are you just as excited about the upcoming Black Panther movie? Yea, me too. My excitement for Black Panther has lead to me obsessing over everything and anything that has to do with Black Panther. It started off with reading some of the comics and as soon as Black Panther: The Album was released I listened to it non-stop for 3 days and no, I’m not even being extra this time around.

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler said he chose Kendrick Lamar to produce the album because he felt that Lamar’s “artistic themes align with those we explore in the film” and although I haven’t seen the movie yet, there’s no doubt in my mind Lamar was the right choice. All The Stars was the first single from the album to be released which features SZA and it basically set the bar quite high for the rest of the album. Shortly after, the music video was released and it proved that Coogler was right to choose Lamar as producer for the album.

The album is packed with amazing artists that I feel in one way or another fit the creative theme that the movie sets.

The album starts intense but quickly shifts into a smooth piano but don’t get too comfortable because just as quick as it went into the smooth piano it also quickly picks up tempo once again. The roller coaster of shifts between intense and smooth carry through the entirety of the first song which only amped me up more. Much like the intro, the rest of the songs all each have their own unique tempo. The lyrics also do a great job of tying Lamar and the other artists to the movie and the story line,

“Who am I? Not your father, not your brother
Not your reason, not your future
Not your comfort, not your reverence, not your glory
Not your heaven, not your angel, not your spirit
Not your message, not your freedom
Not your people, not your neighbor
Not your baby, not your equal
Not the title y’all want me under
All hail King Killmonger”
– Kendrick Lamar in King’s Dead

Another thing I loved was that each artist really put their own flavour into each song. Rather than just being another feature on the album, they really owned the song and made it their own. What I enjoy most about the album is that no two songs sound alike and yet the songs still flow well together. To find the perfect balance between fluidity and uniqueness is a challenge for some artists but Lamar was able to find that middle ground and it resulted in a masterpiece. The album does a great job of preparing you for what I am sure will be an extraordinary movie.

Concert Addictions

Do you remember you first concert? Or better yet how old you were? Up until the age of 16 I had never been to a concert and was quite frankly appalled at the fact that people would actually pay money to just go watch someone sing. Don’t get me wrong, I thought these artists were great but I just didn’t understand. I was ignorant to the experience of it all. My first concert was to see a very popular Spanish singer Don Omar but let me tell you, the concert was far from glamorous. It was held in a banquet hall in Surrey. The place was dark, packed, and had crappy ventilation which just lead to a room of sweaty people packed like sardines. The stage was tiny but luckily I was rather close to the front which meant that I got a decent view but I seriously have no clue how anyone slightly further could possibly see anything. Based on that description, I think you can understand why I don’t really consider that my first concert. The next time I would attend a concert would be One Direction in 2013. Yes, I’m a Directioner and I’m not even ashamed so don’t even try and poke fun because it’s pointless. Needless to say, that One Direction was my first taste at a real concert and the — atmosphere. Ever since July 27, 2013 I’ve been addicted to concerts and it’s only gotten worse (or better depending on who you ask). For me it has become less about the artist and more about the environment and energy that is buzzing through the airwaves. The way the bass makes my whole body vibrate and everyone in that stadium/venue is vibing out to. The thing is that there are many people out there just like me, you might even be one of them. When I discovered that a friend of mine was addicted to concerts we became each others designated concert buddy.

The job of a designated concert buddy is very important. I mean chances are you’ll be going to the same concerts anyways but there will be the rare case in which one buddy might not necessarily know or like the artist but if that person can’t find someone else to accompany them, then the designated concert buddy has to step up to the plate and fill that spot. I can confidently say that I have been to several concerts not knowing the artist/band and yet I still enjoyed myself. The concert addiction grew and eventually turned into a music festival addiction as well. Here’s the thing though, I thought I was a concert addict but I saw began to dip my toes into that world I began to realize that my addiction is nothing in comparison to others. Take our very own Evolution member, Alexis Dayfoot. I swear that girl is attending on average a minimum of one concert per week. Ok so maybe that’s a little dramatic but she goes to a lot. Being a concert addict can be expensive in fact a lot of the time I catch myself lying to people about how much I spend on concert tickets because it’s a small fortune, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

MTV Is An Art

Chances are that if I were to mention a certain TV show you’d remember that certain time in your life when you first watched that TV show. Sometimes I even measure my life in terms of TV shows and episodes. I’ll catch myself saying something like “yea 2 seasons ago of Grey’s was when I went to that new restaurant downtown with Becky”. Sure, it’s not a real measurement for time but it makes sense in my mind. With the many classic TV shows that are making comebacks I’ve really started to reminisce on all the different TV shows I used to watch. Honestly, I’m at a point in my life where I can accept that I have a love for trash TV so it should come in no surprise that I’m excited for the Jersey Shore Reunion. Judge me all you want, but Jersey Shore holds fond memories of my not-so-rebellious youth. I cannot wait for my Thursdays to become Jerzdays once again. With the return of this particular garbage show, I’ve come to realize that MTV is the one guilty of producing so many of the shows I loved and yet were so terrible that most of them only lasted a few seasons. The one-hit-wonders of TV so to speak. I feel like MTV had the reality TV thing down so good that they figured why waste time with just one long standing show? Here are some of what I like to refer to as MTV Reality Royalty:

