Webtacular World Issue # 328, April 5, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators! I wasn’t going to do a Webtacular today, because the way I figure, you all are either following as much news as possible because you want to stay up to date on the latest thing that’s happening regarding Covid-19, or you’re purposefully ignoring it because things have only gotten worse since last week – either way, my usual service of “you not having time to read the internet” is completely out the window. However, because I married someone who has better ideas than I do, she suggested I share of list of a collection of things that I have found to help cope with all of this. So here it is. On to … whatever this is.

Movies To Watch Of The Quarantine:
Disney+
Why: Because between the entire Marvel catalog, the classics, (Cinderella, Snow White, Pinocchio, etc.) the meddling but still endearing adventures like Robin Hood and Sword And The Stone, the 90’s Disney animation revival (The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, etc.), Pixar, and all of Star Wars, you cannot go wrong. If there is one subscription service that you should have during this time, Disney+ is it. Disney thrives on nostalgia, and now is the perfect time to relive happier moments.

Shows To Watch Of The Quarantine:
Ozark
Why: Because worrying about small time money laundering somehow is comforting.
Westworld
Why: Because worrying about robots taking over the world somehow is comforting.
Little Fires Everywhere
Why: Because watching Reese Witherspoon impeccably play yet another rich white “Karen” is somehow comforting.
Tiger King
Why: Because knowing that there are people out there who are more batshit crazy than the current reality is somehow comforting.
All The Prestige TV You Somehow Forgot To Watch
Why: Because whether it’s The Wire or Breaking Bad or The Sopranos or The West Wing or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, you finally have time to watch it all.

Music To Listen To Of The Quarantine:
Whatever Makes You Feel Good
Why: Because these are difficult times. Music is very much subjective, whether due to culture, generation, upbringing, influences, instruments, or any number of reasons. Now is the time to indulge in whatever makes you feel good. For me, that’s a bunch of 90’s alternative / hip-hop and their current iterations, like the new Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails. Also, if you play an instrument or sing, now is the perfect time to devote a few hours to learning a song you always wanted to. I’ve personally been working on learning all the parts of Smashing Pumpkin’s 1979. Who knows, maybe by the end of this I’ll record everything. With tools like Apple’s GarageBand or free guitar effect plugins like amplitube, you really can be a one stop recording studio with just yourself.

Food To Eat Of The Quarantine:
HOLY SHIT COOK EVERYTHING
Why: Because this is the first time in forever where most of us legitimately do not have the excuse to not make as much delicious food as we can. This is an insanely weird crisis because the worst of the problems for many of us have not hit yet. There is still food on the shelves, electricity and gas is still available and affordable, and there is $1000 with our names on it that is going to be delivered any day now.
The problem with cooking during normal times is time itself – we are busy with jobs, with friends, with family, that always require us to be somewhere else. The real secret to cooking good food is just having enough time to be around to prepare or check on something. Most times when I get home from work, I just don’t have the energy to think about spending an extra 45 minutes chopping stupid vegetables and prepping a marinade to make a “quick” stir fry. I just drove in traffic for 2 hours, the dog still needs to be walked, and if I try slicing something now it’s just as likely to be my fingers as the thing I’m actually trying to cut. Since I now work a grand 30 steps from my kitchen, all this prep work is nothing. The best of these things that take time more than effort are soups and sauces. Soup – take all the shit you have lying around, throw it in water, cover, and let sit for a few hours.  Sauce – the same, but use less water, and boil that shit down.
Here is a list of things that you should cook since you are home:
Braised Short Ribs
French Onion Soup
Bolognese Sauce
Buttermilk Pancakes
Ratatouille
Latkes
Chicken Fajitas
Tacos Al Pastor
Chimichurri
Butter Chicken
Egg Drop Soup
Go fucking nuts with these – once you have an idea of how something should taste, you can stop following the recipes and start making them your own – not enough spice? Throw those chilies in there. Think it could use more orange zest? Go crazy. Needs more wine? OF COURSE IT DOES. Just because it sucks being stuck at home doesn’t mean your taste-buds have to be sad too.
I’ve also seen lots of people doing the same thing with baking, making delicious looking breads, cakes, cookies, tarts, what have you. Since I am no scientist and like flying by the seat of my pants, I’m going to stick with cooking. You do you, though. Have fun. Be full.

