technology

Project Runway: Futuristic Flash-Back

It may be an oxymoron, but last week’s Project Runway was both a blast from the past and a flash-forward.  It was– my favorite– an unconventional materials challenge!  It started with a boombox and the clue from Heidi to “dive in.”  How does retro tech fit with that clue?  It’s a dumpster dive through outdated technology!  It yielded, of course, mixed results.

Lindsay is getting on my nerves.  She’s such a complainer and no one understands her and she doesn’t get unconventional materials… yeah girl, that’s the point.  Kelly is totally inspired.  She thrives using unconventional materials.  ‘Atta girl, Boston!  Ashley doesn’t trust her own process, but her nostalgic polaroid picture look is pure gold.

Ashley's smashed Polaroid photo dress is my absolute favorite this week.  I'd wear that in a heartbeat.

Ashley’s smashed Polaroid photo dress is my absolute favorite this week. I’d wear that in a heartbeat.

Here’s what the rest of the designers make: (more…)

7 Reasons to Love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

image: NBC/Netflix

image: NBC/Netflix

I confess, I had the first season of the newest Netflix release, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt completely finished by Saturday morning.  I just couldn’t stop watching this completely wonderful show!  I’ve actually rewatched about half of it by the time I’m writing this.

The basic plot is that Kimmy is one of four women who was rescued from a Doomsday cult; she’s lived in an underground bunker for the last 15 years.

I’ve not been able to stop telling people to watch this show.

Here are some reasons why:

[7. Tina Fey]

If you’re watching this show solely to see Tina Fey, you are in luck! Tina does indeed make an appearance in a few episodes.

[6. The Comedy]

It goes without saying that this show is funny.  Though much of the humor is in line with that of 30 Rock, if that wasn’t your cup of tea you will likely still be laughing at Kimmy Schmidt.  The outdated pop culture references are a special treat to me!  Quirky humor reigns supreme here.  Some favorite lines are Kimmy’s, “Dancing is about butts now!” and when Mrs. Voorhees calls a piñata a Mexican candy animal.

[5. The Characters]

The supporting cast of characters are wonderfully weird.  There is one completely incompetent character that even got on my nerves a bit, but for the most part they are super interesting.  Titus serves as Kimmy’s roommate and the perfect sassy best friend to ease her into her new life.  My favorite character is Jane Krakowski’s Jacqueline Voorhees: a hilarious rich housewife with a surprising backstory.

[4. The Future is Now]

At one point, Titus tells Kimmy to stop calling the present the future.  Kimmy’s been underground for 15 years, so things that are commonplace to us are novel to her.  It puts a funny lens on the smartphone life, for sure.

[3. The Theme Song]

It’s so catchy!  You can hear the full version here.  They set it up as part of the plot as well.  It’s a mock auto-tuned news report, which reminds me so much of this one.  You’ll be singing Unbreakable! too.

[2. Kimmy Schmidt herself]

Ellie Kemper does a fabulous job embodying this funny, eternally resilient character.  The situation has resulted in Kimmy being somewhat alien in a world 15 years away from the one she left.  This creates fantastic opportunities for comedy.  It reminds me a lot of my favorite character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya– removed from the world of humans for so long she questions every concept both comically and in a heart-felt manner.

[1. Females are Strong As Hell]

If you’ve heard the theme song by the time you got here, I’m betting this is stuck in your head as well.  This is the most important message from this show.  We are resilient and we can overcome all kinds of crazy things.  You go, Kimmy!  And you go, Tina Fey!

Have you watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt yet?  What did you think?

I can’t wait for another season!

Kill the Moon

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You need look no further than yesterday’s post to know that I find the moon romantic and beautiful.  Space is full of beauty and mystery, and perhaps that’s why both Sailor Moon and Doctor Who appeal to me.  This weekend’s episode of Doctor Who, Kill the Moon, posed the moon as a gigantic egg in the sky; from it hatched a unique winged creature that ignited humankind’s desire to explore space.  I loved the concept for this episode.  Here are a few of my favorite things from this episode:

 

“In fact, I’m not entirely sure if I won’t keep on regenerating forever.”

