Online Obsessions: Sites We Can’t Live Without

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s discuss the website we can’t live without.

Peter: It sounds crap but probably Amazon; I order almost everything I buy from there as I don’t like going out (mostly books and booze).

Christian: Wales Online, for many reasons. I travel a lot, and it’s the best way to keep in touch with things that happen in Wales where I am from. No other website, not even their own, has as much Cardiff City FC coverage. Other than that, I love the wacky news stories they publish, because Wales can be a pretty wacky place. Just the other week, they ran a headline, “MAN ADMITS HAVING SEX WITH HIS TERRIERS, TAFF AND BEN.”

I just love how they gave us the names of the dogs just to, er, ram the point home.

Disgusted+dog+oc+by+me_9867f3_3586562.gif

Renee: You guys can be all “I don’t rely on social media,” snobs or whatever, but I’m just going to say it: I love social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. First, they’re a marketing tool, but second, they’re entertaining and (sometimes) informative. I suppose I could live without them, but I’d be really sad about it. Also, Netflix. Does that count as a website?

tv-skeleton

Steve: I used to be such a big fan of Cracked, but these days they’re not as fun as they used to be. I was a serious fan, and the two articles I had published there remain some of my proudest writer achievements. Man, I was a fan boy. There’s was the only forum I frequented, and I’d check them every day religiously. I even had dreams where I’d meet up with the writers. Silly, I know, but that’s how much I loved the site.

They were recently acquired by a larger media company. They jettisoned many of my favourite writers, and steered harder into building readership over building audience. A little bit of my stake in the internet eroded that day, I’m not ashamed to say.

th (2)

Liam: I managed to live without any of them for a good while… but I tend to check out what’s going on “behind the wall” at homebrewforums.net several times a day.

Tony: I suppose Yahoo, since that’s my email and I see a lot of the news there. As apps go, Instagram is what I usually check rather than FB. It’s like Playboy back in the day. Just show us the pictures.

hawt gif

Mike: On British radio there’s a long standing series called Desert Island Discs where minor celebrities discuss six discs they would take with them, interleaved with episodes in their lives. At the end of the programme they have to choose which one of those six discs they would have to take, choose one luxury, and one book other than Shakespeare and the Bible. So, in this context, there is no website I couldn’t live without assuming Google and Bing were a given like Shakespeare and the Bible. And I have my doubts about them – as I do all electronic knowledge. I bought the ‘Complete Works of Edgar Wallace’ on Kindle, and compared its contents with my own battered pulp library of Wallace. There’s one political thriller full of, now laughably, racist comments at the expense of the Chinese. It was written during the ‘yellow peril’ phase in our history. Guess which book wasn’t included in ‘The Complete Works of Edgar Wallace.’ Thing is, who are the guardians, the gatekeepers of websites?

Katrina: Twitter. Like most people, I have an addiction to social media. But since I am old and like my social media to come with a side of intelligent conversations, Facebook and Instagram can fuck off.

Okay, Kittens, now’s your chance to steer us toward something new and wonderful. What’s one site you can’t live without?

Advertisements

Favorite Things: Musical Edition

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s all share our favorite album (music, for you young folks like Katrina who aren’t aware that such things are still in some people’s vocabulary). For many of us, music is crucial to getting in the right head space for writing, so finding a whole collection of songs that make us happy is pretty important.

Christian: I’m a rocker at heart, so I’m going for Def Leppard’s Hysteria. It’s just the perfect album. Sometimes the best works of art are born out of adversity, and this album certainly was because drummer Rick savage lost his arm in a car accident prior to recording. Twelve tracks, seven singles and 25 million sales, it epitomizes eighties garishness and excess and Mutt Lange’s production means it still sounds as fresh today as it did when it was released over thirty years ago. A bit of trivia: at over 62 minutes, at the time it was one of the longest albums ever released, which is why it sounds like shit on vinyl.

giphy (12).gif

Katrina: What is this? The early aughts? We don’t do albums anymore. Songs. Podcasts. Hooks. Bits of words with a little bit of electro playing in the background. (None of which I can name without saying “You know, that one that goes dun-dun-duh and then there’s this weird high-pitched scream?”)

giphy (13).gif

Renee: They call them albums here and here and here. Just so you all know, we’re not old. They’re still albums.

Katrina,

giphy (14).gif

Anyway, can I have a top three? Well, I’m going to do it anyway. I love Hysteria, which Christian already mentioned, but it’s not a favorite. Although, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Animal and Love Bites are among my favorite songs (a list longer than my favorite books), my top three favorite albums are movie soundtracks. The first, obviously, is the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. I listened to that thing back in the day a million times. I actually wore the tape out. (Yes, I’m old enough to have listened to cassette tapes.) The other two are Cocktail and Footloose. There isn’t a single song I don’t like on any of these albums, which I can’t say about anything else.

You all thought I’d say Nickelback, didn’t you? *sniff*

Tony: I haven’t thought about albums in a while. Nowadays it’s stream a Pandora channel and forget about it. I have to reach back to think of a favorite album and the one that first comes to mind is Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast. I was a big heavy metal guy in high school and listened to Iron Maiden pretty much nonstop. Today I’ll stream the blues when I write, occasionally Beastie Boys. But Iron Maiden, on the rare occasion. I can’t remember where I put my keys but I still know the words to The Trooper. Go figure.

Liam: Hmm. This depends on the genre, but if I really have to choose only one… I’d have to go with The Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson, with David Bromberg’s My Own House as a close second, in a dead tie with Dervish, Live at Palma.

Peter: Couldn’t honestly say, I rarely listen to anything other than generic radio nonsense in the car.

giphy (15).gif

Mike: Tough one. Again, let the reader choose. Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Hardin/Highway 61 revisited/ Blood on the Tracks/ Street legal/ Desire, Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter, Sticky Fingers, or Exile on Main Street.

Steve: Death to the Pixies. I know it’s gauche to select a ‘best of’ compilation as a favourite album, but hear me out. It wasn’t easy building musical taste before the internet. I had to hop on a train if I wanted to find interesting albums, and we had all of maybe two radio stations dedicated to new music- which back then was mostly the Spice Girls on repeat.

I ended up snaffling through the discarded tapes and CDs of my older siblings, slowly working out what I was supposed to like, and what I actually liked. Stumbling onto the Pixies was a revelation. Something about the manic emotional ambivalence, and the silly seriousness of it. It had a timeless, kind of grubby sexual vibe that I still to this day associate with awkward-but-rocket-fuelled teenage libido. For a while I was flying solo on the pixies- they were a difficult act to sell to my friends who were all about the Deftones or whatever, but when they came back with Death to The Pixies, suddenly they were everywhere, and I was very briefly cool.

tenor.gif

What do you all think? Good choices? If not, please, point us in a direction. Wow us with your recommendations for best album ever.