I can't believe another month is gone! We are deep in summer now, and I am reminded every time I look out at the sun streaming through the green leaves outside my window and see the heat curling up off the pavement that I really do love summer. There is nothing like being able to cruise down a back street with the windows down blasting music, or to lie on the beach watching the waves come in while the sun pierces down overhead, or to listen to summer thunderstorms with heat lightning. I always think that fall in my favorite season, but whenever summer rolls around it does its damnedest to remind me of all the ways it is such a fun season.
But summer has also always been the time to catch up on all the media and such that I neglected to get to during the school year. Now that I am no longer a student, summer won't ever be a 3-month break again, but I can still enjoy this last one while I can. By any count, I've been trying to work through my lists of stuff I wanted to enjoy. I think I've been catching up pretty well! Here are some of my favorites so far.
Book - Mortal Engines
I recently saw an ad for this movie, which is coming out in December. I had a vivid memory of reading the book when I was younger but never ended up finishing the series. I decided to reread it, and it definitely held up to what I remembered. Now I'm wondering why I never finished the series; it's absolutely fascinating. The premise of the story is that some umpteen centuries into the future, cities are no longer stationary. Instead, cities move around like gigantic tanks across the continents of Europe and Africa practicing Municipal Darwinism. Essentially, that idea boils down to the survival of the fastest. It's a dive into what a future could look like, and it's terrifying. This is a YA book, but the fact that the protagonists are fifteen does not at all detract from the philosophical questions this book poses. I'm excited to see if the movie does the book any justice. But definitely worth a look if you're interested in steampunk, YA fantasy, or the philosophy of utilitarianism.
TV - Letterkenny
I've known about this show for some time now, because of this clip that made its way around my feeds on Twitter and Tumblr a couple years ago. I've always wanted to watch it, but it's a Canadian show and our neighbors to the great white north didn't distribute to American audiences. But now it's on Hulu! The first two seasons anyway. Totally binge-worthy, as there are only 6 episodes per season. It's a fast-paced, pun-based TV show about a rural town in Ontario. Once your ear is tuned into the accents, it's an easy watch full of visual and verbal gags. I can't wait for more of the seasons to be released in America.
Movie - Alien
As someone who considers themselves a huge fan of science fiction, it's a crime that I haven't seen this movie yet. My partner thought so too. He has been trying to get me to watch this movie for years, as it is one of his favorites. Finally, we did. Before going in, I was prepped on how to watch the movie. And the advice was right - this movie is a horror film above anything else, and should be watched as such. I recently read a great blog post detailing why after watching the movie. I get the hype now. Even though I'm not a huge horror fan, I can get behind a movie like this one, 100%.
Album - "Head Over Heels," by Chromeo
Chromeo is a stylized electro-funk duo out of Montreal. They combine well-known callbacks to influencers like Michael Jackson, Prince, and other amazing dancehall singers and producers. This album, their latest, is full of songs that are bops. Upbeat, with hooks that get stuck in your head for days, these songs have a bit more of the 80s in them with their use of synths than their previous album in my opinion. Both still amazing. My favorite songs off "Head Over Heels" are "Must've Been," the funk-guitar-riff heavy opener, "Bad Decision," a middle song that reminds me of Prince, and the last song on the album, "Room Service," a genuine bop with a funky baseline and oddly sweet lyrics. All in all, a great album to blast driving down the highway.
Song - "65th & Ingleside," by Chance the Rapper
Chance has been one of my favorite rappers for a while. I listened to something off Coloring Book almost every single day while I was studying abroad. His music is easy to listen to, and his style is varied with every song he puts out. Coloring Book was amazing, but it came out in 2016, and he hasn't put out solo music since then. Then randomly, he drops four new singles that are all amazing. Every song was different, but they all had the classic Chance lyrics full of wordplay, internal rhyme, and the personal touch that lets you know this is Chance telling his truth. My favorite, which was hard to pick, had to be "65th and Ingleside." It's a love song. It's a remembrance of the steps he took to get to where he is now in his relationship and a way to laud his girlfriend (now fiancee, I think), for everything she has done. It's beautiful, and the backing track is just the perfect accompaniment for the heartfelt lyrics. You can really feel the love in the track. Stream it here.
Podcast - The Adventure Zone
I don't know how I managed to avoid D&D for so long. It's everything a nerdy, former-theater-person writer would ever want to participate in. I recently started playing with my partner and some of our friends, and I love it. But before I started playing, I started listening to the McElroy show, "The Adventure Zone." It's a real-play D&D podcast created by three brothers and their dad who all have minimal experience at best with D&D. It's...hilarious. It can be very dumb humor, lots of really awful (read: excellent) puns, and a weird combination of anachronistic fantasy elements that just works. It's a wildly expansive show with mini-campaigns that are inspired by a huge variety of different themes or movies, from Fast and the Furious racing to a Groundhog Day repeating puzzle adventure. It's so interesting to listen to, and I always find myself laughing. My favorite part of the show, however, is the love you can feel between the brothers and their dad and the fun they always seem to have hanging out with each other creating this show. Also, you don't need any D&D experience to enjoy it! You can find episodes here as well as other podcasts the McElroys do, as they produce a literal ton of shows.
“Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life.” ~ Burton Hills
This one just resonated with me. I'm trying to find my happiness, and I hope you are too.
Memory - John Butler Trio Concert
My partner and I went to see John Butler Trio at Hampton Beach in NH. They've been one of our shared favorite bands for our entire relationship. My partner showed me them when we were first dating, and they've been a staple summer band ever since. I like to think that there are artists and there are performers when it comes to musicians. Performers are musicians + comedians + storytellers. They come alive onstage, and they make you feel alive by including you in their moment. Artists are musicians who come alive when they play their music for you. They invite you into their moment of bliss by letting you watch them create their music. JB3 was a great mix of both. I got to hear songs live that I've listened to for five years and enjoy it with my partner who loves the band just as much as I do. I don't always love going to concerts because my anxiety ratchets up when I'm in large crowds, but for bands that I love, it never bothers me. Getting to vibe in that energy is worth it. I'm so happy I got to have this experience. I know I'm going to treasure it.
That was my month, and those were my favorite things. I can't wait to see what August brings us.
I would love to hear about your July! Let me know down below if you'd like.