The Doctor says while illustrating the futility of shooting him.  This line piqued my interest, as I think it’s something that many Whovians wonder about.  Are there a finite number of regenerations?  We’re not sure.  It seems the Doctor’s not quite sure himself.  It’s nice to leave this open ended for show purposes, huh?

 

Maria on the moon

Maria are large, basaltic plains that are the “seas” of the moon.  I learned this when I googled a bunch of things the Doctor said.  The Doctor mentions the Sea of Tranquility, Sea of Nectar, and the Sea of Crises, which are all real things!  I feel like I learned something thanks to this episode… which, is the actual original purpose of Doctor Who.  Look at that!  Wiki the list of Maria on the moon yourself– it’s super interesting!

 

British-isms

Watching Doctor Who can be a little cultural lesson.  I love British accents and I love regional differences in vernacular.  One thing that caught me off guard was torch v. flashlight.  I just wasn’t expecting this one.  Something I found funny, that I’m wondering whether it’s a British-ism, is that Clara said the “President of America.”  I don’t think this is something an American would ever say.  We say President of the United States [of America] exclusively.

 

Fixed points v. gray bits

We’ve heard the Doctor talk about “fixed points in time,” which have to unravel the way they do– he cannot affect these moments.  (Although, he usually does.)  In Kill the Moon, the Doctor talks about the opposite, the eloquently named “gray bits” that he can’t quite discern the outcome.  I like this explanation of sort of junctions in time.  It says a lot for the gravity of the situation.

 

“My granny used to put things on tumblr!”

The astronaut in 2048 says this with a hearty laugh, and I get a real kick out of it.  It’s a great illustration of technology in action, isn’t it?  I actually love this gag in general, that we have Courtney snapping iPhone photos on the moon 35 years in the future and posting them on tumblr from the Tardis.

I do find it slightly odd that Clara’s like, uh no I don’t have Courtney’s number, but she obviously knows her tumblr username.  Like, which is actually weirder?

 

Navigational DVDs

The Doctor tells Courtney there are several DVDs onboard the Tardis which will take it (and if holding on correctly, her) to him.  Is this a little call-back to Blink?!  Clearly the Doctor has learned that he needs to keep a few of these on hand!

 

 

What did you guys think of Kill the Moon?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7: Thoughts

Act 7 is named for Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, and yes, he is the focus of the episode…. or rather, Mamo-chan and Usako.  We also (kind of) get introduced to Venus as well, so I’m happy all around.  Here’s what we learned this week:

It’s not a transformation; it’s a costume.

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Tuxedo Mask may not have powers, but he does have a pretty sweet origin story.  He wants the Legendary Silver Crystal because it’s the only clue to his identity.  (Fun when he asks Usagi why she wants it and her answer is, like, because a cat told me I do.)  Mamoru may not have attacks, but as we find out later in the episode, he can throw a mean punch!

I also loved Usagi’s why didn’t I realize? moment when she physically picks up the mask and places it over Mamoru’s eyes.  Even while still wearing the tuxedo, she apparently needed more prompting?  She asks herself how she didn’t put it together that Mamoru Chiba is Tuxedo Mask, which we’ve all been asking her since the first time we saw him.

 

Usako + Mamo-chan

Alright, guys, as a long-time Sailor Moon fan, I completely lost my shit when Mamoru called her Usako for the first time.  I loved Usagi deciding that his nickname would be Mamo-chan and repeating it to herself, excitedly.  I love the way she “accidentally” stole the pocket watch from his apartment, and drawing strength from an object she knows is his.  I especially love that juxtaposed with Mamoru, doing the same with her handkerchief.

The way Usagi feels about Mamoru made her very brave in this episode.  After a battle, Mamoru revealed that his dream is no longer to obtain the Legendary Silver Crystal; his dream is now Usagi.  I love love!

 

But what year is it?

I’m glad that it was DVDs instead of video tapes in this episode, ’cause then life would really be confusing, but did anyone else notice: this is a world with both movie rental shops and iPads?

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Okay, technically it’s a FinePad. I still LOVE that Ami has one; great update!

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this is still a relic.

Speaking of which…

 

The Dark Kingdom is not much for subtlety.

