Listed: 5 Things I Love this September

Boy, do I love happy endings.

Since it is the last day of the month, I figured I'd list September favorites, just to share what I've been getting into (partly also because I want to see summaries of each month in my archives when I want). I really hope I can keep this up! Each month gets busier and busier at work!

So sit back, relax, hit play on the Spotify playlist I have set up for you below (containing music I've discovered and/or grown to like this month) and read about what's made September awesome!

BTW, if you have your own monthly favorites post on your blog, leave the link when you post your comment. I'd love to read it!





1. Udemy's Online Courses

I'm not a stranger to online courses as I've joined a few in the past (Read: Skillshare, iMazing, and The Online Writing Exam & 10-11/366: CalArts), and the main reason I do is because most are free and can be taken when you want, how you want at your pacing. Work is always busy, so when I find a course that interests me, I see the timeline and course specifications. If I see it fits my busy schedule, I go for it.

I'm currently enrolled at a course about Social Media and I am loving the lessons so far. The good thing is after you finish the course, you'll have lifetime access to the lessons and videos. Sweet, right?

Try it out for yourself at Udemy or Coursera or Skillshare.


2. Swift Playgrounds App

I love code. I may not be the best coder, and I may not know every programming language there is, but I love learning and having hands-on experience. I started with HTML5 and CSS3 in high school, learned ActionScript 3 in college, and now, with programmers to my left and right, I'm starting to pick up Swift for iOS and others.

Source

This year, Apple came out with an app called Swift Playgrounds, an app designed for kids to learn Swift programming for iOS in a fun and easy way. While they intended it for young people, an adult like myself can use it too. I've already begun with the first lessons and I can say it's going to be exciting. If you have a kid who you think will love this (or you can try it yourself, haha), download it for free on the App Store. Swift Playgrounds is only available on the Ipad.


3. Apple TV (3rd Generation)

Last year, Apple released a new Apple TV, one which allows you to access and play apps on the big screen and use Siri to search for movies and music. It's pricey for sure, but I had always wanted to buy one for myself. I had to choose between the 3rd gen and the 4th, but in the end, I chose to purchase the former version. I figured since the new Apple TV was still yet to be populated with apps and stuff, tried and tested would be the way to go.

Source

Well, Php 4,790.00 wasn't a bad price to pay for everything, including the HDMI cable required for it. We enjoy watching Netflix and Youtube on it, and if we've had enough, I mirror my mac's screen (or my ipad pro's) to the TV and use it like a bigger monitor for whatever I'm doing. (You've GOT to play Counter Strike on a bigger screen. Holy smokes.)

I might have to sell my 3rd Gen by Christmas to upgrade to the 4th, but you never know. If you love entertainment and doing more with your HD TV, I highly recommend purchasing an Apple TV.


4. Sing! by Smule

Everybody who knows me have an idea about my love for singing. I breathe singing, to be more accurate. So, when I had the chance to go premium on Sing! by Smule, I did so, and it's been a real trip from there. My following has upped a bit, and I get to sing any song I want from the library.

Source

If you're not familiar with the app, it basically allows one user to duet with another no matter how far they are from each other, as well as sing in groups or solo, in audio or with video. You get scored when you hit the right notes and you can get featured on the app.

I've formed some friendships from there, and we get along well because we both love music and singing. I've yet to meet them in real life though.

If you love to sing or just like music and hearing others sing in general, you must download this right now. If you do, please do add me as a friend (click: WWV_Veeyah). See yah there, maybe?


5. My New Portfolio Site

Just recently, I decided to update my art folio and attach it to my domain for good. For years, I've been using Wix and 3rd party sites to host my images, and now, I've finally found a permanent home for them.

Source

There's not much to say about this one, and it's obvious why this is a favorite "thing" from this month's craziness. Please do visit my Art Site and let me know how I can improve your experience.

Shameful plug: If you need my services, please don't hesitate to email me at veeyah@theindymiss.com or via the floating Contact button on the lower right of the screen.


