Book of the Month: Urville by Gilles Tréhin
An incredibly fascinating book. Gilles Tréhin is an autistic savant. For years and years he has been painstakingly designing, conceptualizing, and drawing a fictional city on a fictional Mediterranean island: Urville. Gilles creates the entire fictional history of this city from its founding through today, and has painstakingly detailed and perspective-accurate drawings of all of its districts throughout the course of its history. The amount of detail in both the renderings and the history is truly astonishing, and the drawings are all internally consistent with one another. Here’s a sample drawing:
Pont des Investitures (Investiture Bride), built in 1138.
And there are some 300 drawings in this book.
Movie of the Month: Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro does giant robots (Jaegers) vs giant monsters (kaiju) in a rain-soaked, near-future Earth. The results are not terribly surprising, but pretty spectacular nonetheless. This is the first live-action giant robot movie that I can think of that is actually good. Del Toro’s mastery of the visual medium is supreme, and the look and feel of the movie is incredible. The design team did an excellent job of not mimicking any specific robot or monster source, and the results somehow pay homage to almost every giant robot. The ultimate pastiche, the ultimate tribute, but still Pacific Rim manages to stand on its own and not be beholden to its influences. Plus it’s danged good fun.
Video Game of the Month: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
A sequel to the incredibly-highly-regarded A Link to the Past, this Link Between Worlds ups the technology with a fully 3D environment (confined usually to the standard 2D overhead view of the classic Zelda games) and silky smooth graphics and sound. It’s a pretty standard Zelda story about the seven sages, with some nice twists including a recurring art theme and the ability that Link gains early to turn into animated, 2D wall art. Seriously! I haven’t yet beaten it, but it is a lot of fun.
Book of the Month: The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure by Jack Handey
Jack Handey is perhaps best known as the creator of the “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey” series of interstitials that aired on Saturday Night Live in the 1990s. This novel is my favorite kind of humor. It is completely surreal, cartoony, and every single paragraph has a joke in it. Such as:
When you have a real treasure map in your hand, all sorts of thoughts go through your head. The first is, Don’t lose the map. The second is, Hey, what happened to the map? The third is, Oh, yeah, I gave it to Don. The fourth is, Hey, where’d Don go? The fifth is, Oh, there he is.
Basically, imagine that all of the “Deep Thoughts” were thought by one person. Now put him into an “adventure” in a jungle. This book isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you love weirdly stylized and unrealistic things like Cabin Boy and Pushing Daisies, then you’re probably going to love this book with all parts of your body.
Tabletop Game of the Month: Castle Panic
A cooperative board game! Everyone collaborates to defend a castle in the center of the board from hordes of monsters that encroach from the surrounding forest. It seems complicated at first, but at its core is surprisingly simple to learn, and there are enough variants to the happenings that it stays consistently fresh. It’s also unsurprisingly satisfying to work together towards a common victory rather than competing for the win.
It was also featured in one of the early episodes of Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop webseries:
Christmas Special of the Month: Adventure Time: “Holly Jolly Secrets”
Even though Christmas is never mentioned by name, all of the trappings are there in this two-part episode from the 3rd season of Adventure Time. We get some great backstory on the Ice King, and there are some real heart-felt moments. What’s that? The 3rd season of Adventure Time isn’t available on DVD or BluRay? Well, don’t worry; it comes out in February and you can pre-order itnow!
Details: DOB: 11/1/13 4:00 AM
Weight: 10 lbs, 12 oz (!!)
In order to keep this website from becoming just a baby blog, I have created a separate website just for our wee baby Avery: www.averyfharris.com/. Most updates and photos and what-not will go in there.
Thanks so much to everyone for all your love and support these past nine months. This is just the beginning!
Tweeter of the Month: @NightValeRadio
Hilarious musings on life, emptiness, nature, and the void, full of existential angst and mysterious, sideways-glimpsed horrors. One of the most consistently funny twitter accounts I’ve ever come across.