  • My Super Sweet 16: Let’s start off small with a classic. I mean the title basically says it all, it was a show of a bunch of spoiled teenagers and their journey to the big celebration of turning 16. While sometimes the birthday boy/girl would just be another unknown person sometimes there were specials which involved celebrity teens and their big bash. Honestly it was a very anti-climatic show, the most drama there ever was would be whether Quinn got the car they asked for or if Sam’s arch nemesis showed up uninvited. Looking back now, I think the whole show is ridiculous but 16 year old me LOVED it! Now I’m past that stage of my life, instead I tune into TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress to watch a woman pick out the perfect wedding dress. Ok, I admit, maybe it’s not much of an upgrade.
  • Life Of Ryan: I don’t know a thing about skateboards or skateboarding but you’re damn right I watched every single episode of this show. The show is about pro-skateboarder Ryan Sheckler and I won’t lie, prior to the show I had no idea who he was but one look into his gorgeous eyes and suddenly I was very interested in pro-skateboarding. I honestly can’t even justify this one, it was terrible.
  • Pimp My Ride: When I first started watching this show, I didn’t even know how to drive let alone had a car but boy was I invested in this show. The show would basically find someone with a beat up car and then completely transform it. I can admit though that as I got older I began to realize how ridiculous some of the transformations were. One particular case that has stuck with me was when they put a sink in the trunk of a car because the girl mentioned she was a hairdresser. Hi, hello, WestCoast Customs!?!?! Is she supposed to wash people’s hair in the back of her car?
  • Next/Parental Control: These shows basically SCREAM early 2000’s. Next was basically a speed version of the Bachelor if you think about it. There is the Bachelor/Bachelorette who goes on 5 blind dates, if he doesn’t like the contestant then they can just say “next” and simply move on to the next contestant. Parental Control was yet another terrible dating show in which the parents actually disapprove of their son/daughter’s significant other and so they pick out 2 new guys/girls for their child to pick from. TELEVISION GOLD!!
  • Yo Momma: You remember those days when you’d have diss battles with other classmates at recess and everyone else would be huddled around? Well Yo Momma was a televised version of that. I was never good at diss battles so watching Yo Momma was my way of studying.
  • Run’s House: Hands down, Run’s House was my favourite. The show follows the life of Run DMC’s Joseph Simmons family and there wasn’t anything in particular great about the show but I was into it. Naturally, I was obsessed with Vanessa and Angela Simmons’ shoe line, Pastry. If you don’t know what Pastry shoes are, well consider yourself lucky. No offense to Angela and Vanessa Simmons but Pastry shoes are one of the things about my past I try to blackout.

  • MTV Spring Break: I was definitely too young to be watching anything to do with MTV Spring Break specials but I caught enough glimpses to know that it was something I wanted to be a part of. There’s no denying that MTV made it look like it was THE place to be for Spring Break. Sunny beaches, contests and all day partying, the perfect combination for an unforgettable Spring Break. I think Jerry Springer hosted at one point, need I say more?

So yes, looking back now I can admit that this was all trash TV but I loved it and chances are if it were to come back now I’d still watch it. Technically the Jersey Shore Reunion is proof of just how great my inexplicable love for trash TV is.

The Best Kind Of Club

There are many great clubs, nightclubs, turkey clubs, country clubs, but the best is by far book clubs. I never really realized how great book clubs were until my years in high school. See I had a bad taste in my mouth about book clubs because I always just imagined them as those reading groups you’d be forced into in Elementary school, remember those? If you don’t then let me refresh your memory. There often was about 5 books for you to choose from and you’d get a synopsis of each book, then the teacher would call you up one by one so you could inform her on your pick. The problem with this is that it gave you no time to discuss with your friends on which book you should all pick so that you’d end up in the same group. Instead you’d end up with a random selection of kids. The other problem with this system is that not everyone likes reading and so you’d end up in a group with people who could care less about reading let alone the underlying message of the Outsiders. This carried onto high school until my final year when I was blessed with an incredible group when I picked The Kite Runner. So I’ll let you in on a little secret, I kind of cheated this time around. I had already read The Kite Runner before and so I thought this would just make the whole experience a little easier and a lot let less painful. Except, I was in for a big surprise when the group actually turned out to be awesome! I reread the book and it was a completely different experience as we’d all come together everyday to discuss what we had read and analyze the literature. I had a newfound excitement in group reading and book clubs. Unfortunately it seemed like that was both the beginning and end to something beautiful. Years went by and I would read on my own and constantly crave those group discussions. Eventually I began to work at a bookstore and some of my coworkers began a book club for both employees and customers and I finally got my fix.

