четвъртък, 8 декември 2011 г.

Moneybrother - Born Under a Bad Sign

Making a super smooth transition from French to Swedish, today we’re looking at an awesome little band known as Moneybrother. At the risk of being redundant, I will again mention that I discovered this song in a soundtrack for a movie - in this case, “Super” (which has become one of my all-time favorites, by the way). Back then I was too obsessed with another song I might feature in here someday to notice just how incredible this band was. But in came up on my music player yesterday and I fell in love.

I don’t know exactly what it is, could it possibly be the catchy beat, the charming vocals of the leading man, the fact that I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell they trying to say? I don’t know, could be any of those things, and it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that I have a new tune to mumble incoherently to and yell out the only lyric from the chorus I know.

I’M BORN UNDER A BADLY DUSTED SIGN!!! (probably).

Malajube - Ton Plat Favori

Grab your monocles, we're going to be fancy today, folks! We're diving into the depths of European rock music, and as we all know, nothing's more European than France (BP is going to kill me for saying that, even as a joke). Today's song is from the soundtrack of a great Canadian indie movie known as "The Trotsky" - a wonderful little comedy that I heatedly recommend to everyone. The song itself is relatively short but full of energy and humor. Just a couple of lines from the chorus bring a smile to my face:

Non! T'as pas fini ton assiette
Mais tu manges encore
Tu manges mon coeur!

No! You haven't finished your meal
But you're eating again
You're eating my heart!

Those are honestly among my favorite lyrics in a song. Maybe it's just because it's French, maybe it's because it involves cannibalism, but it just warms my heart. I don't know about you guys, but I'm definitely putting this song on my pretentious party playlist.

събота, 26 ноември 2011 г.

Gem Club - Twins

Alright you crazy indie kids, today it's time to slow down and sulk. And doing so is just so much more enjoyable when you have the right soundtrack. Today we're looking at Gem Club's song 'Twins', which impressed me from the first couple of notes the first time I heard it. I just had to stop everything I was doing and just immerse myself in it, and that's definitely a sign of awesome songwriting right there.

The melody is simple and the lyrics are short and powerful. They're about finding someone and the end of solitude, but this song mostly makes me want to be alone. I kinda want to spend a day playing it on a loop while swimming in a pool at night by myself. Depressing? Maybe. I say soothing.

сряда, 16 ноември 2011 г.

Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened

Deerhunter. Deerhunter. Deer. Hunter. God, that's such a cool band name to pronounce. Like Radiohead or Chairlift. It's just so badass, I love it.

But what I love even more is this song. I've had it in my music folder for over two years now and it never seemed like anything special to me, but now I can't get enough of it. The secret - it became my go-to dance song. It's just so energetic and awesome, you can't sit still while listening to it - the beat is amazing, the rhythm is spot-on and the lyrics punch my brain in the face.

"Only when you learn that there's no way out
You learn to talk, you learn to shout
Focus on the depth that was never there
Eliminate what you can't repair"


It's one of those songs that you just need to sing as loud as you can. And I'm currently on a mission to reach my neighbors' boiling point, so you just know I'll be playing this song on a loop for the next two weeks.


понеделник, 14 ноември 2011 г.

Hockey - Too Fake

To be fair, there isn't much I know about Hockey. Not the sport, but the band (although I'm certainly not an expert on the former, as well) - my half-assed research consisted of looking them up on several sites just for this article. Don't judge me for my laziness - I'm just not the kind of person who's interested by bands themselves, unless they consistently make amazing songs. I prefer to have a little bit of as many musicians as possible - this preference actually eventually led me to indie music, and I assume that's true for the most of you, as well.

Alright, back to Hackey. I mean Hockey. Originally consisting of singer Benjamin Grubin, guitarist Brian Stuart White, bassist Jeremy Reynolds, drummer Anthony Stassi and keyboardist Ryan Dolliver, the band received wide recognition for their debut single "Too Fake", which was released in the UK in 2009. It's also the song that they're best known for and man, oh, man, I can see why.

