Godzilla and Other Online Literature

from http://godzillahaiku.tumblr.com/ , submitted by pixelatedpizza

That’s right, Godzilla

can make a well writ haiku.

So why don’t you try?

Godzilla may be an unconventional source of poetry, but this is the internet we’re talking about here. Access for all, right? No matter how scaled, enormous and Japanese-city-destroying.

If you click on the Godzilla graphic above you will be redirected to a very entertaining Tumblr called Godzilla Haiku, which is chock-full of havoc-wreaking literary goodness. I’ve reposted one of my favourites here, but there are quite a few good ones, so in order to keep abreast of any new scaly poetry I’ve decided to follow it on my Tumblr.

I found Godzilla Haiku via another page on another site. Namely, 7 Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now (PICTURES), an article on the well-trafficked Huffington Post site. Huffington Post being a website that was recommended for review by a frequent (I think) reader, FB. I have to admit to FB, and to all my other readers, that I don’t do a terribly large amount of online reading. I may do more in the future, but currently my online time is most often spent finding new content to write about on my blogs, and organizing it into relatively sensible topics. I have however done a small amount of exploring with Huffington Post and a few other related sites, so let’s get going.

The Huffington Post is a ridiculously broad news site. It covers topics on education, politics, sports, business, media, comedy, and a dozen other things in-between. It also boasts a small hoard of blogs covering a similarly varied range of topics. Here’s one that caught my eye while writing this post (be sure to read the titles above the pictures). I also want to bring your attention back to 7 Sites You Should Be Wasting Time On Right Now.  I have another favourite (and recent Tumblr follow) from this page I’d like to share: When Parents Text. This is a particularly funny site, because I have had personal experience with the parent-text phenomenon. When I travelled this past summer to Europe my parents were looking for a more instantaneous way to get in touch with me than email, but one that was less expensive than overseas calling: text message was the answer. However, I have to give my parents credit. Texting may not have been the most natural thing for them to learn (sorry guys!), but they didn’t make fools of themselves in their messages like this parent does.

Altogether, I have to say that most of my time on Huffington Post is spent on the comedy page, which is time very well spent in my opinion. But for those of you who still want to learn what’s going on in the world (who’d do a crazy thing like that?), there’s plenty of news to cut the cravings.

Slate is worth a look as well if you are of the news or pop-culture junky persuasion. Instead of being a kind of news aggregator and publisher like Huffington, Slate is more of an online magazine offering opinions on the news. I read an article by them every once in a while, which isn’t to say my poor readership is indicative of the site’s quality. It’s very good, but again my online news consumption is very limited. If you’re looking for a fresh perspective on news and pop-culture, you should seriously give it a look.

Most of my experience with Slate has tended to be with their podcasts – particularly the Culture Gabfest. The Culture Gabfest is a roughly hour-long roundtable where a few Slate commentators talk about three interesting topics in the forum of politics or pop culture from the past week. I haven’t listened to the podcast (or any podcast for that matter) for a while, so don’t shoot the messenger if the format is different. But my experience with them was always a good one. I always found it ideal for a twenty-minute or so commute, because it gives you something to listen to on your way to and from work.

A little off-topic, but worth the mention I think. And another special thanks to FB for initially introducing me to the Culture Gabfest oh-so long ago.

Onions may not be a traditional desert in any culture I’m familiar with, but that won’t stop us from enjoying it last. If you haven’t heard of The Onion, then I feel really really really bad for you. Really. The Onion is a news site in the same way that John Stewart or Stephen Colbert are news anchors. The good people at the Onion make their hilarious product in usually one of two ways. If a particularly large story is getting a lot of attention, they’ll usually find a way to report it in their own satirical style, like this article on the now infamous Julian Assange. The second and more common type of Onion story simply offers a satirical view of modern life. Much of their work is in written articles, like this one on how life in the US Navy rocks even more than the commercials imply. But there are also a number of pieces done in the form of radio broadcasts, like this story on the collapse of the internet. The Onion also produces stories in the style of high-powered testosterone-pumping news broadcasts like this story on Kim Jong Il’s upcoming hollywood role, and like this one in their softer, brighter morning-show format: social media helping parents stalk their kids while they’re at college.

Anyway you slice it, The Onion’s got (insert onion joke here). Happy reading!

Call Me Ishmael

April 27, 2007; Matthew Henry Hall

Don’t, actually. But Ishmael didn’t know what he was getting into when he signed up for his little expedition, and I’m not sure I do either. It was only two nights ago that I was sitting in front of my computer, staring at my browser when I thought, ‘I should find more things to do with the internet than check my email and Facebook accounts.’

I’ll back up for just a second now, and explain that for the past month or so, I have been marveling at my roommate’s ability to find random things on the internet: sometimes hilarious, and sometimes just strangely catchy. I asked my roommate how he found all of this stuff. His answer: StumbleUpon. For those of you who don’t know, StumbleUpon is a site that lets you ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ any webpage, as well as choose from a list of categories that interest you, and out of this information it will whisk you off to a randomly selected page that it thinks you might like too. And of course, you can share these rare finds with friends on other social networking sites as well as with your fellow Stumblers. So I dabbled in Stumbling across the interwebs for a while, and here’s one site I particularly enjoyed. Calvin plus snowmen equals crazy – who knew?

So I had my Stumbling, and my email, and my Facebook and all was well. Until a couple nights ago. That’s when I realized that I had been shunning the internet! Sure, I use the internet, but all the while I’ve been completely baffled by the schmorgasboard of sites out there, especially of the social network variety. As my Dad might say, it was mind-boggling. But I felt a left out. I mean, why does everyone else have this magical ability to find something interesting and shiny out of the infinite goop and gunk that is the internet? And it hit me – this is a self imposed isolation. For years I’ve turned down invitations to new sites and networks saying, ‘I’m already on Facebook, what do I need another site with a username for?’ I never realized that all of these sites, all of these networks are just one of many ways that people around the world get to the good stuff. The meat and potatoes of the web.

With all of this in mind I set out on my merry way. In the past two days I’ve followed links, read blogs, and found new sites focusing on things I’ve never heard of before. And in the middle of all this I’ve been thinking, ‘what about a blog?’ What about a blog indeed. Not too long ago I tried starting a blog with Blogger, but it didn’t go so well. I didn’t have a focus, I didn’t have an idea, and most of all I didn’t have the drive to really immerse myself in the online community. But now it’s different. Now I have an aim to rediscover the internet in all of its surprisingly random glory. This venture would have been exciting enough for me as it is, but I like writing too, so writing a blog about my misadventures on the web gives the whole endeavor an added appeal.

So here we are. My first post on my ‘first’ blog. My blog is the first of what I hope to be many additions to my online presence. But this blog will be a central part of that presence. I hope to use it to catalogue the sites I discover and the things I learn. And hopefully along the way I’ll find some fellow bloggers and/or readers that have some things they’d like to share with me to expand my web-crawling horizons.

I’ve already bounced this idea off a few friends and gotten some great positive feedback. Feedback that sometimes came with a lot of really cool sites that I am eager to explore and share here with all of you. So here we go. Plugging my nose and jumping in the deep end.

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