In this week’s kick at the digital can, we make a return visit to one of the most amusing web series on the go, make your calendar a whole lot more social, and check out a cartoon series that is elegantly drawn and actually has something meaningful to say.
Plus, we’ll have time to spare for a few other treats.
But first, more nuggets from the guy who gave “nothing” a new meaning way back when.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
There are worse things in life you could do, I would imagine, than spend the day driving around in a sleek orange Lamborghini, just 43 inches off the ground (and that’s if you’re on the roof). Imagine having Jerry Seinfeld as your guide, and someone like Chris Rock riding shotgun, and you’re smack in the latest episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
I wrote about the web series a summer ago, after it debuted; a year later, and Seinfeld has already polished off a whole other web series. (Seinfeld will be doing more, albeit in batches of six, twice a year.)
The setup is the same: a ride in a flash car, followed by some coffee talk with a funny person. Recent guests have included David Letterman, Seth Meyers and Sarah Silverman, and a typical webisode runs between 15 and 18 minutes. Underwritten by Acura, there are some slick production values, but there doesn’t seem to be much pressure on Seinfeld and friends; consequently, the comedy is loose and natural. It’s been a pleasure this summer to have Jerry take us around the block for a spin.
So, what are your friends up to tonight? You could text them or even give them a call, or you could try an alternative … like this app, which takes your calendar and makes it way more social and connected. Many calendar applications allow for sharing details (my wife and I depend on our linked files to keep track of family responsibilities), but Up To puts things on a whole other level.
Connect with all the members of your pickup hockey team, for instance, or keep in touch with office mates addicted to “Breaking Bad.” In fact, you can customize things the way you like, so long as others are using this app (available for Apple and Android devices). A big appeal: there are lots of public threads (events, TV shows, etc.) that you can weave into your calendar views.
Is Zen Pencils a comic? A blog? A list of quotations? A set of motivational posters? A psychological pick-me-up to weary millennials? I think it’s all of these things. Since last year, Australian artist Gavin Aung Than has been producing finely executed cartoons that incorporate words of wisdom from a diverse set (Kurt Vonnegut here, Chris Hadfield there). And yes, there is a sense that Zen Pencils could get gooey with the treacle of those motivational posters you see everywhere, but it often aims in different directions, with results that can be genuinely inspiring.
“I made tea,” says the message and apparent content on this page when you first load, as well as a credit to the author, named Joe. Um, that’s it? Not at all. Click on any of the three words (sooner or later, you’ll click on all of them), and new words will open up, revealing at first a complex sentence and eventually a whole story. It’s an inspiration for writers, an insight into storytelling and a fun way to spend a few minutes.
Everyone loves a list … and everyone’s always looking for a suggestion of the next book to read, film to see or song to hear. List Muse won’t offer all the possibilities (it looks like its collection of lists will grow thematically), but I bet you’ll find a muse’s suggestion in quick order. Give it a try.
John Gushue is a digital producer with CBC News in St. John’s. Twitter: @johngushue.