26 December 2013

My Favorite Things: December 2013

Happy Boxing Day, everyone! Have you unboxed everything? Are you ready to box it all back up to take it home? Are you challenging your family to a boxing match? Whatever it takes to celebrate!

Or perhaps you’re just sitting there enjoying your day off. In which case, do I have a post for YOU: the things I loved this month! Once again, I’m sticking with all those things that I loved on the internet. Because what’s the point of telling you things I wanted to buy in real life, right when you’re inundated with real life BOXES?

So let’s start with some Christmas links before they no longer seem timely. First, a quiz: Which Love Actually character are you? There are some good choices in there, but I got...

Boo to THAT. I don’t even like octopi! Mr. P got Karen (Emma Thompson) and I’m kind of jealous.

Next, this charming SNL video.

I also love the Lady Gaga-JGL gender-swapped version (so much less date-rapey than the original!) but Jimmy Fallon just about charmed my socks off, so he wins this Christmas.

While we’re on the subject of celebrities, here are several photoshopped into random parties.

And here’s who brings the presents to your house each Christmas. Did Babbo Natale come to visit your house last night? How about Julemanden? Klaussenhofer?

And a final note on Christmas: Here’s what we all really think about you, Willams-Sonoma. Nobody wants a $250 gingerbread house in real life. Please.

All right, moving on from Christmas! Commander Hadfield promoted his book quite a lot recently. Here’s a Reddit Ask Me Anything he did, and here’s an interview with Terry Gross that I forgot to post last month. Gosh, I want Commander Hadfield to be my uncle.

I also forgot to tell you last month that Allie Brosh came back to life!

And whether you follow Allie’s blog Hyperbole and a Half or not, this interview with Terry Gross is a must-listen. It made my chest tight and throat close up.

While we’re on the serious note, how about some longform reads? Here’s an interesting take on how cul-de-sacs are ruining not only your health, but the future of modern cities. (And yes, I lived on a cul-de-sac in Nashville – but I also live on a cul-de-sac now, believe it or not, in the middle of my walkable neighborhood.)

You should also use some of your free time today to read this very long article about a homeless child and her family in New York City. I’m not sharing it to make any sort of political statement, and I don’t want to encourage some sort of virtual poverty tourism – I just found the story and the accompanying pictures an absolutely fascinating glimpse into someone else’s life.

I also found this quiz fascinating: What if you had to earn American citizenship? Fortunately I passed with a score of 40 – not great, but at least my citizenship isn’t in question based on merit!

One last semi-serious article. Ever wondered exactly how the wizards in Harry Potter’s world inherit their magical abilities? This biologist has figured out a genetically realistic way. As if I needed more encouragement to believe Hogwarts is a real place with real wizards.

Speaking of magic, let’s lighten the mood with a magical piano.

And this chemical reaction isn’t magic – it’s the decomposition of mercury thiocyanate, and it is terrifying. Start at 1:20 if you want to skip all the drama building up to it.


Let’s move from chemistry to literature. Here’s a huge infographic to help you answer the question, “Is the book really better than the movie?”

I take issue with a few of them – dude, Hunger Games movie was way better than the book, you didn’t have to spend all those hours in Katniss’s annoying head! But most seem on point, and I honestly learned that a few books that I enjoy have movie counterparts, and vice versa!

Also in the style of infographics: London Underground maps you never knew you needed. The ones set to scale maps are actually quite helpful (I have a skewed sense of London geography thanks to the famous tube map). I also like the map of public toilets – if only there was one of public wifi! But really, this is all I really need.

Let’s keep it silly. Here’s a list of problems that anxious people will totally understand, and here’s a list of the most painfully awkward things that happened in 2013.

I watched that JGL moment live on TV and quite literally cringed. I had to look away in embarrassment.

You may also need to look away from embarrassment from this video (ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY NSFW IF YOU ARE AT WORK TODAY, AS IF YOU COULDN’T TELL FROM THE STILL). But oh my gosh, it’s worth it. His performance is ridiculous; the viewer’s responses are hilarious. My sides hurt from laughing at 1:58 and I totally lost it at 2:19.

And finally... my MOST FAVORITE THING ON THE INTERNET in December:

Well... favorite thing besides you, dear readers. Hope the rest of your holiday is happy!