Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Web Picks

Originally Appears in Issue 3

Declan Aylward
is back with three more fantastic web sites for you to browse, proving once and for all he has infinitely more free time than you do.

Hober Thinking Radio

While not technically a time-waster, Hober is one of those great web sites that makes any long day go by that much quicker. It seems like there are more and more internet radio stations every time you open up your browser, and more and more of them blasting out the same emo ridiculousness or mass-marketed advertising jingles dressed up as pop songs. Hober is, as the name suggests, music for the thinking web junkie. Broadcast from the city of Takoma Park in Maryland, close to Washington D.C., Hober’s dominant genres are ‘folk and ethnic’ according to their site; about as vague a description as you could hope to get really. Everything from down home blues to some very strange traditional styles from various parts of the world raise their heads for your aural pleasure. Most importantly though, Hober wants you to think, so fire up your iTunes or point Windows Media Player at Takoma Park, pull your rocking chair onto the front porch and prepare for some intellectual musical adventures.

Dead Days

Oh great, another web comic about what it’s like to be a college student in America, we can never have enough of those! But hey, hypothetical contrary person, give Dead Days a chance and quit being so negative, you douche. Dead Days did indeed start out as your run of the mill three panel sequential comic printed in a college newspaper about topics close to the heart of every student, namely Xbox, alcohol and a distinct lack of housework. Since then, creator John Rios has left college for the working world, but his nameless protagonists have remained the perpetual students most of us wish we could be. Their adventures range from the wacky to the ridiculous, but it is Rios’ charmingly exuberant style combined with an ability to give a line drawing’s expression more depths of resignation and world weary cynicism than Tom Waits at the bottom of a bottle of whiskey that makes Dead Days stand out from the crowd. The comic was recently slated on the Webcomic Beacon Podcast for Rios’ refusal to use colour, but if you can overcome that prejudice then Dead Days could well help you pass the time while you’re supposed to be doing something much more important. You can even use the shout box to annoy John himself with your opinions on the comic in a very accessible back-and-forth which he seems to pay a lot of attention to.

Major Spoilers

So you think you’re a nerd? Think again my friend; you ain’t got nothing on the boys from Major Spoilers. The site started in July of 2006 as a way for founder Stephen Schleicher and the rest of the team to bring to the internet news, reviews and interviews about comics, science fiction and other things to make anybody who owns their own Star Trek uniform drool. As well as countless review articles, one of the site’s best loved features is the weekly Major Spoilers podcast. Here, Stephen and his buddies Rodrigo and Matthew discuss, bicker and generally wax lyrical about the latest comics releases, DVDs, other people’s podcasts or even wage philosophical debates over the origin of humanity’s great cultural and religious legends and how they relate to Spiderman. There are plenty of podcasts to be found in the site’s archives and, if everything above didn’t seem quite nerdy enough for you, you can even tune in once a week to follow Critical Hit, the gang’s own Dungeons and Dragons campaign put online for your listening pleasure. Just don’t let your boss hear you chuckling into your monitor or he might ask to get involved.

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