Games To Play Of The Quarantine:
Pandemic Games:
Resident Evil 3
Plague, Inc.
The Last Of Us
A Plague Tale: Innocence
Dishonored
Why: Because most of these games are on the “power fantasy” side of outbreaks where you as an individual can do something to effect change on the world around you. Plus, most of these involve zombies, and killing zombies is always cathartic for some reason.
Non-Pandemic Games:
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Witcher 3
Divinity: Original Sin 2
World Of Warcraft
Stardew Valley
Super Mario World
Why: Because there is finally time again to dive back into MMOs, beat those super convoluted RPGs, relax and build a town, or jump on a goomba’s head for the trillionth time, just to feel OK.

OK. That’s enough for now. Go try to enjoy yourself as much as you can for the next few weeks while we all get through this together.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

 

 

Webtacular World Issue # 327, March 29, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators! Whelp, looks like we won’t see each other until May. Which, if you take the etymology of “quarantine” literally, it is quite appropriate. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Too Late
Why: Because Trump’s reaction to Covid-19 has been tepid and slow, and will be part of the reason over 100,000 Americans are likely to die. It hasn’t helped that he has been playing down the seriousness of the issue, giving conflicting advice, and flat out lying this whole time.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: $2 Trillion Bailout
Why: Because America just passed the largest social program in history. It is unclear if this will be enough.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Federalism And Covid-19 And You
Why: Because the United States is unique in the fact that its response has been very much patchwork based on whether states think Covid-19 is a threat or not. Some people think it’s working, other’s don’t.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Helping The Helpers
Why: Because some people are trying to fix the problem that a healthcare system based on making profits causes – mainly, not being adequately prepared for emergencies. Here’s one place you can donate to.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Postlympics
Why: Because like everything else, the Olympics are delayed.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: All The Movies Coming To You
Why: Because movies that were out in theaters are now being pushed to your home. Movies that were planned to come out are still waiting.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 hour listen)
What: Music To Think To
Why: Because Nine Inch Nails released two albums that are part of the soundscape-based Ghosts anthology. They are both good. Get them here for free.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Heroes
Why: Because the medical workers around the world helping people when they need it show just how selfless they are.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Going Clubbing
Why: Because virtual book clubs are becoming big during this time when we can’t meet face to face.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: A New Half-Life
Why: Because Half-Life: Alyx is the killer app VR was waiting for. It is one of the best video game experiences, not just in VR, that I have ever played.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Samurai And Shogun; Isolation Tips From An Expert; For When You’re Bored Of Your Board Games
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Distance
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 326, March 22, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators! This is day 11 of my quarantine, and all of the days are starting to blend together. It’s partially my fault, for lack of imagination about getting out and doing things, but at the same time, at least I’m not contributing to this. People are not taking Covid 19 seriously, so I am trying to limit my potential contact with others as much as possible. If that means staying inside except for walking the dog or getting supplies, so be it. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. look)
What: The State Of Things
Why: It has been interesting to see how the world has reacted to Covid-19. The US, by most measures, is not doing great. But, it’s kind of hard not to see why to when certain politicians whose father was spouting off about Covid-19 being a hoax a few days ago winds up with it anyway. I really wish that the Senate and the Executive branch would do their jobs, but considering that more than 50 percent of Americans think the government is doing a good job handling this, I don’t know what to say.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Economic Fallout
Why: Because the market is continuing to crash, and as of Sunday night, the nation is no closer to a resolution.  People need help, which is still not forthcoming, largely because Republicans have no idea how to help people. Bailing out the airlines, for example, is a terrible idea. It seems as though the Republicans in charge only know how to help themselves.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Not What We Need
Why: Because the DOJ is attempting to suspend constitutional rights during this emergency. Barr is a monster.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. watch)
