Where’d all the good TV go?

So, I’m quite a fan of Jack Johnson’s song Where’d all the good people go? And while this is one of the many questions I ask myself on a daily basis I also tend to ask myself a lot of questions about the current state of entertainment media ( I know I should have been a communications major…). Well, I’ve been scouring Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime since I don’t have cable looking for smart TV, TV that makes me think and uses something a bit more than Two and a Half Men or Adventure Time (I really don’t like it, I’m sorry) to make me laugh. I have discovered and will list my three favorite comedies and my three favorite dramas. 

Comedies: 

  1. Community- While I’m not totally caught up, I’m devastated that it’s being canceled…again. It’s witty, has seriously funny characters and while most of their situations are completely impossible, sometimes it touches on serious issues such as when Jeff meets his father. It teaches the viewers that friendship comes from the people you least expect and though your group of friends may not always get along, what matters is that they are there for each other. It’s available on Hulu in its entirety and I hope to the deities of television that it gets picked up and hopefully if it gets picked up just online, it fairs better than Arrested Development did, as much as I loved that show before. 
  2. Parenthood- Now I just got into this show, thanks to my roommate but I can already identify that it’s one of the good ones. It deals with hot button topics in fantastically humorous ways. It goes back to the days where television helped people learn things about how to deal with some of the hardest issues in their lives, questioning relationships, raising children with special needs, and hitting rock bottom and building your life back up. It’s witty, fantastic and seriously addicting…and luckily it’s on Netflix. 
  3. Big Bang Theory- Maybe it’s because I’m a nerd myself that causes me to love all of the characters. I have always loved Sheldon. There’s something about someone who is so devoted to his academic work that he finds normal human interaction a foreign concept that’s relatable and hilarious. I love that his friends accept each other for who they are, prey mercilessly on one another but love each other anyway. I love the smart girls, I think they are just fantastic. The only thing I don’t like about it is that Penny is portrayed with such low intelligence. I promise you, not all actresses are that dumb, as Hollywood stars are finally beginning to show us. 
  4. Late Night- If I am lucky enough to be at home in PA and able to watch late night tv, I tune in to Conan, The Colbert Report and The Soup. I love them all because they all make fun of what is going on in the world and in the world of entertainment and two of them actually provide some sort of intellectual level of humor. 

Dramas- Now I will be completely honest, 90% of the dramas I watch are not American…

  1. 24- This fantastically adrenaline high political (is that the right word…I’m not really sure but there are politics weaved among the gunshots) has been my favorite drama since my father introduced it to me in early high school. On Monday nights, the world knew not to interrupt my father and I while we watched 24. It was a lovely bonding experience and a seriously addicting show. Jack Bauer is a fascinating character and though the quality of the writing did slip a bit in the last season and a half, its comeback in 24: Live Another Day has proven that Jack is back and many people will not be living another day under his watch. You usually spend the whole season trying to figure out who is working for the bad guys from the inside of the US government. The old seasons are on Netflix and the new episodes are on Hulu. 
  2. Sherlock- I’m hooked on this version of the Arthur Conan Doyle classics. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman make an incredible team and Moffat does his wittiest writing on this show (sorry Dr. Who I love you too!). It makes the viewer want to read the original if they haven’t already to see how the stories have been adapted to fit inside modern day London. And like Sheldon, there’s something about a character (like Sherlock, Sheldon or Dr. House) that is so smart that they are socially isolated that makes the audience immediately love them or hate them, for me, I love them! All the current seasons are on Netflix. 
  3. Downton Abbey- I love this show, and while I am not even going to pretend that I am caught up, I love the idea that even the Victorian age of carriages, manors, and fancy hats that came before WWI, there is an incredible amount of scandal. It’s like Gossip Girl but the period piece, British version and you feel much classier watching it. In the USA, it always reminds me why I love PBS in the first place. The dialogue is witty and smart, and the characters have incredible personalities and the performances are stellar! Everything is on Amazon Prime. 

Guilty Pleasures- We all have them, the guilty pleasure show we would rather not let the world know we like. As for me, I could watch Gossip Girl as background noise all day, How I Met Your Mother is also a constant in my life and probably always will be (though I don’t know the ending…shhh!) and I am unapologetically addicted to Antiques Roadshow, No Reservations, Pawn Stars and Shark Week. I was an avid Bravo fan and it functions well as background noise when it is on, as does HGTV, but as I don’t have cable and I actually have to choose which shows I will be watching, I tend to not reach for those as much anymore. 

What are some of your favorite smart tv shows and guilty pleasures? Leave them in the comments below! Keep sifting through shelves! 

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What’s with the name of your blog?