So there you have it! These were my favorites in the whole of September (and still are), though I could add in a few more to fluff everything up, haha. 'Til the next month!

Please leave the post link to your monthly favorites in the comments below as I'd love to read about them!

The Ipad Pro Diaries: Three Months In

Just this month, Apple launched iOS 10 and released two new iPhone models, the 7, 7 Plus, and a new Apple Watch model called Series 2. As for the iPad Pro, they haven't released a new model. It's been three months, and my love affair with the iPad Pro 9.7 is still ongoing, admittedly losing a little of its magic.

Image from Apple's site

Let me break it down for you. At the end of June this year, my boss bought me an iPad Pro 9.7 to mark one year working for the company. Of course, the hype was all there as last year around July and September, Apple introduced the iPad Pro 12.9 and added the 9.7 respectively. Of course being the designer that I am, I immediately saw this as a tool I could use to go around my job with less hassle. I had wanted to buy it for myself last Christmas, but was advised to wait for a few more months, so I did. Finally, on the last week of June, the iPad Pro was given to me.

If you've read my other post about the iPad Pro (The Ipad Pro Diaries: One Month In), you'd know that within the first month of using it, I had completely abandoned using a regular notebook and my Wacom graphics tablet. I had found that the Ipad Pro could somehow replace some applications and gadgets I had used before.

Sadly, I'm here to partially retract my statement.

Here's the deal: I love the iPad Pro for what it can do on the go. It's very compact and it helps me organize my life. While it is heavier than my Kikki.k planner, I can use it to not only plan my day but also get ready for a design I'll be using for a project, play games to relax, and browse the internet on the go. However, the ugly truth is that no matter how much it's made my life easier and organized, it still can't replace some applications I first thought it could, 'cause when I first reviewed the device, I hadn't been able to dive into using the apps fully.

However, the ugly truth is that no matter how much it's made my life easier and organized, it still can't replace some applications I first thought it could...

Remember when I said that the Procreate App could replace Photoshop? Boy, was I in over my head right then. It made me think it could replace Photoshop because I could do digital painting on it - but as it turns out, that's about it. You can't copy-paste, you can't crop, you can't do much except paint. It was my error for believing it to be so much more, and now I've been able to look into it much deeper, it can't replace Photoshop. At all. It can replace Paint Tool SAI at some point and Autodesk Sketch, but that's it.

Also, I'm quite disappointed that not a lot of apps are taking advantage of the Apple Pencil's capabilities. I go to the App Store every week to check if there are additions to the "for your Ipad Pro" category, but it's always the same apps. I know it takes a while for developers to create a really good app for iOS, including integration with the Pencil, but it's really getting boring. The most I've used the Apple Pencil for is on the One Note App, which I regularly use in taking notes during meetings and managing people and their workload.

If you go back to my first post about the Ipad Pro, you'll see a photo of my "Create" folder, which contained a number of creative apps I had yet to discover. The thing is though, I've deleted more than half of those. This is what the create folder looks like now:


I don't even use the apps above for work, just during my free time when I have nothing better to do. I keep going back to Photoshop and Sketch for strict designing. I don't know I just feel like I could be doing so much more with the iPad Pro, you know? Maybe it's because I expected more, and maybe I'm being too hard on the product as it IS its first roll-out.

Here is what I normally use my iPad Pro for: digital painting.


I started the drawing above around 3 weeks ago, but I haven't gone back to finishing it off.



Another drawing I created earlier for my alter-ego Nova. :) I just love flowers, and roses are my favorite. Black ones, that is.

So what do I think now? Well, I believe the Ipad Pro can do so much more than it can as of now, but there's not enough apps for me to decide otherwise. 'Til then, I'll be waiting.

How about you? What are your thoughts about the Ipad Pro? Do you know any apps I can use to further test the capability of the device?

Listed: 5 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

The following podcasts are free and under a specific category so when I say "you should be listening to", I'm saying "you should be listening to under these categories". There are so many podcasts I could recommend, but let's limit ourselves to these five first.



Isn't it just amazing how you can get immersed in a good read or become transfixed by a movie that holds you at the edge of your seat? As a horror/suspense fan across all mediums, I try to get the best as much as I can, sometimes even paying premium just to answer the need for a lingering scare.

With so many outlets to choose from, I think I've discovered one of my favorites - podcasts. The options are endless as you can access a podcast via iTunes (Podcast App), Spotify, Podbean, and a lot more. If I had to make a guess, around 90% of podcasts are free, with the exception of bonus content, long study podcasts, and the like.

I've been interested in audiobooks for a while before getting into podcasts, and I must say that with the right conditioning and cast, the experience will be incredible. Here are my current favorites:



1. The NoSleep Podcast

Honestly, there are not enough positive words I can use to describe this gem. There have been multiple nights when I just couldn't stop listening, tapping next after each episode for hours on end. One of the main reasons I am completely hooked is that their narrators and voice actors are 100% on point. They set the mood so well that it adds atmosphere to the story, increasing the tension and thrill of the experience.

It's hard to choose a favorite with such an amazing set of episodes, so it's safe to say that no matter which episode you choose to listen to, it's guaranteed you'll be getting the best.

They offer the podcast episodes for free, though they do have a paid subscription available for those who want extra content, additional stories, and full episodes/series to listen to for just $19.99. The free episodes are already amazing though.




2. Lore

Another incredible podcast, Lore is one that offers true tales of horror, mystery, and legends that seek to disturb. From talks about Queen Mary and murders made by the Royal Family, to tales about fishermen becoming lost at sea and leaving their women in the hands of a huge, mysterious man, Lore is a podcast best listened to in the wee hours of the night straight on to early morning.

Lore is narrated and written solely by Aaron Mahnke, a man with a soothing yet deep-set voice that gets you in the mood in a snap. When I first discovered this podcast, I was mainly smitten with his voice. Upon listening to a few more episodes though, his voice was icing to the already sweet cake of stories.

I look forward to listening to his stories every time a new episode comes out, and they're always interesting ones. Imagine a kid coming home from school expecting a package to arrive, then find the package in his bedroom in all its splendor. That's me when listening to Lore.



3. Risk!

This podcast airs tales people never thought they'd tell in public, told by the very people who've experienced them. Risk! covers everything from heartbreak, sex, gender identity, getting drunk, embarrassing moments, and even dark secrets people have been keeping for years. There's never really a dull moment with this one, as their host is a jolly guy and the people they have on the show are stand-up comedians and people who know how to bring an audience together.

The first Risk! episode I got to listen to involved a gay man's sexual encounters on the road and a woman's first time participating in an orgy (I know, stuff you'd think would be inappropriate). It was more on the people and their experience that made me want to listen to more episodes, and like I said, there's never a dull moment here. With colorful stories told by colorful people, you're definitely in it for the ride.



4. Knifepoint Horror

Like supernatural suspense? This is the podcast for you. Told by Soren Narnia, a man with a voice that attempts to shed light on the story lead's emotions, Knifepoint Horror is a simple, one-man podcast about horrific tales.

Admittedly, some episodes can be a bit dull, but the chances of you choosing that particular bore is 2/10. I've only heard a few episodes from this one, and I find listening to Knifepoint in the afternoon or morning is the best time.



5. Stuff They Don't Want You to Know

One of my early favorites, STDWYTK (let's just use this, okay?) talks about everything the government and scientists could be trying to keep from public knowledge. There's talk about UFOs, cannibalism, Cold War, human experiments, and many others. There's not much else I could tell you about the podcast as the title is pretty self-explanatory.

I'm really into conspiracies and government secrets too, and that's why I became attracted to STDWYTK. They also have a video podcast channel around the same topics if that's your cup of tea.


My love for podcasts is growing, and I can't wait to discover more channels to dive into every day. Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites? I'd love to add more to my library!