Currently I’m in no book club which makes me sad. I’m constantly trying to push books on my friends so that I’ll have someone to discuss the book with, but let’s be real it’s hard to enjoy anything when you feel like it’s being forced onto you. I’m definitely itching to find a good book club though so my search will continue. If you think about it, book clubs can be compared to a lot of things, like when girls get together to watch The Bachelor together and spend the entire time talking about the contestants and who should or shouldn’t get a rose. I’d even go as far as comparing it to sports highlights, when commentators get together and discuss the game and teams. I’m just saying there needs to be more book clubs.

Take It Outside

Whenever I see children I tend to have flashbacks to my childhood and ever since my niece was born those flashback have been more frequent. My flashbacks usually involve my siblings and I running around our backyard. Y’know to those summer days when you’d wake up and head outside, your mother would drag you back inside for dinner which you’d chow down as fast possible so you could run back outside and enjoy the last bit of sunlight. It would be the same thing everyday until the dreaded first day of school. The nostalgia all comes to the fact that I no longer see that. While once my neighbourhood during the summers meant it was swarming with kids running around, it now resembles a barren wasteland. When you think of it that way it’s kind of scary. It’s like the world has been rid of all children, except then you realize nope they’re all just inside probably playing video games or watching Netflix. Of course it’s not completely deserted, maybe I was being a little extra with that but it is a little sad to see the streets to go from lively children running around laughing to nothing but the sounds of my own weird thoughts. Summer is all about enjoying the outdoors! I mean Vancouver only really gets 3 full months of heat and sunshine so you have to make the most of it, am I right? I don’t know about you but that scene in the Dennis the Menace movie when the entire neighbourhood is playing hide and seek was basically how my summers were. With the neighbourhood squad getting together and playing a round of cops and robbers, getting lost in each others backyards. Or even taking a walk to the closest Seven Eleven to stock up on the biggest slurpee and all the candy you could afford, those were the days! I think it’s time bring this tradition back, quite frankly I don’t get why it stopped to begin with. In case you forgot how to play outside here are a few of my favourite outdoor summer games.

  1. Cops and Robbers (duh)
  2. California Kickball (lowkey if anyone wants to get together and play hit me up)
  3. Hide and Seek
  4. Tag
  5. Capture the Flag
  6. Water Balloon fights (WAR)
  7. Grounders (playground required for best results)
  8. Running through sprinklers (could’ve just been a thing in my neighbourhood)
  9. Marco-Polo
  10. Manhunt

I’ve basically just set you up with a killer summer right there, so TAKE IT OUTSIDE!!

The One Person In The Entire World To Not Lie To

There are many people in your life that you care about and are near and dear to your heart but let’s be honest, you’ve lied to them at least once in your life. Even if it was a white lie that caused no harm, it was still a lie but there is one person you ABSOLUTELY should NEVER lie to and it’s not who you think it is. No it’s not your significant other or your mother that I’m talking about, I’m talking about your doctor. Yea not exactly who you thought I was talking about. I mean if you think about it, chances are you’ve actually never lied to your doctor and if you have then you know how guilty you feel about it. If not guilt then it’s at least some kind of concern for your own health. I mean there’s been those awkward instances as a young adult when your mom would still accompany you to the doctors and you suddenly become a very spiritual person and begin praying to whoever that the doctor doesn’t ask any personal questions because you don’t want to have to lie. Your relationship with your doctor is funny that way. Again, it probably makes it easier that you’re only talking about your health and body. See, there are 2 main reasons it’s important that you’re honest with your doctor and build that relationship because:

  1. They’ll take your concerns seriously as they have a better understanding of your pain tolerance and overall medical history
  2. They’ll know how to approach any serious medical issues with you

I have a close friend who has been battling with medical issues for several years and it all started with a doctor who didn’t take her pain seriously enough, I think part of it was because he didn’t know her well enough to know that her pain tolerance was high and therefore if she was concerned it must mean it was serious. She went from doctor to doctor in search of answers until it became an even bigger problem and she had to have surgery. Years after her surgery and she’s still experiencing major issues and is constantly going from one specialist to another. She was the first person I had encountered with a story like that but I then realized that this a horror for many people.

It also taught me to be VERY honest with my doctor even the little things that to me could mean nothing because they could be major precursors. While I think there are still some serious issues with the medical systems that’s for a different article. All-in-all, don’t lie to your doctor even if it’s awkward and uncomfortable! Build that relationship because after all it’s your life your putting at risk.

