14 March 2010

10 of My Favorite Things on the Web

This has been a very busy time, because I'm filling out a leave of absence form (I'm going to be spending next fall going to school in Arizona), managing classes (it's midterm time!), working for my school's phonathon, and getting ready to head back to the desert for spring break this Wednesday (my flight leaves at 6:30 in the morning!). Somehow in the middle of all that I still find time to slack off and spend hours upon end on the internet watching dumb videos, writing blogs, and clicking the stumble button on my browser hundreds of times. I would consider myself a pretty well seasoned stumbler, and I've found some pretty cool things on the internet that I can resort to when my laziness reaches the point where I can't do any "real" work. Below are some of my favorite net finds. Some of them are strange and you might not like them unless you are also an easily-amused college girl with far too much time on her hands. However, a lot of them will probably be useful or amusing to a wide demographic- so check 'em out and see if there are any you've never seen before.

1. Viral Video Film School- This is a segment of one of my favorite shows, Infomania. It plays on Current TV at 10 pm Central time on Thursdays, but full episodes are also on Hulu and Youtube. It's kind of like the Daily Show with John Stewart, only with media, not politics, and segments and shorts instead of one guy behind a desk. Viral Video Film School with Brett Erlich is my favorite, and it. is. awesome. Bret scours Youtube for viral videos with different themes each week, and then compiles them and makes fun of them, all in the style of a viral video himself. Here's one of my favorites- if you like it, look up other VVFSchools on Youtube. There are dozens.

2. Target Women- This is another segment of Infomania, and another of my favorites. Sarah Haskins searches for commercials and news stories that target the female demographic, and does the same thing as Brett Erlich- compiles them and mocks them. She's hilarious. Once again, if you like it, look up more.

3. Fancast.com- I'm sure you've all heard of Hulu. Hulu rocks for watching TV shows online, which is great for college students like me who have no cable. Fancast is just like Hulu, only it offers even more TV shows and movies than Hulu, AND it organizes them not only alphabetically but also by genre and even TV channel (Fox, Comedy Central, Food Network, MTV, etc.) If a show you like isn't on Hulu, check out Fancast and there's a good chance you'll find it there, along with dozens of other cool programs that you'd usually have to catch on regularly scheduled TV.

4. Community Channel- This is one of those things on Youtube that started out as some girl making silly videos and ended up going viral. "Nat" is an Asian college-age girl in Australia who makes videos that mock real-life situations. She films the videos using herself as multiple characters, and has an awkward sometimes self-deprecating sense of humor that just makes her seem even more awesome. This is one of my favorite videos, but she's made dozens over the years. If you like it, look up Community Channel in Youtube for her whole channel :)

5. VegWeb.com- This is one of the best websites out there for vegan cooking. It's the type of site where people can upload their own recipes and other users can review and comment on them- and every single one is vegan. There is a TON of variety and you can literally find a recipe for any situation. Plus, this is a great place to go if you're looking for vegan versions of well-loved omni dishes like mac 'n' cheese or cupcakes or really anything you can think of.

6. Miniclip.com- When all else fails, there are always internet games to resort to. There are zillions of these but for some reason I usually forget about them when I'm bored and the internet seems to have run out of things with which to entertain me. This is a great site to go to if you ever find yourself if that situation, 'cause they have tons and tons of different games all organized into categories like "action", "3D", "multiplayer", and "puzzle", among others. You can pretty much always find something to keep you entertained for a good five minutes.

7. Dirpy.com- This site is really cool. Basically, it lets you rip audio tracks from Youtube videos and save them to your computer, just but inputting the web address for the video into the website. Make sure to click "save" and not "open" when you do this though, or else the audio track will only stay on your computer until you restart it.

8. Cut Out and Keep- This is another one of those websites that is created from user input, only this one is for crafting. There are a lot of weird and useless crafts on here, but also a lot of cool ones that help you use up stuff around the house you don't know what to do with or find something creative to give as a gift. Once again, people can review and comment on the different projects, so it's a nice little community.

9. Diaryland.com- They say the print industry is disappearing, what with all those things like the iPad and Nook and Kindle that let you read books on a weird tablet thing, and internet archives of newspaper articles, and online magazines, and all this other stuff of the digital age. I'm among those that say this is a damn shame, but still, here I am writing a blog... Anyways, I don't think anything can beat the novelty and pleasure of writing by hand in a journal, or reading an actual BOOK instead of scrolling through pages on a computer screen. Still, nothing beats the convenience of the internet, either, and sometimes typing is just WAY easier than writing by hand. For that reason, in addition to my ridiculous collection of thousands of notebooks, I also have on online diary which is really handy for when I want to write down my thoughts but I want to feel free to copy, paste, backspace, and save in what I KNOW is a completely secure spot. Hence, Diaryland.com. You can write about whatever you want, and then it's up to you if you want to leave it public to the world or keep it under super strict password protection. It really is very handy, and a good way to get your thoughts out on...er... well, not paper, but you get the idea. If you've never written in a journal before I suggest you give it a try.

10. Alright, if you're on this page at all you probably got here through StumbleUpon.com. Still, maybe you got here some other way- and regardless, I'm amazed at how many people in my life haven't picked up on this, the most awesome of all internet gadgets EVER. Stumble Upon has saved me from sooooo many hours of boredom. Plus, it's introduced me to countless recipes, games, books, music, craft projects, blogs, videos, pictures, web pages, basically anything and everything you can think of. If you don't know what Stumble Upon is, please, let me enlighten you: Stumble Upon is a button on your browser. After signing up for an account (which takes like 10 seconds) and indicating which of the zillions of categories you're especially interested in, you can press this button and you will automatically be taken to a website that SU thinks you will like. If you do, awesome! you just found a cool new website to poke around. Press the thumbs up "I like it!" button on your browser, and SU will save the page to your favorites and bring you more stuff like it in the future. If the page isn't for you, you can press the thumbs down button and click the "stumble" button again for something new. A few clicks in and you're guaranteed to find something you like, and probably learn all kinds of cool new stuff. Seriously, downloading this is the best thing you can do for your boredom and your computer. If none of the above 9 things sparked your interest, this one accounts for EVERYTHING else.

There they are, 10 of the best things I've found on the web. I hope some of them are able to help you out, or at least entertain you for a few minutes :)

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