What: Why Washing Works
Why: Because soap is really good at killing viruses.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Bye Bye Brady
Why: Because even though no one is playing sports, at least interesting things can still happen.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: A Bad Time
Why: Because no one is going to the movies.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long look / listen)
What: 25 Songs That Represent Music Now
Why: Because the NY Times actually put together a pretty cool multimedia article for this one. Also, some other music you should listen to is the new Childish Gambino, and the new Sam Doores.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: DO NOT BE LIKE THESE PEOPLE
Why: Because now a bunch of college kids have Covid-19. Good job, idiots.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: How To Release A Book Without Being Social
Why: Because like most media, it is a bad time to try to get people to hear about your project.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Kill And Cuddly
Why: Because the latest Doom and Animal Crossing are a welcome distraction from reality – whether you want to build houses with friendly animals or saw a demon in half, there is an escape waiting for you.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: How To Make A Fake Animal Language; What Our Best Comedians Have Been Up To; The History Of TP
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Everyone Stay Healthy
Why: Because you deserve it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 325, March 15, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators. Well, here I am in the fourth evening of my “highly encouraged” two+ week work from home stint, thanks to the heavy appearance of the Coronavirus (AKA Covid-19, AKA SARS CoV-2) in the state of California. Read this for updated coverage. What interesting times we live in. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Failure Of The State
Why: Because Trump has provided an endless list of reasons why he is the most wrong person for the job of the President of the United States. He has done the bare minimum in assuaging the world’s fears, and has unequivocally caused harm to both people and the economy he is charged with the care of.  November cannot come soon enough.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: Dow Goes Down
Why: Because the Dow faced it’s biggest drop since the 80s, all but erasing any gains made since Trump became President. Because we already used all of our financial tools for nonsense purposes like tax breaks, the Fed just basically used its nuke and cut its rate to just above zero.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Effect Of Trump On The Courts
Why: Because this is the outcome of people thinking that the vote for president only matters for that position. These judges will influence the US’ direction for years to come long after whoever is in office is dead.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Flatten The Curve
Why: Because this is the reason why you should limit contact with other humans as much as possible.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: No More Sports
Why: Because almost every league in the United States from pro to collegiate have been suspended.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Stupid Movie Not So Controversial
Why: Because tasteless is still tasteless, especially when it doesn’t have much to say.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Gigaton In Your Ears
Why: Because Pearl Jam’s newest album Gigaton has my favorite song of the year so far on it.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. look)
What: More Empty Spaces
Why: Because places made for people to congregate have no people in them.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: More Pandemic Books
Why: Because we’re in for the long haul.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: What If Dark Souls But More?
Why: Because Nioh 2 is by far the most difficult of the “souls-like” games I have ever played.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: More Internet; Games To Take Your Mind Off Of Things; Singing Across The Street
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A Cure
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 324, March 8, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators! We finally made it – it is now light past 6 pm. For any working person, this should be considered a godsend. Now if I could only immediately be used to waking up the equivalent of an hour early… On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: A Growing Threat
Why: Because the US has no plan for the Coronavirus outbreak, and is actively hampering potential solutions at the same time. 500 known cases have resulted in over 20 deaths so far. This is equivalent to 4.4% mortality rate, which is a full percentage point above the world average.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Ups And Downs
Why: Because for the first time in ages, the price of oil plummeted when OPEC failed to come to an agreement to try to prevent that very thing from happening.  This is on top of one of the steepest market selloffs since the 2008 crisis.

