The Good Stuff: Gourmet Junk Food

As I mentioned in my blog post about making your own Magic Eye (a post that consistently gets a handful of views still) I wanted to do more sharing of fun stuff I come across online, be it memes or videos or articles. If I got amusement from it, I want you too as well. So I am starting a series on this blog called The Good Stuff (a phrase I use far too much in my daily life) where I share fun things I find online.

And I’m starting off with a bunch of videos in which a pastry chef attempts to make gourmet versions of popular junk food. Personally, I don’t watch a lot of cooking/baking videos because I’m a picky eater, and I know I’m not motivated enough to try baking something I did like, but I find these Gourmet Makes videos very interesting. They ended up in my YouTube recommendations one night and I watched them all right then and there.

Image result for i'm interested gif

Claire, the chef and star, seems like a nice, smart person, and watching her work out solutions to obstacles she faces is cool because I know next to nothing about baking and cooking, but she’s very knowledgeable and does it all systematically. You wouldn’t think one person in a kitchen would be able to make a version of something that is normally made in a factory, but she does, and she does it well (even if she has access to a lot of cool baking tools that the average person wouldn’t have in their house).

Skittles are one of my favorite candies, and they did one episode where Claire made them but with the goal of getting natural flavours. I’d like to think that Skittles are already perfect, but seeing her work on making them better and more flavourful is neat, and I wish I was in that kitchen to try them.

And it’s not just candy she tries to make! She’s done chips, cereal, and even ramen noodles. These are things most people have tried and enjoy so we can understand what she’s doing to replicate them and why and also what changes she should make.

There are so far 12 episodes, all between 15 and 30 minutes, and there’s a new one every month or so. Here’s the playlist where you can watch them all. You know you want to.

And here we are, at the end of my first The Good Stuff post! I’m looking forward to sharing more in time!

That’s all for now!

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I Consume Content At Double Speed, And You Need To Try It

I’ve developed a habit of watching things at a faster speed. I now have a need for speed.

It started in my third year of university. One of my profs often assigned videos for us to watch for homework. Some would be short two minute videos, but some were long, twenty minute TED Talks. I did not like the long ones. And then a friend who was also in the course dropped the biggest life hack on me: watch the videos at double speed.

That's a good idea gif

You may be thinking: double speed is too fast. It’s incomprehensible. But it’s not. Especially if you have subtitles on. I love subtitles. I have them on the TV all the time. And sure, YouTube’s auto-generated ones can be hit or miss, but usually they’re alright. They’re enough for me to glance at the text as I process what I’m hearing. And really, your ears and brain adjust to the faster speed quickly so the more you do it, the easier it is to do.

See, people in TV shows/movies and a lot of YouTube videos talk slower than we talk in most real-life conversations because it’s easier for viewers to understand. If you’ve ever given a speech or presentation, you’d know you need to go slow and enunciate. So speeding that up doesn’t make it impossible to understand, it just makes it faster than expected.

Besides, a lot of the videos I was watching, like the ones for that course, were more about the sound than the picture. TED Talks are just a person standing and speaking. I don’t care if they now pace around on that stage at a weird speed. YouTube videos are largely the same. So that’s why I was shocked and amazed when this same friend informed me that he doesn’t just watch meaningless homework videos and vlogs at a double speed, he watches TV shows at this speed too. Shows that he enjoys. Why would you want to spend less time watching something you enjoy? I decided to not do that.

Until I did it.

Look, for a period last year on Tuesday nights I had seven TV shows to watch. Three of them were full hour shows. By the time midnight was rolling around, I was tired and not giving the shows the proper attention they deserve.  So I upped the speed. Suddenly a twenty two minute show was taking eleven minutes. A forty seven minute show was taking twenty three minutes. I was saving time and still being able to consume the content I enjoyed. They just spoke faster and moved faster. I used to spend literally ALL DAY watching the Marvel Netflix shows when they came out. Now I can do it in an evening. And I don’t even feel bad because Jessica Jones Season 2 was a lot of standing and talking anyway.

