Bingeworthy Shows for Winter Break!

Winter break is finally here! This semester has gone by so fast and after a stressful finals week the only thing I actually want to do this winter break is binge watch all the shows I didn’t have time for over the last semester. Here is your complete guide to everything worth binge watching this winter break and where to find it (legally).

Shameless – Airs on Showtime, Seasons 1-4 available now through Showtime
Starring: William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Shanola Hampton & Steve Howey

“Shameless” is based on a British show of the same name. It takes place here in Chicago and follows the dysfunctional Gallagher Family. Frank (the dad) is a despicable alcoholic and deadbeat dad. Their mother is long gone. Fiona is Frank’s oldest child, and she is doing her best to hold her family together while raising her five younger siblings and at times raising Frank too. Lip is next oldest. He is a genius who takes the SAT for the privileged but dumb North Shore kids. Ian is gay and determined to live out his dream to be in the Military. Debbie collects money for UNICEF all year round but keeps it for the family. Carl is a budding sociopath. (He fits at least two sides of the McDonald Triad). Finally, the youngest Gallagher is toddler Liam who is actually black and no one knows how. This show really lives up to its name and is completely bingeworthy. Watch it over break because the fifth season premieres on Showtime in January 2015.

Sons of Anarchy – Airs on FX, Seasons 1-6 available on Hulu & Netflix, Final Season 7 available on FX Now app
Starring: Charlie Hunnan, Mark Boone Junior, Katey Sagal & Dayton Callie

“Sons of Anarchy” is about a motorcycle club that operates out of a small California town called Charming. They dabble in both legal and illegal business from an auto repair shop to gun running and pornography. Jax Teller takes over the motorcycle club from his stepfather and uses the journals of his dead father (another former president) to try to change the ways of his club and discover himself. The show chronicles Jax’s growing concerns for the direction his club is heading and, after he becomes a father himself, the concerns of raising children in the “MC” where rival gangs and clubs are constantly in a war over territory and distribution. All I have to say is that after the epic series finale you’d have to be crazy to not want to watch this popular show!

How To Get Away With Murder – Airs on ABC, Season 1 available on Hulu and the Watch ABC app
Starring: Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch, Katie Findlay & Tom Verica

“How To Get Away With Murder” is the cherry on top of producer Shonda Rhimes’s TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday). This show follows brilliant lawyer and professor Annalise Keating who teaches a class she calls “How To Get Away With Murder.” Suddenly she and her law students are entangled in a murder plot and must use what they have learned to get away with murder. This twisty drama leaves you guessing at every corner and in my own personal case convincing me that I am indeed smart enough to attend law school. This show is currently in its first season but is on winter hiatus. It is the perfect time to catch up on the most talked and tweeted about new fall show.

Game of Thrones – Airs on HBO, Seasons 1-5 available on HBO & HBO Go
Starring: Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke & Kit Harrington

Everyone has heard of the Red Wedding and if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon you have at least seen the hysterical “South Park” parody. Based on the epic fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, nine noble families fight for control of Westeros. This show starts as the loyal and lovable Eddard Stark leaves his land in the North to serve the King of Westeros and launches a series of events that lead to civil unrest and upheaval all over the realm. Meanwhile the mysterious and dangerous neighbors to the North have started their own war and spread the fear that “winter is coming.” This show is full of violence, sex, and betrayal. So I think it’s a fair assumption to say it has a little something for everyone. Check it out and get in on the craze that is “Game of Thrones.”

Weeds – Aired on Showtime, Every Season available on Netflix
Starring: Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould, Justin Kirk & Kevin Nealon

When Nancy Botwin is widowed and left with two children to raise in the pricey California suburbs she embraces a new profession as the neighborhood pot dealer. Everyone wants what she is selling but Nancy is faced with the challenge raising her children, keeping her new business a secret, evading the DEA and still making it to every PTA meeting so her housewife friends don’t pick up on her new scandalous lifestyle. Nancy starts out as a small time drug dealer but realizes that she has true passion and knack for this life of crime. She abandons her housewife persona and embraces her new MILF drug dealer status. This award winning show will not leave you disappointed and is truly one of the best shows Showtime has produced.

