What I’m Watching: Nerdy YouTube and Comedies About Depression

Super Carlin Brothers is a channel I’ve watched off and on, but I’ve finally subscribed to on my YouTube account. Most of the videos I’ve watched focus on Pixar and Disney, plus some great videos breaking apart Harry Potter. They talk about the Pixar theory, the history and meaning of things like Inside Out and Beauty and the Beast, and basically out loud have the conversations that churn in my own head, waiting for someone to talk at.

Taking a different turn, I’ve also started watching the YouTube channel The School of Life. Their About page states they are “devoted to emotional education” and they are great, talking about overcoming childhood or bad inner voices, or how romanticism is bad for love in general, with beautiful animations to illustrate their points. I’ve only just started digging into this channel, and there are some videos about philosophers and writers and…oh my goodness, there’s a video called “In Praise of Hugs“, gotta watch that…

I’ve also been watching Lady Dynamite, the Netflix show starring comedian Maria Bamford. My husband and I both love her — I tried to listen to her to make packing go by faster when we were moving, but I was laughing so hard I couldn’t see or move. I was a little nervous about the show, though, because her comedy is weird, and sometimes comedians don’t translate well into their sitcoms. But no! This show reflects Maria Bamford so well, with random fourth wall breaks, sudden surreal moments, and frequent shots of her pugs. She even manages to jump between three timelines in an amazingly clear way (an issue she addresses in the show through a conversation with Patton Oswalt) and is so funny in a way that I can’t really explain, because you just have to see it. Oh, and it’s about her past and continuing battle with anxiety and depression. We’re halfway though it now, and it is a great time.

What I’m Watching: Wheezy Waiter (Daily Vlogs)

For a couple of years I’ve subscribed to Wheezy Waiter, the channel by Craig Benzine. When I first started watching, he’d post a few times a week, usually about a jokey topic (Explosion Wednesday!). I watched a lot of them, because I had YouTube open, because it was there. Some of them I liked, some I didn’t care about, some I didn’t watch at all.

A few months ago, the channel shifted. He moved the camera from his office back to his home. He started moving the camera around, then taking it with him. Without my noticing at first, Wheezy Waiter became a daily vlog, and I loved it.

He tapes himself making coffee, entering rooms, editing, going on a run. He comes up with ways to make what he does interesting, funny, meaningful. Or, he finds meaning in things he encounters as he carries his camera around all day.

This is a guy who runs a PBS show, who’s in a band and is a guest at conventions, but even without that the way he records his life is fascinating to me. Even on a boring day, there’s something fun you can do, or look at, or talk about. The everyday is laid out in such a way that I’m inspired — inspired to run, to go places and do things, to blog about what happened in my life. Inspired to focus on how ridiculous and cute my dog is (not that I needed much extra help with that).

I don’t key into every moment of every video, and I still feel a little weird admitting that one of my favorite channels is, in its basic form, a guy going about his day. But he’s somehow made peering into someone else’s life comfortable, and I appreciate all the thoughts that come out of watching these snaps of life.

What I’m Watching: BookTube and the Art of Book Covers

Over the last few days I’ve been watching a few more book-centric YouTube channels, partly from the couple of channels I actively subscribe to, and because more have been showing up in my suggestion screen.

One person I follow is Sanne on Books and Quills. Her channel is really interesting, since she actually works at Penguin Random House in the UK. Recently she’s put up a couple of videos I found highly, nerdily fascinating: book covers. Specifically, how the art is designed so that you specifically will pick it up, and what the different kinds of finishes on a book cover are called.

This first video, How Do Book Covers Work, gave me the sense that it’s OK when I pick up a book mainly because I enjoy the way the cover looks. (I did that recently, actually.) Publishers want their covers to appeal to the people who would probably want to read the book, after all. So, if the cover grabs me, perhaps the book will, too.

So. I love touching books. Not just the paper, or the weight and shape, but the feeling of a matte cover beneath my hands, embossed letters and designs bumping up beneath my fingers… This is one of the few downfalls of working in a library, that most of the books come to me pre-wrapped in the protective library covers, so I can’t always feel the texture of the cover. (Though sometimes I can stick my fingers under the plastic and touch the cover underneath, which, yup, oh boy, that sounds dirty.) Some of the terms, like “super matte” and “debossed” I’d never heard before, so maybe now I’ll sound like I know a little bit more like I know what I’m talking about when I talk about books.

These videos have gotten me thinking about what I like in my book covers, so maybe I’ll write a post about some of my favorite book covers that I own. And also I watch a lot of YouTube, probably more than I read blogs, so I will feature some more of my favorite videos soon.

What are you watching? And do you love book covers as much as I do? (probably not.) Let me know!

Weekly Finds: Plant Burgers and Disney Cats

The Good Stuff, a Youtube channel sponsored by PBS that I occasionally watch, is doing a series of episodes on the future of food. Right now they have two videos, one on making meat from plants and one on eating bugs (both are far less gross than they sound). They’re really interesting, and now I want to try a Beast Burger.

 

Did you know there’s a whole population of feral cats that live in Disneyland in California? I did. Did you know that there’s a Cats of Disneyland twitter feed that someone updates regularly? I didn’t. But now I do. Now I do.

 

The Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast had an episode on borderline personality disorder. They’ve done a few on different mental disorders, like OCD, and I always find them fascinating. These things are so poorly portrayed, education on them is not good, so it’s nice to listen to something talking about them intelligently and sensitively, and it reminds me not to default to “insane” or “crazy” when talking about how a person is acting, and to not blame someone for being ill since they probably can’t help that behavior. I also enjoy learning about how the human brain works.

