Thursday, June 12, 2008

Brown Paper Packages...

With the hiatus upon us, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things on teh internets and I invite y'all to do the same. I figure it might give all some entertaining things to do since there's not going to be much LOST to write about in the next several months. These are five of my local pit stops on the internet. I have a lot of pit stops, so I tried to pick (non-Lost related) things all on different topics that might interest people - and I also tried to pick stuff that people might not know about.

1. Five Thirty Eight - If you're a politics and/or statistics junkie, this site is like caffeine-laced crack dissolved in Mountain Dew. While electoral prediction sites are abundant on the net, I was thrilled to discover that this one is run by Nate Silver, one of the grand gentlemen who runs my very favorite baseball site on the internet, Baseball Prospectus.

BP uses an incredible statistical model called PECOTA, created by Nate, to predict how a player will perform in a given season based on various parameters (age, past performance, injury history, plate discipline, etc...). Five Thirty Eight applies a similar method to the electoral college, predicting how well Obama and McCain will do in various states using a statistical model based on polls and various demographics. The model held up incredibly well throughout the primary season and now Nate will be gearing up the site for the general election. Can't recommend it enough if you follow politics.

Oh, and how hot is Nate right now? His site just got a write up in Newsweek.

2. Fark, Top Links - I've been a member of Fark for nearly five years now and a member of TotalFark for almost as long (and a Top 100 submitter there, thank you very much). While I don't spend as much time there as I used to (although TotalFark is still the best $5/month you'll ever spend and the TF Secret Santa is one of my favorite little joys of the season), I usually make it a daily stop to check out the Top Links page.

These are the best headlines/articles voted by the TF community. A link can make it either on headline or content alone. At the end of the year, the best annual headlines are voted on to choose both an overall winner and individual winners in several categories (Best Sports Headline, Best Punning Headline, etc...). TotalFarkers can read all the voted headlines (there's a longer list that appears if you're a member) and all the comment thread (Farkers can only read greenlit threads), but anyone can click on the actual associated stories on the left hand side.

Since these are the top voted stories, it's an easy way (kind of one-stop shopping) of browsing popular/entertaining stuff circulating around the web.

3. The Hot Sauce Blog - I'm a serious hot sauce junkie. I use it in place of ketchup (which I oddly can't stand) and my tolerance at this point is pretty much through the roof. One of my former roommates used to frequently wonder how in the world I could even taste anything since my taste buds should have been burned off long ago.

The Hot Sauce Blog takes their hot sauces seriously. They review anything and everything and I've gotten quite a few suggestions on different things to try from them. All their reviews are neatly organized in the sidebar - if you're looking for something new, just click and browse. Bar none, it's the best hot sauce resource on the internet.

4. Baseball Think Factory - This is my one-stop shopping for baseball headlines. The BTF is filled with incredibly intelligent fans (much moreso than i), journalists and columnists (including the fabulous Tim Marchman of the New York Sun and Howard Megdal of the New York Observer) all discussing the pertinent baseball stories of the day. The news headlines on the front page are generally some of the best baseball writing and news on the web. Big stories make it there, but also lesser known stories of interest, generally with a statistical bent.

5. Penny and Aggie - I love webcomics. Lots of webcomics.

Some of my favorites, in no particular order are:

Least I Can Do - Guy humor. Really, really, really funny guy humor.
Questionable Content - Drama and music. With robots.
Scary Go Round - The most bizarrely creative comic on the internet. Pure joy.
Zebra Girl - Beautiful art. Fun story. I wish Joe would update it regularly. *sigh*
Grim Tales/PPGD - Bleedman's art rocks and I love what he's done with familiar characters

But Penny and Aggie has the best current storyline right now and it's probably not as well known as some of the comics above. I wrote a previous review of P&A on StumbleUpon a while ago and said:
Think "Archie," but meaner and nastier - like real high school. Penny's the Veronica Lodge of the comic - rich, beautiful, even smart (although she hides it). She's also an alpha female - vindictive and cunning. Throw in a pinch of non-trashy Paris Hilton (if you can imagine that) and that's Penny.

Her nemesis is the strip's Betty Drake, Aggie - pretty, intelligent, and ambitious. The product of two hippies, she's an uber-liberal too; a political, vegetarian, peace-loving environmentalist who always speaks her mind. She hates everything Penny stands for: The popular Barbie Girl who's more style than substance. Aggie constantly taunts her, which causes Penny to retaliate, which prompts more taunts, lather, rinse, repeat, etc...

Ironically though, if the two of them actually sat down and talked, they'd find they're not as different as they'd like to believe.
I was blissfully ignorant in high school, so I was never really involved in any of the class warfare going on. Just kinda got along with everyone - played poker with the jocks, played video games with my friends - and I really didn't care about being popular, which seems to me to have been the key. But I imagine a lot of you can relate to the strip and the social dynamics of the age.

Right now, the comic's in the midst of it's most ambitious storyline yet, and I find myself looking forward to new strips more than any other I read. I can't recommend it enough. Check out all the archives online to get the full backstory. Fabulous art too.

So that's my five. Anyone have anything sites they want to share? Blog it, post in the comments and I'll provide a link. :)

1 comment:

nana said...
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