Podcast channels above are from iTunes/Podcasts App. I'm pretty sure they have their own sites as well so you can check them out via search. 

Stuck in the middle


I used to be addicted to anime. I'd download heaps of online references whose style I wanted to emulate, and for a time, I was doing fine. That came to a halt when I discovered watercolor painting.


Once I got into it, I decided to buy a few materials like water brushes, traditional paintbrushes, acrylics, gouache, watercolor tubes, Sakura pan watercolors - I just kept hoarding. After that, I was hooked with journaling and buying planners (they're pretty expensive rin pala!). I then bought a LOT of materials to decorate my new baby, from stickers to stamps, from custom refills to paper tapes - you name it. 



After that little period, I was given an iPad Pro to play with and so I shifted back to doing digital things, like logos, portraits, sticker designs, and the like. A few weeks ago, I began to miss watercolors and brush calligraphy, and went back to doing that.




Yesterday though, I found myself in the middle of a forest. I was in the middle of everything I loved to do, and I was lost. Lost is a mild word to describe my dilemma, honestly. It's a battle I've lost to over and over for years, practically ever since I started college. As cheesy as it sounds, I often ask myself what I really want to focus on. It seems like I know how to do numerous things, but I'm not incredible at any of them.

If you check my Instagram, my feed is all over the place. There's food, there's watercolor paintings, there are letterings and brush work... which one is my own?

The problem includes who I am as an artist. Am I a blogger, or a digital artist? I can be both, but then, if I am both, and an offer comes by that seeks to hire a person for each role, which do I choose? I've faced this dilemma before, and it wasn't an easy choice to make.

Yeah, I get it - I'm still young and figuring things out for myself, yada yada yada. I'm just a little concerned over the fact that some of my friends have already found their focus when I'm still blindly running around.

I'm seriously asking for advice here. What should I do first? I have plans written down, but they're also all over the place. 

Listed: 3 Short Indie Games

As many of you are aware, I love playing computer, console, & mobile games. My favorite genres differ, but most usually involve action, simulation, shooters, and adventure. There's just something about putting yourself in someone (or something) else's shoes that reek of adventure.

I've browsed many different gaming sites like Steam and IndieDB, and I live for updates. If a new game comes out and it's worth the price, I'm on board. I also usually do a review for them, especially if I find it interesting and worth the money and time. (If you'd like, take a look at my review for Insurgency and Pewdiepie's Legend of the Brofist. The first one is a First-Person-Shooter or FPS, and the other is a Pixel Platformer.)

One site that I've been getting my games from is Itch.io, a really nice place to get some of the best indie games for free (or paid), for different operating systems. Don't worry if you aren't much into games - there's always one that'll spark your interest. Hopefully, you'll find at least one from this little post. :)


1. Let's Play Simulator 2016



This game's rules are simple: one, reach 1 million subscribers, two, make sure your money doesn't go below zero, and three, make sure you have enough knowledge of a wide variety of games, their developers, and their genre.

The game took me about 3-4 hours to complete excluding breaks. While the nerd in me doesn't have enough information to have played a smooth game, it sure helped. If you want to get a taste of how Youtube works on the surface, you should check this game out.

Download Let's Play Simulator 2016


2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings



I actually thought the game was glitching on me for the first few minutes, only to realize that I should've been paying attention. That's exactly what this game is about. Please just download and experience the game - wouldn't want to ruin it for yah.

Download Be Aware of Your Surroundings


3. Hot Date





All you have to do for this game is to ask (and be asked) questions, like you would on a real date. Oh, yeah. Not that this isn't real. Haha. Simple graphics, straight-to-the-point gameplay - Hot Date is a fun twist on speed dating. The dude-dog has a bit of an attitude as well, but it's nothing you can't handle (*wink).

(I have mixed feelings about this one - probably because I've never speed dated before - but it's a fun, short game to pass the time if you have any to spare.)

Download Hot Date



I hope you found this first "Listed" post worth your time! This is a new section of the blog that I think  you'll find interesting. It won't matter if it lists 3, 7, or 10 plus items - as long as it's something worth listing, it'll find its way here.