Orange is the New Black – Netflix – Seasons 1-2
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Abudo, Jason Biggs and Laverne Cox

This Netflix Original show is based on the novel by Piper Kerman and chronicles her time spent in federal prison for smuggling drug money internationally with her girlfriend after college. Right before the statute of limitations is up, Piper is ratted out and sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. She leaves behind her perfect fiancé and perfect life only to find out she will be serving her time in the same prison as her ex lover. This series shows how Piper adapts to prison life and tells the stories of her fellow inmates. This is one of the best shows anywhere and if you haven’t already started to watch you really must. It explores complex social issues while keeping a comedic undertone. I watched this show in a matter of days and spent the rest of the year waiting for the second season premiere last June.

Have any other must watch, bingeworthy shows for your fellow readers to catch up on? Leave your favorites in the comments!

Oh Lolli Lolli Lolli, Lollipop!

Google recently released their new update for all Android devices with a title as sweet as all their other updates, Lollipop. Google also released their new Nexus devices such as their new tablet, the Nexus 9, the Nexus Player, and the biggest hit, the Nexus 6 (phone). 

The new Android Lollipop still has some glitches and bugs that need to be fixed, forcing Google to only release it to a handful of customers (including myself). But soon enough, many newer Android devices will carry this new update.

 And, in the spirit of sweet treats, here’s a video to sweeten your day while you wait for Lollipop to reach your phone!

 

College Basketball: A Look at Kentucky

One of the best times of the year is underway. Not the Super Bowl or 99 cent coffee day at McDonald’s. College basketball season! Not even the NBA can compare to how exciting collegiate basketball is and the rivalries that have been around for decades. This season, powerhouse schools feature some incredible freshman talents, with one school standing out: The University of Kentucky features nine (yes, nine!) former McDonald’s All Americans on its roster this year.

The Wildcats were preseason #1 in the AP Poll, and they have lived up to that ranking so far. Ten games into the season shows the Wildcats running wild. This year, the Wildcats are trying something new on the court: the platoon system, in which players sub out as a group, rather than as individuals. Kentucky head coach John Calipari says “Since there is so much talent this system works because it gives 10 guys the chance to showcase their talents”(Espn.com).

So far it has worked like a charm. Can Kentucky stay undefeated? That’s the biggest question this season. This hype makes me and every college basketball excited for March! The “Big Dance” has the potential to be one of the most exciting in a long time.

30 Ways You Know You’re A Millikin Student

Years from now, you’ll run into a fellow Millikin alum and probably reminisce on your memories from college. It will be fun to look back at all the good (and bad) times you had in the Milli-bubble.

At Millikin, there are many different personalities, hobbies, majors, and styles, but we all connect in some way. That’s one of the joys of going to a small university. There are certain traditions that will forever carry on in the hearts of the Big Blue. It’s what makes the Millikin community a family.

Our campus may not be in the center of a magical city or next to the beach, but students still manage to make the best of their years at Millikin. It’s those fun ideas and traditions that make each students’ college experience original and exciting.

Here’s a list of things we may have all experienced at least once while at Millikin.

1. You were a little scared to attend the school after hearing about all the ghost stories.
Probably not Millikin’s best thing to advertise to potential students.

2. You’ve gone to late night U-Dogs on a weekend at least once.
Those cheese fries taste even better at 2am.

3. You think the rent price for The Woods is ridiculous.
$780 a month… plus utilities… for what?

4. So you might have considered going Greek.
Could be fun, could drive me nuts.

5. But if you don’t, you’re practically forced to live in The Woods since housing options are scarce.
*Signing my life away as I sign this lease.*

6. You’ve wanted to throw your laptop at a wall because the Wi-Fi never has a good connection.
Seriously, it never works. Get it together MU-RESNET.

7. Hearing it’s chicken nugget day in the cafeteria makes your heart flutter.
It’s not uncommon to go up for at least 3 servings of those golden beauties.

8. You’ve walked by theater majors singing out loud on the sidewalks.
It feels like you’re in a Disney movie with your own theme music.

9. You get a better workout walking up to the 4th floor of Shilling Hall than running 5 miles.
You’re breathing really heavy by that last step and everyone feels for your pain.

10. Therefore, you’ve taken the elevator multiple times when your legs just aren’t feeling it.
No shame in taking it. 

11. 2 words: COOKIE PARTY!
What better way to celebrate Christmas than with hundreds of free cookies?

12. Your favorite part of homecoming week is the talent show.
This school has some insanely talented people.

13. You’ve questioned why there are 3 sub shops on the same corner but no Starbucks or Chipotle.
If only those businesses knew how much money they would make.

14. You’ve taken a picture next to Bronze Man.
He has to be the most photogenic man on campus.

15. Realizing the cafeteria is split into 2 sections: Athletes and Theatre/Music students.
It’s like a scene from Mean Girls.

16. Getting an email about having a package in the mail room is always exciting.
I wonder what it is!

17. Getting an email every day about filling out your course evaluations is not.
I get the point. Leave me alone.

18. You’ve attend taco bar at LSB.
Wednesdays never tasted so good.

19. Whether it’s making you late for class or waking you up in the middle of the night, the train is never your friend.
It always seems to come by at the most inconvenient times.

20. You’ve wanted to walk through the underground tunnels… or you have.
Do it if you’re bad.

21. You’ve always wondered what our mascot really is.
What is a “Big Blue” anyways?

22. The smell of soy in the air is nothing new to you.
Ahhhh nothing like breathing in some fresh…soy?

23. It freaks you out how fearless the squirrels are on campus.
You could practically walk up and pet them.

24. You could wake up at 7:50am for your 8am class and still be on time.
Yay for small campuses!

25. Running out of flex is a devastating moment.
No more Einstein’s until next semester?! What will I do?

26. You hesitate to park somewhere in fear you’ll get a ticket.
Those security guards don’t mess around!

27. You became friends with people you never thought you would.
Who would’ve thought the crazy girl from Public Speaking would end up being one of your best friends?

28. You were either really pumped or really not pumped about getting the new turf football field.
No explanation needed.

29. You probably went/will go to LSB for your 21st birthday because it’s one of the only bars around.
You’ll probably find a few coaches and professors in there as well.

30. You’ve had a lot of the same people in your classes.
Feels like grade school all over again!

Whether you’re an athlete, in Greek life, a music lover, a bookworm, or a party animal, we’re all the same at graduation: a part of the Big Blue family.

Can you think of another thing that MU students can relate to? Tweet us @Millikinect!

Fashion Trends: Nail’d It!

It seems like now more than ever, nails are in! Nails have become the top accessory to any outfit. Whether the nails match with the outfit perfectly or whether they’re giving the outfit a pop of color, nail art has become the talk of the town! Here are a few DIY nail ideas:

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Oh! We mustn’t forget about Matte! Matte has definitely made an impact in the world of nail fashion. Best known for giving the nails a dry look, matte is where it’s at!

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So, whenever you feel the need to spruce up an outfit and take it to the next level, I suggest you start with nail art!!

20th Anniversary for PlayStation

Just recently, Playstation just had their 20th anniversary (December 3rd, 1994) releasing a version of the new PlayStation 4 (PS4) that is very similar in color as the very first PlayStation (grey). With a limited supply of these special limited-edition systems, there are only 12,300 systems made globally. Check it:

What’s your favorite PlayStation memory? Share it with us in the comments!