Of course, you may be thinking, wait, Netflix doesn’t have a speed setting. Do you watch things illegally? The answer is yeah, I sure do, but I also use a Chrome extension that allows me to control the speed on Netflix, so I can watch legally there. It also works on Facebook and Tumblr videos which also don’t have speed settings. I’ve been using it for months, and I love it.

DJ Khaled Major Key

I still prefer to watch a show live on a TV screen (unlike my friend who will wait to watch it quickly online after, and I hope that if he’s reading this, he knows I disapprove) but if I’m in a time crunch and am watching something online, I will not hesitate to speed it up a bit.

Recently I rewatched The Office. I did it at only 1.5 speed (to savour it). Sometimes I’ll watch YouTube videos at 2.5 if it’s someone who really talks slow or I don’t really care about the sound as much as the picture or the info. Either way, I do enjoy the flexibility I now have. And I encourage you to try it. Start slow and use subtitles, if you want. It’ll be weird at first, but you’ll get used to it, and soon be able to watch all the TV shows and movies you never had time for.

You’re welcome.

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What Is A Meme?

I’ve had to explain to my parents and to a few other people what a meme is many times. I’d imagine you’ve had to do the same, and it can be hard to do. So I figured I’d make all our jobs easier by making this post, so the next time your uncle asks for the third time what a meme is, you can just send him this URL.

A meme is an internet joke that is shared quickly via social media and edited so there are many variations. These variations are the key because otherwise, it’s not a meme, it’s just something funny.

An OG meme that you may be familiar with is this success kid:

Image result for baby sand meme

This image is a meme because the text that accompanies it isn’t always the same and it’s easily recognizable. Here are just a few examples of this meme.

Image result for baby sand meme Image result for success baby meme Image result for success baby meme

See, the image is the same but the text changes to create relatable contexts, and these get shared a lot. This is a meme.

Now, as I said, this is an old meme. This is a meme that the Facebook Moms have found and used. And in this day and age, new memes come up every other week. Sometimes there are several good memes going on at once. It’s fun. Though I should tell you that the above meme style (white block text on an image) is very old-fashioned and a sign that you’re not up on your memes at all.

Where do memes come from? They come from social media. Usually they begin on Reddit, 4chan, Tumblr, or Twitter. Some memes don’t make it to multiple platforms because they don’t get popular enough, or they’re not adaptable to the platforms. Right now, a meme that’s fairly popular on Twitter is this poll meme:

Harry Potter poll meme   Finding Nemo poll memeMamma Mia version of the poll meme

It’s a good and pure meme, if you ask me, and I very much loved coming across it on my Twitter timeline. This is an example of a meme that was very popular for a week or two, and only on Twitter, and will eventually die out. Some memes live long fruitful lives, but most end within a month or two when a new meme rises. People even put together meme calendars. Here is one made for 2017:

I remember most of these. Good times.

Anyway, that more or less is a meme. Of course, like anything, memes aren’t black and white, and there can be some discussion as to what is a meme (are reaction images/gifs a meme? Is imitation without alteration okay?) or how much reach a meme has to have before it reaches dank level (the danker the better) or if videos/vines are memes, but overall, most memes are just silly ways for the internet to have fun collectively. They’re a part of youth culture and a part of internet culture. The internet can be an awful place at times, but for the most part, memes are light and fun.

I hope you now have a good understanding of memes and their relevance to the internet now. Memes are not going anywhere any time soon, so it’s good to know what’s up. And I hope I’ve managed to explain it so everyone can understand.

What’s your favourite meme? Mine is the Shia LaBeouf “Just do it” meme from a few years ago. It was so random and adaptable and funny. (Watch a Vine compilation of it here)

That’s all for now!

 

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‘Gayle’ Is The Mom I Love To Hate And Hate To Love

No, Gayle is not my mother….though there are moments where there is a resemblance.