Think hate. Think fire. Think an everlasting darkness. Think a face bleeding. Whose face? Whose blood? Think Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Podcast of the Month: Welcome to Night Vale
Not content with merely having an hilarious twitter account, Night Vale also has one of the best podcasts of the past many years. A faux news broadcast about a small, fictional town (Night Vale) somewhere in the vast, uncompromising desert, where strange and Lovecraftian things happen with a regularity that borders on complacency and nobody seems terribly alarmed that no dogs are allowed in the dog park, indeed people are not allowed in the dog park, but hooded figures (that you’re not allowed to approach) can occasionally be glimpsed within. The perfect funny Halloween podcast.
T-Shirt of the Month: All Hail the Glow Cloud
This design is based on the happenings in Episode 2 of the Welcome to Night Vale Podcast. Why, yes, this month is a themed “Of the Month” selection. Why do you ask? At any rate, this shirt also glows in the dark and has the Night Vale logo emblazoned on the back of it. Still nobody can figure out where the glow cloud went, where it came from, or why it dropped so many animal carcasses on our small town. Wear the shirt. Live the shirt. Hail the glow cloud.
Link of the Month: A Mighty Girl
I know I said I wouldn’t post baby stuff on this blog, but this website is just too cool to pass up. It’s a one-stop resource for all media that positively portrays girls (from pre-schoolers to pre-teens) in a strong, independent, intelligent, and otherwise positive light. This is where to go to help girls become active and confident participants in their lives, not just passive princesses waiting for a hero. These girls are their own heroes.
Album of the Month: Prom Queen: Night Sound
“Prom Queen” is one of the musical projects by friend-of-a-friend Celene Ramadan, who is also known as my favorite chiptune musician, Leeni. Prom Queen is pretty far from Leeni. It’s lush, dreamy, 1960s-inspired music. Dark, sultry, dangerous, and sensual (and authentically vintage), this album sounds like the ultimate yard sale vinyl find in a very, very good way. As Celene puts it, “If David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino were to co-direct your prom, this would be the soundtrack.”
Here’s a video of “This Town Ain’t Big Enough”
Exhibit of the Month: Cooper
Now through January 2014, the Washington State History Museum has an exhibit about the notorious Dan “D.B.” Cooper, the only unsolved domestic hijacking case in the history of the United States. The D.B. Cooper case has been romanticized over the years (right now there’s a very funny D.B. Cooper comic book that postulates he was a super-secret agent who fights aliens and monsters and such) and become something of a pop-culture icon. Heck, there was even an important storyline about him on NewsRadio in the 90s! So it’s nice to actually get some grounding and learn about all the actual facts surrounding this mystery man. It’s a fascinating exhibit, even though it does at times veer too far off into modern-day air security (many measures of which were developed in response to Cooper’s actions). It also has a bit of a personal connection: Carrie’s dad worked for Northwest airlines when the hijacking happened (he wasn’t involved in the least, though, since he was stationed in Cleveland at the time). There are also some really awesome artifacts: actual stewardess uniforms, vintage travel posters, airline giveaways and the like. Good stuff.
Book of the Month: Baby Owner’s Manual
I know I wasn’t gonna post all about babby stuff on this website, but this one is really, really cool. It’s a geek dad’s guide to taking care of a baby, full of technical diagrams and ways to “troubleshoot” your small, new acquisition. It’s informative, but it is also a lot of fun to read.
Tweeter of the Month: @RealCarrotFacts
Carrot Fact’s “facts” are often about as factual as the “facts” cited by climate change deniers. Nonetheless they’re incredibly funny, and the charmingly clumsy grammar mistakes only add to the appeal. There is also an interesting meta-story going on, with hints about a failed relationship with a woman named Megan and some other vaguely unhappy things woven throughout the posts. Here are some of my personal favorites:
if you plug headphones into a carrot you don't hear music but at least you are doing something