The Wombats

There’s no doubt that there are songs out there that just take you back to a certain time in your life. The song alone has the ability to transport you back to a memory or a certain time-period of your life. The Wombats concert in its entirety did that for me, which is odd because up to that day I had heard very little of their music let alone any of the opening acts music.

The night started off with a band I had never heard of and actually didn’t clearly catch their name up until midway through of their set, Nation of Language. Right off the bat, I was intrigued. Their sound was extremely unique and yet had tones of 80’s disco music which made me feel like I was back living during that time period. It was like I was ready to see John Cusack come swooping in and ask me to dance. In that moment, I thought it was odd that I could have such a vivid image of what that would be like when I was barely even a thought during the 80’s. Let’s just say that Nation of Language just reiterated how powerful music can be. The music paired with the trios quirky sense of style and slightly awkward dancing (which I absolutely loved) worked so well and had me entranced. So despite never having heard of them before that night, you can bet money that they’re in my music library now.

The night then moved on to Future Feats and they did a phenomenal job of pumping up the crowd and setting up the vibe for The Wombats to take the stage. Their energy on the stage did not falter which was incredible considering how hard they were rocking out, especially the drummer who looked like he was getting quite the workout. Just imagine,

Interviewer: What’s your workout secret?
Drummer: Oh y’know, just vigorous rocking out!

Eventually, the time rolled around for The Wombats to take the stage. In fact, seconds before the show started die hard fans behind me began to apologize beforehand saying

“last time I saw them I was sweaty and kept bumping into people, so if that happens tonight please know that I don’t mean to”

to which my response was a simple,

“don’t worry about it, that’s what concerts are all about anyways” 

To say the crowd was excited would be an understatement especially considering The Wombats hadn’t been back to Vancouver since May of 2015 and let’s just say that The Wombats definitely delivered. Their energy was intoxicating and had the entire venue buzzing. The thing with going to a concert to which you’ve heard little to none of their music is that it will be a hit or miss. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it and The Wombats basically made it impossible for you to hate it. Their interactions with the crowd as well as with each other made the experience intimate and carefree to the point that when bassist Tord took a spill on stage, band members Dan and Murph, along with the crowd were able to take a moment to poke fun and have a good laugh about it. Surprise rolled around when a man in a bear suit came out onto the stage during Tokyo and began handing out Haribo gummy bears, I mean no complaints here they were delicious. As I munched on my handful of Haribo gummy bears my fellow Evolution colleague, Alexis Dayfoot who was photographing the concert, pointed out to me that the bear also had a cucumber. Of course, I laughed thinking that was crazy only to later see the cucumber flying into the crowd.

Annabelle was the lucky recipient of the cucumber!

Between the 80’s synth, extreme rocking out, and flying cucumbers, it’s safe to say that you won’t experience anything like that anywhere else. On top of all of that, I gained 3 new awesome bands to listen to.

Citizens of Raincouver

Undoubtedly so, Vancouver is a rainy city I mean it’s not called Raincouver for nothing. While sure there are days when all the rain makes me want to do is curl up further into my blankets and forget the worlds exists, I have become accustomed to the weather and it no longer bothers me. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that the rain stops no Vancouverite. There have been days when all I crave is a rainy walk on the beach or have a barbecue. Ok, maybe I am a little odd in wanting to walk on the beach in the rain but there’s something so beautiful in seeing the raindrops quietly fall onto the water as waves crash and hit the already damp sand. Despite all the rain though, no matter how hard it falls, everyone must continue with their days. Whether that is heading to work, or school, or even shopping. Sure you can go to the mall and still avoid the rain but where’s the fun in that? Instead, myself and a few other Evolution members headed out for a day of shopping on Commercial Drive. I have done the Commercial Drive shopping thing before but it was during the summer when the sun is hitting you as you’re enjoying, your lunch sitting out on the patio of one of the many cafes that make up the Drive. This time it was a very different adventure. As an experienced Vancouverite I went prepared for the rain so I wouldn’t be absolutely miserable the entire time. I grabbed my puffy parka, overpriced umbrella that I’m surprised I haven’t lost yet, and slipped into my black Hunter boots; bring it on Rain City! After skytraining from Gateway to Commercial I was ready to conquer a day of fun in the rain. As I started walking down the streets of Commercial I began to notice it didn’t look any different than it did in the summer besides the rain of course. The streets were still just as busy with people coming and going. Restaurants and cafes were full of people enjoying their brunch on the Drive, of course no patios though. That’s when I realized that while for some, rain would absolutely ruin their plans, for Vancouverites it’s just another day. Vancouverites are like superheroes who look at the rain and say “you can’t stop me!” and it doesn’t .

