favorite things this week #1: finals edition

Welcome to Finals Week, where procrastination rules and sleep is but a figment of your imagination. No one likes Finals Week. It’s that period at the end of the quarter or semester (whichever system your school follows) where you are either doing something or you’re not. I go to a school where there is no “Dead Week” (about a week between the last week of actual instruction and exams, designated for studying), and right after the last day of classes, we are thrown into the gauntlet.

And let me tell you: the gauntlet feels more like a slow drag through gravel. You either have in-class finals or take-home finals, or a nice and deadly combination of both. I have that combo this quarter. Take-home finals are the absolute worst. You either finish them right away or you take…days…to…finish…them.

To help me get through these tough times, I take many study breaks to make sure I don’t pull an Ultron and destroy the world as we know it. During these study breaks, I either read, scroll through my phone, or watch videos on YouTube. Here are some of those things – a.k.a., my favorite things this week:

1. Star Wars (2015) comics by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, published by Marvel

AVENGERS...ASSEMBLE! Wait, wrong series.

AVENGERS…ASSEMBLE! Wait, wrong series.

It’s no secret among my friends that I am a huge Star Wars fan. I was that annoying kid who walked around the halls of her elementary school breathing like Darth Vader. I attempted to write a Star Wars play in the fifth grade with my friends and demanded I should play Luke Skywalker (the play never pulled through but I still have my dreams). When Disney announced their merger with Lucasfilm, I kind of got really excited because, hey, more Star Wars movies! A bigger Star Wars presence at Disneyland! Yay!

With this merger with Disney came the erasure of the Star Wars expanded universe developed between the original trilogy and the prequels and continued even after the Revenge of the Sith in 2005. Thankfully, I wasn’t too well versed in the expanded universe enough to have extreme emotions about this, but I was still really bummed that my favorite Clone Wars cartoon on Cartoon Network was no longer considered canon (I am sorry, Genndy Tartavosky. I still love you).

However, as Disney and Marvel are good friends, they released a new series this year written by Jason Aaron. There are currently six issues. This series takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. I always wondered what happened between those two movies. There are also two other series that are running concurrently with this one – Princess Leia (another great read) and Darth Vader (which I plan to read this summer). 

This is a big year for the Star Wars franchise (I MEAN, EPISODE VII COMES OUT IN SIX MONTHS. HOOPLA), and re-establishing Star Wars as a part of Marvel was a great idea. These comics are definitely a breath of fresh air and gives fans a chance to jump back into the universe. I felt like I was at home as soon as I saw the first two pages emblazoned with the phrase “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” and saw my favorite characters in action. The art and writing are spectacular. They’re just a great tie-in to the Star Wars canon.

Yeah, Chewie, we’re home.

HIGHLIGHTS & SHOCKERS (with some spoilers): Luke vs. Boba Fett (LUKE FIGHTS HIM AFTER BEING BLINDED BY A FLASH BOMB Y’ALL), Leia throwing Corellian wine in Han’s face, Sana Solo (I mean whaaaaaaaaat), Vader finding out that Luke is a Skywalker, Luke vs. Darth Vader, Ben Kenobi finally communicating with Luke before said battle before Darth Vader, HAN AND LEIA DRIVING AN AT-AT

2. Watching the “Disneyland: Forever” fireworks…on YouTube

'DISNEYLAND FOREVER' SPARKLES IN THE NIGHT SKY -- 'Disneyland Forever,' a new fireworks spectacular at the Disneyland Resort, illuminates the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle. 'Disneyland Forever' transports guests into the worlds of beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar films through traditional pyrotechnics, innovative projection mapping technology and surprising special effects. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

‘DISNEYLAND FOREVER’ SPARKLES IN THE NIGHT SKY — ‘Disneyland Forever,’ a new fireworks spectacular at the Disneyland Resort, illuminates the sky above Sleeping Beauty Castle. ‘Disneyland Forever’ transports guests into the worlds of beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar films through traditional pyrotechnics, innovative projection mapping technology and surprising special effects. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

I’m definitely one of those people who cry while watching theme park shows. I don’t know – I just get overly emotional about them. The first time I watched World of Color at California Adventure, I was a sobbing mess. Thankfully, I got splashed with enough water (I was in the very front row) that my tears were obscured and I saved myself from embarrassment. I just can’t help it. I even cry whenever I watch the Shamu show at freakin’ SeaWorld.

That being said, I was a mess while watching the 60th Anniversary fireworks on YouTube.  Not even at the actual park–on YouTube. It’s a beautiful tribute to the work of Disney Studios, and everything about it from the projections on  Main Street and the Matterhorn to the fireworks is simply spectacular. The Imagineers really stepped up their game this year! Without spoiling too much, I just want to say that the Lion King and Winnie the Pooh parts are probably my favorites.

Other things: PROJECTIONS! The music! Under the Sea! RING. OF. FIRE. I really can’t wait to watch it live this summer.

I am always so floored by the extreme attention to detail at Disney Parks. If I were a computer engineer or visual arts student, I would definitely apply to be a Disney Imagineer…but I’m not.

SIDENOTEUnfortunately, I can’t really say the same about World Of Color: Celebrate (except for the Star Wars segment and other stuff). I mean, what was the purpose of “Let It Go” besides pandering to Frozen fans? I mean I am a fan of Frozen – I saw it four or five times in theatres, but really? In World of Color at a point where it is not even relevant to the overall plot line of the show which already leaves much to be desired? Let it go. Honestly, I know I’m gonna cry anyway when I get to see World of Color: Celebrate live because I am a huge sucker for heart-wrenching music and COLUMNS OF FIRE.

3.「ねこあつめ」(Neko Atsume, or “Cat Collector”) | (On the App Store & Google Play)



I am allergic to cats, but I really love cat-related things. While scrolling through Twitter one day, I saw a tweet made by one of my favorite artists, Kate Leth. She posted a picture of a cartoon apartment FILLED WITH CATS. I had to seek out that app immediately. Thankfully, someone posted a link to download it from the App Store, and I downloaded it as soon as I could.

Neko Atsume, or “Cat Collector” (thanks to my friend Anna for the translation), is exactly what it is: you run a small little cartoonish apartment, buy things that cats like (food and toys) using sardines as currency, and attract an array of adorable looking stray cats to your humble abode. One thing, though: the app is entirely in Japanese. I could read some of it (because I did take some Japanese classes before), but not all of it, so I pretty much guessed my way through the app until I figured out how to use it. You can even name all of the cats! Needless to say, I named them all after Marvel characters. I have all but four of the cats in the guidebook. I’m ALMOST THERE. Tiana, give me strength.

Puny humans. I named this one Thor, but now that I think about it...this should be Loki.

“Pitiful humans. Feed me.” I named this one Thor, but now, after some thinking… I think this should be named Loki.

There are so many different cats. There’s even a cat that looks like Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. It can only be summoned to your apartment with an expensive plate of sashimi and a gold and red hammock. Hilarious. Take a look:

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 12.43.06 PM

What a queen.

The main reason why I was so attracted to this app was because I used to be obsessed with an app similar to it: Kawaii Pet Megu, a modern-day alternative to Tamagotchi. It shut down last year. Rest in Peace, Kawaii Pet Megu. You were such a good app. I miss you, my Megu. Never again will I see you wear your perfect smile.

HIGHLIGHTS: Anna Wintour Cat, the really, really catchy music, the art of the game in general. It’s a good stress reliever, unless you are like me with my “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” attitude and really have to make sure you get all of the cats in the guidebook.

Well, there you have it – my first “Favorite Things This Week” post! Good luck on finals, quarter system people. May the Force be With You.