A Good Relaxing Cuppa Joe

Sparkly coffee
I like this filter on my old camera :o)
Sunday. On what better day can International Coffee Day fall?  Whether you just got back from church or just woke up, it’s the perfect day to make yourself a cup and relax.  Local coffee shops are (usually) already relaxing anyway, but on a Sunday it’s everyday relaxation in its most perfected form.  (Considering that I don’t regard things such as spa days or hot springs as “everyday” relaxation — unless you live in a place like Iceland or Japan.)

An Unexpected Fandom Part 2: Always

I’m pretty sure I’ve stated before that I didn’t grow up being a fan of the fantasy or magic genres, but it all began to change once I started playing the Fable and Elder Scrolls video games in 2010.  I made a post in early 2013 about me finally becoming a fan of the LotR world because of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Well, I’ve once again become a new fan of something that’s considered a geek staple: Harry Potter.

That’s me! n_n 
Credit: potterhead-writer.deviantart.com/
Despite everyone raving about it, and having a roommate ten years ago (omgūüėź) who was completely obsessed with it, I never managed to have any remote interest.  That started to change last year, when I barely started to have the thought “maybe I should just give the movies a chance.”  But, it didn’t happen until November.

The first one was OK — a bit slow, but I didn’t let it affect my continuing to watch the rest.  They finally began picking up, and I think I experienced my first bit of feels at the end of The Goblet of Fire.  The Order of the Phoenix was great.  I’d quickly grown to love Sirius Black, only to end up with even more feels there.  I just kept waiting for the moment when Ron and Hermione would finally realise they liked each other.  And omg, Deathly Hallows: Part 2.  Just take me now ūüíÄ — the feels!


*SPOILERS*  I never believed for a second that Snape was evil — or maybe I did, but I didn’t want it to be so.  And then, BAM!  Feels, followed by the truth, further causing just the worst feels.

*SPOILERS* However, the biggest thing on my mind when the last movie ended — I still absolutely do not ship Harry and Ginny.  I mean, like, no.  I was so relieved to find out from that former roommate that I’m not crazy for thinking that way.  I mean, sure, they got married, they have children, and they’re happy, so I’ve accepted it as fact.  But I still just don’t get it.

Anyway, those were just a few thoughts from a brand new Potterhead.  No promises that I’ll ever read those massive books, but it’s not off the table.


Favourite Characters (in no real order):
-Hermione, Harry, Ron (probably in that order?)
-Luna Lovegood
-Sirius Black
-Draco Malfoy
-Neville Longbottom
-Severus Snape
-probably others I’m forgetting ūüė¨

Favourite Ship: Lupin & Tonks ‚̧ԳŹ

Where would the Sorting Hat put you? Who else here is a Hufflepuff?

So, I Met This Guy… | Meeting Alton Brown

I still plan on writing about this some on my travel/adventure blog at a later date, but I’m such a fangirl I can’t wait that long.

This past Friday, 7 October, was amazing!  Actually, there was a lot of bad stuff that happened, too, but it’ll forever be remembered as a great day.  I’m sorry, whatever else happens in my life, but I met Alton Brown!


I may have mentioned before, but I couldn’t cook before I got married.  My mum wasn’t a bad cook or anything, but I stayed clear of the kitchen; cooking just didn’t interest me at all.  (Now baking — that’s another thing.)  Hubby’s family loved to cook, and Food Network often played on their TV.

A little funny side story: when Hubby and I first got together, I asked what his favourite TV show was.  I’ve always been obsessed with science fiction (especially Star Trek) or other script-based fiction shows, and was hoping to hear him answer with something I loved so this fangirl could let go and express herself.  His answer?  “Good Eats.”  Keeping in mind that I hadn’t had cable since I was six, my thought was, OMG, his favourite show is a cooking show?  How boring is this guy?  I didn’t even know how to respond.  After watching my first episode, though, I completely understood.

Long story short, it’s pretty much all due to Hubby and Alton Brown that I can cook now (despite most of the time still disliking to do so).

It was really great to get to meet him at the signing of his new cookbook in Kansas City, even though the moment seemed to come and go so fast after hours of waiting, and I hardly remember a word he said directly to us.  I know when we first walked up, he thanked us for coming and waiting out the line (there were at least 800 people in front of us, no exaggeration).  Hubby responded with something like, “hey, I’m doing this for her.”  Mr. Brown looked up at him and said, “good answer!”  (The only thing I remember distinctly.)  I watched him write our names in the book, hoping he’d ask about the pronunciation of my name (I had this whole humorous answer planned out), and he talked some more.  He even put his hand on my shoulder and spoke directly to me for a moment, but I don’t remember a word he said.  Then, we posed for a picture on Hubby’s phone (the guy holding his phone took pics the whole time, though), and then it was over.

