WHAT TEAM?

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After four years of crying over grades, dealing with myself, all of the struggles of high school, and four years of screaming “WHAT TEAM?” at wildly inappropriate times, I can finally answer that question with a resounding “WILDCATS!”

I am so excited to say that I am attending Northwestern University, just out of Chicago, this fall. I could not be happier, and more proud of myself. These past few years have been a struggle, full of personal problems that left me feeling drained and wondering if I could even get up the next day. But I did it. I graduated with high honors, and I made it into one of my top choice schools. I feel amazing.

Of course, I owe a big thank you to my parents for sticking with me through all the crap that teenage me puts them through. They have always, always (seriously too much sometimes) pushed me to strive for the best, whether it’s in my grades, or the phone I buy, or the friends I choose. Naturally, our choices don’t always line up, but I won’t ever forget that as the most important lesson they have ever taught me. That I can do it, and I am capable of amazing, amazing things. They taught me that lesson, and I want to thank them for that. Thanks, and I love you two.

I am so, so lucky to have amazing friends, who have loved and cared about me unconditionally through these insane years. I am so grateful to them for being there with a hug, or a check-up text when I’ve been having a rough night. I am so glad they came to graduation this past Sunday. It means the world to me that they came to support me. And, just as they promised, they screamed their heads off when I was called up to walk.

Thank you guys, and I love you so much! I can’t wait to spend an insane summer with you :)

Graduation

TALKING IS HARD

TALKING IS HARD

Oh Jesus. I am extremely upset with myself. I should have downloaded this album the second it came out. I downloaded Different Colors and Shut Up and Dance, but honestly the album itself is just amazing. Their sound in TALKING IS HARD is so different than their debut album WALKTHEMOON, and I’m loving every second of it. It’s still dancy, upbeat music, but it still sounds different. I love it.

I’m actually supposed to be doing my homework, but I’m really just having a one person dance party with this album on repeat. Work This Body (below) is playing and if anyone saw me right now they’d get such a bad case of second hand embarrassment.

Galaxy Note 4

The Next BIG Thing

I finally made the jump from iOS to Android. As an iPhone user for four years,  starting with the iPhone 4 and ending with the 5, I found myself rapidly losing interest in Apple and the features its phones were providing. For both announcements since the 5, the 5s and 6/+ both left me feeling underwhelmed and unexciting. Same thing with iOS 8. I mean, I understand iOS 7 was a big step, but really only aesthetically.

So what phone did I end up getting?

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.

It is a big phone. There’s no getting around that. I was debating between the 6 and 6+ when they first came out because I was thinking about the camera. But when I saw and heard about the 4, I was blown away. Not only with the fantastic display and design, but also the features and customizability it offered. I mean, I guess and Android fan would be like “Yeah we’ve had that forever.” but iOS didn’t, so this is a huge thing for me. I’ll start with the hardware features I love and hate, and then slowly delve into the software.

Hardware

The design of my devices, I’ll be honest, is rated fairly high for me. I don’t want a cheap looking plastic phone. I want metal, and I want good looking phones. So for the longest time, Samsung phones were “eh” in terms of design. And suddenly the Note 4 (and Galaxy Alpha, for that matter) came out and changed everything. The sides are this beautiful black and silver chamfered metal (very similar to the iPhone 5 and 5s), but that’s were the similarities end. The back is plastic, but it does have a rich, leathery texture. It’s also removable, granting access to the removable battery, and SIM card. After the glass back of the iPhone 4 and aggressively scratchable iPhone 5, the Note 4 is a welcome change. Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple’s designs, but I wanted something new. The display itself is so crisp and beautiful. I can honestly say the blacks on the AMOLED dispay are very black, especially compared to Apple’s IPS display. The phone is responsive and smooth, as you’d expect a top tier flagship phone to be. However, just under this display rests a regrettable excuse for a fingerprint scanner. It is not on par with Touch ID. There’s no other way to put it. With such a big phone, it should honsestly register prints from any angle, but it only works in one orientation, and you have to swipe down over it.

Under that button, nestled in the bottom right corner of the phone, is the famous S Pen. The thing that sets apart the Note line from any other phablet is this S Pen. I use it a lot. The S Note features and all that really do come in handy.

The phone itself, coming from an iPhone 5, is heavy, and it’s big. When I had it for the first few days, I wasn’t sure whether I could handle a phone this large. But after a few more days, I realized I couldn’t ever go back to iPhone. I used my mom’s the other day and I was really confused as to why there was so much bezel and not enough screen. The Note, on the other hand, is very much screen. The bezels on the top and bottom are quite small compared to the size of the screen.

Those beautiful chamfered edges do have a flaw, however. The shiny parts scratch. Like a lot. I didn’t get my case for the first week or so I had the phone, and in certain lighting the edges were already scratched up. I mean that’s a small negative because those scratches are only visible in very specific kinds of lighting, and it’s not like the iPhone 5 and 5s don’t have that problem.Galaxy Note 4 Back

On the back is the 16 MP camera. The pictures it takes are sharp and beautiful. The lowlight quality is kinda sucky, but I’m not a professional photographer, so I don’t really mind that. It’s a great camera.

Software

Samsung gives you options for everything. I was reading this forum when I was trying to decide whether to stick with iPhone or to switch, and I read a quote: “There are eight ways of doing something with Android, and only 2 of them work well. The other 6 suck.”

I’ve been finding this to be true. I mean, for email, contacts, calendars, and all of Google-compatible stuff, Google’s apps or the stock apps work nicely. But for everything else, I’ve had to hunt. So far the most challenging hunt was for a simple, easily-organizable Notes app. I was not a fan of the S Note app for text writing, so I downloaded a third-party app, which is fenomenal.

I also switched over to Chrome as my main browser. The only reason I didn’t with iPhone is that the back button was in the top left corner and I had no way to set it as my default browser. With my Note 4, I can. It’s extremely fast, and the ability to sync my bookmarks and tabs across devices really comes in handy when I’m doing school work.

The general feel of the phone is very fluid. I was hesitant to get a Samsung device because of TouchWiz, Samsung’s skin on top of Android. However, after opening up the Developer Options and adjusting the animation speeds, the phone is far more fluid. I’ve experienced no true hangups except with the Google Now settings pane once in a while.

The biggest reason I didn’t make the switch to Samsung after my iPhone 4 was how entrenched in the Apple ecosystem I was. My entire family shared calendars, contacts, music, and reminders. So the first thing I had to do was move my contacts. I actually did this in August sometime because I was growing tired of having issues with the My Card constantly changing. So I switched my contacts to Google Contacts. Then when I got my Note, I downloaded my iCloud calendar and re-uploaded it to Google Calendar. The biggest thing for me to figure out was iTunes. How the hell do I get my music to my phone, and preferably keep using iTunes to download music? That’s where the third party app DoubleTwist came in. It wirelessly syncs all my music between my Mac and my Note. It was a $4.99 purchase, but worth every penny. It even let’s me use my Apple TV’s AirPlay feature!

One irritating “feature” of my Note is its inability to send gifs. I tried Google Hangouts, and then Google Messenger, but both didn’t allow me to send them. Finally I tried Textra, which is a simple, beautiful, and highly customizable app. Textra is a beautiful app. It handles both SMS and MMS very well, allowing you to set maximum image size. Textra also has options for colors and layout.

That’s what I’ve been finding with this phone and Android in general. If something doesn’t work the way it should, or the way you want it to, there’s a work around. Somehow, someway, there’s a workaround. For the past month or so I’ve been using this phone, I have been enjoying it. I’ve gotten used to the phone, and using Samsung’s built-in features that help manage the 5.7 inch screen has become second nature to me. (Also, it lets me watch Netflix and go on tumblr at the same time and that’s beautiful. I watched 24 episodes of Parks and Rec yesterday. Oops.)

All images are from Samsung’s website.

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Thoughts on 12

“New kidneys…I don’t like the color!”

Season 8 of the revived Doctor Who series is now 9 episodes old, and the new Doc has had some time to grow on us. Since his sorta-reveal in the special The Day of the Doctor, I have been eagerly anticipating his arrival. Besides being sexually attracted to his mad eyebrow game, I really wanted to see what kind of Doctor he would be. Even in the promo pic above (not mine, btw), I could see he would be a lot darker, a lot scarier of a Doctor. And since Smith’s Doctor was downright childish (in the best way, I freaking love him), I thought it would be a hit-or-miss with the fans.

“Where we going?”

“Into Darkness.”

Well, I’ve seen all 9 episodes with him so far and I love him. He really brings a whole new perspective to the Doctor. I’ve noticed that this season itself is far darker, with people dying a lot more frequently and a lot more horrifically. And 12 has a very pragmatic attitude about it. He doesn’t mourn or get angry; he very calmly continues his plan. The death scene in episode 6, The Caretaker, where one gentleman is completely scorched, his hand falling in front of the viewer, well-done and smoking really exemplifies my point. I cannot fathom that happening with 11, or 10. That’s not to say there weren’t bad times, but nothing that graphic. (I’m talking graphic for Doctor Who. I also watch The Walking Dead, and this is nothing. Remember the trough?)

source: BBC America

source: BBC America

Capaldi isn’t the first dark Doctor we’ve gotten in the revival series. Good old one-season-Eccleston’s 9th Doctor was very dark, and very war-torn. From his perspective, he had just wiped out his own race and the Daleks. But what Capaldi has that Eccleston didn’t is age. He has the look of someone who would get to the point and not care about feelings. During Mummy on the Orient Express, people were seeing that creature and what did 12 do? He told them to keep it together and describe it. No comfort, no condolence. And frankly, that’s what I love about it. It’s like Doctor Who has gone from this goof-ball show to a far more sinister series. Now, I don’t mean that either way is bad. 9, 10, and 11 were–

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source: none found

–but 12 is a welcome change. There’s just a new, darker feel to the whole thing, and I welcome it.

“You were an exceptional Doctor! Goodness…had nothing to do with it.”

On a related topic…Clara. I had the gripe for the longest time that she wasn’t very well fleshed out in terms of character. (Cut me some slack, I’m still hurting over Amy and Rory.) But it hasn’t even been 10 episodes and Clara already feels so much more real. At the end of Kill the Moon, when she told the Doctor off…well…that was the realist shit I’ve ever seen from a companion since–in my opinion–Martha leaving. (I’m a huge Martha fan, so don’t even go there.) In recap, she effectively says that if the Doctor comes to Earth, and breaths our air, then he has just as big a responsibility to take care of it and make the decision about the fate of the moon as much any human.

That’s not to say Smith (or any other Doctor) didn’t have his hard-hitting scenes (remember the Living Flesh arc?). But there’s something about 12’s series that’s way darker. From his TARDIS to his attack eyebrows, the entire show has gone in realer, more sinister direction. And I can’t wait to see the rest.

Disclaimer: I have not seen the old Doctor Who series. GIFs come from various sources, none of them are mine. The promo pic is property of the BBC. All rights of the images to their respective owners.