The Life of Shinke

Archive for September 2014

Hey everyone, it’s Saturday and time for another “Favorites” blog post!

Today I thought we’d give YouTube a break and talk about podcasts. Back in 2011 I wrote the post “My Ten Favourite Podcasts” but since then some of these podcasts have ended and some have been replaced.

So without adieu here are my new favorite podcasts in no particular order.


1. Global News

Global News is a daily BBC podcast that gives you the best stories, interviews and on the spot reporting from around the world.

It is updated twice a day, every day and provides me with all the information I need to be up to date on current events.


2. Daily Tech News Show (DTNS)

The Daily Tech News Show is a daily podcast that delivers the essential headlines in tech news that day combined with analysis from top names in technology.

It is updated on weekdays and is quite informative. Tom Merritt does a great job hosting the show and brings a lot of interesting people on to help him dissect the day’s news. This podcast is great for keeping up on what’s going on in the tech world each day.


3. This Week in Tech (TWIT)

This Week in Tech is a weekly podcast hosted by Leo Laporte and his friends. Each week he has a different set of tech experts in the studio with him where they discuss the top tech stories of the week.

This one made it onto my list the last time and remains there because it keeps me up to date on the week’s tech news. It really goes in-depth with the aid of experts to explain the significance of each headline and the impact it will likely have on the world and the tech community.


4. We Have Concerns

We Have Concerns is a weekly podcast hosted by Jeff Cannata and Anthony Carboni. Each week they take interesting articles and discuss all the wonder and dread hidden inside these seemingly innocuous things.

It is updated twice sometimes three times per week and is quite hilarious. The hosts are so funny and likable and they play off each other very well. While this isn’t a news podcast per say it does introduce me to news articles I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.



5. Friday Night Comedy

Friday Night Comedy is a weekly podcast which features either The News Quiz or The Now Show.

The News Quiz is hosted by Sandi Toksvig and is a topical panel quiz show where the questions are taken from the week’s news stories.

The Now Show is hosted by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis and is a satirical take on the week’s news stories. It consists of a mixture of skits, songs, stand up, monologue and sketches.

It doesn’t matter which one BBC chooses to send out, I enjoy both shows. They’re hilarious and even more so when you actually know the news story they’re making fun of. Even if you haven’t been keeping up with world news just listening to these shows would give you a very good idea of what you missed.


6. Comedy of the Week

Comedy of the Week is a weekly show that presents an episode of the latest comedy show making the rounds on BBC Radio 4.

The people at Radio 4 have a knack for picking great comedies and so you won’t have to worry about an off week, they’re all hilarious.



7. Books on the Nightstand

Books on the Nightstand is a weekly podcast hosted by Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman where they give book recommendations and offer their listeners with an inside scoop into the world of publishing and books.

This podcast has everything a book lover would want, recommendations, book news and fun and interesting discussions.


8. Sword and Laser

The Sword and Laser is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club, video show and podcast, started by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of sci-fi / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres.

It is updated weekly and is so fun to listen to. The book discussions, author interviews, book club picks and great community makes this a must listen podcast for book lovers.



9. The Archers

The Archers is radio drama on BBC Radio 4 and has been around for over 60 years.

It can be enjoyed in podcast form either in daily fifteen minute bites or weekly as an omnibus. Personally I prefer the omnibus because I really get to enjoy all the drama of the past week without constant cliffhangers.

It’s an amazing radio drama and I recommend everyone give it a listen especially if you like soap operas.


10. This American Life

This American Life is a radio show on WBEZ Chicago that can be downloaded as a podcast. The show is hosted by Ira Glass and he picks a theme each week and then brings the listeners varying stories surrounding that singular theme.

I love listening to this show because I always feel inspired and more knowledgeable after listening. This show introduces me to things I would never have gone looking for hence broadening my general knowledge of the world and helping me to form opinions and thoughts on each topic.

After every show I’m always like, you’ve GOT to listen to this. It’s that good.

Do you listen to podcasts?

What are some of your favorites?

Did any of these make your list?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy listening! 🙂



Happy Friday everyone!

It is time for my weekly series, “Best of the Week”. In this post I will share with you all the things I’ve been loving this week in the hopes of introducing you to something amazing.

So lets get started!


I was poking around YouTube as I often do when I found these two gems, Seth MacFarlane doing his Family Guy voices and Adam Levine singing Sesame Street in the voice of the late, great Michael Jackson among other things.



TV Shows/Movies

This week I’ve been watching Season 3 of Scandal and Season 1 of The Originals on Netflix to gear up for their premiere. However the big news in this category has got to be the fact that all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix. *cue the happy music*

This is one of my favorite series of all time and starting October 1st I will be able to binge watch to my heart’s content. Stars Hollow here I come!