Have you ever met a celebrity (at any level of fame), and it turns out they’re a bit of a jerk?  Or you’re at least disappointed by meeting them in some way?  I have, but not this time.  Even after signing books for and interacting with over 800 people, he was still lively, funny, and friendly — just as you’d expect Alton Brown to be.

A big thanks to Alton Brown, his team, and everyone at Rainy Day Books for making this happen.  I’m so thankful.  And cooking like crazy ūüėĀ.

Introvert Spotlight: Jim Halpert

–I will say right now that there are several spoilers from The Office¬†in this post. ¬†But come on, the show ended three years ago.–

While I was reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain last year, I was also watching a lot of The Office.  Not only was I starting to evaluate people in the real world to guess/estimate their introvert/extrovert level, but I was doing the same with the characters on that show.

Just like in real life, some were obvious, and some were tough to determine.  However, I think my favourite introvert example on The Office is Jim Halpert.  Quite a master of his introversion, he copes with working in an open-plan office by escaping to chat with the receptionist, and pulling pranks on his desk mate.

I don’t know if his parents were introverts or understanding extroverts, but his big brothers are¬†obvious extroverts who picked on him his whole life. ¬†I’m sure that because of them, Jim learned early on how to sharpen his wit, think on his feet, and deal with difficult extroverts overall. ¬†This becomes apparent when he deals with his co-workers, especially Dwight. ¬†My favourite example is when Dwight finds out that the Michael Scott Paper Company is broke. ¬†Dwight rushes to tell the boss, and Jim doesn’t hesitate to follow him. ¬†The way Jim so quickly comes up with things to say to discredit Dwight, so that Charles doesn’t believe him, just blows my mind.

Credit: wifflegif.com
Credit: wifflegif.com

Parties. ¬†It can be one of the most dreaded and draining things to an introvert. ¬†Jim not only attends and makes the best of it, but he’s figured out the best way to be at a party as little as possible while making sure people don’t realise it.

Though Jim isn’t an INFJ -T like I am (I’m pretty sure he’s an ISTP-A), and he’s a fictional character, I tend to see him as the “perfect” introvert. ¬†He has figured out pretty well how to survive and thrive in an extroverted world. ¬†He did very well as co-manager, for the short time he was one. ¬†He’s not afraid to go for his dreams, whether it be Pam, talking to David Wallace about being manager, or helping to start Athlead/Athleap. ¬†But, he also takes opportunities to leave the crowd.

This particular introvert may be fictional (though he reminds me almost exactly of someone I know in real life), but I think he’s an example of one type of “perfect” introvert — the kind that isn’t swayed or held back by the opinions and ways of the extroverted world.

Here’s to you, Jim. ūüćĽ

Credit: theodysseyonline.com

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Viggle Sucks Under New Management


Do you guys remember this lame post I made back in 2013?

I gave a brief overview of a great app that allowed you to earn points and redeem rewards just by watching TV and listening to music. ¬†(The music feature was added after the 2013 post.) ¬†It was amazing! ¬†I spent a lot of time “checking in” to songs and shows, and watching all the extra ads it would let me in order to gain those important extra points. ¬†I’d redeemed several gift cards, a Viggle T-shirt (because I was more than happy to spread the word about this amazing opportunity), and had plans for possibly redeeming the biggest prize of a cruise for two (which cost several million points)!

Credit: get.viggle.com
Credit: get.viggle.com

I’m normally not one who likes to largely announce to the world how horrible something is, but this situation it too awful. ¬†It was slightly over nine months¬†ago that Viggle was sold to Perk. ¬†I’ve used the Perk Browser in the past and it… wasn’t terrible.

The following is the review I finally left for the app in the App Store.  Some is repeat of what I already said in this post, but I give the details of the horrible result of the buy-out.

Rating: ‚ėÖ‚úį‚úį‚úį‚úį

I used to love Viggle.  Not only did I use it all the time, but I proudly wore the merch I bought with my Viggle points.

Now, the app has to be constantly open the entire time you’re watching the program you checked into. ¬†Take a phone call during ads? ¬†Miss out on points. ¬†Do ANYTHING with your phone during the show? ¬†Miss out on points.

Also, apparently points expire now. ¬†It’s been a couple months since I last opened the app, and I opened it today only to discover I have only 6 points. ¬†I had at LEAST 6,000.
Nope. ¬†Don’t like that.

I’m keeping the app for as long as it takes to exchange my Viggle points for Perk points and redeem them. ¬†Only 60,000 Viggle points are allowed to be exchanged per month, which translates into 3,000 Perk points. ¬†I still have over 200,000 Viggle points, so it’ll take a while, but I’ll be so glad to be done with this Perk takeover nightmare.

Credit: hahasforhoohas.com
Credit: hahasforhoohas.com

I would be more understanding if Viggle was sold because it was losing money, but it wasn’t. ¬†I was just sold. ¬†(News articles linked¬†at bottom.)

I’m fully convinced that all of the 5-star ratings it currently has are either from people who never knew Viggle when it was good, AND/or people desperately trying to get¬†points took advantage of Viggle’s offer of bonus points for giving such a rating. ¬†Nope. ¬†Bribery is not my thing, either. ¬†I’d rather give or read an honest review than a fake 5-star just for points.

I will give Perk a bit of a break in my rant with the best change they have made to Viggle. ¬†They’ve finally¬†added the ability to check in with shows and movies you’re streaming. ¬†Don’t have regular TV or cable?¬† That’s not a problem anymore. ¬†Watching on Netflix, Hulu, etc., will also get you points.

All in all, I don’t think¬†Perk is an evil, selfish company, but they really should have thought more about what kept Viggle users coming back in the first place. ¬†Instead, they changed everything, making it harder to earn points, and making rewards 5x as expensive to redeem. ¬†Just remember: the most important thing in any business is the consumer. ¬†If the consumer doesn’t like what you’re selling (or how much you’re selling it for), you lose money.

Articles about the sale:



Perfume Tour 2016, Chicago, IL | Making Memories is Important

Sister’s fortune cookie message before we started the journey.

It still doesn’t quite seem real.

After nine years of loving their music, admiring how cute they are, and adoring their outfits, I finally saw A-Chan, Kashiyuka, and Nocchi in person!

There were SO many people there! ¬†I knew they’d grown in popularity in America, but I really had no idea! ¬†There were so many people in line; so many dressed in their outfits, some even performing their choreography for others in line, and I honestly didn’t expect to see so many men in attendance, haha.

Credit: kawaiikakkoiisugoi.com

The girls were so energising, and interacted with the crowd a lot. ¬†They were sweet and funny, even when they didn’t speak in English. ¬†(For instance, when A-Chan wasn’t sure how to express in English just how full they were from eating so much Chicago deep dish pizza beforehand; and at one point, they recruited an interpreter from the audience.) ¬†The best part, of course, was that the stage was only about thirty feet from us!

“WAAAAAY back in line to see Perfume, but we’re here!”

I wish I could have taken any video or pictures during the concert, but of course, it was forbidden. I figured there would be plenty of official content released later, or that someone else would break the rules and publish it to YouTube (which they have).

Credit: aramatheydidnt.livejournal.com
Credit: aramatheydidnt.livejournal.com

There’s even a moral to be learned from the trip. ¬†In the recent past, I’ve passed up opportunities to try new things and go new places because travelling is hard on my body. ¬†I lived in New Mexico for almost four years, a state that has observatories almost everywhere, and I never visited one. ¬†All the ones I found were still at least a four-hour drive away, but I knew that even being in the car that much would leave me in some sort of pain or illness; so I didn’t go.

When Perfume’s trailer was released for their American tour, I decided that memories and adventure are more important than avoiding physical inconvenience. ¬†About a day after returning home from the trip, I got a terrible head cold. ¬†You know what? ¬†It was worth it. ¬†I went on a road trip with my sister. ¬†We shared a vegan cupcake at my favourite coffeehouse in Uptown Normal. ¬†We stayed at an Airbnb spot in Chicago. ¬†We were in Chicago for the first time. ¬†We hung out with Hubby’s grandparents, and saw places in Bloomington-Normal we otherwise wouldn’t have. ¬†And darn it, we saw Perfume live.

Credit: allkpop.com


The red velvet cupcake we shared the day before the concert.

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I’m Going To See Perfume Live!! | Cosmic Explorer Tour, USA

Back in 2007, I came across this little trio of Japanese singers via YouTube who called themselves Perfume.  After watching about ten of their music videos, I was hooked.  I obtained some of their music and soon shared it with my sister, who immediately became a fan as well.

Since then, her fandom has surpassed mine, and she makes sure I stay in the loop with any new songs, albums, music videos, and concert footage.

Perfume circa 2004 for their single “Monochrome Effect” (left), and 2016 for their album “Cosmic Explorer” (right).


This year, Perfume is making a tour stop in America close enough that we’re finally going to see them live! ¬†The entire trip is going to be quite a bit more driving than I can usually handle, but we’re breaking it up enough that hopefully it’ll be OK ūüĎć.

Another exciting part is that we’ve booked a room through Airbnb, and it’ll be my first experience with it. ¬†I’ve heard so many good things about it, it’s so much cheaper than a hotel, and the particular room I booked has SO many great reviews!

