My Latest Verbs.
The things I’ve been reading, playing, watching, doing, seeing, downloading, experiencing, hearing, and most importantly, loving. I’ve recently found myself surrounded by so many forms of media that I felt the need to share the love. Enjoy!
Bojack Horseman, Season 2
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve no doubt caught some of my tweets this past weekend about the criminally underrated Bojack Horseman. This might just be one of the best TV series I’ve ever seen — the writing is constantly hilarious and clever, while simultaneously being massively depressing. This show is the true definition of Dark Comedy.
“…Of course. You’re young. You can do whatever you want. Nobody ever tells you that until it’s too late.”
I find it sad that people write off this show because it features anthropomorphic animals in a bizarre (but endlessly brilliant) world. Trying to explain the form of humor present (when it is present, because honestly, season 2 has more dark parts than light) is nearly impossible, so I guess you better just watch it to understand what I’m talking about.
Over the Garden Wall
I’m gonna be frank — this show and my need to share this with as many people as possible is the entire impetus behind this post. If Bojack Horseman is only a misdemeanor level of criminally underrated, than this is surely a felony. It was easy for this to fly under the radar — it only existed as a 10-part mini-series on Cartoon Network Fall 2014. I had heard rumblings during then, but only recently it popped back up in my suggestions on Hulu (the only time this feature has ever worked, by some miracle). I completely devoured the entire series in one night and was left in awe. I can’t exactly pinpoint an exact reason to why this is, but the fact that this series is now up for an Emmy at least tells me that I’m not just imagining its excellence.
If you’re lucky, and you’re reading this soon after I’ve posted this, then you might have a shot to watch the entire series on YouTube, (it’s annoyingly zoomed in, but nonetheless enjoyable) in one continuous, wondrous swoop. If you are able to appreciate the art of animation and are into folk-style tales, and deep, interesting, and profound stories, then you should absolutely check it out.
Tame Impala — “Currents”
I’m only a fairly recent fan of Tame Impala — only really discovering “It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” from the trippy music video, a little while after the band had released their last album. But after seeing them open for The National in Kansas City, MO a few years back, I was immediately hooked. Their latest album has too many singles worth dishing over, but I think my favorite has to be “Cause I’m a Man”. Despite the subject matter being pretty depressing (albeit realistic), it never fails to make me feel like grooving along. The same goes for pretty much every track on the album.
Jamie XX — “In Colour”
This discovery comes completely courtesy of Music. Obviously, I knew and had heard Jamie XX’s work in the past, and also knew that I loved pretty much all that he was involved in. So, it was weird that I just completely spaced on his solo full-length album. What an idiot I would’ve been if I missed out on this. Most of the album is strictly driven solely by thumping beats, but none of them are what you’d expect of an electronic album. One of my favorite tracks is “Obvs” — which is so perfectly entrancing and beautiful. Another major positive — the entire thing feels like one cohesive story being told — each song builds on the other, resulting in one single, choesive experience.
Panteros666 (feat. Woodkid) — Clear
This discovery comes from my ultimate music discovery secret haven. Some of you might know what that is, but I’m not yet spilling the beans. Anyway, I knew when I saw Woodkid was featured on this, I’d have it in regular Apple Music rotation. His unique voice pairs well with the poppy, effervescent beat.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Confession: I am a Batman nut. I’ve been slowly but surely teetering towards it for the past few years. I’ve watched the Nolan trilogy (who hasn’t?), Gotham, some of the Animated Series, read a few of the comics, and even some of the campy 60s Batman TV Series. One of the most lovingly-crafted, perfectly executed Batman stories, though, lies in within the Arkham series of video games. In fact, I can pinpoint my love for Batman and the Batman universe to Arkham Asylum, the first game in the series. Followed by Arkham City a few years later, and then Arkham Origins, and now most recently Arkham Knight, the final game in the series.
The gameplay in this series has always been tight and enjoyable, but the story arcs present throughout demonstrate some of the most interesting storytelling in any form of media. I wish/hope that some competent filmmaker will one day attempt to move these stories to a medium that can be enjoyed by an even wider audience. (But John Noble still has to play Scarecrow) I still haven’t made it completely through the game, but at about 30% complete, I’ve already experienced an incredible amount of twists and turns in the story, and can only expect more of the same. Without spoiling anything (because doing so removes one of the best surprises I’ve ever had in any form of media), this game makes you feel as though you are truly going crazy. So many visual tricks result in an experience unlike any I’ve ever seen or felt before. It’s one of the key examples that proves that interactive experiences like games just take story above and beyond what’s possible in film or print. If you don’t believe that, then I feel sorry for you.