There’s some cool stuff I’ve found. What do you think? And what have you found around the Internet and the world at large?

 

Response: You Will Be Forgotten

Last week, Hank Green posted a vlogbrothers video titled “You Will Be Forgotten…And That’s OK.” This was in response to a popular Tumblr post where the original poster revealed a fear of living an average life and never doing something to be remembered by, and he was concerned about the fact that so many people seemed to share this anxiety.

Watch the video, definitely, it’s less than 4 minutes long, but here’s a gist of what he said: oblivion is inevitable, and it’s impossible to be actually remembered for forever. Besides that, the idea of being permanently successful is a myth; as he points out from his stance as a “successful” person, you can have many successes, but being successful and satisfied one hundred percent of the time just isn’t a thing.
Hank Green None of it exists

This struck me, because, I think, that’s something that bothers me, too. I want to be remembered, I want to be known. But…why?

It’s a hard thing to grasp, but I believe this feeling comes from not quite understanding my own motivations. I want to be a writer. Being a writer makes you sort of famous, so that seems like a “why”. But is it?

If I can be a famous enough writer, I’ll make enough money off of writing to be able to make that my vocation. I’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve done something well when other people like what I’ve done. When other people know that I’ve done this thing, and like it enough to pay me money for it, I will feel “successful” and “remembered.” With that as the seeming goal, having not reached that point yet is, well, kind of depressing.

Hank Green’s video helped remind me to not get caught up in this. Becoming known for my writing is a byproduct of what I want, writing for a living. It’s not what I’m actually aiming for. If I don’t ever become “famous”, or whatever, that’s not a problem, because that’s not what I’m trying to do.

Hank ends the video emphasizing that what’s important is the good things you have done, and the good things you will do, “…things that you’re gonna make and have already helped make.” Who cares if I won’t be remembered. I’m WRITING now, and I’m going to keep writing, and creating, and just doing things that hopeful add an ounce of happiness to the world (even it’s just my own world). That’s the thing that matters.

Here’s Hank’s video, embedded below. But check out the whole vlogbrothers channel; they’re really smart, sensitive dudes.

Weekly Finds: Meditation, Running, and Lists

MeditationAsapSCIENCE is a fun science YouTube channel I follow, and this week they had a great video on meditation, if it works, and does it change your brain. (Yes to both.) Basically, meditation can make you more empathetic and less stressed out. I want to watch the video again, and also actually try to meditate.

I’ve been linking to Kate Beaton a lot on here lately, haven’t I? Well, let’s do it again! The latest series of comics she published on her website is about Tom Longboat, a Canadian Olympic marathon runner and World War I soldier. Having recently started running and being interested in reading about it I thought this was great, plus Beaton gave me another book I want to read.

Puke It Out
Yeah I’ll be sticking to jogging not marathons I think.

A writing friend posted a list of Books to Make You More Interesting. I’ve only skimmed it, but there are some cool books on there that I’d like to read, like Bad Feminist and Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, and even some that I’ve read and talked about, like Persepolis and Fun Home. Which I guess makes me already interesting? But I could be more interesting.

What do you think? Did you find anything awesome this week?

Recent Inspirations: Young Lady YouTubers

Ever since I figured out the YouTube app on our Playstation and my phone, I’ve been watching a lot of videos not just at my desk, but now on the couch while I eat lunch and even some of my breaks at work. So, my list of subscribed channels I watch has been steadily growing. While a lot of these channels are run by older men (I love you, John Green) I’ve stumbled upon a couple by younger (by which I mean, younger than me) ladies who I not only find interesting and funny, but inspiring as well.

JustMargaret

A twenty-something ex-English major who talks about books and other nerdy things, her videos remind me of myself just out of college with the weird wide open world before her, except she seems to have a much better (and healthier) grasp on herself than I did at the time. I’m not too far off from where she is, so occasional talks about the uncertainty of Life After College and how that’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of resonate quite loudly to me.

Nerdy and Quirky

This channel is run by a high school kid named Sabrina. She showcases a big personality I wish I’d had the guts to show in high school, displaying her unabashed nerdy weirdness. I haven’t skimmed as many of her videos as Margaret’s, but again there’s some fun focus on what she loves, and her reactions to the world around her. Also some videos that are simply fun, as above.

Books and Quills

I just started looking at her page, so I’ve only gone through a few videos. But I would regret not mentioning her here, since I know this page has already inspired a couple of planned posts. This is mainly a book reviewing blog by a young woman named Sanne, but she also talks about books in general, what she’s bought, as well as things outside of that scope. Right now, she’s reminded me of how much I want to go back to writing quick reviews of at least the graphic novels I’ve been reading, with her own graphic novel review videos.

I don’t vlog, but I blog, which is the same thing except I hide behind a mask of text rather than embarrass myself by trying to talk to people, and seeing how they handle the content on their pages has started to inspire what I want to try to do here. Firstly, to be a little more varied in the way that I talk about books with things like the list I showcased from JustMargaret’s channel (though I need to be better at writing reviews, in general). Also, to not 100% focus my posts on books and/or writing. Though that’s the alleged purpose of this thing here, I start to run out of unique or even mildly interesting things to say. Occasionally writing on other passions or interests (like YouTube videos) or things I take note of doesn’t stray so far from the simultaneously specific and overly vague point of this blog, and may even generate the kind of conversations I keep hoping will start here, but which rarely ever do.

Anyway — go to their channels, watch their videos. They’re very much worth it.

What’s been inspiring you lately? Do you have any YouTube channels you enjoy? Ever made your own video blog? Share below!