I just can't get enough of it. It might be one of those tracks that you listen to non-stop for a week and get tired of afterwards, but I'm sure as hell going to enjoy the hell out of it until then. It's incredibly catchy and perfect for that "Just woke up" playlist (wait… you don't have one?). I especially like the little half-sing, half-talk they have going on before each chorus, that's a nice touch.

In my opinion, not every great song has to be incredibly deep and life-changing. Sometimes you just need something light and cheerful to brighten your day - your Neon Trees' Animal and your Little Comets' One Night in October. And making these kinds of songs is definitely not as easy as you might assume. But Hockey has a knack for it, and I give them props for that.

събота, 5 ноември 2011 г.

Elephantom 101

Okay, I have a confession to make. I am not a huge fan of Grizzly Bear. I know it's such a hip thing to love that band and as a fan of popular indie trends I'm basically required to enjoy it as well, but I guess it's just not my cup of tea. But boy, do they know how to choose their favorite bands.

Elephantom is a Boston-based band that DIY-ed their first album Swim. Toward the Sun. in 2009 and tossed a CD of it on the stage during a Grizzly Bear show in Vancouver. To their surprise, the band actually sent them an email back praising their music and saying: "we are in Vancouver all listening…thanks so much for sharing this with us. I hope you guys go far.”

Afterwards word on the band that Grizzly Bear was endorsing got out and Elephantom started to get the attention of indie fans and bloggers everywhere. And it's no wonder why - the rich sound of the songs and the wide variety of emotions that they encompass, as well as the wonderful lyrical content of the tracks makes for a wonderful music experience. It's unlike anything I've ever heard (although it's been compared to Danish band Efterklang) and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to hear something different.

‘Citizen of the Earth’ is a perfect choice for a first listen because it actually does sound like an introduction to something epic and grand. It also has one of the best openings I’ve ever heard in a song. Vocalist Trudie Kaiser’s voice reminds me of Genevieve Schatzof Company of Thieves in that they both sound incredibly seductive, which shows the amount of passion they have for their music. You can’t fake this stuff.

I really really hope this band gets more attention. I am desperately trying to get my hands on a CD although they offer most of their tracks online for free. And come on, Elephantom, Spotify is your friend, use it and you’ll get the recognition you so deserve.

събота, 27 август 2011 г.

3 Things I'll Have to Get Used To in the States


Soo... I'm finally here. I won't say that the journey was easy, but all was well and I'm finally here, safe and sound, at least for now. I've been adjusting to things these last couple of days and let me tell you, that's not as easy as it sounds. I live on the other side of the world, so it was natural that I would come across certain things that are different around these parts. Of course, people warned me about the customs and the traditions, as well as the different laws and rules, so I won't say that it was all unexpected, but some differences caught me by surprise. Some things like...


SQUIRRELS


Let's talk about the squirrels, people. The squirrels… are everywhere. Are they meant to be like the pigeons of Penn's campus - in that there are a lot of them, they're not at all scared of you and you don't pay any attention to them? How is it that no one cares that a squirrel is sitting there and eating its food like a boss right next to him? Am I just supposed to believe you don't consider those furry bastards a big deal? That would never happen in my country. My home town has a huge park in it and I think we have, like, two squirrels at the most. Two. If you notice a group of people standing in one place and looking up a tree, chances are someone probably saw a squirrel and strangers passing by wanted to see it as well.


Awkward Social Interactions with Strangers


In the past couple of days I've been walking around campus a lot, which meant that I came across a lot of people - in stores and restaurants, asking for directions or simply passing by them on the streets. In this time, I've found out something interesting about Americans - almost all of them will say hello to you, and almost all of those will ask you how you are. Now, when I was leaving, I was warned about this - should they ask you, don't bother answering because they don't really care, they're just being polite. But here I am now, feeling like a jerk for not answering this poor woman who wants to know how I'm feeling, stuck in this awkward smile that probably creeps her out. On top of that, this social interaction makes me nervous and my already unintelligible English gets worse.


