Merry Christmas! I hope all of you are doing well and that your celebrations were filled with happiness, laughter, and good food! For our part, this year marked the 20th Christmas that Aaron and I have spent together. Like every one of those other Christmases, it was one of the best days of my life (despite the unusual circumstances and challenges this year has brought). We decided that with the world feeling so uncertain, and the need to remain socially distanced from others, it would be the perfect opportunity to stay home, wear knitted sweaters and jeans, and enjoy a classic early-to-mid twentieth century dinner; pure, old-school comfort food that envoked a sense of warmth and safety, friends and family, prosperity and peace.
We recently discovered that in 2017, the SpaceLab9 booth at New York Comic Con sold an extremely limited edition Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Ultimate Vinyl collection etched to look like the famous sweet rolls from the game. The collection, which was limited to only 95 copies, contains the full 52-tracks found in the game. The moment we learned it existed, we knew we had to have it. After some searching, in June 2020 we were able to track down one of those boxed sets. We immediately bought it for our music collection.
Over the past year, one of my favorite tracks to listen to while I work is an instrumental piece by Iranian-born composer, producer, instrumentalist, and performer Sami Yusuf. In referring to his genre of music, Yusuf calls it “Spiritique”, which blends Eastern and Western sounds into something new and different.
Several incredibly talented people collaborated on a disco-style track called “Kill the Lights” that Aaron and I have been listening to on endless repeat. The build-up to the chorus and explosion of happiness is great, especially when the volume is turned up, the sun is shining, and you’re getting stuff done. You can’t help but dance. It’s probably going to be the song we remember most from Spring 2020 (even thought it was released several years ago and just flew below our radar). There is just so much joy in it.
Unreal Engine 5 – one of the big video game development engines upon which the modern gaming industry is built – has been revealed. It looks spectacular. This is going to allow much smaller studios to develop titles that would have only been possible with far higher budgets and resources only a few years ago.
One of the benefits of our relocation to the West Coast was going through boxes and containers dating back to early childhood, discovering things that we didn’t realize we had; toys from our nursery, birthday cards from elementary school, choral music from high school and college. This included migrating old computer archives before destroying the physical drives, resulting in large amounts of data we now need to organize and catalog over the coming years as a part-time personal project
If You Like Strategy Games, and Ruthlessly Crushing Your Opponents, You Should Buy Disney Villainous
My post about Disney earlier today made me realize I need to share with you my latest obsession: a board game called Villainous. If you have a cunning and ruthless side that enjoys plotting optimal strategy, buy it. You won’t regret it.
Hamilton: An American Musical About Self-Study, Obsessive Reading, Taxation Policy, and Hustling for What You Want In Life
I am a huge fan of the work of biographer Ron Chernow (many of you know him for writing Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., which is the best biography on the oil giant that has ever been published). Back in 2004, he wrote a biography of Alexander Hamilton. If you don’t have a copy, you should buy one and read it. My edition is marked-up, highlighted, cross-referenced, and scribbled upon. Through 800 or so pages, he lays out the story of one of America’s founding fathers.
With so much of my time spent away from the site in the past 4-6 weeks, I thought I’d give a “here’s roughly what’s been going on” round-up. I had intended for a lot of this to turn into their own stand-alone posts but this will be faster.
Remember back in 2012 when Jimmy came on one of his regular house guest trips to visit Aaron and me in Kansas City? The time when we went to the Kansas City Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art? Today, he took us to the Art Institute of Chicago. You already experienced the incredible Thorne miniatures installment in another post,…