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

 

January 26th was the big premiere for the final movie in the Maze Runner series. As a huge fan of both the books and the movies so far I had to go see the final movie right away. On top of all of that, the Landmark Cinemas close to home has big comfy reclining seats so I will literally find any excuse to go watch a new movie. Having read the book I had an idea of what to expect going in so I put on my comfiest sweater, grabbed my fleece blanket, stocked up on Kleenex, and warned my brother that he was not allowed to make fun of me if I cried. It has been a while since I’ve read the Maze Runner books, probably long before the first movie which was released back in 2014, so the story wasn’t fresh in my mind but of course I remembered the majority of it. WARNING! If you haven’t watched the prior films or read the books it will be difficult for you to follow the story line. The movie wasted no time in getting into the action. Right off the bat you have a rescue situation which involves chasing a high speed train all whilst being shot at by WCKD soldiers. The biggest difference I found between the book and the movie was the amount of action. Of course the book did have plenty of action but it also focused on the characters and their discoveries into WCKD as they continue on their journey. That’s the thing with movies though, action sells. The first movie I feel was the only one that followed the book the closest. By the second, they had taken out certain parts that I felt were integral to the story but I also understood why they wouldn’t have worked well in a movie. For example, in the books Thomas and Teresa share such a strong and special bond that they are able to communicate telepathically with each other, while there is a tiny reference of this in the movies it is mostly forgotten altogether. The great thing about this last movie was that it did a great job of making sense of the second one. For someone who has read the books, I wasn’t all that happy with the second one as I felt it had steered quite far off from the book but Death Cure proved to me why so much had to change in the second movie and it did a good job of tying back to the book as much as possible.

*SPOILER ALERT*
If you’ve read the book then you know that it’s not entirely a happy ending as Newt and Teresa don’t make it through. I wasn’t a big fan of Teresa’s character so let’s just say her death didn’t move me too much but when I read the scene where Newt dies, I came close to burning the book and doing everything possible to forget the entire story. My reaction to his death in the movie was not far off. I knew Newt would die and yet there was still a sliver of hope he wouldn’t. I mean, they changed so many other things why couldn’t they change this ONE thing for me.

Overall, if I compare the books to the movies I would say that the books were way better and while the movies were entertaining they didn’t do the book justice. However, if I look at the movies separately then I would definitely say that the movies are very entertaining and well done. There are times when I feel like dystopias are overdone and highly overrated but then you stumble upon a gem like the Maze Runner series and you realize that they’ll never actually get old.

 

New Age Dating

Growing up weekends consisted of sleepovers at my cousins house. Spending our nights eating junk food, playing board games, and finally falling asleep to the latest blockbuster. As time passed, the older ones eventually trading in the Disney movies for makeup and flatirons. I remember me and my cousin of the same age would sit and watch as our older siblings sat together in front of the mirror helping each other get ready for their dates. It all looked so exciting and glamorous. My younger cousin and I would revel in the excitement and join in on the fun by putting on some lip smackers and multicolored butterfly clips. The excitement and anticipation for the days when it would be us going on dates was real. Time slowly ticked along but the dating game changed quick. The idea of going out to a movie, bowling, or rollerblading every weekend had vanished, let alone with a different guy. Suddenly it turned to texting for hours rather than spending actual time together. Before you knew it you had been texting for several weeks without even going on a real date and yet suddenly the dreaded question of “what are we?” would come up. What happened to playing the field? What happened to trying out that first date and if it didn’t work then have no fear because you already have a different date penciled in for the following weekend. Now, you talk for weeks over text and practically have a relationship built all before the first date. A friend of mine once described present dating as follows:

  1. First Date: This might be our first time meeting but we’ve been talking for so long. We’re soulmates. This is us sealing the deal. The celebration as a new couple.
  2. Second Date: Sure we’ve only been on one date but we text and talk so much that it feels like we’ve known each other a lifetime. This is us sealing the deal. The celebration of our engagement.
  3. Third Date: Well we’re married. That’s what happens next right? This is us sealing the deal. The celebration of our marriage.
  4. Fourth Date: Kids?

You can imagine how the rest of the story goes. The change in dating is all due to technology advancements. Think about it, as soon as MSN, texting, TINDER, and all these other apps were introduced people stopped “wasting” their time on dates. The only problem with that is that it’s so easy to lie over a message. Sure, I may be more bias because I saw for myself how much fun and courageous dating was back in the days, compared to those who have grown up being exposed to nothing else but this new way of dating. So, while I still yearn for the days when dating was so spontaneous and casual I’ve learned to adapt, after all I can’t hold onto something that never was, at least not for me.  

Transit Life

Some mornings I wake up well rested and ready to tackle the day. With a wave of motivation to make the most out of my day, a pep in my step as I get ready to conquer whatever lies ahead. Suddenly, that positive energy is easily deflated as I stand on the skytrain platform waiting for the next train that will take me to my destination. I’m lucky enough to live in a city that has a relatively good transit system, when it works smoothly of course. The problem I have with public transit is the people or rather the discourteous people. You see, a day has not gone by in which I don’t see someone being rude or inconsiderate of the many people they share the skytrain or bus with. I could go on for days with the public transit horror stories that still haunt me but instead I’ll just say the many ways you can be a better commuter.

