Thursday, June 09, 2016

Summer Adventures 2016

Now that it's June it officially feels like summer, and that means I think we can be confident there will be NO SNOW for a few months. I love the prettiness of winter, but it does make it hard to get around. That's why now that it's nice out, I'm really too look ahead to Summer Adventures! It's a place where I can share plans for the summer months, be they big or small or somewhere in between. I hope this will also help me back to a blogging rhythm, and free up the question of what to blog about because I can always share updates on any of these adventures!

Neighbourhood Adventures
When I moved, I didn’t move that far but the neighbourhood still feels pretty new to me. Now that it’s nice outside, I want to start checking out different places to explore from coffee shops to parks to restaurants. There is even a Little Free Library to check out!

Celebrate my Birthday.
It’s a big one this year. Haven’t quite decided what I’m up to, but I know I want to do something special. Maybe a party. Who knows?

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Weird Fiction Exploration
I know that I love science fiction and fantasy, and that they are my favourite genres regardless of format, but it feels like I'm not reading a lot of books or stories that are science fiction, fantasy or weird. I added weird because I'm sure that anything classified as "weird" is something I want to check out.

Anyway, given I’ve already created a few other reading explorations and follow an online book club, I feel like it’s creating another list-of-books-to-follow-and-check-off doesn't feel quite right. That said, I keep coming back to this idea. I have too many ideas on how to structure it (chronologically? By awards/nominations? Short stories? Alternate genres? Alternate author genders?), and have combed through many, many, many, many lists to pull titles together, but when it gets down to deciding or structuring or committing, I'm flounder.

In an odd turn of how-Shannon-normally-does-things, I may just start reading and see where it takes me instead of laying out it all out first. We'll see what happens!

Eat Seasonally
Recently when I was sorting through some paper stuff I ran across my Good Things Grow in Ontario calendar, and I was so thrilled! I didn’t even remember I had one this year! One of the best things about it is that it has a monthly chart which fruits and vegetables are in season. I’ve already written out all the June fruits and veg and have put it on the fridge.

I hope this will serve as some inspiration to try out some new recipes too. But I’m just as happy to simply wash-n-eat stuff that doesn’t need to be cooked. Hopefully this will be super fun, and healthy, way to enjoy the summer.

Tea Exploration
Keeping the food theme going, I now turn to tea. For years, I’ve used sweetener in my tea but I kind of passively stumbled into not having it. Thing is, tea does not taste the same. And I'm not loving it. And I drink a lot of tea. But, I realized that might just be the tea I have right now. What about other teas? Maybe there is one out there that I like without it. I still plan on having milk with caffeinated teas, I can shift so far at one time!

I'm trying to think of this as fun as opposed to a problem to solve, turning it into an exploration seemed the natural thing to do. I could be fun to try different kinds of teas and see if any holds up just with milk. Who knows, I might just be fine one I really like.

Gaming Exploration
It feels like it's time to put my PS4 to use other than simply streaming movies, TV and YouTube videos. While all of those are great, it’s also a gaming console. I might as well use it as one! Although I’ve never been a console gamer, I have always enjoyed games, and given that I can’t play them at the computer anymore I might as well use my PS4 to get back to something I enjoy.

I know this is a bit of a weird one to do in the summer with it being nice outside, but I realized that the competition for game-time wasn’t the weather... it was TV. I have lots of TV shows I watch, but now that we’re into the slimmer pickings of summer I have more time to game.

I think I’ll go a little less structured on this exploration and simply try stuff out and see what it’s like. I do want to get a handle on different game genres and styles though, to figure out what kinds I like. I’ve already started this exploration, and you can see my Tea and Tomb Raider streams.

The Summer Supernatural Re-Watch
Okay, I have to have at least one TV venture on this list! And my Summer Supernatural Re-Watch was a tradition for several summers, but the past few years I haven't been able to make it happen. Now that they are 11 seasons and heading into their 12th, I feel like it's a CRAZY amount of episodes to watch. Which, of course, means I want to try it out.

From THEN to NOW, it's always interesting to see THE ROAD SO FAR from the beginning, One More Time.

Be Involved in SOMETHING. Or start SOMETHING.
I am feeling the pull to be move involved in something. I don’t know what, or if the what matters, but I just know I keep feeling the drive to be involved. I don’t quite know what shape this will take form, but there is something trying to happen here and I really hope I can get it moving.

Fairy Tale Summer
I’m signed up for Carla Sonheim’s Fairy Tale Summer class, which I am so excited about. It’s 8 weeks long and we create stuff based on 8 Fairy Tales. I can't wait!!! This along with Y is for Yellow year long class will definitely keep my artistic muscles going.

En Masse Journal
Okay, this one is a bonus one that I thought of while I writing this post up. It’s a relatively new idea to me, but Jamie mentioned it a few weeks ago and I’ve been devouring YouTube videos on it, including the originator Shannon Green’s videos. The basic idea is that you create a journal that has a page per item/theme/etc, where you glue corresponding images. You can have a Blue page or a Flowers page, or one for Animals or Go Karts. It’s part scavenger hunt part collage madness. Often people start with the base of a magazine, which is what I'm doing. I’ve already started mine, and I love it every time I work on it. I hope to do figure out how to do video flip throughs so I can share the process.

Wow. That's a lot! I had no idea how many things I wanted to give a go this summer. Amazing what happens when you start writing stuff down.

I would love to hear what your Summer Adventures will be.

Monday, June 06, 2016

May 2016 Reading Wrap Up

May was another mammoth reading month for me, and a bit of a heavier one especially given I made it though the audiobook of The Iliad. That's an epic book! I actually really want to read The Odyssey and I have a paper copy of it so reading The Iliad was a bit of a precursor to that. However, I think I need a break from the epic. My brain hurts.

I did have some lighter reads, including the awesome scifi/fantasy book Clean Sweep that had almost every fantastical element I like but in a current day setting. Love that! I also read a few short stories, including keeping up with more HP Lovecraft (I don't know if I'll ever finish the 1000+ page anthology I'm reading). Overall, I thought it was a pretty good reading month even if I didn't get to a Canadian title or a Shakespeare play, but there is always next month!

Books Mentioned:

  • Those Books: The Iliad by Homer
  • Non-Fiction: Paranormal State by Ryan Buell
  • Book Club *: Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman
  • Book Club Alternate: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • Short Story: Wendigo by K.T. Bryski, Toronto Star Short Story Contest Winner
  • HP Lovecraft story: The Music of Erich Zahn by HP Lovecraft
  • Fantasy/Science Fiction and Book to Film Adaptation-ish: Day of the Dragon by Richard A Knack (WarCraft Series)

The Book Club I follow if the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club, and their hangout to discuss the May selection of Silver on the Road will be tomorrow, June 7, 2016. I enjoyed the book, even with the slow burn pace but the forums were pretty split on how they felt about the book, I wonder how the ladies will feel about it. I can't wait to find out.

Given it was a heavier ready month, I am curious about this whole "Summer Reads" thing. I have never done it, and don't quite know where to start. Do you switch to summer reads in the warm months? I would love to hear your take on summer reads, and any book or author suggestions.

Love books? See more reading goodness on my YouTube Channel or friend me on GoodReads!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

stART: Creating As We Go ~ Episode 64

It's time for another episode of stART: Creating As We Go where my sisters and I share what we are getting up to creatively. We talk about everything from En Masse Journals to Super Hero swipe graphics, plus the conflicts that make us uniquely who we are. You might just like it!

See more at stART: Creating As We Go blog and YouTube Channel.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Summer TV 2016 ~ Where to Watch TV Shows Online In Canada

It's June, which means it's time to start getting serious about Summer TV. We've heard what the Upfronts are for the Fall seasons, but before we get to crisp fall walks and the turning of leaves, let's enjoy the baking sun and zaniness of summer TV.

I have a lot that I'm looking forward to this summer, including a few shows I missed last year: Wayward Pines, Zoo, Dark Matter and The Killjoys. I like my scifi in the summer, and all of these promise to deliver on this front. And both Zoo and Wayward Pines have that kind of slant alongside a conspiracy feel which is always a fun summer adventure. Adding to the mysterious feel we'll also get new series of American Gothic and and BrainDead. Plus, there are summer reality TV favourites to enjoy including The Amazing Race Canada and Big Brother. This summer will have a bit of a different rhythm to it for the huge event of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which will be from August 5 - 21, 2016. I love the Olympics, especially the summer ones, so I'll be spending a lot of time in August watching that.

For this summer listing, I've put the all the summer premieres together, both the new and returning shows as overall we won't get quite as many over the next few months. Anything new or returning as of June 1, 2016 will go under New Series and Summer Premieres, along with a few shows that premiered in May. Any show that still has more episodes to air, like Houdini and Doyle, The Path or Containment, but is well into it's season, will go under Continuing Series.

My goal is to have this list include shows that are available to watch online in Canada, with no login required. A few slipped through the cracks in Spring, often with shows that have the first episode open to everyone and then need a log in. Sneaky!

If you are looking for an earlier in the year show that has already completed, check out the Spring 2016 listing here. If you are looking for thoughts on specific shows, you can check my TV Musings Vlogs on my YouTube Channel.

This list will be updated as new shows become available at their legitimate Canadian Broadcasters websites including CBC, CTV and CTV2, Global, CityTV, Space, Showcase, Slice, HGTV Canada, MTV Canada, Food Network, Discovery and History.

New Series and Summer Premieres
Continuing Series

Can't find what you are looking for? Try the individual Canadian TV broadcasters websites video pages:

The mileage can vary on how many episodes and for how long they are available to watch online. A lot of stations only have one episode available for one week after broadcast, and other stations have up to 3 weeks of episodes available. There is often an exceptions for Canadian series (or co-pros) which may have their full season (or series) available. We have better transparency here, with both CTV and Global now indicate when new episodes will be available online and how long it will be available for, and CityTV has a red banner indicating if it is expiring soon. This is a huge help for us who watch shows online.

I love that so much TV is available to watch online or via apps, but not ever show is. I'm hoping one of my faves from last year, UnREAL, is available online but if it isn't there are other options. When this happens, the I suggest looking for it in in iTunes, Google Play Store, the Playstation Store (if you have a Playstation) to see if you can buy it. Although it's not free, the big pay off when you buy is that there are no commercials, no expiry dates and you can re-watch to your heart's desire. Occasionally, a show will also air weekly episodes on Netflix, such as with Scream, which is returning with it's second season this summer.

* A few online viewing options do not have a specific page for watching a singular show, but rather a video player for watching any of their offerings. In those cases I've put the link to the broadcasters website, as opposed to the show. Then either select the show if it's displayed prominently, or click their video library, select your show, the season and then the episode.