As you may have heard, we’ve been a little bit snowed-in here in Halifax as of late. The fight to keep our driveways and sidewalks cleared is a battle in which all Nova Scotians have becomes comrades at arms. Many a knowing smile and nod I got from passerbys as I shovelled out my driveway in the wake of the the well-meaning plowman’s most recent icy dump on our doorstep. I like to think we, as a province, are pretty resilient in winter, even if we do complain about it an awful lot.

Δ Serial – Season 1 Podcast. I binge-listened to this last Sunday during the mega slush-blizzard we had. There was nothing to do but stay inside and I had wanted to listen to this but hadn’t found the right time during my regular schedule. Holy cow –  this podcast is surreal. I couldn’t believe at first that I was listening to a ‘live’ piece of investigative journalism. The ethics and potential bias problems just seemed so large for a story that was dealing with real people facing real consequences, and issues of this magnitude, especially since it was conveyed in an entertainment format.  That being said, I was hooked and I think it was very ballsy to produce.  From a narrative standpoint, the ‘ending’ of course was a bit unsatisfying, just because of the time constraints of the project (about 1 year) and the reality constraints (hello, this is real life. There isn’t always tidy closure).  This podcast has stirred a lot of conversations and I’ll be really curious to see what they do for their next season. If you haven’t heard of it, go and check it out.

Δ Which Haruki Murakami Character Are You? I got an erotically compelling ear. 

Δ My Dad, the Pornographer, learn about the clandestine cabin life of an early erotica writer.

Δ How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life, an article about the sometimes unnerving social mob power of Twitter.

Δ Here’s Why Harvard Added a Fashion Blogger to Its Curriculum, proving that a career in blogging is nothing to sniff at.

Δ Kaihla Tonai’s My Preferred Methods to Help Combat Anxiety is such a nice piece. She’s also an A++ elopement and wedding photographer.

Δ The Wall Street Banker Who Became a Monk, this guy knows what thinking is.

Δ  The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit , like a story out of my 7th grade English class. 

Δ  How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – – Florence and the Machine’s latest video. This would have made a great travel blog title.

Δ Do you sometimes get your best ideas after exercising?  What Happens to Our Brains When We Exercise and How It Makes Us Happier might explain that.

Δ This Interview with Amanda Palmer is from a Danish documentary about female representation in the music industry, and is one of the best talks I’ve heard from her.

Δ  History of Japan podcast is my favourite Japanese History podcast. Not only for the occasional dry wits of its host, Isaac Meyer, but also for his thorough coverage of events and thematic special episodes. He also has quite a few etymological tangents, which I love.  I’m about 20 episodes in out of 89 available so far. This vacation has really been all about the podcasts!

Δ  Experience Japanese History Through Film — On the same note as the previous link, this is a great list of historical Japanese films (plus anything by Akira Kurosawa).

Δ  Australia’s Oldest Man Knits Sweaters for Tiny Penguins — that’s everything I want in a headline, really.

Δ  Style Out There: Decora Fashion in Tokyo — Watch the video! This quick little docu shows some insight into the lives of decora girls in (where else?) Tokyo. 

Δ  300 Awesome Free Things — A great resource for any entrepreneur or digital denizen.

Δ Rise & Shine: The Morning Rituals of Great Creative Minds — Good news: If you sleep in until noon, there’s hope for you yet!  

Δ If I had money to burn, I’d definitely subscribe to Try the World, a box full of fun stuff from different countries every couple of months? Fantastic! Like Epcot in your mailbox. 

Δ A handy resource for all your Japanese Emoticons; my personal favourite are (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ 

Δ San Diego – Golden Hour Surf From Above is frighteningly beautiful surf video shot using a drone. 

Δ Rejected Princesses does cool features on some of history’s badass yet sidelined women.

Δ  Becoming Lorde — I’ve always been fascinated by this singer songwriter since she appeared in public. Her voice and songwriting style seemed to really stand out for me. Hearing her speak, she seems like a pretty down to earth chick, like the kind of person you’d go to the beach with.

Δ  Gisele Bündchen’s Underarmour Ad is populated by live comments made by people voicing their opinions on Gisele.  Not only is the concept and execution great, but the ad changes tone with each viewing.  It will always amaze and not amaze me the terrible things people say about other people. 

Δ  Meet the Unlikely Airbnb Hosts of Japan brings to light some of the cultural difficulties to be reckoned with to bring AirBnb to the land of the rising sun.  Any foreigner who has spent time in Japan will recognize the familiar anti-foreigner and isolationist sentiments that are the default setting for many Japanese people. I think the author does a fair job of portraying it in an empathetic light.  Scary foreigners!  If you are ever traveling in Japan and at any point feel threatened… remember, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.

Δ  The Photographers Behind Some of the Most Iconic Images of Our Time, I have this book and I love it.  

Δ  Joni Mitchell, Unyielding, some beautiful photos of Joni looking ethereal.  She looks so goddamn wise. Sounds it too.

Δ  Worldwide Instameet 11 is coming up March 21-22, 2015. Nothing arranged in Halifax yet, but I’m keeping my eye on it.

Δ Eating Less Meat is Better for the Planet Than Ditching Your Car, food for thought.

I was on vacation from my weekday job this past week, so I got to spent lots of time indulging in leisurely readings, catching up on films, walking while listening to podcasts, making ridiculously indulgent breakfasts every day, and taking gratuitous cat photos.  

Something else happened that made this week even better: I called the registrar of the Master of Journalism program I’d applied to, because I wanted to make sure they didn’t need a copy of my high school transcript. As it turns out, everything was fine and the applications committee had reviewed my case the day before. The registrar had me on a list of people to call that day with some news… an offer for a spot in their program! **cue the happy dance** 

I’ve been told the official letter will come in a week or two in the mail, but I was too excited to keep it secret and immediately texted my whole family.  I’d been nervous about getting my academic plans finalized for the fall since deciding back in December that I wasn’t passionate about pursuing law school. I was also nervous about telling my family I wasn’t going to law school, it being one of those age-old careers which symbolizes ‘success’ in pretty much every culture (including mine). To my delight, I had severely underestimated my family and they all came back with extremely supportive remarks, including their observations about how this path was such a good fit for me, with my love of travel, words, and languages.

In defence of those pursuing law school: all my hats off to you. It is a kickass profession, but decidedly not for me at this juncture.  I’m glad I’ve spent this past year and a bit working with one of the best law firms in the city though. Otherwise, I always would have wondered.  Now I know and it’s given me that much more chutzpah to go after this thing I really want.

There is so much to look forward to right now, including (for today) seeing a visiting relative from the rockies and eating pizza. Life is great. I hope you get some pizza too. Do it, go get some pizza. You deserve it. 

Happy Sunday,

Mel

 

 

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