Goodbye…

I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I think this blog has finally run its course. When I started it, it was partly because I wanted a corner of the internet to talk about whatever I felt like. I also treated it like a personal project, as I’d never stuck with writing blogs for any long amount of time before now. This was my way of committing myself to something, even if it meant only posting about once a week at a time.

But lately, life and laziness have kept me from coming back here. Just a couple weeks ago, I finally received both my employment/travel permit and a social security number, so job hunting has been put on my plate. I’m still waiting to find out if I’ll need an interview for my green card, but things are picking up and there’s still much more to do. It’s not like I’ve run out of thing to write about. In the past couple months, I’ve seen movies, played games, and experienced a few things I could easily make blogs on. I intended on getting back into the swing of things, but I just haven’t felt motivated or interested in doing so.

So, with that, I’m going to stop posting. This place will still stay up, and if I do get the urge to pick up blogging again, I’ll do it here. But unless that happens (I don’t want make promises I can’t keep), my honest ramblings are officially done as of today. Thank you to everyone who’s read/commented on my blog over the years, and may the rest of 2018 be kind to all of you as well as me! 🙂

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Another Decade Down

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As of this past Wednesday, I’ve left my 20s behind to start the 10-year trek into my 30s. It’s that strange feeling I had when I turned 20 where I both feel and don’t feel older. However, I’m still relieved I was able to immigrate to the US before hitting this milestone. It’s a goal I’ve had in mind over the past few years and managing to accomplish it was a great feeling.

Going forward is going to be very strange, though. Now that I’m establishing myself in the US, it’s bizarre and exciting to think about the next 10 years of my life being here rather than in Canada. It still feels surreal that I’m here at all, let alone married to the man I met all those years ago. My immediate goals this year will be to hopefully soon receive my remaining green card documents and land a job before next January. I’m also excited for a convention trip we’ve planned in July, and while it might not happen this year, I’d like to try to go back to Canada for a visit as well.

Beyond this year, my next few goals will revolve around working towards getting citizenship and eventually a vehicle of my own to drive (not before most likely having to redo a driving test, though). But until all that happens, I’m just going to try to enjoy this decade I’ve moved into. Hopefully my 30s will turn out to be even better!

Letting Go

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Yes, I’m extremely late on blogging again, but at the beginning of this new year I came to a realization: I want to start letting go of certain things I check/do online. This blog, despite what you might be thinking, isn’t one of them. However, I do think it’s going to become less weekly as it used to be. The truth is that the combination of laziness and knowing I’ll inevitably end up with a job in the near future has made me feel less inclined to make an effort here. There are plenty of things I could talk about, but mustering up the enthusiasm to do so hasn’t been easy. I don’t want to just give up on my blog as this marks the fifth year of it, but I have to at least acknowledge that I’m not as passionate about it as I used to be.

In light of that, I’m fully letting go of the wiki(a) I created for the website Channel Awesome (formerly ThatGuyWithTheGlasses). After this year, which marks the tenth year of both the site and wiki, I’ve decided I’m done maintaining it. My main reasons I gave were that I’ll eventually lose a lot of free time I currently have to a job and that I’m just tired of taking time out of each day to update it. However, this wasn’t the full truth. The other reason is that I feel like I’ve grown out of the CA fandom as a whole. I still like certain video producers who have stuck around, but they can be found off the site just as easily now. Frankly, I only visit the site to do the updates for the wiki and that’s literally it. I feel disconnected from their community (outside of the friends I’ve made already) and the less said about the drama/politics that crop up there, the better. As I’ve done with former producers, I still plan to follow the ones I do whether they remain on the site or not. I just won’t be visiting it myself anymore after the end of this year.

There have been others things I’ve let go. I’ve cut back on my YouTube channels to the shows/let’s players I watch frequently, narrowed down my Tumblr to a smaller number of blogs, and quit reading articles from some websites that did nothing but suck me into their drama (*cough*TheFrisky*cough*). I feel better overall making these changes in my life, especially if it means spending real time with my husband and our friends/family. So, rather than make possibly empty promises about this blog, I’ll just say to keep your eyes peeled. They may not come as often, but posts will still pop up from time to time.

