Life of Mel

My Summer Reading List

Since it’s that time of year when I’m on vacation from all the required readings for university courses,  I decided to put together a list of what I’m hoping to read instead.

I hope that my reading picks for the summer inspire you guys to maybe expand your reading lists or add some of my picks to them!

So without further ado, here’s my summer reading list:

  1.  The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Since I was at work one day and came across that there’s a new TV series being based on this book, I decided to give it a read. It’s definitely not for younger audiences, but it is a very thought provoking work.
  2. John A: The Man Who Made Us by Richard Gwyn: Usually I’m not a terribly big fan of Canadian history, but this is an interesting biography of Sir John A. Macdonald. Not to mention, given it was just the 150th anniversary of Confederation, it seems only appropriate to learn a bit more about the country I call home.
  3. They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children by Romeo Dallaire: Since I read Dallaire’s book about the Rwandan genocide and found it to be amazing, I decided to pick up his other book the last time I was at Chapters. So far I’ve only read a chapter, but it is very informative and well written.
  4. The Craft and Business of Writing by Writer’s Digest Books: I picked this book up as something to read when I’m stuck in a rut with my writing, and just for inspiration. Especially for all those (like me) going into new jobs where writing is paramount, it might be good to take a look at.
  5.  Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth: I haven’t picked this book up yet, but since I loved Divergent I figured I’d check out her latest work! It sounds like a very promising summer read.
  6. The Atlantic and The Diplomat Magazine: Since I will be writing for the school paper this next year, there’s nowhere better to look for writing inspiration. Shout out to my dad for giving these to me as a birthday present!
  7. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford: I picked this up on yet (another) Chapters run because it looked intriguing. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m sure I will one of these summer nights.
  8. The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine: After hearing many a time about this influential work, I decided to give it a read. I’m sure it will enlightening and useful going forward with more political science and philosophy classes.
  9. The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper by Maxim Jakubowski and Nathan Braund: This is probably one of the darkest summer books I picked up, but ever since I traveled to London I’ve been fascinated with Jack the Ripper. I wouldn’t recommend reading this late at night, as it goes into a lot of detail about the murders. If you’re into this kind of book, I also recommend you check out Last Podcast on the Left and their series of podcasts on Jack the Ripper.

What are you guys reading? Leave your favorite pick down below in the comments!

-Mel.

P.S. Sorry for the long gap between posts, I took a much needed break! I do have a bunch of great posts queued up for the upcoming school year, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

The Best Shows For History Lovers

Since I am a history major and spend a decent amount of time in front of Netflix and watching random videos, I figured I’d share my favorite history related shows or series with you guys!

Shows That Draw on Historical Events:

  1. Outlander: Even though this show does revolve around historical events in Scotland, I think what makes it so compelling is the clash of old and new. I would also be in for time travel through stones too if the opportunity presented itself.
  2. When Calls The Heart: This show is the closest representation of what I’ve always imagined Western Canadian history playing out. It’s almost the Canadian version of Little House on the Prairie in my opinion. 
  3. X-Company: I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned this show, but I love it since it mashes all my favorite history together. You’re in for a wild ride in this world of spies, WW2, and Canadian history.
  4. The Crown: I’ve always been interested in the British monarchy, so I was absolutely thrilled when Netflix made this show. I also enjoy the fact that Prince Philip is played by Matt Smith, so maybe the Doctor actually does protect the Queen!

Non-Fiction Shows:

  1. Love, Hate, and Propaganda: This multi-part CBC series explores mainly history and propaganda throughout WW1, WW2, and the Cold War. It’s fascinating to watch how much of a role propaganda plays. 
  2. Engineering an Empire: This show is made by the folks from the History Channel, and is really good. It traces the impact of things from architecture to weapons technology and how they shaped empires from Russia to Ancient Greece.
  3. CrashCourse History: You can find these on YouTube, where John Green (Yes, the one who wrote TFIOS) teaches history. These episodes have saved my butt when I’ve needed a brush up on broader history, or just to inform myself.
  4. World War Two In Colour: You know all those boring WW2 documentaries they show in history class that are all in black and white? Here’s your solution-WW2 films restored with colour, so you learn your history the cool way.

What are your favourite series or shows that are based around historical events? Leave them down in the comments!

-Mel.

8 Things I Love About Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the first shows that really sucked me into the world of sci-fi and fantasy shows. It has a special place in my heart, and I’m hoping to one day get a Buffy cosplay put together.