A year or two ago, I came across this video online in which a young man was pretending to be a middle-aged mom frantically cleaning the house before guests came over. It was funny because a lot of what he did and said reminded me of my own mother who also goes a little unnecessarily crazy before people come by.

What I didn’t know until recently was that this video is part of a larger webseries called Gayle. Chris Fleming, a comedian, plays a middle aged suburban stay-at-home mom, named Gayle Waters-Waters, desperate to have order in her family and neighborhood. She’s quirky and aggressive and relentless and overall not a great mother, and it’s hilarious.

The series began in 2012, and it’s 40 episodes long (though episode 18 has two parts) and went until 2015. The last video says that more episodes are coming “at some point” so there’s hope we’ll see Gayle again, which is great because I’m really upset that I missed out on this when it was happening.

Here’s why you need to watch Gayle if you haven’t already. For one, it’s a perfect representation of all the mom cliches and jokes.  My mom isn’t nearly as crazy or intense as Gayle, but there were so many moments where Gayle did or said something my mother has, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same, but you’ll also be glad your mother is often not like Gayle because Gayle is just the ultimate mom. Secondly, it’s so unique. Even the zaniest of moms on family sitcoms can’t match the unadulterated wildness and weirdness of Gayle, who is so authentic and yet inauthentic at the same time. She lives in her own world, and it’s a trip. The webseries is filmed so there are regular scenes of Gayle interacting with her family and whatnot and then there are scenes of Gayle powerwalking and talking right to the camera, which is so brilliant and funny and in character. Thirdly, Gayle’s dialogue is so funny. She goes on these rants and tangents and her way of describing and comparing things is so unusual and amusing. It’s something I’ve never seen in a character or comedian, so I have to commend Chris Fleming for that. And lastly, the supporting characters are so funny too. There’s Bonnie the frenemy, Terry the exasperated daughter, Dave the spineless and faceless husband, and so many others who just add to the whole environment of suburbia and play so well off Gayle’s antics.

Don’t be intimidated by the 40 episodes either. Most of the episodes are between 5 and 15 minutes, so they’re easy to consume. I got into a habit of watching them while I ate meals because they were just the right length. The downside of what I did was that laughing while eating led to two instances of almost choking. Gayle is worth it. Yolo.

gif of Gayle

The one thing I have to admit that I didn’t love about the websites is that sometimes it went a little over the top. Gayle sometimes took things too far so the show was more weird than funny, or the weird parts dragged on a little too long. But overall, it wasn’t too bad, and if anything, the over the top unrealistic parts only highlighted just how ridiculous and interesting Gayle Waters-Waters can be.

If you’re looking for something light and utterly hilarious to watch, I definitely recommend Gayle. Aside from some swear words and the odd sexual reference, the show is pretty safe. All the episodes are on YouTube, which I’ve linked right below, so you have no excuse for not giving this a try. At least watch a few episodes.

And if you’ve seen all that and are still looking for some more hilarity, Chris Fleming has some other comedic rants on his YouTube channel that I find amusing, like this one about theater kids. I know he also tours around sometimes, so if he ever comes to a stop near me, I’ll definitely have to try for tickets.

Gayle very much amused me and if you haven’t yet let this headstrong lady into your life, you’re missing out on something brilliant.

 

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7 Things Online That I Can’t Believe Are Free

Who likes free things? Everyone. But especially me, because I don’t like paying for things. Things are expensive. So that’s why I’m so grateful for free things. As for the internet, yes, we have to pay for the internet and a computer, but once you have that, there are so many amazing things online, and so many that cost zero dollars and zero cents. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you use some of these. Either way, I’mma tell you about them and express my love for them and their availability. Oh, and the best part? These things are all 100% legal. Enjoy.