Dragon Age Inquisition: A Review

Cassandra Pentaghast and Varric Tethras face a Dragon in the Hinterlands – Dragon Age Inquisition

For the Maker and his bride Andraste!  Those who are gamer geeks like me know of the new addition to the famous (and infamous) Dragon Age series and how it has received both great and terrible reviews. Prior to its release, Bioware was pumping out teasers and behind-the-scenes works about the game and even developed a system for players to import the pre-story of the game into their Dragon Age Inquisition experience!

I was incredibly lucky enough to obtain a copy of my own and play this game for almost the entirety of Thanksgiving Break.

For those who do not know about this series, Dragon Age is a story about the fantasy land of Thedas. Governed by the deity known as the Maker, the land of Thedas is a healing state where many catastrophic events happen, from wars with monsters to rebellions of citizens. The stories of Dragon Age place you in the center of these issues, giving you the chance to fix them and become a hero.

Dragon Age Inquisition is the third installment to the series, following the end of the Fifth Blight (Dragon Age: Origins) and the Mage Rebellion in Kirkwall (Dragon Age 2). You play as an unlikely hero who has the ability to close rifts in the land that are letting demons and spirits into the world.  How you got this gift, you cannot remember, but you are suddenly placed front and center in the eyes of Thedas to save everyone from the rifts. With so many things to do in the game,  both in the main story and in the many side stories, this game offers many interesting experiences for the player. Add on the fact that there are romantic options and your game should be an experience of a lifetime.

Within the first 30 minutes of the game I fell absolutely in love with how the story behind DAI was structured. You start the game literally in the middle of conflict, learning the controls and of the situation as you travel towards a gigantic rift in the sky to close it. You, as a player, are lost and unsure of what is happening and your character is in the same boat.  As the game progresses, you slowly begin to learn more about the world around you and you are faced with moral choices that affect your relationships with your companions in the game and affect your game in general.

Now, while the game itself is fantastic and full of eye candy, I am a hopeless romantic and need more than just hacking and slashing and strategy in my games. Bioware has slowly developed a romance system in their games (both in Dragon Age and in Mass Effect), letting players romance a select few members of their pool of companions and share a side story with them. I, personally, was not expecting to romance anyone in DAI just from the teasers we were given. Now, after playing the game, I am planning every single character I will create in the future to have a romance with someone in the inquisition. The way they structured the romances were so personal and unique to each character. It added to the experience of the gameplay in a very positive way.

One thing that I did not appreciate about the game was the difficulty I had with the land. When you get further into the game past the tutorial, you are given options about going to certain regions and solving issues within them while closing more rifts. These regions are generally very large and very varied in structure. There are a lot of mountains, secret areas, and villains to boot and it’s all wonderful… if it wasn’t so difficult to get anywhere. I would be at the base of a mountain one minute, with my mission being at the top, and I’d have to go around the mountain trying to find a way to get up there without sliding back down. Even with the new mount system, it was irritating enough to try and get to every place on the map.

However, that is only one issue out of so many positive aspects of the game. This is a pretty short review, but there really isn’t much I can say beyond what I have said. I HIGHLY suggest everyone playing this game, regardless of whether or not you know about the series or play RPGs at all. This game is, by far, one of the best RPG games I have every played.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to study for finals and play a Quinari Warrior in my second round of playing!

Christmas Break in Central Illinois

Here are some of the best ways to enjoy your time off from school, or your weekends, during the holidays here in Central Illinois!

While searching for ways to entertain myself during winter break, I noticed that there wasn’t a lot to do in the good ol’ Land of Lincoln. But nevertheless, I did find a few things that certainly seem worthwhile. What I did notice though, is that most of the activities were centered around the Christian Christmas holiday. So I apologize in advance if you don’t celebrate Christmas, but I hope that you see something here that you’d like to check out any way! Also, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, what are your favorite things to do during winter break?? Tell us in the comments below or tag us @millikinect.

