Monthly Wrap-up: September 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

September wasn't a very busy month on the blog, but I was very busy with school stuff. And when I wasn't busy with school work, I didn't feel like doing much of anything but watch a whole lot of Gossip Girl. Grad school is tough, guys. Graduate students typically take only three or four courses per semester, with each course being three credits. If you're really ambitious, you take five courses, but that's unheard of. Especially for research-based programs considering you might have to write a thesis or dissertation (well, pre-doctoral students take all their course requirements the first two years and then start working on their dissertation research, but that's beside the point). What I have found is that I've devastatingly and simultaneously underestimated and overestimated grad school. On the one hand, you have a lot of free time, but you have to use that time to study the material. On the other hand, just when you think you have a concept or series of concepts down, it comes back to bite you in your proverbial butt.

Another thing that has fascinated me about grad school is just how broad a seemingly narrow topic can be. I learned that many of the topics I thought were briefly covered in a lecture in undergrad were mentioned for a moment because that's all they warranted. But as it turns out, they are studied extensively and are areas scholars and academics devote their lives to exploring. It's all very mind-blowing and is yet another reason why I love school and learning. I'm inspired!
Well, I haven't posted any reviews during the month of September, but I am currently reading a book that I'll probably finish in the next few days (hopefully) so I'll link that on here instead.


I realize that my taste in music isn't particularly exciting and you, my dear readers, don't wait on the edge of your seats for the "what i've been listening to" sections of the Monthly Wrap-ups, but I feel I should disclose it all the same. I've been listening to quite a lot of Handel lately and I especially love this playlist because while it may all sound the same to some people, Handel's music actually quite diverse and this playlist by Spotify accentuates all of his music. I love it!

Last month, a few of my virtual adventures had come to an end. Or at least, I can confidently say that about two of the three shows I finished watching in the last month. After a four-year-long run, Reign finally came to an end in June. I was a bit relieved when I finished watching the last episode because I felt like they'd exhausted and stretched the storyline and when was it ever going to be over if not then? But I was also very sad because I watched the show since the very beginning. In 2013, I was in high school! The second show finished watching is Downton Abbey. Granted, that show has been over since 2015, but I only started watching it a few months ago. I'll probably post a series review in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that! The third and final show that's over, at least for the year, is New Girl. I assume it's wrapped because I don't know what filming content they could possibly have considering all of the characters are married, getting married, or are in relationships with their true loves. I mean, I love New Girl, I really do. But what else could there be to go on?

TV Shows: Game of Thrones: Season 7 Episodes 5 & 6: "Eastwatch" and "Beyond The Wall" Review

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Keeping up with reviewing this season on an episode by episode basis is harder than I thought it would be. The season's over, but here I am with a post reviewing episodes five and six more than a week after the season finale.
Cersei is pregnant, but I think it's safe to say that she won't stay alive long enough for her child to be born, not after what happened in the season finale. This episode confirmed my on-going suspicion that Dani will not take the throne as her own. For all her talk about justice and the freedom to let people choose, she didn't deal with Randyll and Dickon Tarley very well. She had the Drogon burn them alive because they had the unfortunate luck of serving the Lannisters and because they refused to follow a "Queen" they know nothing about, and rightly so I might add. I bet Olena got into her head when she told her to follow her intuition and not to simply listen to her Hand's advice. By the end of the episode, I was also convinced that Little Finger was going to die this season. His downfall is surely going to be his overconfidence. He thinks he can manipulate anyone and get away with it. I knew that once he started messing with Arya, that he will meet his end very soon.
Jon and the other's trip "beyond the wall" had bad news written all over it. I was actually very surprised to find out that none of the significant characters were killed or turned into White Walkers. I also didn't expect for the White King to have such great aim, but he does. "Beyond the Wall" contained quite a few impossibilities veered to the crew's favor that had me thinking that the Game of Thrones' anti-hero days are over. For one, Gendry (yes, Gendry is back) runs all the way to the Wall to send for help in the span of a few hours, all the while the crew is surrounded by White Walkers who don't so much as move a muscle until The Hound provokes one of them after throwing rocks at him (not the best decision he's made). Uncle Benjen resurfaces and saves Jon after he's left behind (not spitefully, of course). It was very sad to see Benjen sacrifice himself. He was the only minor character left that made a first appearance in season one, let alone a Stark.

Typography Tuesday

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Instead of publishing the usual Typography Tuesday post, I decided to change it up a little today and post super-fun (typography-related) abstract images I found on Pinterest! If you want to see more, check out my Graphic Design and Typography boards on Pinterest! (Yes, that was shameless self-promotion, except there's no monetary gain involved 😉 ) Enjoy!