Ron Swanson saying

Canva

If you’re a blogger, you may have heard of this before, as it’s fairly popular in the blogosphere, and if you’re into graphic design, you may also know of it. Canva is a super easy and functional graphic design creator. No matter what you want to create (from resumes to Twitter headers to postcards and more) or what you have in mind, Canva can do it. And you have complete control over every aspect. While you do have to have an account to use it and there are premium versions, the free account is more than enough. I mean, I love Microsoft Paint, but Canva is a lot more useful and simpler than that. Don’t worry if you can’t afford or work Adobe InDesign, because Canva should be your new go-to. I made my current Twitter header and this blog’s header on Canva, among many things.

Hootsuite

Again, some bloggers may have heard of this. Hootsuite is a social media scheduler. I’m not one to schedule my blog posts on Twitter every hour and I’m online enough to post most things right away, so I admittedly don’t use this too often for myself, but I do use it for Popwrapped, and it’s great. It’s easy to use, can handle several social media platforms at once, and even has dashboard feeds for them. The best part is that right now, it’s allowing you to schedule basically unlimited messages. This feature was taken away for a little bit a few months ago and reduced to ten, but now it’s back (hopefully forever). I know a lot of businesses use Hootsuite because it’s really great and easy to use.

Spotify

I love music. I am always listening to music. Apparently so does everyone else because music streaming services are all the rage nowadays. But I’m not about to give Apple more money on a monthly basis so Apple Music is out of the question. That leaves me with Spotify, and luckily for me, Spotify has a free version and it’s great. Of course you need wifi to use it and every few songs there’s a short ad or two but that’s no different from YouTube. What makes Spotify 1000 times better than YouTube, though, is that all the songs are official top-quality. No fake sound-less videos, no off-key covers, no blocked-in-some-countries videos, no nonsense. And it’s all organized and available. I love being able to listen to full musical soundtracks or albums with Spotify.

Spongebob snapping his fingers as he listens to headphones

WordPress

So obviously you’ve heard of WordPress because you’re on it now. This blog is a WordPress blog, and I’m proud. Here’s why WordPress is great: for zero dollars, I am able to write as much as I want as often as I want, on a site that I basically made myself. Though there are paid options, I’m still able to thrive without that. I have followers! I have a platform! And it’s free! There are so many themes to choose from to make your site unique, and the community is like no other. Our Reader is great, it’s so easy to go through tags, and there are free Blogging U classes and Community Pools that are always a pleasure to be a part of. WordPress is great for more than just blogging, and I can’t believe it’s offered to so many for free!

Wikipedia

This may be obvious, but we are blessed to have Wikipedia in our lives. It’s so easy to find information now. No longer do we need heavy encyclopedias to look up dates or info, when Wikipedia is just right here, a few clicks away. And all its information is so organized, making it so easy to use. I know teachers and professors warn against fake information, but in all my years, I’ve never had an issue. I can’t believe that we have millions of Wikipedia pages available to us for free. Amazing.

Fanfiction

So while technically you can read fanfics on Fanfiction.net or Archiveofourown.org, the concept is the same, and both sites provide hours of entertainment. Can you believe that for zero dollars and zero cents you can read well-written and in-depth stories about your favourite characters from basically any show/movie/book? There are stories longer than novels and stories shorter than this blog post. I know fanfiction isn’t for everyone, but you can’t deny that whether you read or write it or not, the fact that it exists for free is amazing.

Yahoo Answers

No matter how dumb your question may be, you can probably get an answer on Yahoo Answers. This place is a treasure trove of information. And since most people don’t delete their questions, you can search their questions to find similar ones instead of asking your own. I have, in the past, asked a few questions on Yahoo Answers and had success with answers. This is a great example of people coming together to help one another in a mostly good-natured way, and a good example of the collaborative economy.

Aziz Ansari saying

We truly are privileged to live in a time where so many amazing things are available to us online for free. We don’t appreciate it enough. This post is my way of paying tribute to these seven services that make my life so much better. What are some free services/sites that you love that I didn’t mention? I’d love to know, so share the goodness!

That’s all for now!

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