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Good Things I’ve Been reading | watching | playing

I’ve been attempting to use my free time better this past month.

As I’m sure everyone knows firsthand right now, it is downright addicting to be knee-deep into a few Netflix series at once. If juggling work and family and social life wasn’t enough, now you have this new set of entertainment-in-laws you must appease daily.

The real awakening usually happens the second you notice you finished a finale episode. There’s a quintessential “what now?” moment and a grasping for straws as you strain to account the total time cost of that season.

You see, Netflix/Hulu/StreamSmart/YouTube Red/etc. do not cost us a mere ~$10 every month. That’s the flat tax. We are actually paying slowly with our hours. How many do you spend a week? A month? A year? 8 hours? 50 hours? 600 hours? According to an article on TechCrunch, about 570 hours per year per account in 2015. With 109 million users watching 1 billion hours per week in 2017, the average has moved to around 480 hours per account. In either year, we are spending a staggering amount of time watching the Netflix catalog. How much time can we add onto it if we include cable TV and other streaming providers?

That’s why I’ve been trying to lean towards more traditional, non-addictive media for my downtime.

As I live by myself, I don’t have the social accountability to keep me from staying up all night and binging Portlandia. It’s really in my best interest to first default to reading quality books, podcasts, articles, and music instead.

Luckily, printed media is far from dead. There seems to be an inherent appeal to the printed word as a medium. Books store well, feel good in the hands and add a certain aesthetic appeal to a place. When content isn’t printed on paper, it will be uploaded to the web on a site where it’ll read in a similar fashion. There is an overwhelming abundance of content on YouTube from amateurs and pros alike. Editing templates and tricks can improve on many filming errors, but poor writing is hard to doctor up with a fancy font (maybe not? — that’d be a good study to conduct).

I’m an avid reader on Medium, where there’s been a mass revival in quality online publications. Sure, it provides an even easier platform for poor writing to appear, but the nature of their voting system makes it unlikely you’ll see it on any front pages.

Online Reading

As a Lover of God

  • The Bible (no duh), particularly the Psalms recently.

As a Continuous Learner

  • The Startup — A Medium Publication that looks at productivity, self-management, and building businesses and systems from a “visionary” perspective.

As a Software Developer

  • FreeCodeCamp’s Blog
  • Code Cartoons — A short Medium publication from Lin Clark where she takes concepts of Facebook front-end frameworks and explains them with doodles.
  • Hacker Noon — I haven’t read this Medium pub in a while, but it’s just chalked full of current news, guides, and op-ed pieces.

As a Lover of Humor

  • The Cooper Review
  • sarahcpr — both of these are publications by Sarah Cooper, taking a satirical approach towards common business standards, culture, and tech industry

As a Citizen of Society

  • Axios — A news publication that specializes in small posts, easy for quick consumption for busy folks


Podcasting has been growing increasingly as a market over the last few years. As I tend to be a very visual learner, I resisted the rise of the podcast. I could either watch a YouTube lecture or just read it in a book. When my school finals rolled around this past Spring, I decided to give them a go and pick up a couple for easy listening.

Just for Fun

  • Good Christian Fun — A “comedy podcast delving into the strange upside-down world of Christian pop culture.”
  • My Brother, My Brother And Me — Another comedy podcast. This one has the potential, no, the guarantee of delving deep into some nerddom.
  • The No Sleep Podcast — Inspired and fueled by the No Sleep Reddit thread, this podcast brings life to some of the freakiest crowdsourced horror stories you’ll ever hear.


I haven’t gotten sucked into a great video game in a long while, but there are some real winners out there that bring joy to my soul.

  • Stardew Valley — You are now a farmer in Stardew Valley, home to your late grandfather’s old overgrown farm and a quaint town full of relaxed folks. One of the most therapeutic games I’ve ever played.
  • My one Minecraft world that exists as basically an over-glorified zen garden. I may just be weird, but I’m sure other stressed people have made a peaceful map for the sole purpose of tilling the land and raising some chickens.
  • Fortnite — Which needs no introduction. As frustrating as this game can be at times, it’s still fun to be a part of player armies clashing together in an epic brawl.

Quality knowledge, wisdom, and entertainment should be the target when we go searching for content to consume. It’s surely preferable to not waste our daylight hours nor sleep on things that will sit uselessly in our memories. Will that bring us enjoyment tomorrow? The next day? The day after?

Let’s go after those things.

Daniel Cender is a software developer, student, and writer based out of DFW, Texas. See what he’s up to and connect on Linkedin, Instagram, or at his blog.

Originally published at on August 12, 2018.