Monday, October 27, 2008

What Did I Do Before Al Gore Invented The Internet?

Hello All,

As many of you know, I am an Internet Ranger! I love surfing the web, finding everything and anything that I might want to know about. Over the last several months, I have been especially enjoying a few websites that many of you may or may not know about. I figured that I would include my top ten favorite sites that are admittedly more entertainment driven. (I would include favorite Christian sites, but am afraid of stumbling Christian people who feel certain people are too ___________ reformed/intellectual/charismatic/political, etc.). So I felt that maybe this would engender a more relaxed enjoyable vibe for all of who like to seek some entertainment in our lives that fits our particular filters. At the same time, if you would feel so inclined, I would love you to share some of your favorites with me in the comment section. These are the sites that I enjoy late into the night, well past my kids and wife's bedtime! Beware: In order to keep your life in balance, you might have to keep such hours to enjoy any or all of these!

These are in no particular order, as each one is my favorite depending on my mood.

#10 Facebook & Soup. I have a Facebook and my very own "soup." My "soup" is where all my blogs end up when they have been posted. But whenever I upload to flickr, the photos appear there as well. It's a great catch-all for the things that I write. With my soup page, I generally like to fool around with the layout. I like that there is one place for all my blogs and pics, to go. Facebook, my only social utility, has really been a lot of fun. I like the fact that I have caught up with so many friends that I have not seen or heard from in several years. On one particular night recently, I chatted with a friend who I have not seen since my days in the Saturday Night Life band. When he "friended me," I was shocked that he even remembered who I was. But one thing led to another and I chatted with him until 12:30 one evening. We caught up and it was good to see that he had remained faithful to the Lord, even participating in music ministry. If you are a Facebook user, feel free to friend me, or go over and have a little Frank Sanchez Soup!

#9 Pandora Radio. Imagine you are studying deep in the evening hours and you need a little mood music. Your iTunes library, well over 5,000 songs, does not have any Neil Diamond. You consider, "What sort of weird food did I consume to want to study to Neil Diamond?" Once you get over the fact that such random events occur to even the most ardent anti-Neil person, you reconcile that you must satiate this feeling, or lose the momentum that you have gained in your study. Where do you go for a little "Sweet Caroline?" Pandora.

Pandora takes requests and allows you to check out mixes of tunes according to genre. You simply type in Neil Diamond and it picks a list of tunes that fit that...ahem...genre! And the kicker: It's totally free! My favorite word!!

#8 Bloglines. Have a lot of friends with blogs? Back in the day, you had to go to each individual url to find out if they had updated their sites. If you have a lot of friends, this could cause you to have to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome, as you navigated to each and every blogspot that there is. And if you have friends who have a blog, but have never actually blogged twice, this could be a frustrating exercise. Bloglines feels your pain. Bloglines has come to the rescue.

With one click, you can check on all of your friends from one place. You subscribe to their blog and if they have updated it, the sidebar will show up with their names boldened, indicating that there is some juicy news that you can now consume about them. Bloglines rocks!

#7 Dark UFO. No, this does not have to do with Unidentified Flying Objects. This peculiar name represents the best of the LOST community sites that I check out during the LOST television series. Want to see some screencaps? How about the latest theory on why Locke is in the coffin? Want to vote on your favorite LOST icon, character or episode? It's all right here! There are several other lost sites, but for my time, I like to spend a few minutes here. It's a fun place for a LOST-O-HOLIC like myself.

#6 House Of Drumming. I discovered this gem of a website back in 1999 while doing a Google search for Vinnie Colaiuta, my favorite, and indeed the world's greatest living drummer! It's run by a drummer from Hollywood, who himself has some serious chops, Steve Holmes, and boasts an incredible array of drummers who gather weekly on the HOD forum. This is where I get all the info on current happenings within the Jazz fusion arena that I love the most. Where Vinnie or Dave or Steve will be playing or what happened when they played last, will undoubtedly appear here. Or, if I have a question about the drums, I am able to get a solid, professional answer here. Of course with any site, there are some threads that are useless, but the predominant feel of HOD is fantastic for any serious drummer. You might also want to check out or...

#5 Drum Channel. Amazing drum stuff. Great new instructional material, live streaming drum concerts that are killer! It's just getting started up, but I already have learned quite a bit from this brilliant site. It's a by drummers, for drummers site. Nothing more needs to be said.

#4 E-How. Wanna know how? So do I! That's why I hang out at eHow. I can get a lot of helpful information there, and you might just be able to figure out anything you would want right there as well. The great thing is that it's all video instruction. No typing or reading. You can watch whatever you want to learn, done right before your eyes! Cool!

#3 Wizzard TV. Alright, so I love OLD stuff! The Twilight Zone, and old comedians like Abbot and Costello, Jack Benny and Steve Allen. And while Wizzard TV does not have all of these guys, they have a few. What's cool is hearing an old radio broadcast, complete with campiness, commericials and all. One of my favorites thus far is the Zero Hour, which was a suspense half hour drama, spread out over 5 installments. Rod Serling, the voice of the Twilight Zone, is the MC and is just plain creepy. It is a lot of fun for those who have a good imagination.

#2 YouTube. Now, you cannot go wrong here when you are looking for some great entertainment. For those who have read this blog, or my drum blog, you have seen some incredible stuff. The Korean Drummer, "Ken Lee" and of course, the Sanchez family videos, are all on this great site. In addition, there are also fantastic instructional vids, as well as really cool documentaries. I watched a Rod Serling documentary a month ago that was better than anything on T.V. that night, by far. And just a little trick for everyone, though I am pretty sure that I might be the last one at the dance on this one, but if you put in "&fmt=18" after any YouTube address, you can see it in superior quality if it was uploaded in high quality.

#1 Hulu. Now, I think that I might have misrepresented myself here. Either that or my subconscious has rooted out my favorite website. Hulu is the place where I almost literally watch all the T.V. that my schedule might have made me miss. I can watch new shows, like "Fringe" or I can get a blast to the past, like the Incredible Hulk from the 70's. This site is incredible! Anyone remember "Alf?" How about the "White Shadow?" It's all fun, all at my command! And what about movies? Well, you can take your pick, cause there are plenty to choose from. Hulu is definitely my favorite site this year.

Well, there it is. Remember: These sites are meant to be enjoyed AFTER all other things are put in order. Don't neglect your walk with the Lord, your family (something these sites tempt you to do) or your work. But when you have the time, there's nothing else to do, and you have some time to explore, take a look at some of these sites for some fun.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

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