I haven’t been listening to much music this week however the theme song for Outlander has been stuck in my head all week. It is such a beautiful song and very fitting for the series.


Unfortunately I haven’t been in much of a reading mood this week so there are no books to share.

What are you obsessing about this week?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Friday! 🙂

Title: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Published: 2007

Description: After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages. (Taken from Goodreads)

Neil Gaiman is a phenomenal writer and storyteller and so as soon as I saw this book being bandied about Booktube I knew I wanted to read it. The intriguing premise just closed the deal.

The characters in this story are both intriguing and complex. I love that the characters were from different walks of life and time periods which made the graveyard cast so much more interesting to read about. I also enjoyed the time jumps in the book as it made passing over the mundane a simple task and allowed us to focus on his adventures.  And finally I liked that he made the graveyard a character in and of itself to be explored and enjoyed.

The main character, Bod, was such a strong individual that didn’t just take what he was told at face value and questioned everything. What I liked most about his character was that even though he didn’t always make the right decisions he always found the right way for him.

All in all I really enjoyed this book, the characters were great, the plot was interesting and the writing was amazing. Another ace in the hole for Mr.Gaiman.

Have you read any Neil Gaiman books?

Which is your favorite?

Do you think he deserves all the hype he gets?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading! 🙂

Title: Peter Pan

Author: J.M. Barrie

Published: 1902

Description: Peter Pan, the book based on J.M. Barrie’s famous play, is filled with unforgettable characters: Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up; the fairy, Tinker Bell; the evil pirate, Captain Hook; and the three children–Wendy, John, and Michael–who fly off with Peter Pan to Neverland, where they meet Indians and pirates and a crocodile that ticks. Renowned children’s-book artist Michael Hague has brought the amazing adventures of Peter Pan to life. His beautiful illustrations capture the wild, seductive power of this classic book. This newly designed edition will be enjoyed by fans young and old alike. (Taken from Goodreads)

Pater Pan is one of those beloved stories that I’ve been told many times but had never read for myself.  After watching The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy which is a modern retelling of the fairy tale I decided it was time to read the original.

This book took me on such a fun and interesting adventure with an array of wonderful characters. Although I wish I got to hear about all the adventures he alluded to but never told, he probably thought it best to leave some of it to our imaginations.

The characters were very interesting and memorable which I think is very important in a fairy tale. My favorite characters were the crocodile with the ticking clock in its stomach and Nana, the nanny dog because they were so different and interesting.

I loved how this story was told, the build up, the explanations, the world building were all well done. The description of Neverland and how each person sees it, how Tink got her name, the hierarchy of the people that live in Neverland are so well thought out and interesting.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and I’m happy the story stood up to my memory of it.

Have you read Peter Pan?

What did you think of the it?

Who was your favorite character?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading! 🙂

Fall is here and you know what that means!

Television will be in full swing with our staple shows and a whole new set vying for our attention.

Today I will be breaking down my top ten favorite fall shows that I’m looking forward to, five returning and five brand spanking new, so let’s get to it.


Returning Shows

1. The Vampire Diaries

Premise: A Virginia high-school student falls for a new boy in class who is actually a centuries-old vampire struggling to live peacefully among humans. Based on the young-adult book series by L.J. Smith. (Taken from TV Guide)

TV Station: CW

Premiere Date: Thursday, Oct. 2 at 8/7c

Thoughts: The show is going into its 6th season and if you will remember in the season finale of season 5 two of our main characters died. That being said I am really excited to jump into season 6 and see how everyone is coping with the loss and all the drama season 5 brought along.


2. The Originals

Premise: A spin-off of “The Vampire Diaries” focuses on the original vampire family who return to New Orleans to reclaim the city they helped build that is now under the control of a diabolical vampire named Marcel. (Taken from TV Guide)

TV Station: CW

Premiere Date: Monday, Oct. 6 at 8/7c

Thoughts: The Originals is an awesome show and is kicking off its 2nd season. Get ready for twists and turns, Elijah’s gentleman ferocity and Klaus’ general tendency for blood. The baby is here and ready to roll, I cannot wait for this premiere.


3. Scandal

Premise: A former White House communications director opens a Washington, D.C. crisis-management firm in this drama based on the work of crisis manager Judy Smith, whose clients have included Monica Lewinsky and Justice Clarence Thomas. (Taken from TV Guide)

TV Station: ABC

Premiere Date: Thursday, Sept. 25 at 9/8c

Thoughts: Scandal is such an interesting show with so many twists and turns, you just can’t wait for the next episode much less the next season. I know she won’t be able to stay away but what will bring her back? Let’s find out together!


