The Case for Kindles

For the longest time, I only had disdain for Kindles and other eReaders. “Nothing can ever replace books,” I said, “Books are the best and reading on a screen is dumb.”

Well crap, I was kind of wrong. Don’t misunderstand me – I love paper books and my bookshelf is my favorite thing in my apartment. In Nov. 2015, I was scrolling through Amazon on Cyber Monday and I noticed there was a great deal for Kindles. I knew that I wanted to travel sometime soon and that I’d want to travel as light as possible. You just can’t do that when you’re carrying a bunch of books. So, I grit my teeth and bought it.

And you know what happened? I ended up loving it. I got one that is only 6″ tall, glare free, and there’s no backlight, so it looks as if you’re actually reading a paper page. I needed it to be easy on the eyes because I like to read at night before I go to sleep and I already spend all day looking at a computer. The battery lasts for a whopping three weeks, so unless you’re traveling for very long periods of time, you don’t even need to bring a charging cable with you.

It’s small enough to fit in most purses or large coat pockets, so it’s perfect for traveling light. If you’re laying in bed, you’ll never drop the book and lose your place. Even if you’re reading a 600 page book, it’s as light as a feather, which makes it perfect for elderly people who can’t lift a lot (bonus: you can make any book large print), and you’ll never get a paper cut.

My sister and I went to the Netherlands last year and we only took a backpack each as our luggage (honestly, it’s the best way to travel – the airline can’t lose your carry-on). I was so glad I brought my Kindle with me on the trip. I downloaded several books before we left, so even though I finished a book on the flight back, I didn’t even have to pause before I started the next one. I carried the Kindle around just about everywhere we went. It fit perfectly in my purse and I even carried in my rain jacket pocket sometimes.

I don’t just use it for traveling though. I took it to work and I’d read it during lunch. None of my coworkers knew that I was reading romantic trash novels if they couldn’t see a cover. That’s actually one of the best things about the Kindle. You can read whatever trash you love most without fear of judgment from other people, because for all they know, you’re actually reading Anna Karenina or some other tome instead of the latest Lisa Kleypas novel.

The Kindle versions are also cheaper than the hard copies. I bought all eight Outlander books because I wanted to have my own collection (my mom owns the hard copies) and be able to carry them around with me whenever I want. They’re excellent travel books because they’re long and engrossing – perfect for long flights – so I was able to save money by downloading the Kindle versions.

There are also a ton of free Kindle books on Amazon. They’re not all great, in fact, most of them are self-published and not good, but you might be able to find some free gems. Amazon also has this new thing called Prime Reading, where if you have a Kindle device (or the app) and Amazon Prime, you can “borrow” books indefinitely on your Kindle and then you just “return” them when you’re done.

I’m a big fan of my Kindle. It’s light, small, and does exactly what I need it to do, which is let me read, not hurt my eyes, and travel well. So far, it’s been perfect!

Harry Potter Books Ranked from Best to Worst

It’s about to get real. So many people have strong feelings about the Harry Potter series, myself included. One of my favorite discussions is finding out which of the Harry Potter books is someone’s favorite and which is their least favorite. Harry Potter was such a huge part of my childhood. I went to three midnight book releases and four midnight movie releases. I dressed up as Hermione for countless Halloweens and was extremely disappointed the year I turned eleven because an owl didn’t show up with a handwritten letter from Professor Dumbledore.

I lost the dust jackets for 4-6. Also the first three paperbacks are falling apart. But I can’t bring myself to buy new copies because it feels disloyal.

You’re not going to want to read this if you haven’t read the books. Also, if you haven’t read the books, what the fuck are you doing with your life? Get to it.

So, here’s my definitive ranking of the Harry Potter series. Prepare for babbling.

No Brainer: Don’t Date People Who Don’t Read Books

There’s nothing more alarming to me than someone who doesn’t have a favorite book. If you can’t name one even from your childhood, then I don’t think we’re going to get along.

Don’t get me wrong – movies and TV are great ways to consume stories and our culture (I especially appreciate television because hello, Character Development!), but there’s something extra special about books. You get to almost literally (literarily!) step into someone else’s mind and possibly see the world a little differently. Even if you don’t travel very often, you’ll still get to see the world and other worlds that are only in someone’s imagination.

