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Things Erin Approves Of

My tastes are pretty varied, but if you want suggestions about movies, music, books, websites, etc, feel free to read on. Most of this stuff is legitimately good. A couple of things I’ve listed (I Can Has Cheeseburger, for example) are ridiculous and I know it. I don’t get any special perks for mentioning any of these things, and I’m not blatantly recommending things just because they belong to someone I know. Also, while I would not deliberately recommend anything that is offensive or illegal, I am not responsible for any content that I link to, as websites are updated frequently and I don’t control the content on them. Enjoy, and check back often, as I will be continuously adding things to the list!           

Websites

Gmail– allows you to save EVERYTHING, as well as find and organize it easily. Imagine google search helping you find that chat or email with your great-aunt’s address. It’s wonderful. Gmail also gives you the benefit of having Gtalk embedded in your email window (as well as downloaded onto your computer, if you want). Gtalk even includes a “call” option for other Gtalk users (free international calls to all your gtalk friends!), and recently a nifty little button has been popping up and offering to allow me to talk to my AIM friends, as well. It also notifies me on my desktop when I get new emails. Once you have Gmail, you can also use Google Documents (pretty much as good as word, and accessible anywhere with loads of storage) Picassa Web Albums, Google Calendar, Google Toolbar, and loads of other great features. Best of all, you no longer need an invite to sign up. Seriously, folks. If you don’t already have Gmail, get it. I use it daily for so many things that I would be able to function online if it went away.

Yahoo Answers – a great place to get answers to virtually everything, and to offer your own knowledge. Beware, not everyone who uses Yahoo Answers is an expert!

I Can Has Cheezburger – a silly website with captioned photos of cats and other animals. Nice for blowing off steam.

DeviantArt – a wonderful website for showing your art (of all kinds, including written work) and seeing the work of others

StumbleUpon – this site allows you to download a bar for your browser that enables you to “stumble” through thousands of user-recommended pages across the internet. You can select which sorts of pages you would like to see and which you wouldn’t.

Post Secret – every Sunday, postcards from regular people are uploaded to this site. The postcards are supposed to contain a depiction of a secret from that person. This can be very powerful stuff.

Craigslist – a place to buy, sell, and trade items and services with other people in your community.

Associated Content– a website that pays for your writing. They pay $4 per college essay, and other amounts (usually $5-$10) for articles that they request in their “Calls for Content.” You can write on practically any subject. They seem to be pretty legitimate, and don’t allow people to copy/paste from your articles. I’ve made $120 by submitting things off and on for the last two or three years. If I was more dedicated about it, I probably could have made more. They pay you every few weeks, even for “performance bonuses” (based on pageviews) that are as small as $1.75. How can you lose?

Free Rice – free rice is a sort of vocabulary quiz that teaches you new words. They also claim that for every right answer, they donate a quantity of rice to people in need. The rice is supposedly supported by advertising. I’ve never seen any conclusive evidence that this site is legitimate, but what do you have to lose?

Ka-Bang! – a small webzine, created by several members of now-defunct Concentricus.com. Ka-Bang is currently accepting submissions.

Not Always Right – a fun website with stories of customers who do stupid stuff. Can be a lot of fun for relieving stress, or to remind yourself that your job could be worse.

Book Mooch – mail your unwanted books to strangers, earn points, and get books that you want. All for free!

Meebo – one of many all-in-one chat programs, except that for this one, you don’t have to download anything. I use it all the time.

Events

The Kentucky Renaissance Faire– in Eminence KY on weekends from May 31st to July 20th

The Ohio Renaissance Festival – in Harveysburg OH on weekends from August 30th to October 19th

Rothbury Music Festival– part music festival, part environmental fair. Held in Rothbury Michigan July 3rd through 6th

Music

The Dresden Dolls– they call themselves Brechtian Punk Cabaret, and they’re amazing

The Moxies – a new band based in Lexington, KY.

Rasputina – rock cello, anyone?

Laura Veirs – good background music for chill sorts of parties, amazingly poetic lyrics

Rosie Thomas – I found her on Pandora while looking for things similar to Vanessa Carlton. Listen to “Pretty Dress”

The Duhks – I’m not really sure how to describe them, but this is one of only about six bands whose CDs never leave my car.

Vermillion Lies – an amazing sister duo that I first heard at an Amanda Palmer concert. They’re adorable, hilarious, and actually pretty talented.

Movies

Love Actually

Meet Joe Black

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Dirty Dancing

Flicka

Dead Poets Society

Man From Snowy River and Return to Snowy River

Serenity

Moulin Rouge

Rent

Spanglish

Books

Catch-22

The Poisonwood Bible

Master and Margarita

Anything by Stephen King

Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series

How to Become Extinct by Will Cuppy

TV Shows – I don’t watch a lot of TV, and furthermore, I’m ashamed of most of the stuff I do watch. However, try these . . .

Firefly – cancelled after one season, but still has a cult following. By the same guy who does Buffy, and the inspiration for the movie Serenity.

Unsolved Mysteries – this show has scared me since I was a kid. Lots of fun though, and amazingly it is still on-air with new episodes (Lifetime, I think)

I also watch a lot of Law and Order, CSI, Animal Cops, Greys Anatomy, Lost, and things like Make Me a Supermodel and Project Runway

Webcomics

xkcd – I don’t understand all of the jokes, but I love this comic

Penny Arcade – comic for gamers

Looking For Group– fantasy themed MMORPG comic

Animals Have Problems Too – funny comic of animals with their undiscussed (at least by humans) problems. Currently on hiatus, but it’s well worth working your way through the archives.

Programs

Picassa – great for organizing, uploading, and making minor edits to your photos.

GIMP – similar to Photoshop, but free. I’m not great at using it yet, as I don’t even know how to use Photoshop, but I see the potential.

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