Bring On 2018!

It’s the final hours of 2017 here in Florida, and I honestly couldn’t be happier. While this year was a triumph for me personally and overall felt mostly better than 2016, I just feel a sense of relief going into 2018. Maybe it’s that I’m feeling at my happiest or that I’m just excited to continue things next year (such as my residency and hopefully a long overdue wedding party back home). Regardless, like every year, I’m hopeful 2018 will have mainly good things ahead.

This year I accomplished my biggest goal: getting married to my wonderful husband, Richard. Sure, the process to get my visa so I could legally do so was also accomplished in a timely fashion, but after nearly 4 years of being engaged and more years of being together beyond that, we were just happy to officially tie the knot. And, at long last, my parents got to see their eldest child “walk down the aisle”, so to speak (courthouses obviously don’t have one).

I also saw so many enjoyable movies and returning TV shows this year. Everything ranging from “The Crown” to “Thor: Ragnarok” to “Coco” and “The Punisher” (to name VERY few) made me laugh and cry. I finally got to try the Nintendo Switch and adventured through all of Hyrule in “Breath of the Wild” as well as been addicted collecting moons in “Super Mario Odyssey.” I’ve even gotten back into reading books with “The Daily Show (The Book)” and comics with “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” (a new fave superhero of mine), plus delved into childhood nostalgia with the “Little Gloomy” comic strips.

I’ve gotten to spend far more quality time with my Florida friends as well as gotten to know mutual acquaintances much better. I’ve continued to spend quality family time with both sides of Richard’s family and have now been here longer than I’ve ever been in all these years. I’m happy to have spent 2017 mainly with my own family and friends back home, but I’ve already managed to also carve out a spot for myself in this new environment.

So, here’s to 2018 and all its possible ups and downs. Leaving 2017 behind is a little bittersweet, but it was the journey getting to this point in my life that made it worth its own ups and downs. See you all next year!

Laziness Strikes Again

Yes, there’s really no title more apt than that. The past two weeks have been eventful, but I’ve just been too lazy to muster up the inspiration to blog. So, allow me to cover a few things that happened in that time.

One of my best friends here in Florida had open chest surgery that successfully removed a benign growth near her lungs. It was easily the most stressful thing I had to deal with, but I had no doubt she would pull through. Even better, she’s already able to get around rather easily despite being out of work for a few more weeks and being unable to drive in the meantime as well. Oh, and before the surgery, we were able to celebrate her boyfriend’s 30th birthday and generally spend the day together. We’ve since seen her and no doubt will continue to throughout the month. I’ll especially be looking forward to getting together with her and the rest of our friends for their yearly Secret Santa in a few more weeks.

I also saw the movie “Wonder” with my husband and mom-in-law. While I’m usually not interested in feel-good, schmaltzy films, this one tugged on my heartstrings and had easily my favorite performance from Owen Wilson ever (I normally can’t stand him). Julia Roberts was fantastic as usual, and I like how they managed to get good child actors to round out the cast. The story’s far from perfect and was riddled with cliches, but all in all it was a nice little flick to watch on a Sunday afternoon.

As a personal victory to myself, I finally beat “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” Since the new DLC is finally out, I’ll definitely be returning to it at some point to check that out. However, in the meantime, I’ve been working on continuing my playthroughs of “Super Mario Odyssey” and “Metroid: Samus Returns.” Also, as an early Christmas present from my husband, I’ve started playing “Pokemon Ultra Sun” as well. It’s a lot on my plate and I still have many other games on the back burner, but I’m just happy to have plenty of fun stuff to keep me occupied.

Finally, things have moved forward in my green card process. I received a letter from the USCIS that they have my application, and then eventually got another with a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment scheduled for next week. Things are progressing really well, and I’m hopeful I’ll have a few things like my social security number and employment/travel permits soon enough. There’s still a bit of work to do yet, but I’m relieved we’ve reached this point before the year is over.

