Thursday, 21 May 2015

Recommendation "Mondays": Week 16 - Bo Burnham (Musical Comedian)

So, if any of you need a little break from self-torture that is cramming, then there's this one comedian who's pretty cool. He does (sometimes quite intelligent) musical comedy, with such lyrics as "Girls are like multiplications; if they're under thirteen you do them in your head" and "Oedipus was the first motherfucker". He's pretty crass, pretty funny and, in my opinion, pretty cool.

Check out one of his songs! Or, even better, an entire show of his (called "what") is available for free in its entirety on youtube!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Recommendation "Mondays": Week 15 - Grand Budapest Hotel (Film)

"Grand Budapest Hotel" is a film by Wes Anderson, in which, through the eyes of a young girl reading a book written by a man known only to the audience as "the author", we learn the tale of how, during the outbreak of fascism in pre-WWII Europe, a young lobby-boy named Zero and the impeccable (and amazingly foul-mothed) maitre d of the Grand Budapest kept the hotel runing, broke out of prison and evaded murderers and government officials in a zany chase across the country in an attempt to secure the priceless painting "Boy with Apple" (and their lives).

With a cast including Ralph Finnes (I mean, c'mon, he's Voldemort), Adrien Brody (I mean, c'mon, he's Adrien Brody) and a wonderful range of wacky cameos, that alone could make you enthusiastic about the film (which you can watch for free here).

The music is cool, the cinematography is cool, the story is cool. Please watch it in the original language. It's worth it, if only for Saorise Ronan's gorgeous accent.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Recommendation Mondays: Week 10 - Markiplier (Youtuber)

Markiplier is a Youtuber known for playing horror games (with his first uploads being Amnesia and Penumbra), mostly, but also plays cuter, indie games, posts skits (including How To Pole Dance) and organizes fund-raising events for numerous charities.

He's also known for being something of a Five Nights At Freddy's whiz kid (to the point where other Youtubers have called him for help with their lets plays).

Some of his best videos (and series), at least according to me, include:

Anyway, yeah, that's Markiplier (although these are mostly humorous games, seen as I'm not super into the scary stuff hehe).

Recommendation Mondays: Week 9 - Trick To Life (Album by The Hoosiers)

The Hoosiers are and indie pop/rock band from London whose debut album The Trick To Life came out in 2007.

It lasts a little under forty minutes and, maybe you can tell, I don't really know how to recommend this. It's music, it's good, it's indie and I like all the songs for different reasons.

So, um, yeah, here's a link to a playlist of the full album. It's really good. Okay.

So, um, nice weather we're having, innit?

Monday, 6 April 2015

X at E3 videos

This isn't so much a recommendation as a plea. I love these videos. I may or may not know them of by heart. Please tell me I'm not the only one that finds them funny.

Recommendation Mondays (Backlog): Week 8 - Niell Blomkamp (Director)

Niell Blomkamp is a South African director known for his movies District 9, Elysium and CHAPPiE, who I like primarily for just how... fucking cool his movies look. The special effects used are just... yeah, I really like them.

District 9 (2009) is based in a world where, some time during the eighties, a large alien mothership began hovering over Johanessburg and, after months of no activities, humans entered the ship to find the aliens malnourshished ¡, confused and scared. Fairly soon they became the equivalent of unwanted refugees, suffering social prejudice akin to racism and being confined to a refugee "camp" or district. The film picks up in the modern day; the "Prawns" have outgrown their current district, which is nothing more than a rubbish strewn slum and are being forcibly evict by the MNU. One MNU employee, Wikus, accidentally triggers an unknown device that sprays him with mysterious goo and triggers something... unpleasent, which changes his life forever (understatement of the century tbh).

Elysium (2013) is set hundreds of years from now, in a future where, to avoid the ever expanding lower class, the Earth's wealthiest people built a space station orbiting the planet where they have all the health, clean air and plastic surgery money can by, whilst once great cities, such as our setting, Los Angeles, have become slums spanning miles, where crime and poverty are the norm. Our story follows one man, Max, as his situation forces him to take control of his life in a very drastic way, all in attempt to salvage his ticking time bomb of a body after a very ¡, very bad work related incident

I haven't seen CHAPPiE yet but, c'mon, I love this guy anyway.

Oh and, just by the way, he's doing Alien 5 *rolls away on a skateboard whilst putting on sunglasses* Hell yeah.

Recommendation Mondays (Backlog): Week 6 - GAME GRUMPS OMG (Youtube Channel)

Sorry bout that.

I just adore this youtube channel. To death. I'm not even kidding. If I could only watch one channel for the rest of my life, it would be the Game Grumps.

To explain, the Game Grumps are two super good friends from California who play video games whilst goofing off, making jokes, telling silly stories and generally talking about all kinds of random crap. Currently the Game Gumps are Arin Hanson (also known around youtube as animator and voice actor egoraptor) and Danny Avidan (or Danny Sexbang, lead singer of the comedy band Ninja Sex Party); they play console games, with some notable ones being Super Mario 3D WorldSonic Boom and Out Of This World.

