@outsidexbox : My new YouTube addiction

Some nights after dinner, we open up the YouTube app on the Xbox and just start watching random stuff. Usually it’s clips from Jimmy Fallon or Conan O’Brien but a few weeks ago, we stumbled on a a channel with lots of “top ten” this and the videos that were amusing, even though some were a bit of a stretch since this was all the channel did. Then one of the Suggested Videos linked to a show called “OutsideXbox“.

There are three of them – Jane, Mike, and Andy. They are gamers. They are British. They are darlings. I can’t stop watching the videos.

I think what I like most (apart from the fact that Jane is there representing the ladies) is that they are never really *mean* about things. Yes, they are snarky and poke fun at a lot of video game cliches, but the humor comes from a happy place. The show is about Xbox games but they don’t sit and take potshots at PC, PS4, or Wii games and frequently reference classic titles from these systems when doing their lists. I never feel like they are attacking anyone, just having a laugh. They can joke because they love the games too. We’ve all been there!

I am addicted to this channel. My gateway drug was all the silly lists of ridiculous things, like achievements and easter eggs. Then the other night, Tim clicked on them playing through a portion of the Slender game, and while I have never really been into watching other people play games, I think having the 3 of them in the room together made this SO much fun to experience. Instead of a gamer talking to themselves, we had the three of them laughing and jumping together (and Mike acting like he wasn’t scared but we know he was screaming internally the entire time).

To top it off, each Friday they post a “Show of the Week” wish some highlights and comment reactions from the videos uploaded during the week, which usually has another list and some antics in the studio.

So if you’re in need of a gamer show or think you might be (I didn’t even know I was until I started watching!) then give OutsideXbox a try!

Books read in October

Lots of kid’s books and comic books, making my list seem more impressive than it really is. But I still feel pretty good about getting through this many in a month!

The Worst Class Trip EverThe Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Something about this book rubbed me the wrong way. I think if I was a 12 year old boy, I probably wouldn’t care so much, and that is the target audience so it’s not that big of a deal. But reading this as an adult that lived through 9/11, it was hard for me to feel comfortable while reading about supposed terrorist plots and assassinations. It just kept me from laughing at all the fart jokes…I wanted to laugh but it was just really hard with that plot line yanking me out of the funny and into the real world.

I was really hoping that this was just going to be a story of shenanigans as the kinds bumbled around, I felt the terrorist plot was unnecessary. Wyatt and his friends were clearly dufuses and they didn’t need a wacky plot to make idiots of themselves. Just wandering D.C. as a class should have been funny enough.

Oh well…kind of a let down from some one who loved Dave Barry when she was 13…

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Everyone Loves BaconEveryone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a real treat to find on the new cart today! We all had a good LOL.

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Space DumplinsSpace Dumplins by Craig Thompson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Just so disappointed. I loved Habibi and Blankets, so I was really excited to read Thompson’s venture into children’s comics. But this fell flat to me. Too many agendas, too many soap boxes, far too text heavy and the panels on some page were a mess. And in the end, it had a cliche ending that didn’t even make the rest of the story worth my time.

The art and coloring are very nice. The story was a huge letdown. I had to speedread the last few chapters just to get it over with so I could make sure there wasn’t some twist I was missing. But, no, it was a huge letdown.

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The Dumbest Idea Ever!The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I could have read even more, I loved this story and how honest Gownley was about himself. So good. Get this into the hands of as many kids, tweens, and teens as you can. It is a story about not just living your dream, but making a dream work with reality. It’s about respecting your friends and family and the power of art. Fantastic.

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Baba Yaga's AssistantBaba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect spooky story for older elementary with a satisfying ending where everyone has learned a bit about themselves and each other.

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Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to EarthHilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, cute and fun little science fiction story. Really like the relationship between D.J. and Gina.

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Fraggle Rock: Journey to the EverspringFraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring by Kate Leth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute story with everyone’s favorite Fraggles. I think kids will really like it if they are familiar with the series…

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Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College TownMissoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to set this one aside for a little while. I’m close to being finished but it has become bogged down in all the legal stuff and I’m having a hard time getting through all the court reports. I need to switch to something lighter for a bit then come back. It’s been a struggle to read this, not because it isn’t well written – it IS well written and researched. It is just a horrible topic that makes you frustrated and sad.

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ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

Ready Player One was going to be a hard act to follow, so I knew Armada was already in trouble. I opted to listen to this one because Wil Wheaton once again reprised his role as The Reader. Which is good because as one of the geek royalty, he knew how to pronounce all the names and did his best at impressions of famous geek icons, along with making unique voices for all of the characters.

But, in the end, Armada fell flat. I think Cline had a lot of fun thinking of movies and games and music to reference. Maybe too much fun. Especially since we knew from the first page that this was going to be a riff on The Last Starfighter in some way. From page one, any geeky reader had a very good idea where this is all going. It didn’t make it a bad story, but it didn’t keep me on the edge the way Cline’s first novel did. I found myself daydreaming while the story went on. I wish things had happened faster and that the epilogue had been the second half of the novel.

For his sophomore effort, Cline could have done worse. The book is enjoyable enough but it can’t top Ready Player One. But it was fun and I will definitely stay abreast of any new books he puts out over the next few years (though I’m guessing he might be preoccupied with the RP1 movie)

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GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was fantastic. I think Alex Gino did a wonderful job getting into the mind of a 4th grade transgendered girl. I felt that Melissa’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions were spot on for how a child of that age would behave. I hope there are plenty of Kelly’s out there too.

This book is going to get you right in the feels. This should be required reading for everyone, children, teens, adults. And NOT limited to friends or family who know a (out) transgendered youth. Read this book, be aware of the people around you – their thoughts and feelings. They may be working through things in their head, things you wouldn’t imagine.

I hope this is the first of many LGBT books for kids that stress compassion and inclusion and also model how to be a good friend or parent to someone coming out.

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