 

People who don’t read books just baffle me. They always seem to have a limited world view and can’t understand how to step into someone else’s shoes or see the other side of any argument except their own. One of the things that scares me most about Donald Trump is that he doesn’t read anything (not even his own executive orders). And it frightens me when people say the humanities don’t matter in school, but in reality, they teach us about our own humanity and about seeing the humanity in others.

Feminist Entertainment for Surviving a Trump Presidency

If you’re reading this and you’re saying to yourself, “well I’m not a feminist,” and you’re about to click away. Just wait a second and read a few more sentences.
Do you think men and women should be equal socially, economically, and politically? Basically, do you think that men and women are equal? If yes, then I hate (love) to say it, you’re a feminist. Yeah, even if you’re a dude. Welcome to the club.

If you looked at that definition and thought “yeah, still no on the whole feminist thing,” then by all means, click away and continue “making America great again.”

2016 is ending and with 2017 is coming something I wish was still a joke: a Trump presidency. With most of the country (she won the popular vote, y’all) appalled and scared of what may come of the new administration, many people turn to positive voices that give them hope and empower them. For me, that’s feminist and inclusive voices. Whether it’s some of my ass-kicking aunts or an actress standing up for herself, I am applauding and storing those memories away for a time when I’m not feeling my best.

Over the next four years, feminists are going to have some tough times, but with some of these entertainment outlets, maybe we can all relax for a few hours, laugh, and enjoy our fellow feminists.

1. 2 Dope Queens

2 Dope Queens

This is an amazing podcast hosted by the one and only Jessica Williams and the one and only Phoebe Robinson. You might remember Jessica Williams from The Daily Show and Phoebe Robinson just came out with a book called You Can’t Touch My Hair. It’s a live comedy podcast with a wide variety guests up to and including, Danielle Brooks, Zasheer Zamata, and John Mulaney and Nick Kroll as their characters in their Broadway show, Oh Hello.

Every episode is hilarious and has a 100% guarantee of making you laugh on your morning commute. 10/10 must listen.

2. Quantico

Want to see a kickass woman of color literally kick ass? Answer: WHO DOESN’T? Priyanka Chopra is the main character in this show about FBI agents learning the tricks of the trade at Quantico, but it also jumps to the future when her character, Alex, is accused of bombing Grand Central Station. It’s exciting, it’s awesome, and totally binge-worthy (I hate that phrase, but it fits here).

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

How to Deal When Someone In Your Family Is Voting for a Sentient Cheeto

First of all, I heard the phrase “sentient Cheeto” on one of my favorite podcasts, Call Your Girlfriend, and it became my favorite descriptor for Ivanka’s Dad (they also call him Ivanka’s Dad and it makes me really happy and I’m just gonna borrow these phrases from them).

One of my family members recently e-mailed the entire family and said that he is in the basket of deplorables (no one asked for his political views, by the way). Months ago, he sent out an e-mail saying how he supported Bernie and even though I voted for Hillary, I was proud of having so many Bernie supporters in the family. Now I’m completely confused how he went from supporting Bernie because of his view on the environment and universal healthcare, to saying he’d vote for someone who wants to get rid of the EPA and also basically delete Planned Parenthood off the face of the Earth! I suspect brainwashing.

Thankfully, the collective outrage that has come from the rest of my family has given me hope for the rest of the world. Though, some of them are voting for Jill Stein instead, which is a whole other splitting-the-vote problem that I can’t even get into right now because I’m too busy being glad that they aren’t voting for an orangutan in a suit.

Here are the best ways to cope with the fact that you’re related to someone voting for Donald Trump:

1. Wine.

Wine is the only thing that will get you through the next month and a half until Election Day. It’s TBD if we’re going to need wine to drown our sorrows or for celebrating after Election Day. Stay tuned.

2. Group message your other relatives and ask if you can disown them.

Haha! Joke’s on you, Grandpa. You can try to write me out of your will, but not before I write myself out of it and deny all relation.

3. Get adopted by a different family.

If you really want to anger this Trump voter, get adopted by a nice Mexican family.

