What have I been up to this week? Here are seven things I’ve been doing over the past seven days. Check ’em out!
Recently I’ve started indulging my fascination with the sordid details of the former Soviet Union. The partner and I enjoy scouring thrift stores and used book stores because we’re both avid readers (and he sells used video games, which can also usually be found aplenty). On a recent trip I picked up a copy of Inside the Stalin Archives by Jonathan Brent. It’s a really interesting and well written account of the author’s research of Soviet archives which were made public in 1992. Brent gets into the awful historical details which surround the former Union, but he also wraps this information in a very personal and touching memoir.
If you’re at all interested in the history of the USSR or just enjoy research memoirs, I’d definitely recommend this one.
You can find it on Amazon (this is an affiliate program link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites): Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia
Have you ever wondered why professional wrestling, widely known as “You know it’s fake, right”, is so popular? Max Landis has the answers in this humorous short film detailing the rise and …fall? of WWE superstar Triple H.
This is the video that got me into wrestling last year, and one I’ve shown to several friends in successful attempts to get them into wrestling. (Including my partner, who showered me in WWE themed gifts this past holiday season haha.)
Swedish power metal rising giants Sabaton put out their latest album The Last Stand in August of 2016. Obviously (as I was in pretty good financial status at the time) I bought it the day it came out. But unfortunately the version I bought didn’t come with the track I most wanted to hear – a cover of Iron Maiden’s flawless “Afraid to Shoot Strangers”.
Enter the YouTubes several months later: and here we are. Check it out if you’re a metal fan or if you just like sweet covers.
As a hockey fan it’s important to recognize achievements across the NHL, even if they’re not by my own team (the Boston Bruins, of course). The Columbus Blue Jackets are therefore a team to be celebrated for coming very close to being a record-breaking team this week. They burst into the new year holding on to a winning streak that didn’t end until Friday night – a total of 16 straight wins. The Washington Capitals made sure they didn’t make the 17 needed to tie the Penguins’ streak of ’92-’93, but 16 in a row is still a hell of a good run.
If you haven’t heard of Discord yet, you’re missing out.
Billed as a much more lightweight alternative to video game voice chat engine TeamSpeak and Microsoft chat giant Skype, Discord is a platform that hosts user-created servers for various types of communication. Any user can make a server (or multiple, if needed) and add other users via invitation links. The server can be set up to contain any number of individual text chat rooms and voice chat rooms through which members can communicate. Various roles can be created which either limit members’ permissions or grant additional ones, such as moderator roles which allow the user to kick or ban others.
Discord has an app for both Android and iOS platforms, desktop applications for Windows and Mac, and a web interface – so you can use it practically anywhere.
The biggest problem I’ve run into with the service lies in simply finding good communities to join – which is more of a user issue than a service issue, of course. The branding of Discord leans itself towards online gaming, which is not something I’m super involved with, but it can be used for any collaborative purpose. A lot of groups with users on Tumblr pass around invitation links often, so it could be worth searching there if you’re looking for a particular type of group.
As a Starbucks gold member I get special access to new drinks and treats from them, and one that’s just been released is definitely worth checking out.
It’s called a Cascara latte, and it’s a latte (your usual espresso and steamed milk) with a syrup that’s made from the dried fruit of the coffee cherry (the part of the coffee plant that contains the coffee bean). If coffee were naturally sweet, every latte would taste the Cascara latte. It doesn’t have the overpowering punch of sweetness that adding sugar would pack, but instead a very subtle and delicious upgrade of a latte’s normal deliciousness.
If you’re a gold member or use the Starbucks app to place a mobile order, you can get this delicious treat now. Everyone else will have to wait until the 10th of January.
My week has been lifted by a particular set of little digital monsters. Pokémon Go! unfortunately ends its holiday event today, but over the past week they’ve given me more than enough reason to keep playing indefinitely. The eggs alone are gonna keep me walking for a while!
For anyone not in the loop with PoGo!, they’ve been holding an event where certain Pokémon spawn at much higher rates than normal, Generation 2 baby Pokémon eggs were being distributed by PokeStops, and free incubators for said eggs were also being given out.
I’ve caught tons of starters since the event started (working in a mall definitely has its perks!) and collected a bunch of eggs that haven’t hatched yet, so I’m excited about the future of my time with this game just based on the results of this event alone. I’m also super looking forward to whatever events Niantic will decide to put on in the future, because despite the whining of some players on Facebook, they know what they’re doing with this stuff.