- Hello, how are you?

- Hello, I'm… gh.

- Um.. Just let me know if you need any help, alright?

- Agheet, I leel et y oh.

- …


Coins with no numbers on them


Seriously, America? Y u no have coins that tell you how much they're worth? I know you can tell them apart by size and color at this point, but I've never seen one before, so I have to stare at the fine print in the bottom and remind myself of how much a dime or a quarter is every time I go to pay. I now have a wallet full of at least $5 worth of coins just because I feel uncomfortable rummaging through my money and getting the quantity right. I feel like I will have to spend an hour at home one day, just looking at those coins and doing exercises on paying with them. This shouldn't be this hard, people!


събота, 20 август 2011 г.

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

So there it is, folks - my last Bulgarian post for the year.

I'm off for the US in 5 hours and I thought that now is the perfect time to pour my heart out, I guess.

God, saying goodbye is a bitch. I hate saying goodbye to people - those whom you don't know that well get overly emotional and those who you truly care about are so sad that it makes you reconsider going whereever you're going. I'm feeling fine now but, my God, was I a wreck today - and I didn't, didn't, didn't want to leave. The best strategy was to constantly keep myself busy so that I wouldn't have to stay alone with my own thoughts and emotions. It seems to be working for now, but then again, maybe I'll break down in the middle of my flight. I guess we'll see.

I'm also terrified of flying for 12 hours, but that, too, is something easily fixable by constant distractions and maybe just a couple of sedatives. I'm not the most outgoing person when it comes to communicating with strangers so I guess small talk with the passangers nearby will be limited to a short and awkward exchange about our home countries.

"Oh, you're from Bulgaria? Such an exotic country"

"It really isn't."

"Well, you have you own sea, right? That has to be interesting."

"Not in the way you think of it."

I think I'll just stick to eating and drinking on that plane, thank you.

The good news is, I did manage to pack my suitcase, so for those of you who held your breath for that, you can all relax now. Fitting all of my shit into 23kg was apparently possible, who knew.

сряда, 20 юли 2011 г.

The Rise of (Female) Nerds

So I saw this video a while ago:




I have to say, I feel rather irritated by it.

I don't know why this is, maybe because I personally am very careful how I use the word "nerd" and which things I refer to as "nerdy". Maybe it's because I see what most of these ladies are doing and am offended by how little effort they're putting into it. Because let me tell you something, girls - if you want to draw in the nerd crowd, you're going to have to do better than saying you like Star Wars.

Seriously, who thinks that movie is nerdy anymore? In the words of the great Adam Scott of Parks and Recreation: "Everyone's seen it!"

You know who is nerdy? Alison Haislip. And also she is amazingly hot, but that's not the point. She is the living proof that girl nerds do exist on this earth. She has a huge video game collection, watches Doctor Who, knows her comic book superheroes and the lyrics to at least one Animaniacs song. I can't even remember it all. But listen to this interview with her and you will be convinced. She has the right to call herself a nerd because of all those things she likes and feels passionate about.

Alison is a rarity, though, because as the aforementioned girls show us, the popular belief about nerds is that you need to only say you are interested or know about one single thing that is currently considered nerdy to call yourself one. You know who Batman is? Nerd. You have touched an action figure at some point in your life? Nerd. You have watched you little brother play Call of Duty? Nerd (by proxy).

I think the reason behind such behavior can be explained with the growing popularity that nerds have gained among their peers nowadays. It's become cool to be a nerd. ComicCon has more and more visitors every year, every blockbuster now seems to be based on a comic book superhero, even TV Shows seem to have caught on - we have vampires and aliens and The Big Bang Theory (which I doubt any true nerds follow regularly, though). It's a strange social phenomenon that is bizzare, but not inexplicable. In the words of Patton Oswalt:

"You get old enough to know that every single thing - punk rock, hip hop - everything becomes mainstream. It has to, so that something else could react to it. Staying underground and staying edgy is just as stagnating as staying mainstream and bloated."
This doesn't mean that nerd culture is dead. Just that it's getting harder to prove that you are a true nerd because there are so many people now who claim the same by just saying they have watched an episode of Firefly.

But I guess the question for this particular post is: Why are girls doing it more often than guys? I guess it stems from the common (male) understanding that girls who like nerdy things are some sort of social unicorns - you've heard about them, but never actually seen one yourself. And you just know you wanna be a fucking unicorn, because that is awesome, man.

вторник, 19 юли 2011 г.

Who To Follow on Google+


Alright, so I already told you last week that I joined Google+ but I figured I should talk about it a little more today. Mainly, I wanted to share with you the people I follow on there.

I am just now starting to get how awesome Google+ is actually. Looks like Facebook, acts like Twitter, so we can follow whomever we want but they don't have to agree to it. Consent? That's a thing of the past, people, today's social networks should be modified for the stalker in all of us. It still sucks that not that many people have joined yet but by next month things will improve. After all, look at all the great guys who are already on board:

Kassem G - very funny guy, YouTube star
Charlie McDonnell - musician, YouTube star and British, so bonus points for that
Adam Pash - editor of LifeHacker, posts tech-related news
Soren Bowie - writer at one of my favorite sites, Cracked.com
Felicia Day - awesome actress, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and the amazing web series The Guild
Trey Ratcliff - photographer, posts really fantastic pictures regularly
Lady Gaga and Charlie Sheen - I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it's a guilty pleasure
Thomas Hawk - another photographer to make my news feed beautiful
Natalie Villalobos - Community Manager for the Google+ project
Wil Wheaton - actor, comedian, awesome guy
Chuck Palahniuk - one of my favorite writers, so great that he's already a part of the
network. Follow him. You won't regret it.

So that's my list for now. If you have found other celebrities and/or awesome people who
post interesting things on G+, comment and share the knowledge!

сряда, 13 юли 2011 г.

Did you Need an Update?

So here I am again, the summer is finally here for me and I haven't a single care in the world. Life is looking pretty good these days - I'm with my family again, working on a project I feel passionately about, seeing my friends and the beach... I even lost a couple of pounds :)

The dates of my arrival and departure from America have been established - I'm leaving on the 21st of August and returning home on the 15th of May. I'm hoping that I can travel with a couple of guys also participating in the program, who are flying to Pennsylvania. Poor guys will probably have to arrive in Philadelphia and then spend another couple of hours getting to their cities. Thankfully my final destination IS Philadelphia, so my flight will only last... about 12-15 hours. Oh, God.

I'm not yet thinking about what I'm going to pack, in fact I'm dreading the thought of doing so, because I know how hard that will be. But that is coming for me and I'll probably tell you how that goes.

In other news, I joined Google+! I'm left with great impressions, but I don't use it that much yet, mainly because none of my friends has climbed aboard. I think joining the network still requires an invitation, so if anyone needs one, just say the word!

събота, 11 юни 2011 г.

My God, I am epicly failing at being a regular blogger, aren't I? I looked over my blog account and I noticed there are at least 5 or 6 postings that I've started and not yet completed so I guess at one point I can submit them all at once, just to catch up.

I notice a tendency of me writing a post in this blog every time I have finals. It's just that this specific method of procrastination gives me the illusion that I'm actually doing something useful - because I'm producing something and not just mindlessly scrolling through Cracked or Memebase. It doesn't take away from the fact that I'm still not doing anything University-related but... whatever, I can slack off until the night before the exam. Yeah, they're gonna LOVE me at Penn.

The BYLP thing is going smoothly, though. I am going to my visa interview on the 17th and the 25-26th are the two days the BYLP team and I are spending in the mountains for something of a team-building thing, I guess. And don't get me wrong now, but I find this a little puzzling. I'm never going to see most of these people - we're all headed for different parts of the U.S. and it's not like we're even flying on the same date, so why the need for team-building? Nevertheless, I would never decline an invitation to a free party in a four-star hotel, so I told them to count me in.