A few people have asked me…what does the name of your blog mean? Honestly it doesn’t really mean anything. I consider myself a bit of a hipster (I will explain why in a later post) and I enjoy the pursuit of intellectualism and I wanted a title that could encompass many different topics, as I intend to bounce around a bit. It took my a bit to think of it but in the end I came up with Sifting through Shelves. It popped into my head while I was thinking of things that people like me tend to do. Others that I considered : Tea at the Table, the problem with that one was that I like very few types of tea, Coffee without a Care, well that didn’t work because I care about lots of things, I tend to think that’s what makes me a nerd, Nerd with the Word was taken. I often find myself doing exactly what my blog indicates when I go to stores or museums, specifically book stores, which are my favorite place to window shop. I stumble across lots of interesting books and ideas in book stores and libraries. Bookstores and libraries are two of my favorite places to be when I am alone. I like peruse the shelves of the stores looking at all of the knowledge they have to offer me. I often take the books I like off the shelves and sample them and inevitably make a very long wish list of books I want to read, some I get to and some I don’t. So, that’s why I call my blog Sifting Through Shelves, because whether it be books, music, stuffed animals at Disney, movies, historical artifacts, or the virtual shelves of the internet, Sifting Through Shelves is something I do often and I will continue to do forever. Also, bookshelves are some of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Photo from http://cdnimg.visualizeus.com/thumbs/1d/92/books,bookshelf,bookshelves,ladder,reading,umbrella-1d926cd7cacd6bda606498d71635552c_h.jpg

My Weird Goals

I feel like if I publish some of my goals I will be more likely to accomplish them or get advice on how to do so. So here they are…my weird Goals 

  1. Speak at a TED conference- I’m dying to, I have a lot of topics I feel like I could talk about and I would love to be among all of those amazing people. 
  2. Host a Project for Awesome dance performance- If anyone knows anything about the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green, they host something every year called the project for awesome. I would love to put my skills as a dancer and a choreographer to good use and put on a benefit performance and put the proceeds towards the Project for Awesome. However, I don’t have the space or the time I can take off from work (stupid money) 
  3. Undertake a project I would like to call Traveling Biographies- I would like to actually walk in the footsteps of some of the amazing people I look up to as inspiration like Walt Disney and the Founding Fathers and actually travel where they went as I read biographical information on them; I would then share this content on YouTube on my channel (which is currently sadly dormant) 
  4. I want to write a book. This sounds simple enough, but in order to accomplish the research necessary, I would need to spend a lot of time at the various Disney Museums and the Archives, as I want it to be centered around EPCOT, that’s all I want to say about it now, but I want to make it a thing. 
  5. I would love to get published as a film historian in an academic journal writing about the historical context of the Disney films and characters I care about so much. I specifically want to work with the Black Cauldron, Pocahontas and Aladdin at the moment. 

So there they are, the crazy projects I want to undertake. However, these ideas take money that I don’t have right now and probably won’t have for a while. Hence the addition of the donate button. If you would like to help me make these a reality, you can either help by donating or give your advice in the comments or drop me an email at kalbone@icloud.com or tweet me (which you can do literally from the side of my blog). Thanks for reading and keep doing so! 

Learning from Your iPad and iPhone!

I always promised myself that after my college education was over, I would not allows myself to stop learning and as an Apple fanatic, I have learned to use my iPad and iPhone to help me do that. I thought I would share with my readers how I manage to do that, and I promise, it’s not hard or boring! 

  1. iTunes U- Possibly the greatest resource in the entire App store. It allows you to watch videos of and take courses that are being offered at prestigious universities and colleges across the country. I was a history major in college and wanted to continue my education on my own. I never got to take a Civil War class but there is a fantastic one from Yale University on iTunes U. I also found a lot of art classes and courses in conversational French. Some of the courses are a continuation of subjects i studied in school and some are the result of peaked curiosity. There’s no homework or anything, you get to learn the content at your own pace. 
  2. TED- I am a serious advocate of TED talks and conferences. I have learned some incredible things from TED talks and I keep them on my person at all times through the TED app on my iPad and iPhone. If you are looking to delve into a certain topic you can search by topic or you can do what I usually do and click “Inspire me” and learn about a whole new topic. They add new talks from conferences every day. It’s a great place to learn from some of the greatest thinkers of our time (as cheesy as that sounds…). 
  3. YouTube- Now, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but I love finding educational content and witty channels on YouTube. From the vlogbrothers (and their many subsequent channels), to Tyler Oakley, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and so many others, it’s a nice, compact way to learn something new. Look up clips form old Bob Ross episodes and you will be painting a masterpiece in no time. These are great if you are waiting in lines, sitting on a train or bus, or hanging around in a coffee shop. I will cover my favorite channels and their content in another post. 
  4. Lumosity- Games that help your brain increase memory and absorb new information better. They are entertaining but not mindless (sorry CandyCrush). I love playing these when I wake up in the morning to get my brain going and playing them when I am out and about and have a few minutes. 
  5. Netflix- While it sounds like somewhere you can just waste time watching guilty reruns of How I Met Your Mother (not that I ever do that… 😉 However, if you look hard enough, you can find some amazing documentaries on there. As a history buff, Ken Burns is my personal favorite, but he’s not for every one. It takes a special kind of person to watch 9 hours on the Civil War. They live in the dark corner of Netflix that most people don’t visit, but next time you log in, check out the documentary section! You might even learn something! 