Movie Review: Train to Busan


It's been hours since I saw the film, and yet my excitement, my emotions from its end still haven't dissipated even a little. I went into the cinema with high expectations, brought on by friends and trusted former college professors who have watched it and have given their two cents. I came out extremely satisfied - and a little ashamed (I'll explain later).

From the title, it would be impossible to think the story would be interesting. Yeah, it sounded mysterious and looming, but just that. I've never been more happy to be wrong.

Train to Busan was emotional, especially as the film reached its climax and started descending to the end. The trailer itself was quite intense (and partially the reason why I decided it would be worth watching on the big screen), and the fact that Korean Films were getting into the Zombie genre, putting their own flavor into it, was inviting.


I've always been attracted to these genres - horror, thriller, suspense, gore, zombie - and it was BLISS throughout most of the film (hey, it can't ALL be perfect). I found myself attached immediately to a few characters within the first 30 minutes, which grew stronger as I realized where it was all headed. I also found myself getting pissed at one or two a-holes who I'm sure were based off of real people. It was intense.


(Spoilers start here. If you haven't watched the movie, PLEASE do yourself a favor and go do so. You'll thank me later.)


I still HATE that COO guy with a vengeance. If I was unfortunate enough to be in the same situation with him in the same group, I would've LOVED to kick that guy off the train. The most selfish portrayal of man I've ever seen on film. He deserved to die a more horrible death, and he didn't have to take the main character with him to the grave (which he did).


The film started quite calm, introducing me to the characters whose plight I'd be following in the next two hours. From the moment they got into the train to Busan, and a strange, bloody, twitching woman boarded the train when the conductor wasn't looking, hell broke loose.

The end was more bitter than sweet, though I couldn't really call it depressing. It may have felt that way to me in the first few minutes, but thinking about it, Su-An and the pregnant lady would not have made it to safety if Su-An's father lived. The military on the other side of the tunnel would've shot them immediately had it not been for Su-An singing the song she practiced for her late father. She wouldn't have had reason to cry and sing her sorrows away if her father hadn't died trying to protect them. The end would, then, be depressing.


The key to that explosive, sorrowful ending were definitely the events leading up to it. It was full of moral decisions, whether you wanted you and your loved one to live, or risk it and try saving other frightened passengers. Humanity's capability and natural train of thought during tragedies and life or death situations was on full display here, and it wasn't all rainbows.

Why did I say at the beginning that I was "ashamed" after watching the movie? As I watched, I realized that I was doing the same thing the other people in the audience were - passing judgement on the characters' lives.

You see, at one point in the movie, the COO guy claimed Su-An's father had been infected, thus spreading fear into the others who were originally with them (Su-An's crew had just come through cars of zombies). They were then forced to stay separated from them and were forced into the vestibule. The COO and the others then tied clothes and handkerchiefs to permanently lock the doors from the vestibule to prevent the "infected" from coming back inside.


When the zombies on the other end of the car were let in by an old lady (her sister could've been saved if the COO and the others would've let the group in sooner), they were massacred, keeping the outcasts in the vestibule safe. My shame came from hearing myself shout, along with the other movie goers, that they deserved what had happened to them, and that's what they deserved. In the end, I was doing the same thing I despised them for.

This film's story/script wasn't written beautifully in the beginning and thrown a tragedy in the end. It was written beautifully from beginning to end. Yes, there were funny moments (the zombies toppling over one another was very comical), but the harsh reality of what they were about to face was always at the surface. The reality that human instinct calls for survival, and survival calls for a "me before you" way of thinking was all too strong in Train to Busan. It makes you realize where your morals lie, and if you're willing to let the "good" dominate the "need".

Train to Busan is still showing in the cinemas, and I hope they won't replace it with something else soon. I'd love to watch it for the second (or third) time on the big screen and see if I realize anything else during.

If you've watched it already, what are your thoughts?