4. The Big Bang Theory

Premise: Two nerdy physicists share an apartment and an unlikely friendship with their beautiful neighbor with whom one of them is infatuated. Like the universe after the big bang, the show’s popularity expanded, thanks to breakout star Jim Parsons, along with the chemistry among the friends and the developing romance between Leonard and Penny. The addition of Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik in later seasons also enhanced the stories and relationships of the leads. (Taken from TV Guide)

TV Station: CBS

Premiere Date: Monday, Sept. 22 at 8/7c

Thoughts: The Big Bang Theory is a staple on my TV and I’m going to be really sad when it eventually bites the dust however until then I will enjoy the fun-filled season 8 that is on its way. Penny and Leonard, Sheldon and Amy, Wolowitz and Bernadette, Raj and….they really need to get Raj a partner, lol. I can’t wait!


5. The Newsroom

Premise: A drama set at a fictional cable-news network re-creates actual events to show how they’re covered by “News Night” anchor Will McAvoy and his staff. (Taken from TV Guide)

TV Station: HBO

Premiere Date: Monday, Nov. 3

Thoughts: While this gem of a show will not return to my screen until November, it is a must see. It is moving into season 3 and it is doing such a good job, I wish Will McAvoy was actually doing the news. What’ll become of the team after the scandal in season 2? I hope that lawyer lady is worth every penny.


New Shows

1. A to Z

Premise: A student of the How I Met Your Mother school of television, A to Z is a romantic comedy that chronicles a relationship from beginning to end, à la 500 Days of Summer. Mad Men‘s Ben Feldman stars (with both of his nipples!) as Andrew, a true believer in destiny and romance, while HIMYM‘s ever-charming Cristin Milioti plays the object of his affection, Zelda. (A to Z, get it?) Lenora Crichlow, Henry Zebrowski, and Christina Kirk round out the cast.

TV Station: NBC

Premiere Date: Thursday, Oct. 2 at 9/8c

Thoughts: I’m a sucker for romance anything so of course I would want to watch a show chronicling love. Throw in the comedy and it’s a must see.


2. Jane the Virgin

Premise: Come on, it’s all right there in the title: Gina Rodriguez stars as a young woman named Jane, and Jane is a virgin! What more is there to know? Well, okay, there is the fact that she’s pregnant because she was accidentally artificially inseminated by her gynecologist. Whoops! And to make matters even more complicated, Jane has to decide whether or not to keep the baby after discovering the sperm specimen belonged to cancer survivor Rafael (Justin Baldoni), who’s not only a former crush of Jane’s, but also her new boss.

TV Station: CW

Premiere Date: Monday, Oct. 13 at 9/8c

Thoughts: Jane is Mary but instead of her baby being an act of God and the savior of our world, it’s a mishap in science. I think this is going to be funny and sweet, heart-wrenching and amazing.


3. Gotham

Premise: Described as the origin story of future Gotham police commissioner Jim Gordon, Gotham is Fox’s effort to get in on TV’s comic-book craze.Southland and The O.C. alum Ben McKenzie stars as Gordon, a fresh-faced police detective whose life begins to change when he and his partner, the brash Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), start investigating the murder of the parents of none other than a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). However, the noir crime drama isn’t just about Gordon’s rise through the ranks of Gotham City’s PD; it also promises to tell the origin stories of several DC Comics’ villains, including Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), and the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith).

TV Station: Fox

Premiere Date: Monday, Sep. 22 at 8/7c

Thoughts: I saw the title and immediately went Batman! We’re going to follow Batman! We’re Smallvilling Batman! *happy dance* Then I realized what it was actually about and thought, that could work too, lol. I love superheroes and I just think this is going to be an interesting series.


4. Flash

Premise: The CW’s highly anticipated Arrow spin-off stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, who becomes the fastest man alive, aka The Flash, after an explosion at the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator bestows him with superhuman speed. More lighthearted than its parent series, The Flashis set in Central City, where Barry works as a forensic investigator and uses his special power to help fight crime. He’s aided in that endeavor by Det. Joe West (Law & Order‘s Jesse L. Martin), a cop who also serves as Barry’s surrogate father; Barry’s real father (TV’s original Barry Allen, and Dawson Leery’s dad, John Wesley Shipp) is in prison for allegedly murdering Barry’s mother. Rounding out the cast are Candice Patton as Iris, Joe’s daughter and Barry’s BFF; Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes as S.T.A.R. Labs scientists Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon; Rick Cosnett as Det. Eddie Thawne; and Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells.