The Best Apps on My iPhone

I’m one of those people who is crazy picky about the apps I keep on my iPhone since it doesn’t have a lot of memory on it. I have the 16GB model so between music, apps, movies and photos, I have to be selective about the apps and games that I keep on my phone. I don’t play a lot of games on my phone. So…here’s a list of the best ones that I have and links to where you can find them!

  1. Dropbox- I love having this on my phone because it allows me to access all of my important documents, from my resume to writing samples on the go. I have access to the most important documents on my hard drive and since I also have Dropbox connected to my laptop, I can add and delete documents as I see fit!                                     https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dropbox/id327630330?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
  2. ImageWaze- Seriously, this is the best GPS app I have ever had, and trust me, due to my special knack for getting lost, I have tried many. This one allows you to beat the traffic, tells you how long it will take you to get there and allows you to choose the route you want to use. It’s user run so if there’s a traffic jam on your way to or from work, you can let every other “wazer” on the road know so that it notifies them while they are driving. It also alerts the user as to stopped vehicles, accidents and police on the road. It also acts as a bit of a game; if you are a champ at beating traffic, you can collect road treats (mine look like soccer balls for some reason) and level up, for example, when I am driving, there are icons on the screen that indicate other Waze users on the road, some look like princesses, some look like ninjas. It’s as entertaining as it is helpful!                                               https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/waze-social-gps-maps-traffic/id323229106?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
  3. Sleep Cycle- Are you as tired of feeling groggy when you wake up as I am? Then use this amazing app that my Dad told me about. It’s called Sleep Cycle and it has sibling apps like “Power Nap”. It can tell what stage of your sleep cycle you are in and only wakes you up at the top of it. When you set a normal alarm clock, it doesn’t matter what part of the sleep cycle you are in, it’s going to wake you up at 6:30am whether or not your body is ready for it. With Sleep Cycle you don’t have to worry about that. You always wake up Imagerefreshed! You set the alarm for the latest that you can wake up and it opens a half hour time window within which to wake you. When you wake up, you can take a look at your sleep cycles from that night and other nights and the graph will tell you how much time you spent in deep sleep, awake etc. It also asks you what kind of mood you are in when you wake up and does not use a harsh alarm to wake you. You can also set sounds to play while you fall asleep like rain or waves. It has seriously changed the way I feel about waking up in the morning!                                                                                             https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sleep-cycle-alarm-clock/id320606217?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
  4. Duolingo- If you are like me, learning a second language is daunting. I hated trying to learn French in a classroom, it really just did not work. People kept trying to tell me about this app, Duolingo, which is totally free and a fantastic way to learn a new language. It asks you questions in a variety of ways, causing the repetition not to feel redundant but making sure that the information is committed to memory. It is separated into various levels and breaks the language down into very small bits so as not to overwhelm the user. It’s free and online articles suggest that is every bit as good as Rosetta Stone. It teaches through speech, listening, translating, and multiple choice. There is no rote memorization of vocabulary or tenses. You can set a daily goal for yourself, mine is 10 minutes a day and I usually play right before I go to bed.
  5. Weather Underground- I know there are a million weather apps out there and there is already one on your iPhone when you get it, but this one is fantastic. It’s very simple, the opening page just tells you a very basic forecast, whether it will be warmer or cooler than the day before and if rain is likely. If you need a more precise forecast, just click the “Get complete forecast” link and it will give you animated radar and hourly forecasts. It’s really simple, quick and accurate, everything I need a weather forecast app to be.
  6. Run Keeper- I just recently picked up running and this is definitely the best app I have used. I tried using the Nike app that comes on the phone and I didn’t like it. This one allows me to plan how intense of a run I want or to get on a training regimen if I am training for a race. It connects with the music in the phone so you can listen to a playlist while you run. It tells you increments while you run; for example, “Light jog for 1:30” and it just chimes in and lowers the volume on your music and when it is done speaking, you go back to regular volume. It also has a gps in it to tell you where you ran and how far. It also allows you to schedule work outs and if it has been a while since your last run, sometimes it sends a notification to you through Push notifications or through email that Imageit might be time to exercise.
  7. Starbucks- I love my coffee and am a proud carrier of a Starbucks gold card. This app allows me to refill my card, track my stars to see how much longer until I have a free drink, and I can pay from it. It keeps track of my balance and I can program my favorite drinks on it. It also sends me messages with the free songs or apps of the week. Everything I love about Starbucks already, just on my iPhone. I love that it prevents me from having to take out my card to pay as long as I have battery and their reader is working. They can just read the card code from my phone and my balance instantly updates. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/starbucks/id331177714?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
  8. Amazon- Normal app right? Well, I shop…a lot, and most of the time it’s window shopping. But I want to remember the awesome finds that I see when I am at the mall, or most likely the book store and if I don’t want to purchase them right then and there, then I just scan the barcode and Amazon looks it up and 9/10 times  finds the item, I just add it to my wish list and call it remembered. It’s super easy it allows me to keep all my wish lists on hand for when I do go to purchase something. It also allows me to check to see if Amazon has the item for a lower price!
  9. TED- I am a SUCKER for a good TED talk so when I found out that they had an app that gave me access to all the talks I wanted, I downloaded it right away. Not only does it allow you to listen to or watch streamed talks, you can add talks that you don’t necessarily have time to listen to right then to your list, like a bookmark and then you can listen to them later. TED talks are a great way to keep learning from amazing people all over the world.
  10. Animated- It’s Disney’s most expensive app at almost $13 but it’s a must have for hard core Disney fans. It’s like always having the special features of your DVD collection at your finger tips (I advise using it for iPad, as it has a larger screen). It allows you to go behind the scenes and into the history of the way Disney creates it’s animated feature films. It starts with the shorts of the 1930s and goes all the way up to Frozen. It contains beautiful concept art, video clips and all sorts of amazing magic I don’t even think I have found yet!
  11. BONUS- If you have not played The Room…just do yourself a favor and download it. You should do this when you have a lot of time on your hands. It has some of the most beautiful graphics I have ever seen and it’s not brainless, which is what I really like about it. It’s a puzzle game that has a bit of mystery and story to it. I don’t know how else to explain it, you will just have to get it and find out!