Anyways, these are my top 8 reasons why I love the show:

  1. The 90s fashion-I love all the outfits, especially Willow’s interesting sweaters.
  2. The boys-whether you’re team Angel, Spike, or Riley, there’s a favorite for everyone.
  3. Giles-Even though he has a smaller role as a Watcher, his sarcasm and exasperation with life are great watching the show, especially now that I’m older.
  4. The Scoobies-I’m so glad the gang grew as the show went on, since the mix of people is awesome. I’m personally a giant fan of Willow.
  5. The monsters-Even though the show is mostly about vampires, the big bads and variety of monsters always makes it exciting.
  6. Willow and Tara’s relationship-Their healthy same sex relationship is something that rarely happens in shows, and that’s amazing. Plus they’re adorable together!
  7. It deals with the tough stuff-From death to breakups, Buffy presents a good example for how to deal with the hard things life throws at us. Especially since it’s from the perspective of mainly young adults, it’s very relatable.
  8. Buffy herself-She’s definitely one of my favorite strong female TV characters. Even though she’s got pretty admirable traits, the fact that she’s not perfect and makes mistakes makes her realistic and relatable.

I hope these reasons convince you guys to watch a few episodes! And, feel free to leave your favorite things about Buffy or favorite episodes in the comments.

-Mel.

Life Update!

Hey guys!

Sorry for not posting anything last week, the last three weeks of school have been crazy busy for me. On the upside, today is the last day of classes, so I’m almost done the school year!

Otherwise, I have a bit of news that will affect the future of this blog.

I am going to be a staff writer for my school newspaper for this coming school year, which means I will have less time to write on here. I’m not sure yet if it means the posting schedule will get changed, or if I’ll post links to the work I’m doing at the paper. I’ll have to figure that out in September when I see how much work I’ll be putting into the paper.

In any case, I will be going back to the regular posting schedule at least up until the beginning of September.

Have a good Friday!

-Mel.

T.V. Shows You Should Be Watching

This winter has been insane for the amount of good shows either getting wrapped up or coming out. The following is a list of shows you should either be watching or should keep an eye out for!


Shows finishing up:

  1. Sherlock: Technically it might not be finished, but if you watched the season and were disappointed by the ending as well, it’s pretty much done.
  2. X-Company: I’ve been watching this since it aired on CBC, and so far the beginning of season 3 has been good but slightly devastating.
  3. Orphan Black: The final season isn’t out until June, but after last year’s season I really want to see how it all ends!

Continuing shows:

  1. Sense8: This is coming out in May, but they made a Christmas special which was fantastic. I love this show so much, it’s one of my favourite things Netflix has put out.
  2. The 100: I haven’t started the new season that was released, but here’s hoping it’s good!
  3. Shadowhunters: I started this show since I hoped it would be better than the movie and now I’m just staying for Magnus. It’s such a guilty pleasure show.
  4. Supergirl: I watched this over holidays, haven’t caught up to the current season but it’s such a good show.
  5. Jane the Virgin: Again, haven’t caught up to the current episodes. I love this show since it’s telenovela style, so it’s nice to just watch an episode just to relax.

New shows:

  1. A Series of Unfortunate Events: This show was everything I hoped for one of my favorite childhood book series. It’s not The Littlest Elf, but it’ll do.
  2. The OA: I started watching this out of curiosity, and two days later I finished the season. It’s such a wild ride to go through, and it leaves so many questions at the end.
  3. No Tomorrow: I love the premise to this show, which is what would you do if you knew you only had (x) amount of time left to live? It’s funny, great little show to watch if you need a pick me up.
  4. Iron Fist: Do I need more Marvel shows? Yes, always yes. I’m excited to see how this turns out since they’re almost ready to get all the Defenders together in a show.

I also might check out The Magicians, Riverdale, and Victoria if I have time!

What shows are you guy watching or looking forward to watching? Leave them in the comments!

-Mel.

How To Deal With Being Homesick

As I’m writing this tonight, I’m feeling the usual bout of homesickness that comes with being across the country from my family.

So, I decided to write down a list of things that’ll make you feel less homesick for the people out there going through it. Here goes…

  1. Talk to your family. As simple as it sounds, just chatting with them and catching up helps, since you feel like you’re almost home in a way. Plus they might send you cute hug stickers.
  2. Hang out with your friends on campus, it takes your mind off home. Plus, I have some friends who also get pretty homesick so we support each other.
  3. Go for a walk. Get some coffee, wander around town, walk somewhere as long as you get fresh air. It’ll clear your head.
  4. Get some comfort food. If there’s one food that always reminds you of home or makes you feel better, treat yourself.
  5. Watch your favorite movie or TV show. It also takes your mind off being homesick, and bonus if it makes you laugh. Plus with comfort food, it makes a good night.
  6. If you have a special object from home, grab it. I personally keep a bunch of cards that I’ve gotten from family and I reread them when I’m down.
  7. Go do something! Find a special lecture, event, go to the pub, something that’ll get you out of your room. Again, it keeps your mind from only focusing on home.
  8. Have a dance party! Blast your favourite tunes for a while to cheer you up.
  9. Get creative. Doodle, colour, play music, write, whatever your thing is. Personally, I like combining this with blasting my music.
  10. Do your schoolwork. As weird as it sounds, I’ve sometimes found immersing myself in a project or paper helps.
  11. If all else fails, let yourself feel your emotions, even if it involves crying. It helps release all your feelings, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I hope these suggestions help any of my readers out there experiencing homesickness, and that you get back to feeling fantastic like the great people you are.