If you can’t figure out this is an evil shop, even without speaking Japanese, you deserve to get possessed.

 

Finally– Sailor Venus!

We saw Luna talking to her from the command center, then we heard Luna backpedal about the possibility that Sailor V fits into the Sailor Senshi.  It looks like next episode we, and the Sailor Senshi, will get the answers about Sailor Venus and Minako!

 

What did you guys think about Act 7?

Are you in love with Usako and Mamo-chan yet?

Friday Favorites: Welcome to Night Vale

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If you don’t listen to Welcome to Night Vale, you should be doing so.  If you don’t follow @NightValeRadio on twitter, start now.

This twice-per-month podcast is unique, quirky, amazingly engaging, and hilarious.  Described as NPR meets the Twilight Zone, Welcome to Night Vale is a fictional radio show from a fictional town in Nevada.  Things are a little bit different in Night Vale…  Out host, Cecil, takes us through Night Vale’s news in a soothing radio voice.  Other residents of this desert town are featured as well, from the faceless old woman who lives in your house (played by Matilda former-acress Maura Wilson) to Intern Dana, who occasionally makes cell phone calls from another plane of exisitance (Jasika Nicole who played Astrid on Fringe).  If your interests are anything like mine, you will absolutely love this strange and macabre podcast.

This tweet is from last week, but I’m absolutely in love with it.  The twitter feed is a perfect example of the kind of humor you’ll hear from this show.

Hey Night Vale fans– what are your favorite quotes?  I tragically can’t remember which one used to be my twitter bio, so I really need your help!

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Kids React to Game Boy hurts my soul

Let me just start be saying I love Kids React!  The Fine Brothers do such an amazing job with their videos and Kids React is my favorite variety, followed by closely by Elders React.  If you haven’t seen some of these videos, you really must go watch them.  They also do Teens React and Youtubers React, but for me, the opposite extreme age groups make for the best comedy.

I’ve already admitted that the Game Boy is as old as I am.  This gray brick that I look at with so much love absolutely horrifies these kids!

I’m kind of jealous that Benny and Rafi still have a working Game Boy!  Even loaded up with 4 AA batteries, mine won’t turn on anymore.

Even though these kids make me feel so horribly old, at least one kid gets that this was the start of all the cool Nintendo products they have now.

Check out some of the other Kids React videos for a good laugh!

25 Years of Game Boys

Mine!  Original, Color, Advance, DS Lite, & 3DS!

Mine! Original, Color, Advance, DS Lite, & 3DS!  Can you tell which colors I like?

Last weekend, as I hurried to pack an overnight bag to spend Easter at my parents’ house, I grabbed what I call “my Game Boy.” The device I actually grabbed is my trusty Nintendo 3DS, but I can’t get by the mental block that it’s a Game Boy. I sent a tweet to that sentiment:

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Little did I realize, the next day was the 25th anniversary to the Game Boy’s release in Japan. What timing, Nicole! Then, on Monday, Masable posted this timeline validating my feelings that my 3DS is indeed a Game Boy.

Today, I wanted to take a walk down memory lane by showing you my Game Boys and talking about the handheld games I’ve been playing. You’ll be hearing a lot about Pokémon, since it’s my favorite handheld game. Since my gaming past is inextricably linked to my brother’s, you’ll be hearing about him a lot too. The Game Boy is officially as old as I am, and I can’t remember not having one. If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed my phone case is a Game Boy too.

When I upgraded from the 4 to the 5, I HAD to get same case.

When I upgraded from the 4 to the 5, I HAD to get same case.

Let’s jump into it—

IMG_5208My brother and I both received original Game Boys in the original gray. We call this “the brick” these days. This sucker took 4 AA batteries. Mine sadly doesn’t work anymore, but it’s proudly displayed on the shelves in my living room.   We both got the bundle with Tetris, and the other game I remember getting off the bat was F-1 Race. Where my gaming love really took off was with Pokémon Red. This game was purchased for my brother prior to the pokémon craze. Someone at a store recommended it, and we had never heard of it. Unfortunately, my brother was freshly 7 years old and his reading skills weren’t up to par for this game. At 9, I was better equipped to enjoy this game and was well into it before I realized everyone else was playing it too. After Red version, I played Blue. I was in love.