I hope I can offer more substantial material the next time I check-in but looking over the tabs in my browser that would be a stupid promise to make.

Oh, and here's a song for you to listen, because I seem to think someone actually cares about the music I like.

сряда, 27 април 2011 г.

[Insert Philadelphia joke here]






I was really tempted to make an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference in the title of this post but I resisted the urge (read: got lazy) and am going to try to be serious for two minutes.

These past couple of days I've been desperately trying to get rid of my bad habit of falling asleep late at night. So last night I'm really optimistic about this new goal and go to close my laptop at 12 A.M. and start dreaming of YouTube stars when I notice that I have an email. It's the BYLP program again, telling me they've received an invitation for me... from UPenn. UPENN! Like, in University of Pennsylvania, the fifth best school in the nation and twelfth in the world?

I feel like I should include a disclaimer here. I am not bragging about my being accepted at UPenn, mainly because I find it really hard to believe that someone like me could be taken seriously as an applicant, let alone as a student there. I believe the BYLP team members are the ones responsible for that opportunity and I have little to do with the whole thing. I just think I got incredibly lucky and, upon arriving there, will just be begging everyone around to please, please let me enjoy this while I can.

Which is not exactly that much - it's only a year, after all. It's not like I'll have the opportunity to stay there. I'm simply a guest student - I won't get any credits, won't obtain a degree of any sort. I'm just going to be there for the experience. And because the BYLP Program is paying for everything. Seriously, those guys rock.

неделя, 10 април 2011 г.

Eerie Indiana?




So I got accepted to Indiana University of Pennsylvania this week. I was going absolutely crazy waiting for that letter to come already and finally knowing my placement is a huge relief. But it wouldn't be me if something didn't almost screw me over.

How I got to be informed that I would be going to IUP next year was a rather interesting story. I was notified that I would receive news about the university on April 1st with the possibility of a delay. My friend got hers on April 4th and I was still oblivious. So when April 8th came around I got sick of waiting and asked my program manager if there was some sort of problem. She replied to me about an hour later telling me that they did send me my letter on April 1st and she doesn't know what could have gone wrong and maybe it went into my Spam folder. She sends me a copy of the letter telling me that IUP is waiting for me in September and that if I still want to participate I have to print the contract they've attached, sign it, scan it and send it back to them by April 8th, 5 P.M. the latest. I look at the clock and it's 4:30. I don't have a printer or a scanner at home so I grab my jacket and storm out of my dorm with my hair wet as hell. Fortunately we had a copy center about ten minutes from home so I managed to do everything by 4:55. So another day goes by where Ren barely avoids being screwed out of a sweet deal.

I spent the next day and a half researching the university. It's not a bad place, especially for a poor unfortunate soul like me. I would have liked it better if the nearby town was bigger and the weather was nicer but apart from that, it's a great university that I will be happy to be a part from for the next academic year.

I started this blog with the intention of sharing the things that interest me and I believe that next year a lot of those things will have to do with my time in America. I can only hope that the perspective of a foreigner exploring this new and unfamiliar culture will be interesting to read about.

понеделник, 14 март 2011 г.

Make your own personalized magazine with Feedly


So a couple of days ago I was looking for a way to waste a couple of minutes on useless stuff when I stumbled upon a site that ended up taking 2 hours of my time.


And no, I'm talking about a porn site, although they tend to take just as long. I mean, have you seen those places? They're all sorts of fun! If you’re 18.


