If you’re like me, at the start of the pandemic, you were glued to the news, furiously checking who on Twitter was self-quarantining, and counting rolls of toilet paper.
Now, a good two months in with no real end in sight, I’ve been slowly reconnecting with my hobbies and searching out lighthearted media. Above all, I’m just trying to not feel so alone and the internet, dank, dark hole that it is, can be a wonderful place for just that.
You yourself may have gotten into SomeGoodNews with John Krasinski or spiffed up your Animal Crossing house. Or watched watched Tiger King and baked some bread.
But because this is Conquer Books, I’m going to share some of my favorite SFF-related rabbit holes and hopefully you can find some a few fun websites or things to read. If you have favorite corners of the internet or found a specific hobby to be particularly relaxing at this time, please post about them down below so I can try it out too.
I’m on YouTube a lot, more than TV, and here’s some of the videos I laughed at or that made me think over the last few weeks.
Ever wonder what the opening of The Witcher would be like if the The Witcher were in the same vein as Friends? Wonder no more. 1 minute video on YouTube here
A good video on writing descriptively from TED-ed. 4 minute video on YouTube here.
It’s not SFF-related, but Julie Nolke does a good job of imagining what it would have been like to explain current events to yourself in January. 3 minute video on YouTube here.
This video about the animation in Spider-Verse inspired me to rewatch the movie. 13 minute video on YouTube here.
Another non-SFF video, Nighihiga has a relatable music video up about quarantine life titled Ugh, There’s Just Nothing to Do! 3 minute video on YouTube here.
I’m also playing the soundtrack to the video game Horizon Zero Dawn as background music. 4 hour long video on YouTube here. I also have to admit, yes, I’ve been playing this a lot, but I’m looking for a new game to play.
This Undercover Boss skit with Kylo Ren on Saturday Night Live came out in January, but it’s never to late to watch. 3 minute video on YouTube here.
Plus, I pretty much stalk the channels (it’s called subscribing, sheesh) of iWriterly, minimalist Matt D’Avella, writer R. R. Campbell, photographer Peter McKinnon, writer Kristen Martin, and yogi Adriene.
The Stand by Stephen King
I’m rereading Stephen King’s 1,100 page, pandemic horror novel. The Stand is eerily similar to what we’re all facing (but different enough that we know we’re not in a Stephen King novel). In The Stand, a weaponized strain of influenza is let loose on the world. It has a 99.4% mortality rate and society is simply demolished within the span of weeks. Those left, already struggling to survive, are plagued with dreams: one about 108 year old Nebraskan woman and one about the Dark Man.
If your local library isn’t doing curbside pick up and you’ve liked King’s books in the past, this is one book I’d recommend buying online for your home library. The softcover is about $16 and it’s a tried and true classic at this point.
I’m always game for a good, free online comic. Here are a few I keep coming back to.
Gunnerkrigg Court is a silly but moving comic about a boarding school and the fight between science and magic.
The Meek is about a crazy girl running through the jungle on a mission her salamander grandfather set her on so they can defeat the evil tiger king. You think I’m joking but it’s really good.
If you want to find a comic in your own niche, I suggest Webtoons. It’s a large library of free comics. The artwork is usually very good, however sometimes the writing or translations can be trite, but, like I said, there are so many, it all depends on where you land.
Into the Spider-Verse
I watched Into the Spider-Verse when it first came out, but a YouTube video about the animation (above) recently inspired me to watch it again and con my superhero-apathetic husband in to watching it with me.
Into the Spider-Verse is on Netflix and since rewatching it, I’ve been streaming the soundtrack pretty continuously on YouTube. If you’ve never watched Spider-Verse before, expect it to feel just like a comic book on the big screen. Honestly I wasn’t super eager to watch it because I thought it’d be a kid thing, but my brother was stoked about it. So I watched it, and here I am instructing you to Netflix and chill with Spidey.
Random Bits & Pieces
Post Secret is the most popular blog in the world. Read real secrets from real strangers. Updates on Sundays.
You can play pictionary with strangers on Gartic or set up a game room to play with friends (we turned video chat on at the same time which made it feel more like our old game nights).
If you want to play something virtual that’s higher quality, I suggest this game from my local Escape Room. I played with three friends and it was challenging and fun. I was really impressed with the quality and how many clues we had to figure out. It’s $15 and it took us just about an hour and a half to solve.
I watched Knives Out (2019) which is a modern murder mystery set in the Victorian home of a wealthy writer. The cast includes Daniel Craig and Jamie Lee Curtis and though I found a few moments at the beginning a little rough, I was quickly drawn in. Here’s the trailer and you can rent it for $6 on Amazon Prime or YouTube.
I hope you got some enjoyment out of a few of these things. I’m sooooo curious how other people are keeping busy during this time so please do share in the comments or drop a link.