Here’s what we’re reading, watching, playing, and listening to this week
How we're spending our leisure time.
Everyone has a bit of quiet downtime once in a while. Whether you're sitting quietly at home or trying to relax on a plane or just giving your busy mind and hands a break, it's important to relax.
A good way to do that is to read a book, listen to some music or watch a movie or show. See what's caught our attention for the week of July 21st.
I'm a sucker for an enchanting fantasy anime, and Kakuriyo has me hooked as we head into the second half of the season. The full title is Kakuriyo -Bed and Breakfast for Spirits- and it weaves a bewitching story around a young woman who gets swept up in the affairs of a hidden realm of spirits and monsters because of her dead grandfather's debts. It's a story of patience, perseverance, the magic of good food! The music, art style, and the character dynamics make it easy to get swept away, which has led me to binge the first 13 episodes more than once the last week.
I'm having a kid in a couple months — seven weeks, actually — so I've been reading about, and listening to, how they work. You know, babies.
One book my wife had recommended to her was Brain Rules for Babies: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, which has proven a fascinating study into how our brains develop from conception to the early years of childhood. While I knew that babies were pretty helpless straight out of the womb, I didn't realize it was because they come into this world before what scientists consider to be their "infant maturity." That's not to say they should be ready to walk and talk right away, but scientists believe that, once born, babies go through a "fourth trimester" that represents a further period of intense neural growth and brain development. It's a fascinating look at how we, as adults, get to where we are, and how the early months and years of our lives have tremendous impact on the people we eventually become. Anecdotally I knew this, but it's really interesting to see all the science behind it.
The second expansion for Far Cry 5 — Lost on Mars — was released this week, and it's some good old-fashioned sci-fi fun. You get a jetpack to blast around the Martian terrain, you blast alien
Xenomorphs arachnids in the face, and you collect body parts to put your best friend back together. Okay, that last bit may not be standard, but it's still a fun goal to make the player explore the map. Far Cry 5 got stale for me after completing the story (which was too short in my opinion), and the Lost on Mars expansion is a great way to extend that.
Elsewhere, a good friend of mine, Jake Schlegel played at an album release party for his very first album. I love seeing friends of mine succeed, especially when it's as tricky as being an independent musician. If you're into folk, blues or country, give his album a preview.
I finally finished playing through Batman: Arkham Knight this past week after it sat on my shelf for two years. Unpopular opinion, judging by reviews: I didn't really like it. Without giving too much away (although, if you don't know by now, then what are you waiting for?), there's just way too much Batmobile stuff. For one, the Batmobile is ridiculously hard to control when you're just driving. I get it; it's realistic that an overpowered tank of a car would be difficult to steer down narrow streets at full tilt, but still — there's also a dude running around in a bat outfit chasing a dude in a gas mask and needle claws; let's suspend disbelief for everything that matters, shall we?
I also, maybe for the first time ever, found Kevin Conroy's voice acting wooden. All of his dialogue was delivered very matter-of-factly, and oh man — don't even get me started on all the dialogue. Every 5 seconds Batman is telling you exactly what you need to do to get past a certain obstacle or not get killed. There was way too much hand-holding throughout the entire game. All that said, the story was quite good, and there are a couple of great twists that I genuinely didn't see coming (even though I was spoiled for the Arkham Knight reveal because I was late to the party).
This week I'm diving right back into my Fallout 4 addiction. Right now I'm mostly playing it on my PlayStation 4 but, with the new Fallout 4-76 mod, I've reinstalled it to my computer as well. With over 300+ hours logged on my Steam, and God knows how many logged on my PS4, it might be a good time to I admit I have a problem. Maybe tomorrow. I can stop anytime I want to!
As the time passes I am getting more and more excited for Fallout 76 to release. I am absolutely vibrating with excitement to grab a team of friends and wreak havoc on these wastelands. Goodbye Commonwealth, hello mountain Momma West Virginia! I want to get my hands on that new Pip-Boy! Plus, I'm only mildly ashamed to admit I'm looking forward to a Fallout game with a massive amount of green foliage and not just the trash rubbish of the wastes.
(P.S. Dear Bethesda, please finally tell us who sang that cover of Country Roads for your teaser-trailer. Thanks.)
So I never made it to The Defenders, because just as Luke Cage was ending, Power started back up. This season is drumming up toward an exciting conclusion that should finally reveal the true intentions of all the main characters involved. (And it also means a whole extra season of laughing at 50 Cent's character and the ways in which he manipulates people.) Beyond that, my colleagues have rightfully shamed me for having yet to see a single Star Wars film, so after some cool suggestions on which order to watch them in (and after finishing the Darth Bane trilogy novels) I'll be looking to get myself more cultured.
On the gaming side of things, I'm still running around the digital version of Bolivia in Ghost Recon: Wildlands trying to take down a fictional drug kingpin. You know, it's not quite as exciting as you might think — most of it is just getting untrustworthy underlings to squeal on their boss. Regardless, I still can't get enough of the want-to-be-tactical-but-it's-also-fun-to-blow-things-up gameplay that this title has to offer.
What are YOU reading, watching, or listening to this week? Let us know in the comments!
Update, July 21st, 2018: This is a bi-weekly series where we tell you what we're into, so check back every other weekend!