RECOMMENDATIONS: Randoms

Today, I feel like recommendations are in order. So! Get set! Below are some websites, articles, albums, etc. that I love, that folks might not know. I’ve lost most of my links in the computer crash, so this is mostly what I can gather since. Enjoy!

BLOGS

The Signal

This one is self-pimping, and I’ll cop to that. This is the television-centric blog I run with a few talented friends, reviewing shows like How I Met Your Mother, The Big C, etc. It’s growing every month, making me feel like a proud dad.

What’s Alan Watching?

Part of the reason I decided to try my hand at TV blogging was because I know the value of a good TV critic. Alan Sepinwall introduced me to Freaks and Geeks, The Wire, Friday Night Lights, and a host of other fantastic television shows, and I’ll rarely dig into a new show without checking out his call on it first. Our opinions sometimes diverge, but I still follow every post he writes.

Tiger Beatdown

I discovered Sady Doyle when Whedonesque linked to her reading of Dollhouse as a feminist piece of work, and while Dollhouse eventually diverged with her reading of it, I stuck with Tiger Beatdown, even when it moved to a new website and hired a cadre of equally engaging writers underneath her. I don’t always agree with Sady, but her articles always make me think and interrogate my own privilege. Her passions are infectious, her tone is both powerful and amusing, and her work is generally a constant source of learning.

this ain’t livin’

If I occasionally disagree with Sady, I often have wildly different opinions than s.e. smith, particularly in our reading of pop culture. However, for every area we disagree on, there are still a thousand we agree on, and smith‘s work constantly educates and engages me in ways I’ve found nowhere else. smith posts every day, on seemingly-disparate topics that always ultimately come down to social justice and education of the ignorant. I’ve learned more about the world from this ain’t livin‘ than any newspaper.

POSTS

“So, Like, What’s the Big Deal With Transcripts and Stuff, Anyway?” – Feministe

This post, about simple ways a blog writer should consider accessibility issues, struck a chord with me. Although I’ve long ignored the ‘alt’ tag on my work at The Signal, this article has reminded me not to be a douchebag when it comes to people who need a little more effort on a communicator’s part. I can’t say I’ll forever be better on this score, but I can pledge to do better, and try to help spreadt the word.

“Meta: AUGH” – the Azure Cascade

I’ve written about QUILTBAG/LGBT folks having to repurpose mainstream works to get queer stories before, in an article on queered cover songs for Generamus, and this article addresses why those slash fanfics you think are ridiculous are actually a vital way queer youths are connecting in a culture that unilaterally excludes them.

MUSIC

Florence + The Machine

I have a feeling everyone knows Florence + the Machine nowadays. She’s completely infiltrated the radio, television, and movies, after all. There’s plenty of reason, though: Florence Welch has amazing pipes, and her lyrics are simple without being stupid, complex without being complicated, and hook right where your emotions lie. They’re sexy and dangerous, and play with the idea of sex and violence in a very interesting way. Also, harps!
Recommended Songs: “Howl”, “Cosmic Love”, “Heavy in Your Arms”

Stars

This Canadian band has always been a second fiddle favourite of mine, always dependable but never gaining much notice. However, recently I’ve been listening to them a lot, and their lyrics are brilliant mini-stories in a way most artists don’t pull off, with strong characterization at their centre.
Recommended Songs: “Liar”, “The Very Thing”, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”

BOOKS

Neil Gaiman – “Smoke and Mirrors”

I’ve been reviewing the short stories from this collection for the last little while, so you might be unsurprised to hear that its one of my favourite books ever, despite my general dislike of short stories. Each tale in “Smoke and Mirrors” creates its own world with its own cast, and the best of them pop randomly into your memory years later.

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