4. Make a donation in their name to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

You’ll be doing good to offset their badness, plus it’ll piss them off that their name is attached to Clinton campaign. *cackle*

5. Go out and vote on November 8th.

At some point, you’re going to realize that you can’t change their mind no matter how much you try. The best thing you can do is register to vote and cast a ballot against the orangutan in a suit.

Seriously, everyone. Voting is one of the most important things you can do. Register to vote today and don’t forget to cast your ballot on November 8th (or earlier if you’re voting absentee).

Why I Gave Up Caffeine and What Happened to My Body

My body is one of those bodies that reacts pretty violently to things. Bad smells give me a migraine. Humidity and heat give me a migraine (just gotta love those Midwest summers). My migraines sometimes make me nauseous and always make me sensitive to light. Lack of sleep gives me a migraine.

TL;DR: almost everything gives me a migraine. Except coffee. Sweet delicious dark juice of life. I want to ingest you in every form. Hot. Iced. Iced and blended. Black. With whip. Mocha. I want you French pressed, dripped, or freshly ground. Just. Get. In. My. Body.

Secret: The mugs are empty.
Secret: The mugs are empty.

The problem with my love for coffee is that my body doesn’t like it when I don’t have it. So on stressful days where I don’t have time to grab a cup of coffee or if we’re traveling and Starbucks is nowhere to be found, goddammit. Guess what happens? Yes! A migraine of the greatest proportions! I’ve vomited as a result of withdrawal from caffeine. It’s super brutal and probably painful for other people to watch. It’s certainly painful for me to live it.

So you can probably guess why I gave up caffeine. It clearly wasn’t making my life any better and the lack of it could turn a good day into an actual nightmare. (Truth: my mom actually made me give it up because she saw how my body reacted and I was just in denial about it and willing to continue down this destructive path)

The first few weeks of giving up caffeine were awful. I obviously got a migraine. I was sluggish and my brain felt cloudy. I didn’t know if I’d ever feel normal again and I just kept craving caffeine in any form. Soda, tea, chocolate, and of course, coffee. It didn’t help that my favorite place to hang out was a coffee shop.

Here’s what was happening to my body: my adrenal glands were suddenly without their jumpstart. They were trying to figure out how to work efficiently without the help of caffeine (you and me both, adrenal glands). So my mom found this supplement aptly named “Adrenal.” I took it a few times a day with meals and suddenly…I started to feel normal. I felt like a human being and that fog covering my brain was lifted. It took away my withdrawal migraines and I was sleeping easier. Oh yeah, caffeine definitely affects your sleep long term. So if when I gave it up, I started being able to fall asleep easier and faster and I stayed asleep longer.

Now it’s been about 5 years since I officially gave up caffeine. I’ve gotten back on the wagon a few times and fallen off (I was a dumb child and didn’t realize just how much caffeine was in black tea, oooh boy) and gotten the migraines again. As much as I love coffee and chai tea, I don’t let myself have it every day. If I have it a few days in a row and the day after I don’t have it, BOOM MIGRAINE. I can have the occasional coffee without consequences and I definitely do (I love me a Mexican mocha) and sometimes I just need a cup of coffee to poop while I’m traveling.

So what’s good about giving up caffeine? Well, for me it means fewer migraines. It also makes it a lot easier to wake up in the morning. I’m instantly awake now instead of fighting my alarm clock or wishing I could just fall back into bed. I can go to work without needing that “jolt” to get anything done. My body goes through a more natural circadian rhythm and I don’t get overly hyper. I’m calmer and more level headed. Overall, it was a good decision for my mom to make for me ?

Of course, giving up caffeine was the best thing for my body. There are people out there that aren’t affected by withdrawal from caffeine (you lucky bastards) and there are people who just don’t want to go through the process of giving it up because they need it. That’s fine! You do you, squirrels.

Review of “The Last Five Years”

I watched The Last Five Years the first time purely because it had my girl Anna Kendrick in it. I knew absolutely nothing about it except that she was in it.

I didn’t know that it was a musical or based on a play. I didn’t know that it would make me want to cry or even that I would want to watch it again. However, as soon as Anna Kendrick started singing, I was like:

Oh yes, this was gonna be great. Because her voice was literally music to my ears.

Here’s a quick summary of the movie without giving away a lot of spoilers: