Entertainment

Token News Sources

– by Kelsey (and Lindsey in spirit/suggestions)

I don’t know about you, Reader, but I prefer to gather my news online throughout the day vs. subjecting myself to the dismal existence that is television media. That said, our favorite daily news sources are below:

The Vox

More of a “purist” news site than some of our other suggestions, The Vox is well-written and informative. Also, the “Understand the News” flash card section, is wonderful, giving a thorough, contextual account of some of the biggest things happening in news at the moment (unlike the majority of mass media).

Fast Company

Fast company features articles on various subjects, but tends to focus on business articles. Please keep reading, Reader. I’m the one with the B.S. degree in business, and this would instantly make me blackball this site. But it features a ton of interesting articles. Lindsey once called me mesmerized by a Fast Company article with a 5 minute video of exotic flowers blooming.

Jezebel

GIRL POWER! Jezebel highlights articles on various subjects that are tinged with a feminist viewpoint. They also feature a fair amount of GIFs and celebrity news, but it’s a good blend of information and irreverence.

Wired

Also a print magazine, Wired’s articles run the gamut from video games to current events, but it features heavily in the tech field. Highly recommended.

Honorable Mentions: The Verge, Kottke, The Daily Beast, and Slate

Get to bookmarking these gems, Friends.

 

 

 

 

Love/Hate: Welcome to Night Vale

– by Lindsey and Kelsey

This blog is just a little over a month old. As with any new baby, it’s creators are going to experiment a little to see what makes it stop crying/makes the neighbors happy. Thus, we’re trying a new column today called Love/Hate.

If you’ve read our bio section (which I’m sure you all have, right?), you know that we sisters don’t always agree. If we did, we’d probably be robots or weirdly psychic twins or crazy. We are not the first two of those things. This column will be about those topics/things that one of us can’t stop talking about and the other really wishes they would. We’re starting with a podcast: Welcome to Night Vale.


Lindsey loves.

In recent years, my drive-time listening has taken a rather dramatic turn. Whereas I once only listened to CDs and my iPod because I “can’t stand any talking,” I now listen almost exclusively to NPR and podcasts. I won’t go deep into the why of this change, but I find the calm voices and more involved stories help take my mind away from my driving/traffic related anxiety issues. NPR (and the like) has become my pacifier.

However, sometimes I miss that feeling of emotional surprise that comes when you listen to a new song. I also really like creepy stories, and the typical podcast only has so many Halloween/scary episodes. Enter my new obsession: Welcome to Night Vale. It’s difficult to describe to the uninitiated, but I like to think of it as the best little public radio station in the worst small town. Horrifying news is reported without distress. Odd stories continue throughout the series, so you become attached to the weirdos as things get weirder. I like to listen as I work to their SoundCloud stream here. If you want some idea of the humor without actually listening, check out the Night Vale Radio Twitter feed. It’s dark and sarcastic in a lie-joke kind of way, if you know what I mean. Mara Wilson (yes, Matilda), who does voice-over work on some of the episodes, wrote that a friend of hers said, “I feel like this fills a void I didn’t know I had.” I completely agree. I mean, one of the characters is a faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home. What more could you want?

Often, when I love something this much, I’ll repeatedly blab to Kelsey about just how much I love it. However, she didn’t feel the same way…

Kelsey hates.

Like my sister, I’ve also developed an odd taste (compared to my former prejudices) for podcasts while I’m driving or cleaning etc. It allows my brain to feel engaged while I’m doing something not necessarily brainless, but not very interesting. And I love love love scary stories (this is coming from a child with vivid nightmares that once developed a series of night terrors from a book cover). I regularly watch Ghost Hunters, Celebrity Ghost Stories (so bad that it’s good) and track down frightening paraphernalia (such as Jezebel’s annual Spookiest Stories contest).  That may be one of my issues with this podcast. I tried to make it through a few installments, I really did, but I never made it past around ten minutes. I wanted scary, and I received weird, which isn’t enough to satisfy my podcasting needs. Voices are also uncommonly significant to me in that if I find your voice grating, I won’t listen to your podcast. Period. This American Life is a remarkable podcast, but Ira Glass, bless him, has a voice that only a mother could love. Night Vale, on the other hand, is like listening to a robot that’s slightly more advanced at human pronunciation than your average GPS, but still comes off odd and halting.

Finally, the podcast clearly details strange happenings around Night Vale, which somehow, no matter how odd and satirical the delivery, still conjures memories of sad small-town radio stations. Those crackly AM stations that announce spaghetti dinners and social events alongside depressing local news.

All due respect and admiration to Night Vale and its listeners, but I just can’t.


 

That’s love/hate for you. What do you think of Welcome to Night Vale, readers?

Songs of Summer

– by Lindsey

We’re going to declare this day music Thursday, because we’ve all had a hard week and the world seems a little out of control right now. Right? Right. So, in no particular order, here are three songs on repeat for the Solomon sisters this summer.


Jenny Lewis is awesome, and her new album deserves a listen in full. (Actually, her whole catalog deserves a listen in full, but I digress.) “She’s Not Me” from The Voyager is a standout.

This song (wow, huh?) was the first that put Shakey Graves on our radar, but his latest (featuring Esmé Patterson) is fantastic, too.

Finally,  the song “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor) by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is equal parts indie calm and poppy dance tune. Summer perfection.

Happy listening!

Lazy Sunday Links

– by Lindsey and Kelsey

Instead of a straight up link list today, we thought we’d share a couple of things off our reading lists. I was born first, so I’ll kick things off…


Lindsey’s Picks

My most recent read was Fifty Shades of Gray, which I found to be poorly written and repetitive. If I had to read another sentence with “hitching” breath, boring attempts at plot, or the word mercurial, I think I might throw my Kindle out the window. Hopefully the two titles below will give my brain some much needed nourishment.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

A fan of This American Life, I’ve heard Jon Ronson‘s lilting, soothing, very British voice a couple of times. The episode that prompted my purchase of this book, also called The Psychopath Test, featured Jon’s story about (possible psychopath?) CEO Al Dunlap. His discussion prompts questions about the correlation between success and psychopathy. I can’t wait to dig into more of his research about the actual test that, by some accounts, has been taken to the extreme. (Bonus: If you prefer the visual, Ronson’s TED Talk is pretty great, too.)

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

I first came to know Roxane Gay through her excellent Twitter feed. Anyone who live tweets Ina Garten is okay in my book, you know? Anyway, her latest book has come to my attention through countless media outlets. Seriously. Google her, and you’ll find all sorts of positive press. What got me to buy the book, though, are the snippets I’ve read, like “How to be Friends with Another Woman” and her manifesto on bad feminism. I have a feeling I’m going to relate, possibly because her book arrived the same day my order of Brazil Butt Lift (don’t ask) came in the mail. Baby steps, right?


Kelsey’s Picks

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

This book is only one in a pantheon of books by the Nicholas Sparks of food writing: Michael Pollan. (This is a reference to quantity, not quality, Michael. No hate.) In a last desperate effort to cut down on my Cap’n Crunch consumption, this kitten is one of the next titles on my to-read list. The proclaimed manifesto of this book: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” In a demoralizing era of diets and fads and GMOs, Michael advocates for a simpler and significantly more satisfying relationship to food.

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

There is nary a book recommendation list that I’ve seen this summer without All the Light We Cannot See. And at 4 1/2 stars on Amazon with over 1500 reviews, I’m beginning to understand why. From The New Yorker

“The dual protagonists of this gripping novel, set during the Second World War, are the blind daughter of a Parisian locksmith who builds an intricate model of the streets to help her navigate her world and a German orphan whose uncanny aptitude for mechanics makes him valuable to the Nazi war effort…As the strands of the plot converge, the book becomes a meditation on fate, free will, and the way that, in wartime, small choices can have vast consequences.”

I’m all in.

This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel by  Jonathan Tropper

My goal is to read this novel before the movie (of the same title) is released this fall (September 19th), starring standouts Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, and Adam Driver. The four Foxman siblings return home after the death of their father, forced to spend seven days in the same household. I normally don’t enjoy reading/watching (what I’m anticipating will be) a show of dysfunctional degeneration, but I’m excited about this one.


What are you reading, friends? Let us know in the comments, if you’re so inclined.

WWU: Are You Afraid of the Dark? – “The Tale of the Laughing in the Dark”

– by Kelsey and Lindsey

So, it’s Friday night, and you want to watch something new whilst reading sarcastic comments from your friendly, neighborhood bloggers? Oh man, you guys. This Watch With Us (WWU) post is dedicated to one of our very favorite shows from childhood: Are You Afraid of the Dark? (AYAOTD). By favorite, I mean a show we tried to watch to prove to ourselves that we weren’t tiny baby scaredy cats. (Yay cats!)

This episode is on Amazon Prime, because we’re (un)professional instant video watchers and subscribe to everything. If you want to watch along, join us after the jump! (Yes, we realize these posts might not be that fun if you aren’t watching along, but they’re really fun for us. Sorry. Sort of.)

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WWU: Goosebumps – “Calling All Creeps!”

By Kelsey and Lindsey

Welcome to the inaugural post in our Watch With Us series! We’re trying a kind of Mystery Science Theater 3000 premise in written form. Basically, this is going to be a series smack-talking through shows/movies.

We’re starting with Goosebumps, because why not? Get your Netflix account fired up, press play and read along with our banter, if you’re so inclined. (more…)

Good Reads: An Ode to Graphic Novels

By Kelsey

I used to regard graphic novels similarly to how I regard Pokemon. Not interested. (But adolescent boys/girls are wayyyy into those little guys.)

That is no longer the case. It was only my (incorrect) assumption that graphic novels are for children. Most of these volumes contain tough, mature content, so I would highly recommend these for an adult audience only.

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.

It all started with this book. Bear in mind that I still haven’t finished this novel, but it’s one that I like to mull over from time to time, instead of devouring in a few days. This became the first graphic novel (by Art Spiegelman) to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. It details the author’s interviews with his aging father regarding the family’s struggle for survival during the Holocaust, where they lived in Poland during WWII. To describe the illustrative approach of the novel, Jews are depicted as mice, while the Nazis are portrayed as cats (non-Jewish Poles are sketched as pigs).

Maus is a novel executed with grace. This book will make your heart hurt.

Blue is the Warmest Color

You may be familiar with this title due to the buzz surrounding the film of the same namesake. Please, please, read this book, and ignore the movie that alters the storyline/ending, largely pandering to cheap shock value throughout. This novel is a typical “coming of age” story, albeit one dealing with the additional hardship of struggling with one’s sexuality and the resulting reception by family/friends. Above all, it is a love story. This book is gorgeously illustrated and thoughtfully crafted.

Watchmen

I won’t go into detail here, but this cult classic is next on my to-read graphic novel list. (Lindsey says it’s pretty great.)

Through the Woods

The only thing better than a graphic novel is A SCARY graphic novel. This one is still on my Amazon Wishlist, but one of the short horror stories in Into the Woods is featured on author Emily Carroll’s website: His Face All Red. This is going to give me nightmares tonight, and I don’t even care. Worth it.

Honorable Mentions

I have not read The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes or Persepolis, but they both come very highly acclaimed.

I love the rich mixture of written word and often meticulously detailed illustrations on each page. It is a new experience,  absorbing both mediums simultaneously. Get to reading, friends.