Wednesday, May 4, 2016

All of Our Favorite Things for May

This isn't, like, one of those recurring list things, or at least, I don't think it is. I just have a bunch of random favorites that I've been wanting to tell you about!

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Our university's theatre department did a production of this, and Matt and I went to it. If you're into Hamilton, or politics, or punk, or emo, or you don't understand what the deal is with Donald Trump, then you totally have to find a way to see this. Andrew Jackson actually makes quite a convincing emo rock star, but unlike Hamilton, he's not actually redeemable, so there's an extra tension running throughout the entire show.

I actually started this series on audiobook over a year ago, then had to return it to the library but couldn't forget about it, so when I was browsing the Sci-Fi/Fantasy shelves a few weeks ago to help Will find books (have I mentioned yet that Will is now choosing books from the adult section of the library? She's read everything in the children and teen sections already!), I snatched all three and then didn't put them down until I'd finished.

Without spoiling what happens, I'll just tell you that the books take place in the near future, where people have realized that our society's obsession with germs and hygiene has destroyed our immune systems. To solve this problem, a company creates a genetically-altered tapeworm that will both correct this and can be also administer long-term medications for problems like diabetes or high blood pressure.

What could possibly go wrong?

And that's about where chapter one begins.

Minecraft servers

Syd has discovered them, and they're apparently pretty great. Her favorite server is Planet Minecraft, with its minigames, and she will often spend her precious screentime after school helping Team Frost to victory in paintball, or that weird jumping game, or all those other games whose rules I can't figure out.

I was impressed that Syd managed to figure out how to get herself onto these servers all by herself (thank you, Instructables!), since she often uses helplessness as a defense mechanism when she doesn't want to do something, ie. "Oh, subtraction! But I can't subtract! I can't subtract a single thing! Is nine minus five sixty-seven? See, I just can't do it! It's impossible," and on and on and on. I've also started checking out some Minecraft manuals for her from the library, things like how to do mods or images of notable constructions, and she's begun to talk about these great engineery things, like how to program Redstone to make a trapdoor that will drop you into lava, and how to booby-trap your treasure chest. 

Spoiler alert: it involves more lava.

I have wanted to find a kid-friendly current events for YEARS. I was all about News-O-Matic for a little while, but it just wasn't updated often enough, and it didn't have enough NEWS news, if that makes sense. Basically, I wanted news that didn't cover rapes and murders and other scary things, but did cover politics and wars and international affairs. I just couldn't seem to find the perfect combination, until I happened upon CNN Student News. Every weekday, they post a ten-minute news video that's kid-friendly, but does cover politics and wars and international affairs. They've got science features, and human interest stories, and interesting tech updates, and the host ends every video with something ridiculous, like a million puns based on the last news clip. He cracks us up every. Single. Time.

So fair warning--Matt HATES this Youtube channel, but for some reason I cannot stop watching this woman! I was drinking wine and surfing Youtube one night--you know, as you do--and somehow I ended up watching a twenty-minute video of a woman sitting on her kitchen floor, bawling her eyes out, and explaining all about how her boyfriend had broken up with her. Friends, I could not look away! Also, she said ALL the things. So many details. So much awkward. And sometimes, she would just stop talking and just sob openly into the camera for minutes at at time. It was one of the craziest things that I have ever seen on Youtube, and that's including the fact that every single time I'm on Youtube, I end up watching videos about the Illuminati or aliens. Seriously, I'll start off by searching for cat videos and end up learning about how they're a conspiracy by the Illuminati to send messages to our alien overlords. And still, this Youtube channel is crazier.

Anyway, she later deleted this specific video, but it turns out that she's somewhat of a thing on Youtube, and you can find OTHER people making OTHER videos that discuss that one and try to dissect the truth behind it... you know, like if it was maybe aliens or Illuminati. Something like that. And she posts, like every day, a ten-minute video of her babbling on while she's driving in her car, or these awkward dance performances, or a round-up of her various "routines," which all seem to involve a lot of Starbucks and Red Vines and professional make-up artists. She's definitely not for kids, and based on the fact that she also has a channel of videos of her eating stuff that I'm 100% sure is something sexual, she's really probably not for most adults, either, but somehow watching her makes me feel better. The past year or so had been hard for me in a lot of ways--in fact, I've had the kind of year that's often like a kick to the stomach, and that has me deeply questioning whether or not I have the emotional coping skills to deal with it, and while watching this chick is not, I'd say, emotionally healthy by any means, it is somehow very comforting to watch this cheerful, peppy, duck-lipped woman just go ahead and fly her freak flag every single day like it ain't no thang.

Will is obsessed with this Youtube channel, which is really just a series of commercials for the online store, but man, are they clever commercials! Again, they are not for little kids, as this very disturbing/very funny commercial for a toy gummy bear anatomy kit can attest, but the entire family will often get sucked into watching them with Will, and now we're all in research mode for how to make our own giant gummies.

Okay, enough randomness! The cat is putting muddy pawprints onto the paperwork on my desk, the kids need me to cook them egg sandwiches and dial up CNN Student News, and I have an, I kid you not, 21-item to-do list for Syd's Minecraft birthday party on Friday, and I just decided to add another couple of items to it, as I suddenly thought that wouldn't it be even cuter if the spawn eggs in the Spawn Egg Hunt were actually cascarones, and then the kids could have a cascarone fight afterwards!

I'll be sure to let you know how that, and the cardboard box Creeper pinata, and the Minecraft cake, and Zombie Tag, and the paint-your-own-Minecraft-sword station turn out!

1 comment:

Tina said...

That book series sounds awesome and I am interested in the CNN Student news. I tend not to spend a lot of time on YouTube because I have a tendency to sit down at the computer and loose hours of my life with just blogs, FB and Instagram. I shudder to think what would happen if I just randomly surfed YouTube as well.

However, we do love the Art Hub for Kids YouTube channel. He has some minecraft drawing tutorials, as well as a realistic horse tutorial, MLP tutorials, etc. that are all pretty easy for the kiddos to follow.