Anyway, that site isn't as much a site as it is a web application - meaning you have to install it as a part of your browser before you get to use it. It gives you the opportunity to organize and read the blogs you follow in a really cool and easy way. I think they're introducing it as a magazine, which is really attractive to me as a user and quite accurate, as well. Because a lot of the blogs tend to have much in common with magazines, don't they? Pictures, words... all that stuff. Anyways, feedly.com was, for me, a total change in the way I view blogs. I used to check for new entries daily using bookmarks in Opera and that did the trick for a while… if you're following 10 blogs or so. For more, you have to have something better. Some choose bloglovin' for fashion blogs, others turn to Google Reader or other web services. But Feedly is, in my opinion, the best choice of all.


Like many sites of its kind, Feedly lets you pick your favorite blogs and subscribe to them. It's all very easy - when you install the extension, a little feedly icon appears on the bottom right corner of your browser, which lets you follow a blog at any time. Another really cool feature is the "Save it for later" one, which gives you the chance to save a page and go back to it when you have the chance. I only wish there could be folders or some kind of categorizing tool that would let me divide my saved pages into different topics. But I'm sure that will be available in time.


In short, Feedly is a great blog management browser extension that I recommend to everyone who wants a more attractive and user-friendly reading experience. Be sure to try it and tell me what you think!

неделя, 13 март 2011 г.

And I'm Like, Haiku!



Okay, so this is the funniest thing I've seen all week.

Probably because I am easily impressed by Haiku poems and whenever I see one that's even remotely witty, I am totally blown away. So I figure this is as good a time as any to share with you a couple of my favorite ones that I've found around the web:

I hate you Haiku
You are very hard to do
Go back to Japan

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense
Refrigerator

Who would waste their time
Writing a haiku poem
Well, that would be me

I wake, reluctant
Too cold to get out of bed
But I need to pee

And because I'm a sucker for cats, here are two cat haikus that I really liked:
You never feed me
Perhaps I'll sleep on your face
That will sure show you

The rule for today
Touch my tail, I shred your hand
New rule tomorrow

понеделник, 7 март 2011 г.

Now entering Nerdist


When it comes to podcasts, I am oblivious. I don't know that many, and if I do, I don't follow them regularly because listening to people simply talking is just too hard for someone with ADD to do. But for me, Nerdist is an exception. A wonderful, awesome exception that I am incredibly happy to have come across.

How I've come to be a regular listener to Nerdist is I have trouble falling asleep in silence. Usually I just leave the TV on during the night but me and my roommate have decided to get rid of that habit this year so I had nothing to turn to. Enter Chris Hardwick and his fellow comedians to entertain me through interviews with awesome people who probably only true nerds would appreciate. Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, the Mythbusters, Donald Glover, Joel McHale, Allison Brie and Danny Pudi are just some of those. For some reason the show seems to want to go through the entire cast of Community, which I have absolutely nothing against. Donald and Allison were a pleasure to listen to, and I'm sure that when I get to Joel and Danny I will be equally pleased. But I digress.

What makes the interviews so special is that they don't seem like interviews at all. They're just like a regular chat between friends on all kinds of topics. Chris and his colleagues have the amazing ability to keep the conversation going without making it look forced. And they're all such funny people - I have actually laughed out loud on several occasions, and that is quite the rarity for me. It gets particularly weird when I use public transportation because I can't hold my laughter in even then which always costs me a couple of worried looks.

But I don't mind it at all if that is the price for being this entertained. It's just a pleasure to have so many interesting and funny people in one place talking about things we have all wondered at some time. And when they have so much fun spending time with each other, how can you not have fun with them?

събота, 26 февруари 2011 г.

My dream to build a blanket fort

Let me tell you about my Valentine's this year. I had this great idea of spending the special day not with a loved one or even girlfriends but alone. In a blanket fort.

You don't have to say it, I know it's awesome.

I had gotten the idea from the amazing ApartmentTherapy guys and thought it was something that was pretty fun. When I was a kid building a blanket fort was my favorite game in the world and it would have been so amazing to come back to that, be it for just one evening. So I started planning and researching how to make a "grown-up blanket fort", with lights and pillows and everything but it turned out that my little dorm room, which had no shelves or curtain rods to attach the blankets to was pretty unsuitable for my big dream. So I just ended up watching the second season of The Guild instead.

