I will be the first to admit that I am slightly addicted to the internet. I say slightly because I am so fond of reading (real books!) and also because work has nothing to do with computers unless you count the registers (which I don’t). This addiction means that I spend countless hours each week scouring the net for news, research for blog posts, videos, music, crosswords, logic puzzles- basically all of the things that the internet has to offer. I’ve decided to share with you five of my favorite websites for wasting time. You know, the sites that have little to no real substance but cause me great amounts of joy. I like to think of them as the Milky Way bars of the internet. Please feel free to share your faves in the comments. I’ll most definitely check them out.
1. The AV Club– The AV Club is the pop culture arm of The Onion, a fabulous satire machine that everyone should read all of the time. It covers movies, television, music, books, and general pop culture news. The writers are (for the most part) very witty and write in an intelligent and hilarious way, which is a rare combination. I’m particularly drawn to the TV section where the staff reviews (not to be confused with recaps) and rates episodes of many current and “classic” shows. I love reading about my personal favorites The Office (Classic) and Dawson’s Creek. It’s great to view scenes through the eyes of others and get their take. Some of the other features I really enjoy are Inventory (staff created themed lists such as “Annyong!: 14 characters who (mostly) say only one thing” or “Forever young: 8 grown-ass actors who can only play teens”), TV Club 10 (ten episodes that best represent a TV series), and AVQ&A (where the staff are posed a weekly question like “What fictional character sullies your great first name?” or “What fictional older sibling did you most admire?” to reflect on with personal stories). The AV Club is all of the things I want from my internet.
Favorites: Heroes on trial: 16 superhero court cases; 10 episodes that show how Buffy the Vampire Slayer blew up genre TV; The Lonely Island talks about the slightly more mature Wack Album; Al Madrigal on why he abhors Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop”; Alan Tudyk on never playing the same role twice- except that one time
2. Forever Young Adult– I stumbled upon Forever YA a few years ago and have been in love ever since. The website was started by a group of thirty-something friends who love to read young adult fiction, just like me! They noticed there was a lack of community for adults who read books meant for the teenage set and began reviewing young adult books from an adult perspective (aka drenched in wine). The site developed a huge following and has spawned book clubs across the nation and even into the UK. In addition to the reviews, the club recaps TV shows based on ya fiction (The Vampire Diaries recaps are hilarious and absolutely an inspiration for my own), and creates playlists based on books. There are also interviews with famous ya authors and how-to videos, such as Cooking TragicLee, where a reader named Lee attempts to make recipes from/inspired by books often with disastrous results. The moment I came across the site I knew that it was meant for people like me. Finally there were other “adults” who worship at the alters of Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot. I highly recommend it to everyone I meet who enjoys reading young adult novels or watching Pretty Little Liars (*cough*BESTIE*cough*).
Favorites: The Truth About Forever Mixtape; Swimfan Fashion Critique: Batman and the Huntsman; Cooking TragicLee: Hunger Games; Swimfantage: Science Bros; How To Be a Downton Abbey LadyNerd: How To Make Your Own (Embossed!) Stationary; A Highly Scientific Analysis Of The Veronica Mars Trailer
3. Vulture– Vulture is another entertainment website, surprise surprise. I go there to read reviews/recaps of television shows that aren’t covered by The AV Club, such as The Real Housewives of Atlanta, my secret trashy mistress. Since Vulture is an offshoot of NY Magazine, the site contains interviews with actors, directors, musicians, etc. that are often insightful and entertaining. Know how I know that Jared Leto is an avid hiker? Because Vulture told me so. And that’s the kind of vital information that I need to know. Recaps and Chat Room aside, I enjoy checking out the month’s best entertainment photography and Where Are They Now? slideshows.
Favorites: The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Mama Joyce Is the Worst; The True Origin Stories Behind Six Classic Arrested Development Jokes; Kristen Bell on Her Sundance Movie, The Lifeguard, Which Is Actually Quite Sad; The Star Market: How Many Big Chances Will Taylor Kitsch Get?
4. Mark Reads / Mark Watches– Mark Oshiro is a fantastic, uproariously funny man who reads books chapter by chapter or watches television series episode by episode (depending on which site you visit), and has an in-depth dialogue about what he just took in. He is the kind of pop culture writer that I wish I was. He often uses what he’s reading or viewing as a gateway to discuss larger social issues and/or personal experiences related to the subject matter. You can tell that he is highly intelligent by his writing style/the way he discusses topics but it isn’t in a way that is pretentious or talking down to readers, a hard balance to find. His sites have led to the creation of an entire community of people ready to share in Mark’s experiences reading Harry Potter for the first time or watching Supernatural. He covers anime, graphic novels, fantasy, young adult fiction, sci-fi, comedy, historical fiction. If you have heard of it, he has probably reviewed it or it’s on the list to be reviewed. Both sites have posts going back for years so it’s easy to lose yourself in Mark.
Favorites: Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’: Chapter 1; Mark Reads ‘Twilight’: Preface/Chapter 1; Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S01E01 – Welcome to the Hellmouth; Mark Finishes ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S07E22 – Chosen; Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S01E01 – Pilot; Mark Watches ‘Veronica Mars’: S01E18 – Weapons of Class Destruction
5. Suri’s Burn Book– Sometimes snarky, sometimes sweet commentary on the children of celebrities through the eyes of Suri Cruise, the daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (I will NEVER call them TomKat). I enjoy it because it’s a practice in snark-lite. None of the comments are too biting- these are children after all- but rather playful or ridiculous. For example, when Kelly Clarkson’s newborn is poked fun at for having no hair, it’s funny because all babies are bald. More often than not, it’s the celebrities, and not their children, that are the ones being made fun of; Gwyneth Paltrow (the world’s punching bag) and Katie Holmes are regular targets. It’s a Tumblr account so each post consists of a photograph and a couple of sentences- the perfect amount of distraction when you’re in a hurry. My only complaint is that the site isn’t updated enough. More Burn Book please!
If you’ve never of any of these (here’s looking at Husband), I recommend that you check them out. You might fall in love at first site (PUNNED!). If there are any sites that you would like me to check out, please share in the comments. I’m always looking for new distractions.