POLITICAL THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: And Then There Were Two (Well, Three, If We’re Being Technical)
Why: Because Gabbard is still somehow hanging around, even though no one will vote for her.  Here’s looking forward to 2148!

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Playing To An Empty House
Why: Because the Coronavirus has already caused matches around the world to be played with no fans in attendance, and that might be coming to the US.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Onwards And Upwards
Why: Because Pixar’s latest movie, Onwards, might be its nerdiest yet.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. look)
What: Revisiting David Byrne
Why: Because the former Talking Heads lead singer just won’t stop creating new things.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: Take A Look From Above
Why: Because Overview is a project that collects overhead pictures and categorizes them in different ways to tell stories. It’s neat.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: A Book About New York
Why: Because every generation has one, but this one actually seems to be about all of that city as opposed to a small portion of it.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. look)
What: The Half Life Of VR
Why: Becuase Half-Life: Alyx is coming to a headset near you very soon.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Once In A Lifetime; Hockey Hair 2020; Kevin James Started Being Weirdly Funny
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Eternal Daylight Savings
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 323, March 1, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators! The Democratic candidates are slowly whittling themselves down, and some day, we might just have a candidate.  Just to be clear, as of this writing, here’s where we are at with the delegates have declared their vote – Sanders with 58, Biden with 50, Warren with 8, and Klobuchar with 7.  There are roughly 4000 delegates in total. This whole process takes too long, not enough voters participate, and the media does its best to make nonsense spoken by talking heads meaningful.  Regardless, I will be voting on Tuesday (that’s your day to vote, Californians).  I hope you all do as well.  On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: How To Fail At Leadership
Why: Because Donald Trump, through Mike Pence, will kill Americans with their callousness and stupidity.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Global Pandemics And The Economy
Why: Because most stock indices fell by around 10% last week, largely driven by Coronavirus fears.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Silence Is Deafening
Why: Because the courts seem to want America to fall apart just as much as GOP does. The Court’s suggestion that the House could withhold funding in order to achieve its goals is absolute nonsense.  In somewhat better news for the judicial process, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: What The Coronavirus Actually Is
Why: Because calling the coronavirus “The Coronavirus” is an extremely dumb thing to name it – mainly because there are a slew of viruses, like the common cold, that fall under the general term “coronavirus.” Leave it to poorly explained health cases plus general human stupidity to have things like causing a massive fall in the purchase of Corona, the beer.  WASH YOUR HANDS.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Waiting For The Return
Why: Because basketball without Curry has been lackluster (for Warriors fans).

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: I Am OK With This
Why: Because I Am Not OK With This is a funny, dark take on what can go wrong when a teen gets superpowers.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: A Soccer Mom With Angst
Why: Becuase Soccer Mommy is 22 year old singer-songwriter Sophia Allison writes music like it’s still the 90’s. It is very good.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: What Pandemics Look Like
Why: Because the Coronavirus response has hit Asia especially hard.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Stoking The Fear
Why: Because now is as good a time as any to read about pandemics.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (1 min. read)
What: The Developers Are Not Conferencing
Why: Because the largest video game based event was canceled due to Coronavirus concerns.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Be A Lady; Be A Man; Be A Pirate
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Less Coronavirus, More Coronas
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 322, February 23, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators! Sorry for missing last week’s – I was too busy being sick to write about how America is falling apart. Luckily, I’m all better! I’m not sure I can say the same about the US, though. Oh good, far-right violence in Germany. That’s never gone badly before. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Democrats At Bernie’s
Why: Because Bernie Sanders became the first presidential candidate ever to win the popular vote in the first three states in a competitive primary for either party.  Some people find this terrifying.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Buying Your Karma
Why: Because Intuit, the tax software company, is buying Credit Karma, your friendly phone app that gives you your credit score whenever you don’t want it, for $7 billion.

“They would have all of this rich information, and they would basically be an ad network,” he said. “You’re almost forced to advertise with them.”

When your taxes are also pivoting to ads, something is entirely wrong.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (must reads)
What: The Law Is Failing Us
Why: Because between Bill Barr’s absolute nonsense, Trump’s interference with ongoing legal matters, Trump’s interference with past legal matters, and the Supreme Court being called out by its own member for bending over backwards for the executive branch, it doesn’t seem like there’s much to keep faith in.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Leave Rockets To The Astronauts
Why: Because a flat-Earther took the term too literally when his homemade rocket crashed with him in it. When Newton and Darwin team up, the results often aren’t good.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Miracle On Ice (And Of Knees) 
Why: Because a 42 year old Zamboni driver started in his first NHL game as a goalie after the the Hurricanes lost their actual goalies to injuries. Maybe I still can go pro in something!

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Sonic Boom
Why: Because the new Sonic movie did way better than expected. Also, this was the second successful video game based movie in a row that did well, so my guess is that video game movies will be the next thing to take over after Marvel and DC run their IPs into the ground.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Beautiful Grime
Why: Because Miss Anthropocene, Grimes’ new album, is both something to reckon with. How else do you get an album with both banjos and dark Enya?

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (quick look)
What: Let’s Check In With The World
Why: Because it seems like there are at least a few OK things happening.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: The Parable Of The Now
Why: Because Octavia Butler, one of the most preeminent African American science fiction writers of the last century, seemed a little tuned in to where we are in 2020.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Only In Dreams
Why: Because Dreams is essentially a tool where you can create whatever you want. To say it is the most ambitious game in a long time would not be an understatement.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Just A Tribute; Mr. Music; How To Beat A Billionaire
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Anything From The Toy Fair
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™