To get yourself into the holiday spirit, here’s a few Christmas light shows that you don’t want to miss!

1. Holiday Lights at Bunker Hill
December 9 – December 31
Kennekuk County Park
22296 A Henning Rd.
Danville, IL

“Historic buildings at Kennekuk County Park’s “Bunker Hill Historic Area” will be lit for the occasion and decorated for the holidays. Continuing throughout the holiday season, the holiday lights will be displayed weekends from 5-8 p.m.” (source)
For more information contact the Vermillion County Conservation District  Foundation.

2. Wonderland in Lights
November 27 – December 25
Community Park
E. Temple Ave
Effingham, IL 62401
wonderland

“Each year, the City of Effingham and the Effingham Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) turn Community Park into a winter wonderland!  Wonderland in Lights, a drive-thru light display, features a variety of lighted holiday scenes including reindeer flying, Santa coming down the chimney, and a Nativity scene.” (source)

Hours are 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. See Effingham’s Convention and Visitors Bureau website for more information.

3. Shelbyville Festival of Lights
November 21 – December 27
Forest Park
East North 9th Street
Shelbyville, IL 62565
shelbyville

“Come to Shelbyville and take a drive through Forest Park as it is lit up for the Holiday season. These lights are put in place each year by volunteers and new lights and themed areas are added yearly. Candy Cane lane is to honor loved ones. Come enjoy the Victorian Village, Santa’s Shop, the North Pole, Bethlehem, and others.” (source)

4. Christmas with the Lincolns
December 3 – January 2
426 S. 7th St.
Springfield, IL 62701
lincolns

“Where did the Lincoln boys hang their stockings for Santa to fill? What might have been in those stockings? What Christmas goodies were on Lincoln’s table? Discover how the Lincolns celebrated the holidays by taking a tour through the Lincoln Home.” (source)
Visit the National Park Service website for more information.

 

If you want to find out where the holiday customs and traditions like Christmas lights began Season of Light at Staerkel Planetarium is a must-see:
5. Season of Light
Parkland Staerkel Planetarium
2400 W Bradley Ave
Champaign, IL 61821
SeasonOfLIght

“‘Season of Light’ traces the history and development of many of the world’s holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season. “Seasons of Light” also recounts the historical religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice – not only Christian and Jewish, but also Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, Mexican and Hopi. It also examines some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions.” (source)

Shows Fridays December 12 and 19 and Saturdays December 13 and 20 at 8 p.m. For pricing and more information visit the Staerkel Planetarium website.

6. Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch
1356 County Rd. 2900 N.
Rantoul, IL
JulieKissesDeer

If you’re itching to see a real, live reindeer up close and personal, head on over to Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch. “Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch is a unique and fun tour destination in Central Illinois. The ranch is an unusual and unique attraction that features a herd of authentic Alaskan reindeer ready for you to have an up-close encounter.” (source)

7. Santa’s Secret Star
Parkland Staerkel Planetarium
2400 W Bradley Ave
Champaign, IL 61821
Santa_000

For kids and adults alike: Santa’s lost his compass and can’t find his way home! Learn about the day and night sky and how you can find Santa’s star. (source)

Shows on Saturdays December 13, and 20 at 7pm. For pricing and more information visit the Staerkel Planetarium website.

8. Holiday Wonderland
201 Lincoln Square
Urbana, IL

“Come to Lincoln Square in Urbana and walk through the Holiday Wonderland! Over 500 Department 56 lighted houses and accessories, collection of Santas and Nativity Sets.” (source)

See Visit Champaign County website for hours.

9. State Farm Holiday Classic
IWU Shirk Center
302 E. Emerson St.
Bloomington, IL
holiday classic

“One of the largest, coed high school holiday basketball tournaments in the nation is now in its 36th year. 64 teams will participate in this four day event, with the four championship games taking place at the IWU Shirk Center on Dec. 30.” (source)
Visit The Classic’s website for more information and a list of the teams playing.