  1. Just wait. Whether you’re trying to get on or off the skytrain/bus, just give it a couple seconds. If you’re getting on move to the sides of the doors rather than standing in the front and WAIT for people to get off. If you’re trying to get off a packed skytrain WAIT and see if the person in front is getting off or if they’ll have more room once other people have gotten off to readjust and give you a free passage. Trust me, in the long run this will actually save you time and you won’t look like a complete jerk for pushing and shoving your way through. 
  2. Know where you’re sitting! If you’re sitting in priority seating then you should constantly be on the lookout for seniors, people with disabilities, or mothers who need the seat. Also, if you’re sitting in a skytrain/bus that is filling up, meaning there aren’t many seats available and you’re either sitting in an aisle seat or you have your bag taking up a seat you’re a terrible human being. Is it really that terrible to sit by the window seat or God forbid you have to carry your own bag in your lap *gasp*.
  3. Stick to the right. Be aware of whether or not you are a slow walker. It’s totally fine if you are but if that’s the case maybe don’t walk down the middle of the steps and not let anyone pass you. After all, this is a busy city and everyone is trying to get somewhere. 
  4. Be nice! I feel like this should go without saying but the amount of times I’ve seen people be rude to each other is insane! Not only should you be nice to other commuters but also the bus driver. A quick “Hello!” or “Thank you” as you get off can make a major difference, better yet just smile!

While I have seen some terrible things on transit it’s also important to mention that there is a lot of positive too. It’s important to see the positive because the negative would just lead to a pretty miserable. For those of you who already do the above mentioned, then keep it up! Those of you that don’t, there’s still hope! I believe in you!

The Animated Life

Growing up I was so fascinated by shows like The Simpsons, South Park, and King of the Hill but I never actually watched any of them. My fascination came about because of the mystery behind it. You see, as a child I remember The Simpsons come on and get excited to maybe finally get to watch an episode only for the channel to be changed moments before the theme song even came to an end. It didn’t matter if I was alone in a different room when it came on, it was like the theme song would just summon my mother and she would quickly change the channel before I even realized she was in the room. At that age, I couldn’t understand what my mother had against the show, it was a cartoon for crying out loud! After some time I forgot about the shows altogether, sticking to whatever shows I’d find on Disney, Boomerang, and Nickelodeon until sometime during my teens when friends would mention these shows and how much they loved them. At that point, I didn’t care much and just figured that I never got into them and never would. I don’t remember specifically when I first watched the Simpsons, I do remember that I was bored and it seemed to be the only slightly entertaining thing to watch. After watching a few episodes I understood the appeal of the show immediately but I also understood why my mother hated it and never let us watch it as a kid. I mean looking back and thinking about it now, I don’t think I would have understood a lot of it as a child anyways. Eventually, I ventured off and watched other similar shows. What these shows taught me was that animation didn’t always mean it was for kids. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that these shows are exclusively meant for adults. The shows humour was written for a mature brain and I can guarantee that these shows would’ve been wasted on 8 year old me. Shows like The Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy, Futurama, and several others are what I like to refer to as my kid-adult TV; They are an adults indulgence. The animations are reminiscence of your childhood but the subject matter has grown up along with you and is a humorous depiction of life as an adult.

All the shows I have mentioned are classics that have been around for many years and over the past few years there have been several new shows to add into the mix. Shows like Bojack Horseman, Bob’s Burgers, Rick and Morty, and the latest to join the scene: Big Mouth.

Big Mouth is interesting in that it is an adult animated sitcom that is centered around 7th graders Nick Birch and Andrew Glouberman. As these tweens go through puberty, masturbation, and sexual arousal the show adds a humours take to it with the addition of shoulder angels and several other characters.

Girl Power

This past Saturday’s Women’s March is a step towards equality and justice. The march brings men and women together fighting for equal rights. Participating and even witnessing the march empowers women everywhere to take a stand and voice their opinions. The march serves as a testament of the many women who face injustices in their daily life and are courageous enough to take a stand. It really is a beautiful moment to see women all over the world fight for what is right. Many celebrities are also in attendance and sharing their own stories, proving that regardless of status and wealth everyone is affected. In honour of all the courageous women who partake and actively fight for the cause here are the top 5 most empowering movies with strong female leads!