TV Station: CW

Premiere Date: Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 8/7c

Thoughts: Superheroes are literally taking over our screens and I for one am happy about this. Flash doesn’t get as much attention as he should and I think this series will showcase his awesome humor and resourcefulness. I can’t wait for it to begin.


5. Madam Secretary

Premise: Tea Leoni plays a former CIA agent whose former boss, now the president of the United States (Keith Carradine), asks her to take on the role of Secretary of State after an accident claims the life of the office’s previous occupant. Using her no-nonsense, unconventional attitude toward politics, she shakes things up in Washington, D.C. while also juggling her home life as a wife and a mother. Tim Daly and Bebe Neuwirth also star.

TV Station: CBS

Premiere Date: Sunday, Sep. 21 at 8/7c

Thoughts: I’ve realized that I really like political dramas and so I’m looking forward to all the twists and turns and cover ups that will happen in this series.

What shows are you looking forward to this fall?

Did any of these make your list?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy viewing! 🙂


Title: Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die

Author: Various authors

Published: 2010

Description: “The machine had been invented a few years ago: a machine that could tell, from just a sample of your blood, how you were going to die. It didn’t give you the date and it didn’t give you specifics. It just spat out a sliver of paper upon which were printed, in careful block letters, the words DROWNED or CANCER or OLD AGE or CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN. It let people know how they were going to die.”
MACHINE OF DEATH tells thirty-four different stories about people who know how they will die. Prepare to have your tears jerked, your spine tingled, your funny bone tickled, your mind blown, your pulse quickened, or your heart warmed. Or better yet, simply prepare to be surprised. Because even when people do have perfect knowledge of the future, there’s no telling exactly how things will turn out. (Taken from Goodreads)

From the moment I saw this book in my updates feed on Goodreads I knew I had to read it. The concept was so interesting and different and I knew I would love these stories.

Fast forward two and a half years later and I have finally finished reading this amazing book. I know it seems bad that I’ve been reading a book for so long but honestly I would just read a story, put the book down and think about it for a while, it was that thought provoking. Additionally, I didn’t want to rush through this book and have each story blur into the next, so I purposely took my time.

The thing I found so amazing about this book is that each author had a completely different take on how this knowledge would affect the individual and the world. One of my favorite stories is about a world where people are separated based on their death prediction. So the people that get non-violent deaths such as cancer and heart attack are the elites and live in a paradise while the persons with violent death predictions live in slums. The government also schedules the deaths of the people in the slums, so for instance they would fill a plane with people who got “Plane Crash” predictions and schedule a plane crash to facilitate their deaths. And while this is cruel and terrible, in their world it made sense because they would cut down on people getting injured unnecessarily. Would I have ever condone this behavior, no, but I can see the logic of them wanting to do this.

While not every story is amazing, there are so many gems in there that it would be a shame not to read it for fear of not liking a few. It was such a fun and interesting look into society and the human psyche and what knowing your death might bring. There is currently a sequel out called “This is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death” and I will be picking this up pretty soon.

Have you read any of the books in the Machine of Death series?

What did you think about it?

What would you do if you knew how you were going to die?

Would you want to know?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading! 🙂

Title: The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Published: 1886

Description: In this harrowing tale of good and evil, the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll develops a potion that unleashes his secret, inner persona—the loathsome, twisted Mr. Hyde. (Taken from Goodreads)

The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde has been on my TBR for ages. I grew up with this story and when I learnt it was a book I immediately wanted to read it however it took quite a while for me to get around to it.

The story is interesting on many different levels, one that the doctor went against all ethical code in the research community and did this experiment. Two that he wanted to bring out the pure evil in himself and three how his Mr.Hyde persona consumed him until he had to fight to be himself.

My first question when reading this book is why would he even want to do this experiment in the first place? I understand wanting to bring out the best in yourself, but the absolute worst? This just doesn’t make any sense to me.

While I found the book very interesting, I would have preferred the story told from Dr.Jekyll’s perspective instead of his friend. As per usual I think interesting stories like this should be told from the main character’s perspective so I can get an in depth look as to what was going on.

We could have explored the cruel things he got up to as Mr.Hyde and how he started to enjoy these moments. We could have witnessed his transformation, his terror at fighting to remain himself. Aside from the letter that he wrote explaining the truth we get none of that. We simply get a guy concerned about his friend’s involvement with a terrible person.

Barring that I liked the transformation, the story and the thought provoking issues it raised. I gave it three golden stars out of five.

Have you read The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde?

What did you think about it?

Would you have preferred the story told from Dr.Jekyll’s perspective?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading! 🙂


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