Category Archives: Videos

Watching History

Watching History

When I was a kid, I adored The History Channel (now rebranded as just History.) I could (and did) spend hours watching various documentaries on a whole smattering of historical times and events. But as time went on, things changed. Reality television rose in prominence and infected every channel. Scripted shows became more commonplace even on specialty stations. And while Vikings is fantastic, many of the time slots once devoted to actual history are now focused on conspiracy theory or propping up stereotypes. The beloved channel from my childhood has lost most of its luster.

Lately, I’ve discovered several sources that have filled the void left behind from The History Channel’s slow demise. In particular, a pair of unrelated YouTube channels that have rekindled some of that excitement I felt when watching history documentaries the mid-90s. I’ve been enjoying them a lot, and I’d love to share them with you as well.


🗝 Townsends

Townsends is a great many things. It’s primarily a cooking channel hosted by Jon Townsend focusing on 18th-century cooking using period appropriate methods, ingredients, and tools. But quite often it goes far beyond food and serves as an exploration into the daily life of the people who lived in early North America.

With over ten years of videos there a lot here and it’s all fantastic. Jon is a wonderful and engaging host who clearly cares about the subject matter. I’ve including a few of my favorite videos below, but I highly recommend subscribing to the channel and joining Jon as he “savors the flavors and aromas of the 18th century.” (Hope you like nutmeg.)


Food. As I said, Townsends is primarily a cooking channel and for a good reason. Eating is a constant in human life and an easy connection for writers to make when it comes to connecting a reader to a world. It’s fascinating to see the small nuances between 18th-century cooking and modern day.


Beyond the food, Townsends explores living in the colonies. There are videos about camping, marching, scurvy, map making, and eyeglasses… and there are series like this one about how canoes were made.


Ship’s biscuit or hard tack crops up all the time in history, but what is it exactly? How was it prepared? And, most importantly, how was it eaten? Thankfully the good folks at Townsends decided to answer those questions for us in this handy video.


Want More Townsends?

If you liked Townsends’ YouTube channel be sure to subscribe they’re always producing new content, and it’s the best way to be alerted anytime they release a new video.  Be sure to check out all the goods they offer on their website, follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.



⚔️ Modern History TV

Businessman Jason Kingsley is one of the co-founders of Rebellion Developments, by day he makes videos games by night he is a historical reenactor who focuses on the medieval knight. (It also helps that he was actually knighted and holds an OBE title.) Along the way, he creates some fantastic videos that go into the details of everyday life for a knight with a focus on historical accuracy. He’s a great presenter, and the videos are full of heart and well worth your time. Here are a few of my favorites, starting (unsurprisingly) with food…

So yeah, I am including a lot of food-related videos, and for a good reason. As I mentioned above, food and our connection to it is one of the constant experiences in human lives. I think it’s vital for storytellers and world builders as well, after all… “what did they eat?”


The accurate medieval wardrobe is often ignored by movies and video games, focusing instead on our modern sensibilities and often ignoring reality. Jason’s dedication to exploring the truth is a refreshing change—if you liked this be sure to check out Jason’s video where he debunks the sword on the back.


Like clothing, armor is often overlooked. Many people don’t understand the time and effort it takes to equip a knight, and they rarely portray it accurately. In this episode, Jason walks through the effort required and how varied duties used different armors.


Want More Modern History TV?

As always subscribing to a channel is the best way to stay connected, but be sure to visit Modern History TV’s website where you can find out more about the project. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook where they share more content about medieval life.


💭 What about you?

Is there a show or channel or blog you like that harkens back to the classic era of The History Channel. The sort of content that you walk away from feeling informed and inspired and itching for more knowledge? Let us know about it by either leaving a comment below or sending me an email. I’d love to find more sources like these.

Watching History


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Cthulhu Mythos 101

Cthulhu Mythos 101

If you’re looking for a decent primer on H.P. Lovecraft’s work and the Cthulhu mythos in general, this video from TedEd and author Silvia Moreno-García is a solid start. It’s surface level—but an easy entry into the world of cosmic horror and not a bad way to spend five minutes.