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

This week I'm (very) patiently waiting on Iron Gold by Pierce Brown. If you've been a reader of my blog for a while now, then you're probably familiar with the Red Rising trilogy and you know how beloved it is to me. So, naturally, when I read on Goodreads that Pierce Brown will be coming out with a new series based in the world of Red Rising I freaked out! That was last year. Since then, I've been patiently waiting for word about the plot and characters of the series. The first book, entitled Iron Gold, is set to be released on January 16th of the upcoming year.


I vaguely remember reading that Iron Gold was initially set to publish sometime this year, but then the release date was moved up to 2018. What I do clearly remember, however, is how disappointed I was when I saw the release date. My reaction was very similar to the following:

If the gap between one Red Rising book and the next wasn't bad enough, this was and remains to be the "synopsis" of Iron Gold on Goodreads.

"Pierce Brown expands the size and scope of his #1 New York Times bestselling Red Rising series with a brand-new adventure of revolution and betrayal among the stars."

I don't believe it even warrants explanation or further comment. It will just exist.

Keeping Up With the Crawleys: Downton Abbey's Mid-series Review

Sunday, September 3, 2017

I was so excited about Downton Abbey before I started watching it. There was a lot of hype surrounding this show. I was especially excited because it seemed very Austen-esque, and I love Jane Austen! However, as you- my dear readers- may have speculated from my seemingly unexcited tone, I don't think it's the best television has to offer. I have an intense love-hate relationship with Downton Abbey. I'm currently near the end of season three, hence the mid-series review (the show consists of six seasons) I love this show very much...but I also hate it. Maybe hate is too strong a word...I...slightly take exception to it. One of the reasons this might be is because a good many characters in the show die. Have a look at the image I used as a post header. Do you see how many people there are in the photo? Well, this is approximately half of the number of people that were on the show, the rest were killed off. Those of you who watch Game of Thrones know that the death rate on that show is seemingly unparalleled. I'm here to tell you that the death rate on Downton Abbey is on par with that of Game of Thrones. Really, the number of people that died in Downton (thus far) is mind-boggling, and I'm only near the end of season 3!

For those of you who have heard, but not yet decided to watch Downton because you're not sure whether or not you should invest your time to decide if it's worthwhile, I invite you to continue on reading this post. I will be listing- and expounding upon- the advantages and disadvantages of watching Downton Abbey.
1. On Downton, you hardly ever know for sure just how much time has passed between seasons/episodes and sometimes, even between scenes. That is one of the most frustrating things about this show. You're very rarely told just how many months or years have passed, and if you are, it's probably when you've started watching the next season. You have to pick that up in the dialogue or guess by assuming the ages of the children, as is the case in season 3.

2. The death toll on this show is high. As aforementioned, like those of Game of Thrones, the creators of Downton eliminated whomever they wanted, whenever, with no consideration for the importance or how beloved the character is. In fact, I just recently mourned an important character and this was not the first time.

3. There aren't many character developments and if there are, then they're very minor developments. It takes the characters, the older ones in particular, a long time to get with the times. Especially the Earl and Mr. Carson (the head butler, who arguably hasn't even gotten with the times yet), who are reluctant to let go of old traditions.

1. The Dowager Countess of Grantham aka Violet Crawley (who is played by Dame Maggie Smith) is everything. You'd think because she is the oldest and because the old ways of thinking are most entrenched in her that she would be the most boring of the Crawleys. That is in fact, not true. She is the character that gives life to the sh(ow. She's funny and very sarcastic, so much so that I don't think there wasn't a difficult situation she was involved in the show that she didn't attempt to make light of with her amusing comments. If for no other reason, you should start watching the show for the Dowager Countess, she's the best!

2. The lives of the servants and maids are just as important as the aristocrats. I found this very refreshing. In shows about royals or members of high society, the POVs of servants are rarely ever presented. On Downton, however, their lives are just as important as their superiors, if not more.

3. A warning sign comes well before a character dies. Hooray! Except, not really. I only just recently realized this- after the death of the important character I mentioned earlier (do not look it up!) I don't know if anyone else who watches Downton or even if the creators of the show realize this, but there's a pattern: If a character has a near-death encounter, then you should expect the character to die later on. (The following examples are based on real deaths of characters on the show, I won't give any names, but if you want to skip over this bit, you may do so) For instance, Character X went to a protest, he/she was hit on the head by the opposition, suffered fatal injuries and was going to die but didn't. Similarly, Character Y was drafted for a World War, went missing and was presumed to be dead. He/she was found in a terminal state, experienced a miraculous recovery and died a few episodes later. There's a character that is still alive on the show now who was on the brink of death earlier on in the show. I don't know if he/she will die, but things are looking a little grim for said character.

4. The show is very Jane Austen-esque. Now, your placement of this fact depends on whether or not you are a fan of Jane Austen. I put it under advantages because I love Jane Austen novels and this is partly why I was so drawn to the show to begin with. The Victorian and Edwardian era intrigue me so I figured I had to watch it because of it is a period drama.

So, has the list of pros and cons left you wanting to watch Downton Abbey or steering clear of it?