What being an extroverted nerd means to me…

So by definition being an extrovert (in its most basic sense) means that I get my energy from being around other people; the more people, the more energy, the fewer people, the less energy I have. I used to be one of those people who hung out by myself most of the time. Until I got to high school and discovered theatre, and more people who shared the same interests as I did, I was an introvert because I didn’t really have anyone to talk to. When I got to high school and from then continued on to college, I discovered that I became more animated and more energetic when I was around lots of people who could talk as passionately as I could about the same things. This was an insane lightbulb moment for me. By the time I got to college and got into even more nerdy things like Doctor Who, Marvel, Sherlock and developed my love for things like Harry Potter, LOTR, Disney and theatre, I realized that I did not want to watch these things alone, I wanted to watch them and then discuss them with people who cared about them as much as I did.

ImageLiving so close to the Walt Disney World resort means I am constantly surrounded by people, if you’re an extrovert at the Disney parks, you are never truly alone. I realized this more and more at the Star Wars Weekends this weekend and at the first weekend of the five. I will strike up conversations with people in line, at the restaurants, in crowds, and the great thing about the community that comes together to celebrate Star Wars Weekends is that they will chime right in with you! I never really felt like I was being nosy (which occasionally, I will admit that I was eavesdropping) when I chimed in to give advice to groups who clearly had a question or struck up a conversation with the people next to me while I was waiting for James Arnold Taylor to begin his talk at the theatre. I will literally talk to anyone, anywhere. It has truly made the world a fun place to be. It’s almost as though I ignore the social construct of not butting in where I don’t belong. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not stupid, I know when it’s not appropriate or when it may not be safe to talk to the random strangers around me, but when it is, I make instant friends; they may not last too long and I may never see them again, but they make my experience enjoyable and we all have a good time. It’s an amazing way to pass what could be lost or boring time in lines and things like that. I should also add that it makes for excellent character interactions!

I hope to attend Leaky Con this summer in Orlando and that will be an incredible experience if I can swing it. So many nerds, from so many different fandoms gathered together in one place! Literally almost all of my favorite fandoms will be there: Harry Potter, Nerdfighteria, LOTR, Doctor Who, Sherlock and so many others! I probably won’t shut up for the entire length of the event!