What I'm Reading, Watching and Playing February 2019

Hey, it’s February! My favorite month of the year, though not based on the weather. It’s my favorite because it’s when I was born, and since it’s a short month I usually make everyone celebrate my birthday with me every single day in February. This year I turn 38, and I am happy to announce that my advanced age has not stopped me from enjoying various multi-media based distractions. Here’s some brief reviews on the media that I have been enjoying, or at least ingesting, recently.

Books

I just finished The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which I received as part of a Book of the Month club I joined to try to keep myself reading this year. It was OK, definitely a page turner but not one that blew me away. There was a lot of cliches in it, and I especially hated the diary entries written by the Silent Patient herself (who is not the main character). They came off as very unrealistic, not at all what a person would write in a diary. Unless of course they were anticipating that a person might read that diary later when trying to solve a crime, and part of me thinks I should start writing my journals that way just for fun. Leave all sorts of red herrings and foreshadowing for the absolute 0% of detectives or psychologists reading my journals in the future.

I am now reading the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. I started reading it because I watched the movie that was based on it, and I loved the movie but several friends told me it was tragically bad when compared to the book. So far I agree! Annihilation is beautifully and carefully written, and keeps you wanting to read with it’s dream-like descriptions and interesting characters. There is a sense of discomfort when reading it, as well, that everything is deeply wrong but you’re just as confused as to why just like the characters are. I love it. I also have a book on the craft of writing fiction that is by Jeff VanderMeer, and now that I’m actually reading some fiction that he wrote I’m so glad that I have that book too! It’s called Wonderbook or something like that I think.

TV

Can we just take a minute to talk about The Americans and how much I love that damn show? OK, good I’m glad we can! Because I love that damn show. I was holding off on watching the 5th and 6th seasons for reasons I don’t remember, but I did catch up and then I had to restart watching the series from the beginning. The intrigue! The wigs! The sex scenes! Matthew Rhys’ angry face! It’s too much. If you haven’t seen the series I can’t recommend it enough, especially for those of you who like spy shit, sex work shit (lots of cross over between the spy life and the escort life, not even kidding), 80s shit, or Washington DC shit (I happen to like all 4).

There are 2 things that really make this show work, though: thing the first is that it’s well written and paced, if a bit far fetched at times. No spy’s life is as intense as what our Soviet protoganists experience in the span of like… idk I think like 5-7 years over the course of the series? But it doesn’t matter because it’s fun and horrifying. The 2nd factor is the chemistry between Keri Russel and Matthew Rhys, who had to get married in real life because their chemistry was so good. I love watching them together, a very believable couple because well they are a couple as it turns out!

Another thing I’m watching is Blue Planet II, a BBC docuseries about ocean life and how humans are killing everything so that’s sad and I can’t actually recommend it for that reason. But it’s also cute and amazing so I can recommend it for those reasons! The ocean is full of aliens and we don’t need to investigate space when we have such a rich area of discovery here on our own planet.

Video Games

I’m like 130 hours into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 now, just in case you were wondering where my life has gone. I started playing it several months ago and kind of found it overwhelming at first, especially since I like to smoke a little cannabis when gaming and the battle system seems complex. And, tragically, you cannot access a tutorial again after the game first shows it to you! But I got the hang of it and wow, it’s very engrossing. I could play it from another 130 hours and maybe I will. Collecting rare blades and going on all of their various side quests is addictive, and I can’t stop laughing at the way some of the anime titties move around in this game. It’s hypnotizing!

I am also playing Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee! currently and while I wasn’t impressed with it at first, it did grow on me. I didn’t like that you no longer fought wild pokemon in order to catch them, but I was just being a stick in the mud. There are still plenty of battles to experience in the game, and catching with your Switch controllers can be fun! I also love the feature that allows you to have one of your pokemon follow you, or with bigger pokemon sometimes you can ride them! Super cute. And I get to dress up my Eevee, what more could I really ask for. I don’t like it as much as other pokemon games I’ve played, but it gets the job done. Oh! And i love have James and Jessie back in a game! I always ‘shipped them as queer best friends.

So that’s what I’ve been up to these past few months! Other than moving to Maryland, working out, writing, and the usual nonsense of course!