Game Boy Pocket missed us entirely.

IMG_5209Game Boy Color rolled around in time for Pokémon Yellow Version – Special Pikachu Edition. My Game Boy Color was teal; my brother got lime. Holding this thing today, I can’t believe my hands were comfortable around this tiny device! I guess I’m used to a wider device these days. I loved the Game Boy Color, though. It also got me through (the super underrated) Pokémon Trading Card Game, Pokémon Silver, Gold, and Crystal.

IMG_5210Next came the GBA or Game Boy Advance. I got a pink one and I’m fairly certain my brother got a silver one? I don’t remember because he got the FireRed SP when it came out. I stole it for a while but he took it back rather recently. (I kind of still want one, if anyone’s looking to get rid of one…) Anyway, GBA was a big switch for me but it was necessary to play Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, FireRed, and LeafGreen. The only other GBA game I have currently is Donkey Kong Country 3. I’d have to go digging through my parents’ basement to find the others!

IMG_5213My brother got a DS before I did. He got the original, thick version. (If you’ve been following along, he’s now two versions ahead of me. Being a high school girl is apparently too time consuming for quality gaming. However, this is the last “Game Boy” he’s owned. I’m more of a gamer than he is these days.) I’m estimating I got my DS Lite, the pink one, around my senior year of high school. It obviously came to college with me. I have a ton of DS games, but notably I played Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver on it. I have a ton of other DS games from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks to Nintendogs: Dachshund and Friends. I was so attached to my DS, that my college boyfriend went out and bought one because he got so jealous.

IMG_5212The decision to buy a 3DS was released after I graduated college, and the decision to purchase one was not an easy one to make. I hate 3D. My eyes hurt all the time and I didn’t want to play in 3D. I’m happy to say now that buying my aqua 3DS was the best decision. I am even more attached to my 3DS than my DS, even though I play with the 3D off. I don’t remember it I got Black & White before or after I switched over to the 3DS, but Black 2 & White 2 were definitely played on it. Pokémon X and Y, being the first versions made for 3DS, were obviously played through on it as well. I have a ton of 3DS games too, mostly because so many great games were remade for this system, notably The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 3D. Most recently, I’ve been playing Yoshi’s New Island and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. I’m always looking for new games, because you can’t beat portability!

I guess that sentence is really what it comes down to: portability. I miss my Xbox or my Wii U when I’m away because transporting and setting up a system elsewhere is ridiculous. To be able to play in the car, or on the train, or waiting for an appointment just can’t be beat. As a multi-tasker, I love to be able to play while I watch TV. I’m a Game Boy girl. When you see me, phone in hand, you know that. Happy 25th, Game Boy! I wouldn’t be me without you.

What Game Boys did you guys have?

And if you’re a Boston local, I want to tag your Mii with StreetPass! Seriously, let’s get together…

Wii U Wednesday: Bringing Home Baby

I bought a Wii U.  Here’s what happened next.

I already mentioned: it had been a particularly heinous week.  It was 5 PM on a Friday, and I was so ready to go home.  My reward, my Wii U, was charged, bagged, and in hand… erm, arms.

Let’s back track.   I take the T (Boston’s public transportation system) to work.  I prefer to walk home, weather permitting.  At this particular moment in time, I was even farther away from home, having gone to buy said Wii U.  This box was super unwieldy for me– I had to clasp my hands together to create a cradle in the crook of my arm to hold it– and the farther I walked, the heavier it felt.  Oh, and the weather was threatening to turn.

I didn’t want to bring my big box on a rush hour train, so I decided to try to beat the rain.  It was warm, but dark and overcast.  By the time I reached the bridge maybe a third of the way home, rain began to fall.  It was too hot for the jacket I was wearing and my arms were getting sore.  I gripped tighter and powered onward.

By the time I reached my neighborhood, it was umbrellas-up weather.  Both myself and the box were soaked.  My arms were spaghetti, but hey that cardboard was thicker than I thought!