So, those are a few of the things that took place over this blog. I’ll try to keep the updates flowing again soon, but don’t be surprised if Christmas soon gets in the way. Until next time!

 

An October Honeymoon

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Apologies for not blogging last week and waiting so long this week, but I’ve been a combination of both busy and lazy lately. This week centered around a few things, most notably Thanksgiving (though I also saw “Coco” and highly recommend it). Meanwhile, last week marked my green card paperwork being sent off to officially begin my trek to becoming a permanent resident. I’m looking forward to it!

There are many things I could talk about that took place these last two weeks, but instead I’d like to share something I’d worked on over this month. During October, my husband and I celebrated our honeymoon for a few days in the balmy state of California. To commemorate the occasion, we filmed much of it and made a special series of vlogs dedicated to both it and our internet show, “The Spook Factor.”  So, without further ado, here are the vlogs documenting most of our trip. Enjoy!

Vlog #1

Vlog #1.5

Vlog #2

Vlog #3

“Murder on the Orient Express” Review (Spoiler-Free)

For those of you who are like me, there’s a reason I made this review spoiler-free. In that, having never read the Agatha Christie novel nor seen the 1974 movie adaptation, I went into this 2017 adaptation completely blind. Yes, I’ve never read or seen anything related to Christie’s works (though I easily could’ve seen “Murder She Wrote” or like-minded shows if my teenage self had been interested). So, I went in with moderately low expectations and had a good time as a result. But before I get into why, let’s delve into the story first.

Hercule Poirot, a famous Belgian detective, finishes solving a theft in Jerusalem when he meets up with his friend Bouc, the director of the train called the Orient Express. When Poirot is called to London for another case, he boards the Express and comes across an eclectic bunch of passengers. After an avalanche derails the train and halts its progress, shady businessman Samuel Ratchett is found dead in his room. It’s then up to Poirot to catch the culprit among the passengers and determine the reason for Ratchett’s murder.

I’ll be honest, when I first saw the trailers for this movie, I was immediately interested in it. I knew the story was a classic murder mystery and I’ve enjoyed Branagh’s work before. And, like I said, I enjoyed this movie. The first thing that drew me into it was the insanely great casting. Branagh has a knack for getting amazing actors/actresses for his films and this was no exception. Even better, I felt that while some characters got more focus than others, not one performance fell flat for me. Each person did their part to make this story feel believable. My personal standouts had to be Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, and, of course, Branagh himself. Poirot is easily the most likable character of the bunch and it was a joy to follow him throughout the movie. Once again, though, the entire cast did a phenomenal job.

Another thing I liked was the design of the whole movie. I knew from the trailers and Branagh’s other work that this movie would look gorgeous and I wasn’t disappointed. The shots of the train and even a few long tracking shots going through it were great, and the few locations shown were also very pretty. There were a few camera shots that were kinda odd, such as an occasional overhead view of the characters in the train, but they never took me out of the movie. I really enjoyed the moments of levity the script allowed too, as there were some chuckle-worthy lines (mostly from Poirot) that kept things from feeling too depressing. They mostly occur before the actual murder happens, so the serious tone thankfully isn’t jeopardized when it’s needed.

The complaints I have with the movie mainly have to do with the script. Obviously, it’s trying to be as faithful to the Christie story as possible (according to my husband). That’s still a good thing, but it also means that a lot of exposition is given during the crucial reveal. This only bothered me because we were told things about some characters that easily could’ve been hinted at earlier in the movie. It made it feel like these clues couldn’t be incorporated because of time. The other major complaint I had was that the pacing leading up to Poirot boarding the Express was a bit slow. I appreciated that those scenes before gave us a good profile of him as a detective, but the movie just had an overall slow start for me.

With all that said, I think “Murder on the Orient Express” is a good adaptation of the Agatha Christie mystery as well as a good movie in general. The cast is solid, the locations are beautiful, and the story is filled with enough tension and guesswork to keep you invested. If you’ve already read the book or seen the 1974 movie, seeing this will depend on if you want a flashier adaptation of the story despite knowing how it’ll end. I know it’s at least got me interested in reading the book, so take that for what it’s worth.