On the totally opposite spectrum (pun intended), I’ve been enjoying Splatoon — the latest new IP (intellectual property) straight from Nintendo. This game is incredibly crazy, bright, and unique, through and through. The art style of everything is what drew me to the game initially, along with the rave reviews, despite it technically being in the online-shooter genre. Give me anything that I can level up, and then add in gear that I can buy and level up, plus make the entire world change and update every 6 hours, and you’ve got the perfect storm to have me hooked.
You’ve probably heard of Flickr before — heck, you’ve probably used Flickr in some way before. But the most recent major update on iOS (and I believe Android?) implemented a new feature that changed the way I think about photos on my phone. Prior to Flickr, I would take pictures and videos on my phone and just slowly fill my camera roll to capacity. When this happened, I’d plug my phone in and import my photos to an external harddrive for safe-keeping. Then, I’d go through and delete all of the photos off of my phone. But thanks to Flickr‘s way too generous but very appreciated FREE 1TB (1000 GB) of photo storage with every FREE account signup, I was able to take advantage of the new Flickr app’s Auto Upload feature.
This feature automagically uploads every photo or video I take on my phone directly to the 1TB cloud from my Flickr account. Completely in the background. No hassles. This means, when I get the dreaded “Not Enough Space” message, all I have to do is delete the photos off of my phone, knowing that they are already safely and securely uploaded to Flickr. No more plugging in stuff or importing stuff or formatting stuff. It’s almost too good to be true. Plus, as an added bonus, your photos and videos live in the cloud, which means they can be downloaded and shared and shown on any device that you can login to Flickr on.
If you know me personally, then you know I’ve long searched for (and continue to never stop searching for) the perfect email app. For desktop, that app was Sparrow, a light-weight, easy to use, full-featured client that I used exclusively for almost 5 years. Unfortunately, almost right after buying the app, Google decided to snap up the Sparrow team and swiftly killed all future support. Like I said, this didn’t end up impacting me for quite some time, but eventually, even my love and attachment couldn’t outweigh the desire for something new and exciting.
I’m so glad I found Airmail. It feels like the app Sparrow would be today, if it hadn’t been killed so far before its time. It immediately felt familiar — everything is so similarly laid out to both Sparrow and the desktop Twitter Mac app. One of the things that was slowly breaking down about Sparrow, though, was its multi-inbox support. Luckily, Airmail handles my 3 main inboxes like a champ, and organization was so easy, I hit inbox zero in all three in no time. Airmail almost makes reading through and organizing email enjoyable — that’s how good this app is. If you’re afraid of commitment like me, check out the beta on their site (link above). Then if you fall in love, like me, you can buy it on the Mac App Store.
As I was just saying, I’m constantly on the lookout for new apps and services to replace my old apps and services. Case in point: my old mobile email app, Mailbox. I loved it so much, I waited in a virtual queue for my turn to download and be accepted to use the app. And I loved every moment of it. Mailbox is by no means a bad app, in fact, it’s head and shoulders above the default Mail app included on iPhones. If you still use that, look into Mailbox. For real.
But, if you’re like me, and want to be involved in something a bit different. Something a bit more experimental or adventurous— then Google Inbox is what you need. See, remember how I said Google bought my one-true-love desktop email client, Sparrow? Turns out, they bought them to put them to work on reinventing the inbox, rather than just re-skinning yet another email app. And it turns out, it works really well. There’s definitely a learning curve to Google Inbox, but that’s just the way I like things. It organizes and bundles your mail based on highly-accurate algorithms — and if something isn’t quite right, it learns based on how you manually touch up the rest of the inbox. It’s a whole new way to experience email, and most likely will be imitated and iterated upon for years to come.
So, those are my latest verbs. This whole thing was a lot longer than I thought — it turns out I love sharing what I love. Hopefully, after reading all this, you’ll find at least one interesting thing to look further into. If you want to know more about any of these, just ask. Clearly, I love to talk about it all!