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 January 20th.
First Aid Kit released their latest album, Ruins, on Friday, so I spent the morning listening to that. It’s a Shame was released as a single a few months ago, but this is the first time I’ve listened to any of the other songs. I enjoyed them all, and I’ll probably end up buying the album.
A good friend shared her Hulu password with me, so I’ve been watching shows that Netflix doesn’t have and that I’ve been too lazy to buy on DVD. I caught up on this season of Bob’s Burgers, and began watching The Goldbergs. The Goldbergs is great, and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet.
This last weekend was the season finale for Tangled: the Series, which gave me a great reason to curl up under my many blankets, watch some heartwarming comedy, and ignore the record-breaking cold outside my door. I’d fallen off the wagon with this show months ago, but it’s nice to see that we’ve gotten some real character development this season.
The voice talent behind this show is second to none, between Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi reprising Rapunzel and Flynn, the legendary Clancy Brown voicing the slightly traumatized and secretive King Frederic, and Broadway powerhouse James Monroe Iglehart (former Genie in Aladdin and current Lafayette/Jefferson in Hamilton) voicing the quick-tongued and even quicker witted Lance Strongbow, Flynn’s best friend and partner in crime. Even the tertiary characters like guards and Corona townsfolk have some big names behind them, like Diedrich Bader, Jeff Ross, Pat Carroll, and Sean Hayes. Jeremy Jordan gives voice to a dorky and increasingly desperate Varian, the alchemist who we witness falling from grace to become the villain our heroes face in the season finale, and while his story is tragic, it gives us more opportunity to see his singing voice shine in original songs from Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
I’m not sure how to describe it, but there’s a feeling you get when an album just “clicks” that is unlike any other feeling in the world. It’s a wholeness, a completeness, something that you cherish and never want to let go of.
Recently, I had that experience with Kamasi Washington’s beautiful and brilliant Harmony of Difference, a short album of epic, bombastic jazz that now, on a regular basis, allows me to close my eyes and listen deeply to every note. I am a superficial jazz fan — I know what I like, but don’t know much else — and Washington’s epic saxophone solos and choral interjections bring me somewhere I didn’t realize I needed to be.
This past week, I binged through End of the F***ing World on Netflix and damn… that show is insane.
Based on a graphic novel of the same name that I’m probably going to pick up, the story follows two troubled teens — the rebellious Alyssa who’s looking to escape her turbulent home life and James, who fancies himself a true psychopath who started killing small animals when he was eight and is now eager to kill another human being. Alyssa and James are two lost souls who find each other — except James harbors secret intentions of violently.
This show builds up the tension masterfully with brief moments of dark humor to break up the grim subject manner, and the soundtrack is pretty great, too. Season one has eight episodes that each clock in at around 22 minutes, so you can definitely binge this whole series in a day.
Oh, and if my brief summary of the subject matter, the trailer, or even the title alone didn’t make things abundantly clear, this one’s for mature audiences only.
After remaining sheltered in its carrying case for far too long, I finally decided to whip out my Nintendo Switch once again after going through a backlog of games on the PS4. I’ve already invested 30+ hours into Breath of the Wild, but after booting up the game for the first time in a while this week, I know that I won’t be playing anything else until I vanquish these last two Divine Beasts (or I’ll keep getting distracted by new shrines, who knows?).
For my TV addition this week, I’ve been watching MAS*H. This is a show that I’ve been hooked on for years, and it’s one that I know I can come back to time and time again to either laugh or cry with one of the best casts in television history.
I saw the precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird (the A-12) at Huntsville when I was a kid, and immediately fell in love. There are so many facts about the Blackbird that boggle the mind: 92% of the frame was made out of titanium, and as Lockheed couldn’t find the material in the U.S., they had to source it from the Soviet Union. The plane cruised at Mach 3.2 and flew at an altitude of 80,000 feet, which meant that the two-man crew had to wear space suits. The angular body — designed to minimize the radar cross-section — combined with the black paint job and the huge spike inlets at the front of each engine made the SR-71 Blackbird look like something out of a sci-fi novel.
I’ve been meaning to read Sled Driver for a long time now, but the book is out of print and used copies cost as much as $300. So I’m going through a PDF version of the book. The book was written by a former Blackbird pilot, and has tons of interesting anecdotes about flying the world’s fastest airplane. This is my favorite one:
After countless recommendations from friends, this week I finally started listening to Karnivool, and it’s been on my Spotify queue non-stop since. They’ve got a strong Tool vibe, but with a more modern prog/atmospheric metal approach. I’ve been in love with their albums Sound Awake and Asymmetry, but I haven’t gotten around to their debut album Themata yet.
I’m late, I know, but I also just finished The Office (US) for the first time, and uh. I’m not crying you’re crying leave me alone.
What are YOU reading, watching, or listening to this week? Let us know in the comments!
Update, January 20, 2018: This is a weekly series where we tell you what we’re into, so check back every Friday or Saturday!