Monday, 25 January 2016

I Bought A SNES: How To Handle Stress Expensively

There is a perfectly good reason why I haven't been posting much this month. That reason is exams. Dear god. Exams.

They're like a really boring Saw trap that you volunteer to do.
I handle exams very poorly at the best of times (usually with the crying and the binge eating), but this year's lot are different to my usual medical school fare what with me studying an inter-collated degree (a fancy name for cheating a second diploma out of one more year of work). Poof goes the multiple choice questions and here comes the essay train, derailing itself into your skull at 120 words a minute. As such, I upped my exam stressing game with daily frivolous purchases. On the lead up to the exam week, these included a couple of Professor Layton games. Then the rest of them.
Professor Layton is a gateway drug.
Two days before Exam 0, I was starting to feel the burn. Cold sweats, coughing up blood... Wait, no, that's TB. Cold sweats, wishing I had TB... So, seeing as I'd recently got New Super Mario Bros. earlier the week before and one of my Wii controllers was gubbed to fuckery, I hopped back on eBay to buy some cheap Chinese knock-offs. No news as to whether they actually work yet.

I have not learned from that time I bought Gamecube controllers that only let you turn left.
I completed Ocarina of Time with those bastards.
So, naturally, on exam day, after 4 hours of god-awful essay questions and writing that made worse use of the Oxford comma and unnecessary conjunctions than this very sentence, I needed more things. So I bought a SNES.

Quite a lot of SNES.
The lady I bought it off on eBay was lovely, and every game even came packed individually in bubblewrap like dozens of poppy Christmas presents! Also, if you read my recent post on MyRetroGameBox, you know how much of a sucker I am when it comes to the adorable quirks of second hand games. The box for (one of my two copies of) Mario Kart has evidently been subjected to the beautifully simplistic humour of a 7 year old.
Princess Peach has been subbed out for Frida Kahlo.
All in all it seems like studying is a very expensive pastime; I would not recommend it. Although the residual effects are pretty sweet. Actual articles will occur as of next week, my little snookums. <3

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Listen to more Podcasts

2016 is going to be the year of podcasts, for me anyway. I started to get into them around the end of last year when I caved and finally listened to the much talked about Serial (which I'll talk about in more depth later). My biggest issue with podcasts was mainly "where am I going to find the time to listen to them/what am I going to do whilst listening to them?" because I can't just sit in a chair staring at the wall whilst listening to them, I needed to be doing something that I could just slip into autopilot for. I couldn't exactly listen to them whilst reading or writing or anything to that effect, so I started listening during the, for a lack of better words, obvious times. Like when I'm on the bus going to work or university, or walking to the shops. Then I started listening when I was cooking dinner, which I when I noticed a change in my behaviour.

The more invested I got in whatever podcast I was listening to, the more I wanted to listen to them, obviously. So I started cooking more complex meals that would take longer to prepare so I could listen to a podcast, or I'd deep clean the flat (which is kind of difficult considering my new flat is never messy, what a strange complaint), or I'd walk somewhere rather than taking the bus. Basically, podcasts make you skinny and productive. Who knew? Well, I say productive, they're also a fabulous means of procrastination.

So I thought I'd share with you a collection of my favourite podcasts, and hopefully you'll enjoy them! These podcasts are all free to listen to, so you can be broke yet entertained.

Serial
.
Serial is a non-fiction podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig, whose voice is like a silky flowing river of chocolate. It had its d├ębut in October of 2014, with the first season investigating the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an eighteen year old high school student. Lee's ex-boyfriend, Adnan Masud Syed, was arrested and charged with first degree murder. But, did he do it? Well, that's what Serial tries to find out. Interviewing the people involved, going over case files, taped recordings of police interrogations, trying to replicate various scenarios to test their credibility etc. Serial is a masterclass in storytelling, and was credited as "an audio game changer" after winning a Peabody award in 2015.
Season two has just begun as well, with, at this point, four episodes released so far, telling the story of Bowe Bergdahl, an American solider held hostage by the Taliban for five years, who was then arrested for desertion following his rescue. 
Serial is engaging, it's clever, it's sometimes difficult to listen to and it's something that you can't afford to miss; and the music is absolutely fab. 
It's available to listen to:
On its website.
On iTunes.
On Soundcloud.

Criminal
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Criminal is similar to Serial, but instead of a whole season focusing on a single story, each of the episodes are stand alone stories. Hosted by Phoebe Judge, Criminal is a show about, well, you guessed it: crime. It ranges from people who have done wrong, been wronged, or have been caught somewhere in the grey moral area. Over the course of their show, they have had many characters. There’s the man tasked with trying to break up a Venus flytrap crime ring, a journalist who befriended a female serial killer, a mother-daughter coroner team and another man whose Good Samaritan turned out to be a blackmailer. It's like a bite-sized Serial, with half hour episodes instead of hour long episodes, and it's stand-alone structure. But despite my continuous comparisons to Serial, Criminal is a show in its own right, and equally brilliant in it's own way.
Criminal is available to listen to:
On its website.
On iTunes.
On Soundcloud.

This American Life
.
This American Life  is a weekly, hour long radio show hosted by Ira Glass. Each week they tackle a different theme or topic, such as regrets, changes in status, propaganda etc. and is usually presented in a three act format. Primarily, it functions as a journalistic non-fiction program, but it also features essays, memoirs, field recordings, short fiction, and found footage. The first episode aired in 1995, so the archive of episodes is absolutely huge, so I'm not going to pretend to have listened to them all. It's an incredibly intelligent, insightful, sometimes emotional, often funny and definitely a great listen.
It's available to listen to:
On its website. 
On iTunes.
On Soundcloud.

Limetown
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The first fiction podcast on this list, Limetown is a six episode podcast about an experimental town called Limetown, whose inhabitants all disappeared overnight. Journalist Lia Haddock investigates this event, with harrowing results. I don't want to go into too much depth on this one, for the sake of spoilers and such. Some of the voice acting can be a little clunky, but for the most part it's incredible, especially a particularly horrifying 911 call, which just really gets to me for some reason. The story is really well put together and really entertaining.
It's available to listen to:
On its website.
On iTunes.
On Soundcloud.

Not Too Deep
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Not too Deep  is a part audio, part visual podcast hosted by youtube personality Grace Helbig. These past few podcasts that I've recommend, however brilliant they may be, might be a bit heavy to listen to every single day. Not too Deep provides that refreshing break of undiluted silliness, with questions like "who would you most like to throw cold spaghetti at?" and "worst pants shitting story in three words". All of her guests are youtubers, however it isn't exactly necessary for you to be a fan of the people she interviews in order to enjoy it - a lot of the people she interviews I haven't heard of, or don't watch on youtube, but it makes for enjoyable listening nonetheless, because what they talk about is usually so nonsensical, it has nothing really to do with their career on youtube, so don't be put off by that. Like I said earlier, it's part visual as well, as Helbig and her guests film a challenge video (usually making fun of whatever popular challenge video is making the youtube rounds) before recording the audio part. It's funny, self aware and very charming.
It's available on:
On its website.
On iTunes.
On Soundcloud.
On Youtube

Ear Biscuits
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Following down the youtube path, Ear Biscuits is a (purely audio) show from youtube duo Rhett and Link. I don't actually watch Rhett and Link on youtube, but I've found their podcast to be a really interesting listen, and them to be really great interviewers. All of their guests are youtubers as well, but that's where the similarities with Not too Deep end, as Rhett and Link, well, they're wanting to get deep. So that means that maybe you do need to be familiar with their guests before listening, unless you just like listening to people talk about their lives. But as a fan of a lot of the youtube personalities that they've interviewed, like Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, Natalie Tran etc. this podcast has proven to be really insightful about the stuff that they may not necessarily share online.
It's available to listen to:
On Soundcloud.
On iTunes.

Right, and that's all from me today! Hopefully at least one of these podcasts tickles your fancy. Happy listening!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Everything, Adequately #4 - Widescreen


I use a lot of brown in my drawings... I guess it harks back to my childhood when I would refuse to draw anything but muddy puddles. True story.

Also, I think "Space Sand" makes for a lovely, succinct description of Dune.