-Mel.

 

Finding Your Voice

I’ve had a blog or journal since I was in elementary school. So, I can say I’ve always had some way to express my own voice, and only recently has it been made more public by things like this blog.

But I haven’t always had the same voice. I doubt I would have even expressed my views on politics and current events a few years ago, but now I’ve started to.

I think part of that is because I’ve realized that the more silent you stay, the more other people take your decisions for you. And that thought terrifies me as someone who values equality between sexes and the liberty to choose who I date, among other things.

So, I have decided of late to use my voice more for expressing what I value, and for those who may not have as much access to express what they value. However, that includes acknowledging the fact that I cannot speak on behalf of groups that have experienced life in another way that I have never been subjected to. Instead, I’m choosing to be an ally to those groups and help support them in the causes that are important to their them.

Not to mention, I think now more than ever the world needs to recognize we are all humans and all deserve to be treated with respect. This is not a time to tear each other down for being different, but a time to embrace those differences to work together for a better future.

So, I hope you all find your voice and use it for the good of humanity.

Peace and love,

Mel.

When Home Just Isn’t Home Anymore

So…you’ve lived apart from your family for a few months, even an entire school year. And now, you’re back to their house or your hometown for a little bit. You’re happy, but coming “home” has somehow become different.

I’ve already experienced this feeling before moving away to university, after having done some traveling without my family. But it wasn’t until I lived in residence in university and visited my home for the holidays that I noticed how out of place I felt at home.

When you first see your family and friends, it seems like everything is the same. Same house, same car, same dog, same city. But they’ve really changed. See, the funny thing is, other people aren’t static. They grow up, get new hobbies or jobs, new friends or partners, and even if you know about all of that before you reunite, you’ll still have to get used to how those things affect your loved one’s daily lives.

But, the hardest part of coming home is being faced with how you’ve changed. After all, you’ve been away and learned some valuable lessons on your own. From friendships to things you learned in university courses, you’re not the same person you left home as. I know I came back from my first semester of university with new friends, a realization of how hard university can be, and with more independence. I’d even become a bit more extroverted, which is no small feat for me.

So, is there anything you can do about coming home and facing change or being changed?

To be honest, you can’t do much but to accept the changes and adapt to your new life. You’ll never be able to change the paths of others in your life, so you’ll either have to accept them as they are or set them loose. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let go of a friend in your life. It might be tough, but you’ll survive.

As for personal change, you’ll have to assess whether it’s good or bad, and then embrace what will allow you to become the best version of yourself. Take some time to have a heart to heart with yourself, and it’ll help you grow as a person. I hope that what you discover allows you to reach your goals and contribute to the world around you.

Just remember, change is a healthy part of life. You won’t be able to avoid it, but you can change¬†how you react to it. So, when you feel out of sorts going home the next school break, go out and embrace the weirdness of change!

-Mel.

Merry Christmas!

I know I’m not exactly posting on Christmas, but I’m taking the weekend to enjoy the time with my family. After all, I only get to see them about every four months when I’m in school!

I hope that your holidays have started off well and that you guys are taking the time to relax from work, school, or whatever things life has sent your way. I wish you all the love and happiness in the world, and hopefully, you’re spending the holidays with the most important people in your life.

I won’t be posting again until the New Year, so I also wanted to say an early Happy New Year as well. As well, just wanted to say sorry for not posting earlier in December, exams and the end of semester caught up to me so I didn’t have time to write.

Happy holidays everyone, take advantage of every free moment of them!

-Mel.

Hal-con 2016

As some of you may know, I’m a giant nerd. Naturally, that meant I *had* to go to the Halifax Comic Con. And so I bought myself a weekend pass, and made plans to have some fun!

The following are observations from the whole weekend:

  1. They had a rest area with inflated seats and let me tell you, that was heaven after being at con all day.
  2. Even though it wasn’t the biggest star lineup for panels, all the panels I went to were awesome.
  3. Nobody yelled at me for standing near the wall for two seconds to figure out where I was going. (Calgary Expo, I’m looking at you…)
  4. Some of the vendor art was absolutely beautiful, and I loved all the steampunk style jewelry for sale.
  5. Everyone was so friendly, from panelists to people standing in line. Two girls my age even started chatting with me and offered me Timbits while I was in line for a panel.
  6. My favorite cosplay was two (or three?) guys that had made Boba Fett cosplays including the armor. Absolutely amazing.
  7. The location was great since it’s in the heart of downtown Halifax and close to the boardwalk. So, it’s really convenient to go to lunch or do touristy things when the con gets tiring.

Overall, Hal-con was worth the weekend trip. I probably won’t be doing it next year, but I will definitely go back!

Also, huge shout outs to my friend from university who convinced me to go, my roommate who now lives in Halifax for getting me unlost, and one of my Banff friends who spent a lot of time with me the entire weekend.

If you guys have any questions about Hal-con, leave them below!

-Mel.