Their channel also hosts Steam Train, where their friend Ross O'Donavan (or RubberNinja) plays PC games, mostly with Danny in the beginning but then expanding to other members of the Grumps team (such as their editor/Danny's housemate Barry and their secretary/Arin's wife Suzy). I recommend Skyrim and Leisure Suit Larry.

Earlier Game Grumps episodes feature a different person alongside Arin; Jon Jafari or JonTron, another comedic video game obssessed youtuber, known for humorous game reviews and owning a robot psycho bird named Jacques.

Recomendation Mondays (Backlog): Week 5 - Thomas Sanders (Viner)

I really don't know how much I'm going to be able to talk about this one, but here goes; Thomas Sanders is a viner. He does vines narrating random strangers lives in public places, pranking his friends (either pokemon or disney edition), singing, doing his (apparently) pretty good Stewie Griffin impression (I wouldn't know) and generally just doing funny stuff.

He is also very sweet, kind-hearted and, yes, cute.

Shut up, ok. I'm allowed.

See for yourself. Go on. Here's a link. Go!

Recommendation Mondays (Backlog): Week 4 - How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

How to Train Your Dragon (or httyd cause, again, lazy af over here) is a 2010 DreamWorks animated movie, based on the book of the same name by Cressida Cowell (they have little to nothing in common except names, if I'm honest). It centers around the troubles of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, a gawky fifteen year old who isn't really much of a credit to his Viking heritage.

Having been born and raised on the island of Berk, where his father is chief, Hiccup has been taught to hate, fear and dream of killing the island's typical pests: dragons. Seen as he's kind scrawny, he attempts to do so with contraptions and invention which... don't exactly work. Until, one night, one does.

Hiccup just so happens to have shot down a Night Fury, the most feared and ferocious dragon of all, the "unholy offspring of lightning and Death itself". Nobody believes him and so he goes out into the woods alone to search for it. And, yet, he cannot bring himself to kill it. From then on, the titular training begins, with both Hiccup and his new "buddy" Toothless learning more from each other every day.

Can Hiccup figure out the nature of dragons and maybe even stop Berk's dragon problems?

Find out now by simply clicking this link! (Man do I feel like a clickbait ad)

Not only is httyd a suuuuper cute tale of a boy and his dragon, the voice actors include the hilariously awkward Jay Baruchel as Hiccup and Gerard Butler doing a pretty good job as his father, the score is amazing (shoutout to my boy John Powell!) and the animation is phenomenal (as is the sequel). Here's the soundtrack:

Recommendation Mondays (Backlog): Week 3 - The Maze Runner Trilogy (by James Dashner)

The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner is a series of three books that focus around a teenager named Thomas and his companions as they try to survive a dystopian future where, apparently, Murphy's (or Sod's) Law is as reliable as gravity.

The book series as a whole is hard to talk about without majoooooor spoilers, so I'll just focus on the first book; The Maze Runner.

Thomas awakens, seemingly for the first time, in the Box, being transported up an apparently endless passage way, until he emerges in the Glade, surrounded by other boys who arrived the same way, one every month, for the past three years. They have no idea why they're there, no memories of their past lives and no escape; the Glade is at the center of a huge, constantly-shifting maze that is nearly nigh unchartable during the day and sealed off by massive Doors that protect the Gladers against its horrible inhabitants at night.

No one has ever managed to escape and, even though they are provided for and watched by mysterious "Creators", there seems to be no hope of rescue. The very day after Thomas' arrival, the Glade's first girl is found in the Box, along with a note "She's the last one. Ever".

That night, the Doors don't close. The Gladers realize they can no longer idle as they have done all these years; they have to find a way to escape the Maze. Are they're going to die within it.

Buy the book on amazon here (or just ask to borrow my copy).

Recommendation Mondays (Backlog): Week 2 - Game Of Thrones (TV series)


So, um, yeah, decided to do make-up posts for all the weeks of Recommendation Mondays I missed.

Anyway, Game Of Thrones. I feel like I don't even need to explain the appeal of this show (which imma shorten to GoT cause I'm lazy) but, if that was the case, this would be a pretty pointless blog post so...

GoT is a HBO TV series, the fifth season of which is set to premier in six days (I am excite). The basic premise of the show is that, through the eyes and perspectives of different character from different warring factions, we follow the wars, mutinies, uprisings and campaigns of the many people who aspire to the throne of Westeros (also known as the Seven Kingdoms) or who just stand to gain something from the war being fought or being won by a particular person.

It's a show where anyone can die, boobs are frequently on display, everyone has lots of sex and you'll have very little idea just where the line between good guys and bad guys lies.

(psssst watch it for free here)

Even if the plot seems a little confusing, the way the show itself is shot, acted and scored is amazing. This show has some of the most beautiful cinematography I've ever seen and Ramin Djawadi, the show's composer, is a freaking genius(not to mention they created an actual, functional language for the Dothraki to speak!). It's also quite funny on numerous occasions and, if nothing else, you can place bets on who'll die first. Listen to some (three seasons' worth) of the score here:

I would also recommend reading the show's source material... except I know a lot of people might not enjoy them; the politics is even more complicated, the plot is even harder to follow and the characters are more numerous and much more human (read: complicated and well written) than in the series, but, if high fantasy/politcal intrigue/romance/detective novel/liftime movie family drama/idek is your deal then head on out to your local bookstore and nab yourself the first brick. You'll never look back C:

Monday, 16 March 2015

Recommendation Mondays (Whoops): Week 7 - Gravity (2013)

Sooooooo...... Er, yeah, I suck at updating things but whatevs #yolo

This week's recommendation is the movie Gravity, a 2013 production starring Sandra Bullock and George clooney, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, written by him and his son Jonás.

It juggles many themes, including acceptance of death, struggle for survival, rebirth and letting go of one's past, all dealt with and expressed in intresting manners through both story and screen.

It features an (in my opinion) amazing performance from award winning actress Sandra Bullock as the movie's central character, Dr Ryan Stone, the inexperienced scientist thrust into a fight for survival against seemingly impossible odds in one of the most hostile settings imaginable; the very vacuum of space itself.

Gripping and emotionally rollercoastering, I consider it a must see for sci fi and cinematic fans alike. (Diehards can also check out the spin-off short Aningaaq).

Monday, 2 February 2015

Recommendation Monday!: Week One - Good Mythical Morning (Youtube Channel)

Monday! Monday! Monday! Monster recommendation every Monday! (or; I'm going to keep this blog going just becuase and one of the things I'm going to try and do is recommend one new thing every Monday, usually because I was enjoying it over the weekend).

This week's recommendation is the talk-show-esque Youtube channel Good Mythical Morning, which uploads videos every weekday, cohosted by Rhett and Link. It contains random factoids and strange topics and is a good way to pass the time with a little edutainment. Here's the trailer:

Here's to hoping your week is good and mythical.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Introductions and conclusions: the Youtube community and and its downfalls

  •  Introduction: What is the Youtube community
  • A: Who are the "top" Youtubers (in each category)
  • B: The fan/creator relationship (fan and actor/singer relationship compared to fan and Youtube creator relationship)
  • C: The beauty of the Youtube community: use of the fan/creator closeness for good (group projects or missions ei the Vlogbrothers or Markiplier)
  • D: Problems of the fan/Youtuber relationship: use of the fan/creator closeness for personal gain (creators have access to fans and abuse of power and of the fan's hero worship by said creators can occur ei. Alex Day and similar cases)
  • E: Solutions/reactions the rest of the community can offer when a problematic fan/creator relationship comes to light
  • Conclusion: Restate


If I really have to introduce Youtube to you, you've been living under a rock since the millenium; on the other hand, the Youtube communtiy is a completly different thing that is maybe a little hard to understand, if you don't spend seventy percent of your time on the internet. The Youtube community is made up of fans (the viewers of Youtube's content) and creators (the ones who make Youtube's content, the world's "newest form of celebrity"); these creators include critics of films or video games, people who talk about their daily lives (or vloggers), people who provide commentary for games as they play them (or lets players), musicians and artists of all kinds, comedians and people who are just trying to educate other people.

To finish all this up, I would like to say that Youtube's close-knit community should be considered as a good thing, not a problematic system because of a few (admittedly horrible) cases of abuse within the system. Youtubers of all kinds reach out to their fans through their videos, cheering them up and motivating them to do good things or, even, just making them laugh. The Youtuber is a new and intresting celebrity archetype and many people who find themselves fitting it use their influence for good. But, when bad situations occur in the community, we need to pull together to fix them, to protect those around us, so that all of us can continue to enjoy creating and consuming content on such a strange, wonderful website.

Recommended Youtubers:
  • Video Game Critics: JonTron and Egoraptor (specifically Egoraptor's Sequelitis series)
  • Vloggers: danisnotonfire, amazingphil and jacksgap
  • Lets players: Markiplier and gamegrumps
  • Musicians/Artists: Ninja Sex Party (a comedy band) and sokolum79 (a makeup artist)
  • Comedians: Toboscus and jacksfilms
  • Educators: CrashCourse

Thesis statement on: Legal name changing

If someone states that they are against legal name changing because people will give themselves silly names, remind them that are children named after rappers, alcohol and, probably, Hitler; legal name changing is best described as a way for someone to escape the name their parents gave them the minute they shot out the womb, looking kinda like a fat, minature Winston Churchill (with no personality whatsoever) and that, given that legal name changing can only done with either consent of  an adult or of the individual, most changes better reflect differences with parents in such  areas as music, taste in beverage or just what gender their child, anyway.