With my exercise for the week completed, it was on to the next scary task: setting it up!  I’m afraid of breaking electronic things and I cried when trying to set my Xbox 360 up… but I’d come a long way since then!  I’d set up the TV I’d be hooking it up to, so I was confident.  Ish.

afterlight

Protip: This is the “up” side of the box.  Open this side up.  I didn’t do that.

The good news is, the deluxe set comes with everything you could ever need, including an HDMI cable!  That’s the real hero for me, since Radio Shack ripped me off big time last time I needed one.  The set up is super straight forward.  Fairly detailed instructions are included, so follow them and you’re good to go!

But are you?  You haven’t even played yet and it’s time for a system update.

I needed the system update to link my Nintendo account.  Time Remaining: 3:20.  I thought, no problem, I’ve got a few minutes, and busied myself with a phone call.  Oh no, they didn’t mean 3 minutes.  They meant 3 hours.  With my less-than-awesome signal strength, this took a really, really long time.  It was a blessing in disguise, though, because I used the time to clean my entire apartment.

It was late by the time I actually got to play, but I had the whole weekend ahead of me to do go!  We’ll get into the games next week.

 

I heart streaming television

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On Thursday, amidst the Amazon Fire TV buzz, I read this Mashable piece about its 8 Greatest Competitors. If you didn’t know, I kicked DirecTV to the curb last year and now rely entirely on the internet for TV. My building isn’t wired for cable, so my options are limited. I get by with Netflix, Hulu, and a few select things on my iTunes and Amazon Instant. I also benefit from a Comcast subscription (thanks, Dad!) but am limited to its streaming content only. I have a lot of interest in products like Amazon Fire TV, so I thought I’d share with you how this cable-less girl is still a TV-freak.

 

Roku 2

My brother bought me my Roku 2 for Christmas last year, and I love it. I got the accompanying TV for my birthday, and thus have a new set up in my bedroom that’s basically changed my life. Roku streams Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and a selection of channels. For example, Lifetime has a channel on Roku, so instead of watching Dance Moms on my laptop, I can watch it on a TV! The Roku itself is not a monthly subscription, you just register and account and you’re off. Some channels are free (like Lifetime, PBS, stuff like that) and some you need a subscription for— Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go. Unfortunately, HBO Go doesn’t steam on my Roku… it’s backed by Comcast and Comcast HBO accounts are not good to go for Roku.

Xbox 360

My original TV machine and the reason I felt confident enough to get rid of cable, Xbox Live Gold keeps me watching Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Youtube! My Xbox sits in my living room on my big TV and thus acts as my main source of visual content. My internet connection is a bit rough (I have Clear as a service, because again, no wires in my building) so it tends to blink off occasionally interrupting my shows. That’s a bummer, and the reason I don’t play Xbox Live ever— I’d be impossible to get through a game! Xbox Live Gold service is necessary to stream and it’s a costly service itself.

iPad

I’m slightly in love with my iPad. I’m still in the market for a portable keyboard so I can take it to the beach house for blogging purposes this summer— the touch screen doesn’t make for easy typing! I bring my iPad most places in lieu of a laptop. It is everything I need for an overnight trip to my parents’ or a weekend stay at a friend’s. The following apps make this a lovable machine: Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Comcast Xfinity, and Viki. The great thing is that every service has an app, so the iPad is the most universal of my devices. While there are some things I can watch only on certain devices/TVs, I can watch pretty much everything on the iPad! I sleep with it. It’s normal.

Wii/Wii U

I mention these because the article mentions Wii U. You all know that I just bought a Wii U, and I could certainly steam Netflix and such on this guy. It sits on the shelf below my Roku, so I don’t need it for those purposes. The same goes with my Wii, which sits in my living room next to the Xbox. I’m pretty sure it streams Netflix too, but I’ve never used it as such. My Nintendo devices are only for gaming, I guess. Does anybody know if there’s a subscription services to be able to stream on these babies? Perhaps it’s something to consider.

 

So it’s obvious why I’m interested in devices like Amazon Fire TV, but it’s also pretty evident that I don’t need any more TV streaming devices! As an Apple user, I am, however, still pretty interested in the Apple TV… we have them at work and they seem awesome. I don’t see an Amazon Fire TV in my future, but the price is low and the product does great things. Has anybody picked one up yet? I’d love to hear what you think about it!