If you enjoyed that and now want a deeper dive into the man and the mythos—tragedy and all. I highly recommend checking out Frank H. Woodward’s 2008 documentary Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. It’s fantastic and quite a bit longer. Plus it features a ton of interviews from a variety of authors and artists working in the subgenre.

I’d personally love to see a fresh take on the documentary going into 2020. While Fear isn’t that old—just over ten years—so many more amazing and talented creators have spent time in cosmic horror and added so much over the last decade. Today, the genre as a whole is stronger than it’s ever been and I think their take on the lore and legends would be most welcome.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Watch Roxanna Walitzki's Stunning "In der Fremde"

Watch Roxanna Walitzki’s Stunning “In der Fremde”

My friend and mezzo-soprano vocalist Roxanna Walitzki is currently touring Europe with her sibling Redd (who I’ve featured in the past.) While they journey, Roxanna has begun to record classic acoustic performances in urban ruins wearing ethereal fashions created from found materials sourced on site. The results are as evocative as they are beautiful. You can see her acoustic performance of Robert Schumann’s In der Fremde (In a Foreign Land) below recorded in an abandoned paint factory in Pula, Croatia.

This is a small part of a broader ongoing collaboration between the siblings that pushes us to confront what we consider trash and disposable with the intent of encouraging us to reevaluate our own impact on the natural world. You can find out more about the project here and read the statement behind this video here. It’s a unique and thoroughly fresh approach to raising environmental awareness. I’ve enjoyed watching it come together and it’s made me pause and think about my own impact.

As an artist, Roxanna is quite prolific, and you can watch more videos and listen to more of her previous work on her official site. I recommend buying some of her music from her Bandcamp as well. She’s also a fantastic photographer so follow her on Instagram.


Support this work

Want to journey with the Walitzki siblings across Europe? Redd has set up a Patreon where they share insights, artwork, and experiences from their adventures. It’s very much worth checking out (and the perfect use of the platform.) You can find out much more over on Patreon.


✨🎶✨

How to Understand the Image of a Black Hole

How to Understand the Image of a Black Hole

I thought this quick video from Veritasium was an excellent explanation on the “why” behind yesterday’s historical announcement. Being able to present such a complex topic so simply is a talent that I admire. So sit back, watch, learn, and join me in staring in awe.


Looking for more?

🌌🔭🌌

Cyberpunk is Real

Cyberpunk is Reality

Yesterday, I came across a tweet from Carl Zha (okay, technically it’s from his auntie) that included a video clip of evening skyline above the city of Chongqing in southwestern China. There is a cyberpunk quality to the city that enthralled me. I felt as if Chongqing was plucked from the pages of William Gibson’s Neuromancer or Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Below the tweet, Zha also linked to the following video which goes even further, giving the viewer a close-up view of the city which only further cemented my opinion, check it out below.

The slick soundtrack and artistic jump-cuts only add a level of depth that expands the ultra-cool visuals of a city of the future. For a Westerner, it’s almost hard to imagine Chongquing as a real place. Our own cities are dull by comparison. This is the stuff of anime and Hollywood blockbusters, not reality.

It’s easy to become absorbed in the sleek aesthetic and forget that the cyberpunk genre was meant to serve as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unregulated capitalism, economic inequality, and the rampant abuse of technology. Warnings we’ve mostly ignored. I hesitate to prognosticate on the ramifications we’ll face. As Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

At least Chongquing looks cool.

Choose Your Fighter: An Oxford Comma or Five Million Dollars

Choose Your Fighter: An Oxford Comma or a Five Million Dollar Legal Loss

In this house, we respect and hold to the Oxford comma. We believe its existence is essential for clear communication and AP Style is inferior because of its omission.

But what if I told you that we’ve gone beyond opinion? What if here in the States a missing Oxford comma now holds legal implications, and its exclusion can cost a lot? Well, we Oxford comma disciples have recently won a great victory. Thanks to a 2017 ruling from The State of Maine we now have a legal precedent for the inclusion of our beloved Oxford comma as this handy video from Half as Interesting explains.

Huzzah! Long live the Oxford Comma! Long live our Punctuation Champion of the World!


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →