Since starting to do my reading challenges over the past two years, a lot of my time has been consumed with books in some form — reading books, talking about books on Goodreads, looking for new books, etc. I’ve really been trying to strike a better balance this year, while still reading a lot!
Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.
Like my tendency to avoid books that are overhyped, I find I’m also quite slow to catch on to trends and new technology. Netflix has been available for a long time by now, but I avoided it for years. I just didn’t see the point of paying for additional TV when I already had TV and most other shows were available online anyway. I slowly started coming around to it when we started using Netflix at work to stream movies for participants in our program, and fairly recently got a profile on my boyfriend’s account. While I still think the selection on Netflix is pretty limited, I’ve loved binge-watching shows that I probably never would have committed to otherwise. My first choice was Gilmore Girls, a show that I actively avoided when it was on TV. I finally succumbed to all the hype, especially around the Year in the Life series. It was a much better show than I expected! Currently, I’m binge-watching Friends (which I loved but never saw in full) and The Secret Life of the American Teenager (which is just ok).
2) A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix Series)
This may be a bit of a cheat since it is part of Netflix, but I have become obsessed with this series almost as soon as it was released. A Series of Unfortunate Events has always been one of my favourite book series, and the show was one of the main reasons I wanted Netflix at all. It has always frustrated me that the movie version never became a true series. As I mentioned recently in my review of the series, I thought this was a fantastic adaptation of the books that was very true to the original sources. As soon as I finished the last episode, I was torn between wanting three things: 1) to watch the series again from the beginning immediately, 2) for the next season to be released, and 3) to re-read the book series!
I have always been a geek when it comes to Pokemon games, and it was one of the few video games that I really grew up with (Mario and Kirby being the others). I don’t care how old I am — I still find these games a lot of fun! I can definitely see where people are coming from when they say that the series is just the same game over and over, but somehow they are still exciting enough for me to keep playing. Not only have I recently bought Pokemon Sun, but it seems that my obsession is spreading. My boyfriend even ordered some Pokemon cards just so I would have someone to play against — although it didn’t work out since we both forgot how many packs it takes to create anything remotely resembling a usable deck. I wish they would remake the Pokemon TCG video game, but that seems to be one of the only games in the series that never got a sequel or remake.
4) Youtube Cover Artists
I have no musical talent whatsoever myself, so I’ve always been impressed by how many amazing singers there are on Youtube. My interest in their work is a bit of a paradox though, since I often love their cover songs but have very little interest in any of their original work. Over the past year or two, I’ve discovered quite a few great talents just by exploring. Some of my favourites include, with one of my favourite of their videos linked below:
Caleb Hyles – covers a wide variety, including Pop, Broadway, Anime, Disney, etc. One of his best is definitely his cover of Til I Hear You Sing from Love Never Dies (Phantom of the Opera sequel)
Jonathan Young – heavy metal/rock covers of Disney music (and other pop songs)! I’ve never been a big fan of metal, but I love his voice and the songs sound surprisingly great in this style. Here’s his cover of Kiss the Girl from The Little Mermaid.
Malinda Kathleen Reese – created the very popular Google Translate Sings series, where she puts popular songs through several layers of translation and then back to English. She has an incredible voice, and the songs are hilarious! The best one is definitely her collaboration with Caleb Hyles, on I’ll Make a Man Out of You
BoyceAvenue – This is a cover band that I’ve loved for several years, and was one of the original cover bands that got me interested in finding music on Youtube. It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I really love their cover of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.
PostModern Jukebox – An amazing channel that creates old-fashioned versions of current music. My favourites are the videos featuring Robyn Adele Anderson on vocals, but the channel has also featured some other incredible talents. They’ve even taken songs that I don’t like that much, and made them much more interesting — their version of Talk Dirty by Jason DeRulo, for example.
Peter Hollens – An incredible talent who makes a cappella versions of songs where every sound heard, including the background music, is produced just by voice. His version of Without You is a great example of what he can do.
Nick Pitera – Known for creating “one man” movie medleys, where he takes on all the roles himself, as well as his other covers. Nick Pitera’s voice has such incredible range. I first discovered him through his One Man Les Miserables video, and I was amazed by how he could sing so many parts alone!
Kurt Hugo Schneider – This is a channel I’ve been aware of for a while but only recently started following. Kurt himself is a producer and musician who produces videos for multiple other Youtube artists. My favourites recently have been the videos he’s produced for Sam Tsui and Casey Breves, especially Treat You Better. His videos are more hit-or-miss for me since I don’t like all the artists he collaborates with, but I’ve enjoyed the majority of them.
This isn’t really a recent favourite, since I’ve been playing for several years. This game was entirely my boyfriend’s influence, at least in the beginning. He’s a gamer and my gaming experience is limited to Pokemon, Mario, Kirby and Tetris. For years he was obsessed with this game and he introduced me to it in an attempt to find something we can play together. It took a while for me to get into it, and it was only really when we started playing the modded versions that I actually enjoyed it. Over the years, we’ve had several Minecraft servers, most of which eventually glitch out and die on us. A few months ago, we finally decided to start up a new one again for us and a few close friends we used to play with often, and it’s been a lot of fun! It’s definitely a hobby that I need to balance with time to read since it can easily consume several hours of my day, but it’s a great (although sometimes frustrating) game.