Well. It’s been a bit. I’ve been posting about other things, most notably my Sarah Jane Smith comic and The Wolf Prince & The Toymaker’s Boy. But, you know, life has gone onward and I’ve not been terribly motivated to write about it. Or about much of anything, really. I’ve been writing bits and pieces, and I have a project that is probably a VERY long way from being public (assuming it comes to fruition) that took some head space and was very enjoyable to put some work into. So, it’s not as if I’ve been idle. But I have been tossing around a few ideas and working on them in pieces and parts. I can’t decide which one to really land on and put my effort into. So I’ve had something akin to “analysis paralysis” but that isn’t as neat a rhyme. I guess you’d call it “creative options paralysis?” I’ll keep workshopping that. Maybe I should just skip between projects as my mind sees fit? Or does that just mean I’m working on three things at once and accomplishing them more slowly? If you have advice, I’m here for it. Anyway, onto the update:
One thing I very much enjoyed was getting to see my mom. It’s been a year and a half since I’ve seen any of my family. So getting to see her (and my sister and her kids during the “hand off” when we met halfway between our homes) was so nice. I enjoyed just getting to chat, and we also went to a local store called Prairie Gardens and got some plants. We also hit up Big Lots for planters and soil because mom is a very shrewd shopper. I planted some herbs, and we got some cannas and a Calla lily for the front yard. It felt good to get sweaty and get my hands dirty. In my everyday life, I can become a bit divorced from nature. I like getting back to it, even in small ways.
Speaking of which, we have extremely friendly animals in our yard which makes me happy. We have rabbits that run around, and don’t scatter when we’re near. The other day a bird was hanging out in the front yard and seemed to content to stay there as I went about my business. I like this. Much like with humans and my house, I want my yard to be a friendly place for wild things. Now, I am hopeful that rabbits don’t like to snack on herbs. Or the fact they’re in planters on the deck will help. I don’t mind if they take some, but they can be rather greedy little things.
Music, Music, Music!*
*Please re-read in Jan Brady’s voice.
There’s been quite a few albums I’ve really gravitated toward lately. Here are a few of special note:
Californian Soil – London Grammar
I’ve been a huge fan of London Grammar since their first album. I actually imported the vinyl from the UK before it received a stateside release (IIRC the UK version is a double disc and the US is a single? Or at least the UK version is a gatefold. But I digress.) I was captivated by the lead singer’s voice, the beautiful music that accompanies it, and the often haunting lyrics. So, you know, the whole package. It’s a rare band that produces three albums in a row that I just wholly connect with. London Grammar is one of them. It feels like the band definitely has matured some in its deployment of both music and lyrics here. I’ve been listening to it on repeat nonstop.
Intruder – Gary Numan
Confession, I didn’t know much about Numan beyond Cars. Which I always enjoyed. but I just didn’t take time to listen to the rest of his music. But his single “Intruder” grabbed my attention and I enjoyed every single after. The album Intruder is a great, dark, operatic, and beautiful electronic-infused album. Also, how cool is that jacket he’s wearing? I actually went back and purchased his last album, Savage, as well. Numan has fantastic control of his vocal instrument, too. He brings such a profound weight and emotion to his songs.
Happy Garden – Prinze George
I adored Prinze George’s first full-length album, 2016’s Illiterate Synth Pop. Lead singer Naomi Amquist’s vocals—sometimes straying into near Stevie Nicks territory but with her own unique sound—combined seamlessly with the music. Since then, they’ve been doing a variety of singles and an EP (We Won’t Last The Night is such a fantastic song) that… well, to be honest I had a hard time keeping track of. This is just because of the way I consume music, not a knock on them. Artists need to explore and the reasons they go with an EP versus a full album or do collaborations, etc, can vary so much. More power to them. I just have a hard time following it. I mean, I love Imogen Heap but she’s almost entirely lost me in amongst all the different projects she does. But again, that’s on me. In any case, Prinze George have returned with a new full-length album. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of singles like Crazy House, although I loved others. But then the album arrived and I honestly love it from start to finish. Crazy House is one of my favorite songs now. Songs like Take Off and Tenderly just explode right out of the gate. It’s really spectacular, and I eagerly await news of the vinyl release.
Daddy’s Home – St. Vincent
Remember when I talked about how London Grammar and they released a perfect string of three albums? Well Annie Clark has nearly the same sort of run, but going ALL the way back to 2007 with Marry Me. Which I just found out, doing a little research, IS an Arrested Development reference. Which only makes me like it more. The reason why I say ALMOST is that while I have been on board the St. Vincent train since the very start (I want to say Now, Now and Jesus Saves, I Spend were released pretty much at the same time as I distinctly remember both being my gateway) but there are two projects that I like but just haven’t listened to that much: Love This Giant with David Byrne and MassEducation (her stripped down follow-up to Masseduction). This is a very long-winded way of saying that Daddy’s Home is a fantastic addition to a library of work that I pretty much uniformly have loved. Sometimes it takes me longer to really dig into a St. Vincent album. For instance, her breakthrough, self-titled album took me a little bit to get. But I definitely got there. Daddy’s Home gripped me from the start with it’s immaculate first single (and vide0) for Pay Your Way in Pain. St. Vincent servers her music and performance up in 70s drag and I’m 100% here for it. It took me a little longer to get into The Melting of the Sun (the second single), but I was there right away for the third single, Down. The album, I’m happy to report, is a total delight from start to finish.
You Say Dee-May-Oh, I Say Deh-Me-Oh.
I am still not exactly sure how to say it after Felicity Day’s pronunciation was totally different than my own, but however you say Demeo (from Resolution Games), I can tell you it’s a great VR game. The sort of VR game I’ve been hungry for. It’s like a cross between a rogue-like game (or, say Gauntlet) and a board game with some Dungeons & Dragons flair. I have absolutely loved playing this again and again with friends. Even though we now beat the first adventure with the Elven Queen every time, it’s not as though the game is exactly easier. We just have gotten better at using our cards and powers wisely. The randomization of levels and, to an extent, enemies helps. The fact that another module is coming soon (with art that looks just like an old-style D&D game, below) will only help. There’s apparently a LOT of free content to come with more modules and playable characters. it’s such a magnificent foundation I’m excited to see where they go from here. A version for flat screens is coming soon, and will be cross play with your friends who have VR! But playing in VR is so great. I love being able to zoom in and get right in on the action or be high above looking down on it like a board game. I really hope board game companies take note of its success, and give us more beautifully done games in VR like this and Catan. It’s amazing getting to play these types of games with friends far and near.
That’s enough for now, although I could go on. I’ll save the book series I’ve been reading for next time, for instance. As well as the comics I’ve been reading. Because there have been some superb ones.