  1. Freedom Writers: This is probably one of my favourite movies because it tackles on a lot of societal issues from gang violence and racism to domestic violence to issues within the education system. The protagonist, Erin Gruwell is a teacher who, with time inspires her at-risk students to aim for more and that they are deserving of a bright future. Gruwell is faced with many challenges, from the students themselves to the faculty and the board of education but she pushes to make a difference in these kids lives.
  2. Erin Brockovich: A single unemployed mom who lands a job at a law firm in an unconventional way fights against a major corporation that is responsible for the contamination of an entire towns water. A large number of residents of the town face serious health issues and Brockovich is determined to defend and win the class action lawsuit for the townspeople.
  3. Battle of the Sexes: When tennis professional Billie Jean King and Gladys Heldman discover that the prize for an upcoming tournament is only a fraction of what it is for men she forms her own tennis association. In addition, men’s tennis professional Robert Larimore Riggs challenges King to a match, stating that even at the age of 55 he could beat a woman in the sport.
  4. Joy: Joy Mangano’s life has been far from easy but she is determined to come out on top. Not only is she a hardworking mother and daughter but she is also full of courage and determination as she dives into the dog-eat-dog world of business, especially during a time in which the industry was heavily dominated by men. Not only does she find her own success but she also aims to help others make their own business ventures come true.
  5. Hidden Figures: During a time when not only women weren’t looked as unequal but segregation was still in place three brilliant colored women play a key role in NASA’s successful landing of Friendship 7, facing many challenges and breaking stereotypes along the way.

 

The Romanticization of Crime

Lately there’s no denying that Netflix has sprung to popularity. I mean really, do people still pay for cable? It’s so accessible and magical having entire seasons to some of my favourite shows at my fingertips and yet it is also the most painful process. Let me paint the picture that I am sure you have experienced at one point or another, probably numerous times actually. You get home and are super excited to sit, relax, and binge watch some Netflix for a few hours but without even realizing it, you’ve just wasted an hour scrolling through Netflix trying to decide what to actually watch. This happens to me just about every other time I log onto Netflix and it’s infuriating but I’m the only one at fault really. However, my countless hours scrolling through Netflix has led me to realize a common theme in the most popular shows. Crime seems to be taking over the TV industry. With shows like Breaking Bad, Queen of the South, Ozark, Narcos, How To Get Away With Murder, and plenty of others. All these shows do an exceptional job of getting you to connect with the main characters and sympathize with them, even though they are criminals. As a latin woman I have been exposed to this to a whole new degree, as telenovelas have now taken to base their love stories around drug lords. When I get sucked into a new novela I’m suddenly left wishing I had a drug lord as a boyfriend. Don’t worry, I usually snap out of it after a day.

The point is, that a lot of these TV shows have either glamorized or at the very least normalized crimes and criminals. Of course, this is all fake and for entertainment purpose, I hope everyone does realize that. However, recently I have both noticed as well as read an article about the comeback of sitcoms and comedy shows. According to the article, comfort TV is needed more than ever now with the difficult times people are faced with. With this in mind, does this mean those high-ranking TV shows will dissipate or will we be able to find a perfect balance?

Comedian in Cars Getting Coffee

During my search for something new and thrilling to watch on Netflix I stumbled upon Jerry Seinfeld’s new talk show: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. See, I had seen memes and funny little clips of the show but I had no idea where they were coming from. I thought maybe it was promo for a new Jerry Seinfeld special or something. Even though I wasn’t really in the mood for comedy I decided to give it a try. Immediately the show caught my interest. Comedian In Cars Getting Coffee is not like any other talk show you have ever seen. The whole premise of a lot of talk shows is to promote the guests newest work. While sure the guests might mention some of their work it’s not something that is being thrown at you during the show, It’s difficult to say exactly what the show is about because with each character it is something different. I think the most beautiful part of it is that both Jerry, as the host, and his guest seem to develop a very organic relationship. It gives you a better sense of what these comedians are like, showcasing everything from their easy going day-to-day humour, to silly banter. Some of life’s best conversations are in a car headed to nowhere in specific, just cruising. You’re lying if you say you haven’t just sat in a car with a good friend and jumped from topic to topic for no apparent reason. I’ve definitely have had that, often times I end up talking about something so far fetched that I’m left wondering how I even got to that topic. In some cases even making jokes that are so offensive but it doesn’t matter because it’s just you and your friend in a no judgement zone. That’s exactly what this show is like. While I still have lots to watch still, an episode that has stood out to me has been Episode 9: John Oliver: What kind of human animal would do this? Mostly because they explain how a comedians mind works,

Jerry: And what is the internal logic of comedy?
John: That you’ll do anything for a laugh like a sociopath.

To sum up the show, I’d say it’s an overall feel good show. I’m, what I like to call an avid background TV watcher, meaning that I’ll have a show playing but I’m only really paying attention between answering texts and scrolling through my social media feeds, however I couldn’t do that with this show. I was so enthralled in everything from what they were talking about, no matter how small, and their little mannerisms. Reading their body language in what you’d consider generic cozy coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, etc. It all seems so normal. Jerry just casually calls the guest (I’m sure that’s scripted) and asks them out for a cup of coffee, he then picks the guest up in a loaned vintage car that I’m sure car lovers are drooling over, and together they drive out to an obscure coffee shop to enjoy a good conversation over a cup of joe, along with other patrons surrounding them doing the exact same. So, my tip for you would be to brew a nice big pot of coffee, turn the lights out, grab your favourite cozy blanket, and indulge in the unpredictable conversations.  

The Greatest Showman

As a mini birthday celebration for myself, a friend and I decided to go catch the newest musical to hit the big screen: The Greatest Showman.

The movie is based on the true story of P.T Barnum and his creation of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. I went in because I had heard great things about the movie so far but I must admit, I haven’t always been a big fan of musical so I was concerned I’d end up hating it. The fact it has been doing good in the box office definitely encouraged me to check it out, but the deciding factor was really Zendaya. While I never saw her act in any of the Disney shows she starred in, I have been a big fan of her musical career.

The movie is meant to showcase the story of the birth of Barnum and Bailey Circus and while the movie does steer away from the true story it does it for creative purposes. While I did enjoy the movie for the most part, I was expecting to see a little more of the characters. While the movie is meant to be centered around P.T Barnum in particular, I felt that the lack of development of the secondary characters made it hard for me to build a connection. In fact, considering they were the “curiosities” that made up the show I feel it was a missed creative opportunity to give a few of the characters some backstory. *Spoiler Alert* Now the movie does have 2 love stories throughout the film, P.T Barnum’s (Hugh Jackman) with Charity Barnum (Michelle Williams), and Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) with Anne Wheeler (Zendaya). While the storyline behind Barnum and his wife was done well, I felt Carlyle and Wheeler’s to be lacking. The storyline behind Carlyle and Wheeler had so much potential and I was disappointed that the movie didn’t spend more time building it. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the two characters but there was definitely a spark! I don’t think the lack of chemistry came from the actors but rather the lack of scenes and dialogue between the two. When the two did share the screen they did a great job of charging their few words with emotion so as to advance the love story further.

The acting was very well done and I was genuinely impressed, even by the minor characters. Again this could have been why I felt the need to know more about each character. Each character stood out to me because of their great acting which I guess is what ultimately made me want to know more about them. Another thing that was done exceptionally well was the soundtrack. As someone that doesn’t usually like musicals, with the exception of Disney movies or any animated movie really, I was amazed to find my enjoyment of the musical numbers. Each song was well done and fit the characters really well. I also liked the fact that the songs had a bit of a modernized ring to them. Hands down, my favourite number is Zendaya and Zac Efron’s duet, Rewrite The Stars.

So while I feel there was more creative potential in the secondary characters storylines, I did enjoy the movie. It did a good job of immersing the audience in that time period which sometimes can be difficult as some movies make it look too far fetched, granted I doubt P.T Barnum rode the elephant in New York City to his daughters ballet recital.

New Day, New Me

The first month of the year is quickly coming to a close and for many that usually includes their New Year’s resolutions. It’s quite common for people to make New Year’s resolutions that usually don’t last longer than the holiday leftovers, which has led people to hate-on the idea of resolutions altogether. Really though, the resolutions aren’t the problem it’s keeping them. Of course the argument that people bring up with New Year’s resolutions is that a New Year shouldn’t be some kind of mark for you to start working on them which is true, to some extent. If the New Year was what motivated you to start your resolutions then so be it! As long as you’re working on being your best self then it shouldn’t matter when you start and it is no one else’s concerns. The problem still stands though that people seem to not stick to their New Year’s resolutions. So as it is a new week, and soon a new month, this is your chance to start fresh and make some new resolutions all over again. In order to make sure that you, and myself included actually, stick to them this time around it is important you take certain steps in order for successful outcomes.

Step 1: Think long term. What is it you want in the end? Do you want to drop a bad habit? Start a new habit? The possibilities are endless!

Step 2: Think short term and small. Think of a small thing that will get you a step closer to your end goal. Something you can stick to for a week. For example, a common resolution is to eat healthier, so a small goal for the week could be to cut one specific food out of your diet like coffee. Then every week try to add something new to the list.

Step 3: Track your progress. Whether it’s writing it down in your calendar or simply telling someone. It’s important to note that just because perhaps you missed a day or failed to complete your goal that your entire resolution is over and done with, no! Get back in there and keep going.

I have one resolution for this year, and when I told my friends they thought I was joking at first but after explaining they understood and actually thought that was exactly what I needed. My resolution is be more selfish and think about myself for a change. What are your resolutions? Have you been able to stick to them so far? Now, I have no idea if these 3 handy steps will be effective but hey, it doesn’t hurt to try right? I mean what do you have to lose?