But the idea is still there. Making my own blanket fort and maybe letting one other person join me is still a dream that has yet to come true. It's just brilliant, really - doing this one thing for your evening that doesn't require that much effort - you could do it when you were 7, for God's sake - and spending the rest of it in total relaxation while having quite a great time. Someday, when my neighbors are so kind as to let me borrow some of their extra blankets, I too will make another attempt at returning to my childhood using nothing else but sheets, pillows and books.



What do you guys think? Would you like to make one yourselves or am I a minority on this? What would you use? Seriously, give me ideas, I could really use some in the near future.

сряда, 23 февруари 2011 г.

The Hunger Games is AWESOME! ...and I'm back


Okay, so I know that it's terrible - me promising to write more often in my blog and then totally forgetting it for the next two months or so. But you have to understand - our finals week here in Bulgaria doesn't last a week: it lasts for more than a month. And it's really hard to just sit down and start writing because I literally don't go out anywhere during that time, except for the store and the gym. It would all be fine if I was actually doing something useful with all this time but no, I just spend a whole day researching how The Human Torch died or what the best phones with Windows Phone 7 are. I did well on my exams but I kind of feel that I had luck and great friends to help me out, so I feel pretty embarassed nonetheless.

I wouldn't describe myself as a slacker but I'm pretty stupid with my time. For example, I had a test on a Monday that was pretty hard and important and I knew that I had to study a lot. But I made the mistake of telling my friend Vicky that I wanted to read The Hunger Games book series and she then made the mistake of overestimating my willpower by giving it to me a couple of days before the test. I spent an entire day reading the first book and only took an hour or so to learn something about the European Union. I don't usually give in to temptations that easily but when it comes to addictive books there's pretty much nothing that can stop me from reading it in one day. I remember when the fourth Harry Potter book came out I came back from school and, without evenhaving lunch first, I would just immerse myself in it and totally forget about homework.

I started reading knowing that the main character was a teenage girl and that there was a love triangle in the story so I couldn't help thinking "Oh, God, please don't let this be a Twilight knock-off". But damn, that Suzanne Collins does know how to write a good story and keep you hooked. After 2 hours of reading I would tell myself "Okay, Ren, this is quite enough dor today, just read this chapter and close this book". But then the chapter end on such a cliffhanger that you just have to know what happens next. And I usually hate love triangles but I think that this one was handled pretty well and even had me rooting for a couple, albeit without anyT-shirts and posters.

The second book of the series, "Catching Fire", was also very well written and introduced two of my favorite characters, Finnick and Johanna. It had the same addictive quality to it and kept me wondering how it was going to end. The third book did not. And I don't mean that I didn't like it, it just wasn't as good and the other two. It lacked its inherent fast pace and even a big chunk of the action, which I think Collins is really good at. But the worst thing about the third book was the overall feeling that I was left with when I finished reading. By the end so many people that I had grown to love had died that I went kind of numb for the more heartwarming moments. Especially after the death of two characters which I thought Collins was never going to kill off. On the one hand it shows the authors' courage to risk it and really go dark with her story but on the other hand, I thought it could do all that a little better and without necessarily killing those two people.

But there are many things in Mockingjay that I did like - here Collins reveals more about the characters and why they are the way they are - we learn more about Finnick, Annie, Johanna and Peeta, who became really interesting as a character in this book. We get to see his dark side and it makes us really appreciate him and his good-natured personality and charm.

Agh, I really could just keep on writing all day but I'm trying to not ruin the books for anyone and also to be kind of brief about them - something that I now see I failed at pretty hard. But if you do want me to share my thoughts on the characters or the stories, please comment in the section below and also tell me what you think!

четвъртък, 13 януари 2011 г.

