Categories
book reviews

Woke Up Lonely

A cult leader. His ex-wife, and his nine-year-old daughter sit atop a radio tower, 210 feet in the air. They are having a last picnic. In fact, you’re watching the three of them on your TV screen.

Categories
films, music, video games & more!

Workin’ Moms

I recently just finished this comedy about women in the workplace. It takes place in Toronto. One thing I was immediately jealous of was the amount of time that these women–from all walks of life–were able to take off. One women, Kate, took off nine months.

Categories
book reviews

Sharp Objects

Going home shouldn’t feel nerve-wracking.

Gillian Flynn’s psychological thriller Sharp Objects focuses on one woman’s innermost demons as she investigates the murders of two preteen girls in her small hometown. It’s in Windgap, she must confront her mother, her father, and her half-sister she hardly knows. As the clock ticks, as the evidence slowly un-spools like yarn, Camille Preaker comes to realize she identifies strongly with these murdered girls. 

Categories
book reviews

The Book of Strange New Things

What if you were hand-picked for a mission of a lifetime, but your spouse couldn’t go with you? You’d be working among real aliens–beings from a far-distant planet named Oasis. Would you be able to stay in contact with your significant other you ask? Why yes, of course! You passed the tests with flying colors, even if the questions were a bit…odd. But never mind that. Just sign on the dotted line to join USIC today!

Categories
#personal

My Favorite Band in the Whole Wide World

My life was forever changed on September 18th, 2008. This was the day that I heard the Texas alternative/art rock group called Blue October for the first time.

Categories
#personal

Farewell, my Furry Friend

Dear Bogan,

When we picked you up, you were long and tiny. You were so cute as a puppy! You’d flown all the way from New York to Minnesota, in a light pink kennel. Mom and Dad cried in the car, because you reminded them of the day they picked up Liesel–our previous dachshund–and surprised my grandparents. We’d gone a year without a dog, and now we were getting a new furry friend.

Categories
#randomopinions

I don’t want to be an American Idiot

Hello, readers!

Normally, I don’t want to get too political on the internet. But I’ll let these two well-placed songs speak for themselves in regards to Trump and immigration.

Green Day’s “American Idiot”

Trump went to Canada and not only insulted the Prime Minister, but set off some pretty major protests.

Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” 

To quote Hamiltion: “Immigrants: we get the job done!”

Politics aside, we can all agree that these are both great songs across the board.

 

 

Categories
films, music, video games & more!

My Hero Academia

Hello, dear readers!

My boyfriend Rory and I are watching a really cool Japanese anime at the moment. It’s about young superheroes. Awesome, right?!

My Hero Academia is a show about young hopeful superheroes. It blends high school drama with the action and training involved in becoming a real pro-hero at UA High. It feels fresh, not just because of the unique superpowers–but also because it looks at the hero’s journey from the perspective of our main protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, a plucky teenager. He wants to develop a quirk so he can be just like his idol All Might, the number one hero in Japan. All Might is not only very strong, but also incredibly brave. He’s good at saving people in need.

In this anime universe, about 80% of the human population possesses what’s called a quirk, which is just a fancy word for “a special, superhuman ability” (from the anime’s wika page).

Midoriya originally doesn’t start out with a quirk, just like other superhero plots. But unlike other superhero films, the goal in this world is to develop a quirk–a process as normalized as losing your baby teeth or going through puberty. Midoriya’s devastated when he realizes he is quirkless. When he meets All Might, Midoriya is thrilled. When he does receive All Might’s power, One for All, he is so overcome with emotion that he ends up sobbing with joy. One for All, which can be passed down from one person to another, is Izuku’ inheritance.


What I love about My Hero Academia are all the little emotions that enhance the fight scenes, the training, and intimate scenes like the one above. The emotions–earning people’s approval, passing a test–makes this show about wanna-be superheroes far more superior to the run-of-the-mill superhero shows. Adding the emotional component to the characters motives helps you become more invested in these kids, which is exactly what you need when you’re rooting for the underdogs.

Watching Midoriya succeed as he takes steps towards becoming a certified hero is fun and rewarding, especially when you get to see him do cool moves like this:

Nice kick, kid.

I don’t want to spoil anything, because this is truly a must-see show. It’s funny, clever, and heartfelt.

What are you still doing here? Go watch it already!

Cheers,

Meghan

Categories
challenges

The Bookshelf Project

This is the quote that I live by. It’s also very true for me as an avid reader.


JULY 2018

BOOKSHELF PROJECT STARTED

66

BOOKS READ SO FAR

200+

BOOKS ON MY BOOKSHELVES & KINDLE


Backstory

Hello there! Welcome to a project I’ve been working towards my entire life: reading everything on my bookshelves. I say this in a one-sentence-breath because it’s true, and it’s actually a little overwhelming. My book collection goes back as far as elementary school, back when there were discard book piles in the library. (You might remember seeing the DISCARD stickers or words written on the inside of books.) *Sighs* And then, there are the books on my Kindle, which I use regularly.

To further encourage myself to read more–especially during a busy work schedule– I started using Audible in 2015. While I love reading, my pesky ADD can get in the way of me doing what I love. With the help of a narrator–or in some cases, narrators–I’m able to finish a book in less than a month.

There was a time when I used to feel embarrassed about my Audible use, like it was a bad thing. I was used to reading relying on my own gumption to get myself reading. (But this process often took months with longer books, making it impossible to even remember why I wanted to read such a long book in the first place.) Now, I love using Audible whenever it’s possible, because it really helps me stay present and focused when reading. The audiobooks also help me read faster, and I really enjoy hearing various narrators bring characters to life.

Notes: You can see what I’m currently reading by looking at my Goodreads widget. All of my completed book reviews are highlighted in red. The category “years read” are also included for your reading pleasure.

So, come and follow me on this exciting (and if I’m honest with myself possibly never-ending) journey! I’m proud of myself for reading a total of 16,308 pages across 47 books in 2019. I hope you’re as excited as I am to watch my reading list grow.

– Meghan B.


Books Read

2018

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

3. LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

4. LotR: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

5. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

6. A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

7. ASoI&F: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

8. ASoI&F: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

9. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

10. Scardust by Suzanne van Rooyen 

11. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber


2019

12. Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel

13. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

14. Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman

15. Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman

16. Dedicated: A Rhythm of Love Novel by Neve Wilder 

17. The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal by Jonathan Mooney 

18. Legion: The Many Lives of Stephan Leeds by Brandon Sanderson

19. Badlands by Morgan Brice

20. Northern Lights by Raymond Strom

21. Gmorning, Gnight by Lin Manuel Miranda, illustrated by Jonny Sun

22. Dear Evan Hanson: The Novel by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

23. Boy Erased by Gerrard Conley

24. Lucky Town (a Badlands novella) by Morgan Brice

25. Witchbane by Morgan Brice

26. The Rising by Morgan Brice

27. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

28. Center of Gravity by Neve Wilder

29. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

30. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

31. Maus I: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

32. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

33. Burn (a Witchbane novella) by Morgan Brice

34. LotR: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

35. Letters for Lucardo Vol. 2: Fortunate Beasts by Otava Heikkila

36. Otherworld (Last Reality # 1) by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller

37. this is the way it always is by Laurie Frankel

38. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

39. Hexhunter by Jordan L. Hawk

40. Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

41. Brendan Wolf by Brian Malloy

42. Hexmaker by Jordan L. Hawk

43. Hexslayer by Jordan L. Hawk

44. The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt Och Dag

45. The Magpie Lord: A Charm of Magpies, Book 1 by K.J. Charles

46. A Case of Possession: A Charm of Magpies, Book 2 by K.J. Charles

47. Flight of Magpies: A Charm of Magpies, Book 3 by K.J. Charles

48. The Passage by Justin Cronin

49. The Twelve by Justin Cronin

50. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

51. Vicious by V.E. Schwab


2020

52. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (READING!)

53. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

54. The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1) by K.D. Edwards

55. The Hanged Man (The Tarot Sequence #2) by K.D. Edwards

56. Supermarket by Bobby Hall

57. Wolfsong by T.J. Klune

58. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

59. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

60. Glitterland by Alexis Hall

61. Ravensong by T.J. Klune

62. Knit Two by Kate Jacobs

63. Pansies by Alexis Hall

64. Crossover by Joel Shepherd

65. The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

66. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (READING!)

67. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Gavin

68. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (READING!)

Categories
#randomopinions

A Closed Internet

Hello, readers!

I love the freedom I have on the web. We all do. Oh, excuse me, I should say had.

Recently in the U.S., we’ve lost net neutrality. I was at work when I saw the news alert. I’m enraged and devastated that the Internet is going to be commercialized like television. It’s disgusted and nauseating. I was fearful that this would happen. Now, I worry that the rights as we know them for the Internet won’t be restored.

Here’s a good video about net neutrality from the YouTube show “Extra Credits.” This is from 2014. Sadly, it’s relevant.

But, as my sister told me, “This too shall pass.” I can only hope.

Yours in Internet freedom,

Meghan

Categories
films, music, video games & more!

Trailers: Bohemian Rhapsody

Guten Abend! (Good evening!)

I went to the movie theater last night with my Mom and sister. We had so much fun: The Book Club was a sweet, funny movie about four older women reconnecting with the men in their lives–with a little help from the naughty (and let’s face it, horribly written and very ill-informed) sensation 50 Shades of Grey. I laughed so much that Mom thought I was gonna have to leave the theater to compose myself. I got myself under control. We also saw Ocean’s 8, which featured an all-female cast of smart and savvy crooks. The heist? Stealing a diamond necklace. It was tense, funny, and fun. I recommend both movies!

But the real reason I’m writing this post is because of an amazing teaser trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen is one of my favorite rock groups–and by the looks of the teaser, they chose well. I know a little about the amazing Freddie Mercury–like his bisexuality, his battle with AIDS, and that he could sing like nobody’s business. I know that Queen had to fight to get “Bohemian Rhapsody” played in full on the air because it was considered too long.

I can’t wait to go see this movie!


~ Meghan

Categories
#personal

Christopher Robin

Hello, everyone!

Happy Tuesday morning! I had a fantastic weekend–my sister is home now from college, so we’ve been hanging out a ton. We’re currently watching Planet Earth II on Netflix. It’s so good!

I just wanted to show you guys the new trailer for Christopher Robin. I’m a huge fan of A.A. Milne’s work. Growing up, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was a massive part of my childhood. I’m still in love with Pooh and the gang. Jim Cummings is my favorite voice actor–I’m a child of the 90s. To me, he isn’t just the voice of Pooh, he is Pooh.

Get your Kleenex handy, it’s a good one. Oh, and the amazing Ewen McGregor, Peter Capaldi (known for his role as the 12th Doctor) are in it!

Cheers,

Meghan

Categories
concert diaries

Metallica: August 20th, 2016

Do you feel alive? How does it feel to be alive?!

– James Hetfield, from the S&M live concert

August 20th, 2016

My first-ever concert was at the U.S. Bank Stadium. The wickedly talented and very badass heavy metal rock band Metallica was playing. It was incredible.

We were excited. Once I got off work that day, it was go time.

Dad, Abbie (my sister) and I got in the car, playing the Boneyard–Dad’s favorite rock ‘n roll station–all the way down to the U.S. Bank Stadium. We were ready: Dad was driving. He knew where we were heading (obviously). We had supper already waiting for us in our respective seats: Jimmy John’s sandwiches.

We were easily a couple of hours early getting to Minneapolis. When we got to the stadium, the place was packed with rockers. The music could be heard easily from the street as we joined the steady throng of men, women, and even kids . My dad–who loves the band–lead the way to the rows of metal detectors. We passed through without any incident. We had printed our tickets, gave them to the guys manning the door, and we were in!

Dad wore a red shirt, or something like it. In any case, I was glad, because he was easy to spot amid the sea of black t-shirts. Hard-core fans were sporting their Metallica pride, while others had some cool rock shirts. Dad got in line and, after patiently waiting, got all three of us t-shirts. Abbie and I picked shirts that had the Minnesota Viking logo, and the date printed underneath. We took our seats shortly afterwards.

Although we were far from the stage itself, there were several large screens set up so everyone in the audience–there were about 50,000 fans, according to the StarTribune–could see James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo rock out.

When the house lights went down, all 50,000 of us cheered. It was a roar. Phones lit up the mosh pit, and some of the best two and a half hours of our lives happened. I screamed, whooped, and took tons of photos and videos.

I’d always dreamed of going to a concert some day–my dream concert was to see Blue October–and now I could happily say I had been to one. I watched in awe of the lighting, the talented drumming and the fancy finger-work on the guitar frets. I felt drawn to James, held captivated by his voice and his music. The theatrics were wonderful: We had a display of fireworks, jets of flame, balloons, and even a laser show during the song “One”, which acted as a conduit for the line of sight, like you were being trained on by a solider boy who just as scared and determined as you.

I was so glad I saw Metallica live. They opened my eyes to an entirely new interest: going to concerts. From Metallica, I learned that live performances not only showcase the band’s talents, but fulfilled a personal and realness that James, Lars, Kirk, and Robert possess as people.

Thanks for the memories, guys!

Meghan

P.S. The full concert is also on YouTube.

Categories
#weekendcoffeeshares

#WeekendCoffeeShare (Sun. May 13th)

Hello, dear reader!

Mother’s Day has already come and gone. This year, I went all out. I bought a dark blue Yankee candle and a card. Instead of writing a poem–which I’ve done for each of my parents over the years–I made a list of humorous inside jokes and heartfelt messages.

My mom has taught me so much about manners, caring about other people, caring for dogs, and engaging genuinely with children. She embodies her late mom, my grandma Lucy (Lucille) Bullard in her passion for Kindergarten, the importance of playtime and understanding child development in schools, her mesmerizing way with babies and young children, and her love of dogs. My grandma had a presence about her, even after her untimely stroke when I was around six years old: She was charismatic and loving. (One of my favorite stories about Grandma Lucy is how one of the nurses introduced her fianće to my grandma. She was in Bethany Home at the time. She was paralyzed on one side and couldn’t speak. Well, actually she still spoke, believe me–she spoke with her caring, loving eyes.)

In my life, I’ve been blessed to have such a fantastic mother, someone who goes above and beyond to make sure I am the best person. When I act like a teenager–like staying up a little too late on days I work, not being a morning person–that’s a skill, right?–her scolding (yes, I realize I need a I Can’t Adult Today t-shirt, ‘cus it’s hilarious that at 27 my mom needs to nag me like I’m 13) is her way of reminding that I’m too old to act irresponsibly.

In my defense, this is my way of squeaking in what was supposed to be a time for teen rebellion and laziness. (Ha ha!)

But seriously, I cannot thank my mom enough for her love and friendship.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I love you high as the sky & deep as the ocean,

Meghan

Categories
#weekendcoffeeshares

#weekendcoffeeshare (Sat. April 14th)

Hello, dear reader!

If we were having coffee, I’d be sporting my metal flower water bottle. For the past few days, I’ve been having a pretty wicked cold. (I mean wicked as in ugly, not cool.)

If we were having coffee, I would probably be trying to not fall asleep. I only worked for six hours today–I cashier at Target in my hometown–but I think the cold is getting to me again. Without the much-needed help of DayQuil, I wouldn’t be feeling nearly as peppy as I am with the cold medicine in my system.

I prefer to drink coffee (with cream if I’m at home, something a little fancier if I’m getting something from Starbucks–like a caramel macchiato) in the morning. It helps me wake up and stay focused. I’ll have it with my breakfast, which is usually cereal.

It’s finally snowing here in my part of Minnesota. I thought that we maybe weren’t gonna get anything, even though my sister texted pictures of the crazy amounts they are getting at Gustavus. When the weather’s bad like this, it makes me so glad that I live in town! I can’t imagine trying to go anywhere if I were in the cities–i.e. Minneapolis. I’d probably just stay home, only going out for work or an emergency food run.

I’m a little jealous that my boyfriend (his name is Rory) might get to stay home from work tomorrow if the weather is still really bad. (It’s nice that his bosses are cool with their workers staying at home when it’s bad weather. That’s a plus at any rate.) Cross your fingers!

Lately, I’ve been working on redecorating my farm in Stardew Valley. I once again realized that I had planted way too many trees, so I’m chopping them down and placing the new trees by the paths I’ve made around the standard farm. I also took out some of the fenced-in areas that I wasn’t using for crops. I got rid of the gate for my barn, so that my pig–who I named Peppa, who is not in any way related to the children’s show–can roam the farm. Now a horse owner, Gavin can take me anywhere I need to go! I’m in my fifth year and just got a horse. Silly me! I won’t make this mistake of waiting so long in future play-throughs. I love how much thought and effort went into Stardew Valley. It’s easily one of the most relaxing and charming games I’ve ever played. I know I’ve raved about this game before, but it’s truly wonderful.

I’m curious to see how much snow we get overnight, especially since it began snowing around 8 o’clock. It’s almost midnight now.

It’s time for me to wind down for bed. Time to break out my colored pencils and my coloring book and my Kindle.

Sleep well,

Meghan

P.S. A huge thank you to everyone who recently followed me! You guys are awesome!