And for all of your holiday shopping needs, check out these holiday markets:

10. Holiday Farmers Market
Illinois State Fair Grounds
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“Each of the Holiday Farmers Markets will include at least 35 of vendors from central Illinois selling a wide variety of products, including pasture-raised turkeys, pork, beef, poultry, eggs, cheese, honey, and Illinois wine. Although the late fall and winter seasons are generally believed to be a time where there is very little in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables, many farmers have found inventive ways to extend their growing seasons well into the winter months.” (source)

Hours and more information available from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

11. Urbana Holiday Market
Lincoln Square
market-holiday-bulb

“At the Holiday Market you can meet the people who have locally grown and handcrafted the fresh produce, jewelry, pottery, paintings, soaps, ornaments, pet accessories and more that will be making their way under the trees and into the homes of your family and friends this holiday season!” (source)

Hours and more information from the Urbana Business Association.

12. Cross Country Skiing
Rock Springs Conservation Area
3939 Nearing Lane
Decatur, IL
cross-country-skiing

“Rock Springs Center offers cross-country skiing for people ages 3 to 93. Maps are available for those unfamiliar with the designated trails. There are trails for both novice and experienced cross-country skiers. Workshops are held every weekend in January and February and require reservations.” (source)
2 hour or 24 hour rentals available.

13. Christmas at Clover Lawn
David Davis Mansion
1000 Monroe Dr.
Bloomington, IL
clover lawn

This “The beautifully restored, nineteenth-century estate tells the story of Judge David Davis, whose influence on Abraham Lincoln’s legal and political career was crucial to President Lincoln’s success. (source)
“The David Davis Mansion State Historic Site will be lavishly decorated for Christmas and open for free public tours November 28 – December 31.  Fourteen sumptuously decorated trees – count them!! – will grace the Mansion’s rooms, each echoing a different theme of the times. Visitors will also be able to view authentic Victorian–era Christmas decorations, including the same kinds of ornaments that were featured on the Downton Abbey Christmas tree during several Christmas episodes of the popular PBS television series. The Mansion will feature toys, foods, customs and traditions of Christmas in the 1870’s through 1910.” (source)
For hours see the Davis Mansion website.

Do you have activities that you enjoy doing during Winter Break that you don’t see listed here? Do you and your friends/family make your own merriment?  Share in the comments below or tag us @millikinect!

Here’s to a carefree and fun break!

Interstellar Review (#NoSpoilers)

As you travel through the dark abyss of space, you find yourself not only in a different world, but in a different galaxy. Interstellar is a movie about a team of highly intellectual astronauts who are in search of a habitable planet for mankind. For reasons I cannot say (#NoSpoilers), the team finds themselves in trouble. Matthew McConaughey leads a talented cast, playing an astronaut who is also the father of two children and an ex-pilot.

The movie explores complex issues like how time works, intergalactical adventures, and more. If you’re a person who enjoys critical thinking throughout a movie, I highly recommend this one to you. Do keep in mind that the director of Interstellar is Christopher Nolan, so the edge your seat might wear off much quicker than the rest of your seat.

From a scale to 10, I would give this movie a solid 9 due to its high quality of information and the thrills of this adventure into space. Go see it soon!

Slam Dunc!

If there is one man you should meet before graduating Millikin, it’s Thomas Duncanson. Better known as T-Dunc, he is an associate professor for the communication department and students love him.
T-Dunc is not your typical professor. His loud voice and engaging tactics really make the students think in the classroom. You can feel his energy the moment he steps in the room. Students leave at the end of each semester with a new sense of knowledge that they never thought they could achieve. T-Dunc will make you think deeper than you ever have before.

In conclusion, if you ever have the chance to take a communication course at Millikin take it with T-Dunc! It will broaden your knowledge of the communication field. He is one of the best professors Millikin has to offer!