Because Rock-Paper-Scissors is Old


I found this old article on NowThatsNifty that suggests a new kind of rock-paper-scissors game - one which doesn't include rock, paper or scissors. Insted, we gget an awesome battle of other heroes like monkey, robot and ninja. Go check it out - the instructions are all there and if you spend a couple of minutes learning the rules, you could have yourself a new kind of game to play to decide who's going to take out the trash :)

неделя, 2 януари 2011 г.

Okay, on to the next one...

Happy New Year, Everybody!

I am sure that all of you had an awesome time celebrating on Friday, drinking and making out with random people without feeling any bit of regret or shame, because, hey, it's New Year's! You could do all the stupid things you want because tomorrow you can start fresh. Not only that, you feel ambitious and set yourself a couple of goals for the year - things you would want to accomplish by its end. Yes, the infamous New Years Resolutions are quite common for the most of us, mainly because we need something to force us to do something, or to keep doing it - namely that napkin where you wrote that you would never speak to your ex or quit smoking forever. Well, I decided that my napkin will be this blog - I'm going to share with you my resolutions for 2011 and hope that I can have the willpower to keep them.

1. Write more often in my blog

Now this is very important to me because it's not that hard to do but I just need something to remind me that I have to. It's the perfect resolution because it's not too vague and it would be good for me to keep doing it. This december was a busy one and I barely had the time to even think of new topics but I promise to you, to myself and the Resolutions God that I will be more regular this year.

2. Work out more and eat healthy

Ah, there's a classic. It's in almost every woman's resolutions list, every year. Why is that? Is it so hard to lose 5 pounds or go to the gym at least once a week for an hour? I believe that the thing that makes it so hard is that most women don't have the right strategy when making their regimen. We've all heard the usual dieting mistakes but what about the little things that we've missed? I, for example, am planning to drink nothing but water and tea for the next two months (with the occasional glass of wine, I guess). Most of our calorie intake is just from liquids and this simple thing could give great results but we'll see how it goes. But we'll cover that later on.

3. Read at least 20 books

I have this terrible habit on spending ridiculous amounts of time mindlessly scrolling web pages on my computer for hours. When I read a dozen of Wikipeadia pages or Lifehacker articles I tend to try and convince myself that it's just like reading a book but online. That's beyond idiotic. There are plenty of great books out there that every young person should read but I've missed out on them because I spend my time on CollegeCandy and TheOnion. In 2010 I only managed to read 10 or something but there were all so great that I now feel inspired to set the bar a little higher this time.

4. Take out my piano and actually play it

This summer my parents bought me an electric piano to take to college so that I could play all the time. I was so excited.. for about 3 weeks. After that it just stood next to my desk and I forgot about it. Which is a shame because I believe that if I put my mind to it, I could be great. I want to learn how to play the blues or a couple of classic pieces or crowd-pleasers. And the new year would be the right time to do exactly that.

5. Acheive better hair and better skin

I'm never pleased with my hair. No matter how I try, it just seems stupid to me. This summer I cut it short and it looks a little better but I believe there is more to do about it. Same goes for my skin. So, from now on, I'll take batter care of them both. Taht's it - short and simple.

6. Start writing lyrics again

You may not know this, but I used to write kind of decent song lyrics once. I don't really know why I'm calling them lyrics since only one of them ever got a melody but I'm not going to stop colling them that. I have no idea why I stopped; it used to be an important part of my life and now that it's gone, I definitely feel the difference. So I'm going to start again and who knows, maybe a song would come out of it all someday.

7. Start shopping wisely

I looked through a couple of ladies' resolutions lists and I never once saw anything like this. Everyone wanted nicer clothes or a change of style but no one had made a resolution on how to acheive that. I believe that the secret lies in wise shopping. For exaple, cover your basics. Have a couple of colors of plain blouses and tee shirts that actally look good on you. Have at least one pair of jeans of good quality. One pair of shoes for every occasion. I have a friend that has literally no flat shoes - what? First buy whatever you need, and after that what you want. You'll be amazed by how much of a difference a simple resolution like that makes.

8. Organize my music collection

Someday... I... will... have... order!