Credit: soshified.com
Credit: soshified.com

As of the publishing of this post, we’re probably reloading our stuff in the car to set out for Illinois. ¬†I won’t give a lot of details about the trip until it’s over, but I’m glad the planning is finally done.

Nine years of fandom leading up to this.  Perfume is bigger than ever as the most popular Jpop group in Japan.  Even Pentatonix posted a music video just last week with their Perfume medley!

I’ll leave you with the videos to two of my favourite new songs of theirs (one fast and one slow):

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“True Stories — We Made Up” (Book Review)


Once in a lifetime a book comes along that will change the course of your life, and shoot you soaring into the atmosphere with your dreams. This is not that book.
(Excerpt from the book’s back cover.)

We’ve all been there. ¬†Something ordinary happens in our life as a child, but our sheer excitement and pure emotions¬†exaggerate it in our innocent minds. ¬†You’re granted a minor confidence boost that gives you bonafide super powers. ¬†Channeling Michael Jordan as you slam dunk into¬†your Little Tikes basketball hoop. ¬†Your favourite toy breaks, and it is the literal END OF THE WORLD.

THAT is what this book is.  True stories from childhood hilariously exaggerated as a child would see them.  My relationship with books is complicated, but this is one book I simply could not put down.

I still can’t get over the part about a seemingly impossible victory in a backyard baseball game where the 11-year-old protagonist¬†bumped chests with his brother, “instantly forming a rippling six pack.”1 ¬†I couldn’t finish the story for at least another day (but realistically, five minutes), because the laughing brought me to my knees.

If you want a book to read that will not only hold your attention, but make you laugh and reminisce at the same time, THIS IS THAT BOOK!


True Stories - We Made UpTrue Stories – We Made Up by Michael Johnson, David Beebe II, Chris Johnson
‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖhalf star 4.62

“True Stories – We Made Up” is a collection of short stories based on the lives of three authors: Michael Johnson, David Brett Beebe II, and Chris Johnson. There are mention of bears, the mark of the beast, superheroes, and maybe even a few miracles. (read more)

1 Page 181.

Staring At the Sun. Literally.

–First published on kurithevegantraveller.wordpress.com.–

The Great American Eclipse is coming up in August next year (2017). ¬†It’s the first total solar eclipse to touch only the United States in its entire 240-year history as an independent nation. ¬†(First “Brexit,” anyone? ¬†No? ¬†OK…)

The predicted path of the total solar eclipse.

I’d had eclipse glasses in my Amazon wish list for at least a year before I finally purchased them shortly after moving to my current house. ¬†They’ve been sitting in a safe place for the last few months, but I finally decided to try them out recently.

I get creeped out pretty easily with seeing normal things differently in real life. ¬†My first dream job was to be an astronaut so I could go to the moon, but one night when I was about six I saw the moon look giant in the sky and it scared me out of being an astronaut. ¬†(I still have no idea why it appeared to be giant, because all of the usual explanations don’t apply. ¬†It was high in the sky, white, and nearly a week past full.) ¬†So in my back yard, right before I put on the glasses, I braced myself for what I was about to see.

Nothing.  Completely black everywhere.  No reflections, no sunlight, no anything.  The ONLY thing that was shown through the glasses was the surface of the sun itself.

eclipse glasses view
An illustrated representation, but it looks exactly like what I saw.

There it was in the midst of its pitch black surroundings: a flawless, goldenrod, perfect circle. ¬†I even tried taking a picture of it with my phone through the glasses, but the phone’s camera kept insisting that there¬†had to be white somewhere and tried to colour balance. ¬†(Although, it does say right on the glasses that they’re only to be used with eyes, not “cameras, telescopes or binoculars.”)

But I stared at that circle. ¬†That apparent little thing in the sky is the giant powerhouse of the solar system. ¬†Just past aphelion, it was about¬†152 million kilometres (94.5 million miles)¬†away from me. ¬†From the moment “sunlight” is created in its core, it takes hundreds of thousands of years for it to reach the surface of the sun, then just under 8.5¬†minutes from there to here. ¬†It’s the source of the horrible heat I was feeling to my core (amplified by the day’s 61% humidity), and of all the life in the solar system. ¬†While it looked like a completely calm and perfect circle in the sky, it’s raging with fission and plasma inside and out, and could easily wipe out life on earth if it really wanted to. ¬†(Though hopefully that doesn’t happen until its scheduled time in about 5 billion years.)

It didn’t make me feel small. ¬†I just took a moment to see the sun for what it is.

The awful picture taken with my phone.

I just want to encourage you to go out and “smell the roses” today. ¬†Stop and find something to appreciate, scientifically or otherwise. ¬†Find something you take for granted or overlook every day, and just take a moment to¬†appreciate it for what it is. ¬†The feel of a leaf, the formation of a cloud, your own heartbeat. ¬†Everything has its beauty.


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